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Research Highlights


Assessing the Impacts of High Nutrient Levels to Freshwater in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

February 22, 2021

Attempting to assess environmental changes over large areas is a limitation when determining the impacts of excessive nutrients from runoff from the land and the effectiveness of management strategies on coastal systems. This research used a combination of sensors at the location and satellite data to develop an algorithm and map the distribution of chlorophyll-a, which assessed the impacts of high levels of nutrients to the freshwater distributions in the Barataria Basin of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. As a result, this work demonstrated the need for large scale, continuous local (in-situ) sampling for assessing future water quality conditions.

Future Trajectories for Ecosystems of the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network: The Importance of Time Lags

February 9, 2021

As ecosystems throughout the U.S. continue to be affected by climate change, this research aims to look at different variables to understand how changes will affect these ecosystems in the future and their role for societal needs. Part of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network, this work looks at different LTER locations and how they will change over the next 50-100 years with a changing climate. For this paper, the main focus will be on time lags from diverse climatic regions including tundra, coastal wetlands and montane forests. This work identified variables that are better indicators of lagged changes in the various sites within the network. Such indicators examined were the arctic tundra, the effect of a warming ocean on plankton off the west coast, how changes in species over decades can impact Eastern forests, and much more. The various case studies highlight the need for additional sites within the network and longer study periods to understand the complexities of time lags in ecosystems.

Hydroperiod and Salinity Interactions Control Mangrove Root Dynamics in a Karstic Oceanic Island in the Caribbean Sea (San Andres, Colombia)

January 14, 2021

Global sea levels are on the rise and this means coastal regions and ecosystems are at risk. One such ecosystem are the coastal mangroves. To better understand how mangroves will be affected by high sea levels, researchers evaluated three mangrove ecotypes in the San Andreas Island located in the Caribbean Sea. The main focus was looking at how the root system can lose nutrients with increased amounts of salinity. It was found that the mangrove roots require a balance of freshwater from the ground to maintain its nutrient efficiency. These results can assist coastal resource managers in regulating water use and coastal development in the short term to avoid loss of mangrove ecosystems.

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