Monday, March 27, 2017

Objective 1

Determine combined effects of environmental stressors on coastal species and ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems are affected by different environmental stressors, including extreme natural events, coastal subsidence and sea-level changes. These stressors, when coupled with land and resource use activities, cause changes in ecosystem structure and function that have proven difficult to assess or mitigate. It has not been possible to determine combined effects of environmental stressors on coastal ecosystems, including those caused by myriads of toxic chemicals. New and developing technologies, including those based on genomics, DNA probes, immunological biomarkers, etc. are beginning to offer a common denominator or a suite of methods that could infer or quantify such impacts.

R&D Targets:

  • Identify sub-lethal effects, including metabolic and reproductive dysfunction and transcriptomic and proteomic changes in species under environmental stress

  • Document the combined effects of multiple stressors on at least one coastal ecosystem and the valued species therein

  • Characterize sources, transport, transformation and fate of mercury pollution in Mobile Bay

  • Develop models that simulate contaminant transport from the watershed to coastal bays and estuaries