Don Scavia,Â Gloria Helfand (University of Michigan)
Robert Howarth (Cornell University)
Denise Breitburg (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
Richard Alexander, Richard Smith (United States Geological Survey, National Water Quality Assessment Program)
Increased nutrient inputs to coastal waters have led to substantial changes to coastal ecosystems in the United States and around the world with an estimated degradation of 2/3 of U.S. coastal systems. Predicting the sensitivity of coastal systems to degradation and the likely consequences of human activities, are critical to protect, restore, and manage of our Nationâ€™s waterways.
Three interconnected processes determine the likelihood that an estuary will suffer consequences of nutrient over-enrichment: (1) physical and economic characteristics of watersheds that affect the delivery of nutrients, (2) physical and biological characteristics of estuaries that regulate the expression of symptoms; and (3) physical and biological characteristics of estuaries that determine the effect of those symptoms on living resources. Improved models of these processes and their interactions, can improve prioritizing systems for protection and remediation.
Our overall objective is to integrate existing data and models within a framework to allow the flow of information, forecasts, and scenarios from watershed and climate change, through hydrologically-modulated estuarine susceptibility, to potential impacts on upper trophic levels.
This work is intended to lead to a better predictive understanding of the potential causes and consequences of nutrient pollution on estuarine ecosystems and how estuarine hydrology and morphology modulate estuarine and upper trophic level responses.
Total Request – $2,511,844
Budget period – June 1, 2005 â€“ May 31, 2010