Issues related to healthy coastal ecosystems on the coast of Massachusetts and in Northeastern U.S. are similar to those issues experienced in other areas of the U.S. coastline. Decline in water quality, loss of habitat, invasive species, and increasing pressure on coastal resources are just some of the items of concern. A significant portion of the research portfolio of the Woods Hole Sea Grant program during the past few years has focused on gaining a better understanding of nutrient enrichment in coastal watersheds, characterization of habitats for resource species and threats to those habitats, and ocean acidification.
Extension and outreach activities that complement the Healthy Coastal Ecosystems focus area are:
- collaborative workshops with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on waste water management and coastal water quality issues through the Coastal Training Program;
- teacher workshops on topics such as the effects of ocean acidification on coastal ecosystems; and
- establishing a water quality monitoring system using remotely accessed YSI devices. New techniques and approaches will be added to this portfolio as reciprocal relationships between resource users/ managers and scientists, social scientists and engineers identify new problems, develop or facilitate solutions to existing problems, and transfer technical information that can be used in management decisions.
2016-2018 Funded Projects
- Robert Howarth and Roxanne Marino, Cornell University: Nitrogen pollution and recovery from nitrogen pollution in a seagrass-dominated estuary: A whole ecosystem experiment
- Jesús Pineda, Karl Helfrich, Victoria Starczak and Annette Govindarajan, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Hydraulic jumps at an ecological hotspot
- Ivan Valiela, Marine Biological Laboratory: Is the recent decreased atmospheric nitrogen deposition improving water and vegetation quality in Waquoit Bay estuaries
- Jarrett Byrnes, UMass-Boston: Evaluating the relationship between kelp forest ecosystems and water temperature in the Southern Gulf of Maine
2014-2016 Funded Projects
- Robinson W. Fulweiler, Boston University: Examining significant changes to the nitrogen cycle in Waquoit Bay
- Anne Giblin, Joe Vallino, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Gary Banta, University of Roskilde: The impacts of increased nitrogen loadings on decomposition in salt marshes: Does eutrophication enhance marsh accretion or erosion?
- Robert Howarth and Roxanne Marino, Cornell University: Nitrogen pollution and recovery from nitrogen pollution in a seagrass-dominated estuary: A whole ecosystem experiment.
- Laela Sayigh, Mark Baumgartner, James Partan, and Michael Moore, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Development of an automatic mass stranding alert system
- Jesús Pineda, Karl Helfrich, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Jose da Silva, University of Porto: Reconciling distributional patterns with foraging processes in an ecological hotspot: Aggregation of humpback whales, prey abundance and distribution, and the shoaling of non-linear internal waves
- Jefferson Turner and Brian Howes, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth: “Rust Tides” of the toxic dinoflagellate Cochlodinium polykrikoides in Buzzards Bay
- Sibel Karchner and M. Hahn, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Molecular risk assessment in wildlife using a non-destructive assay
- Carl Lamborg, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, J. Logan, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, & R. Carmichael, Dauphin Island Sea Lab: A history of mercury impacts to Waquoit Bay clams