Navigation Links
Grant to study effects of oil and dispersants on Louisiana salt marsh ecosystem
Date:8/16/2010

As oil and dispersants wash ashore in coastal Louisiana salt marshes, what will their effects be on these sensitive ecosystems?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a rapid response grant to scientist Eugene Turner of Louisiana State University and colleagues to measure the impacts on Gulf Coast salt marshes.

The researchers will track short-term (at the current time, and again at three months) and longer-term (at 11 months) exposure to oil and dispersants.

The coast of Louisiana is lined with extensive salt marshes whose foundation is two species of Spartina grass.

In brackish marshes, Spartina patens is the dominant form. It's locally known as wiregrass, marsh hay and paille a chat tigre (hair of the tiger).

In more saline marshes closer to the Gulf of Mexico, Spartina alterniflora, also called smooth cordgrass and oyster grass, takes over. A tall form of this wavy grass grows on the streamside edge of the marsh; a shorter form grows behind it.

In their NSF study, the biologists will document changes in these critically-important Spartina grasses, as well as in the growth of other salt marsh plants, and in marsh animals and microbes.

Field investigators will collect samples three times at 35 to 50 sites and analyze the oil and dispersants after each expedition.

The first field effort is now underway.

"Data are being collected that may be used as indicators of the long-term health of the salt marsh community," says Turner. "From these data, we will obtain information that precedes potentially far-reaching changes.

"This exceptionally large oil spill and subsequent remediation efforts are landmark opportunities to learn about short- and long-term stressors on salt marsh ecosystems."

Salt marsh stressors, such as those from oil spills, can have dramatic, visible, and immediate direct impacts, Turner says, on marshes and surrounding uplands.

"They also have indirect effects because, as oil and dispersants begin to degrade, they enter food webs via primary consumers such as suspension-feeding oysters, deposit-feeding bivalves, and grazing gastropods," says David Garrison of NSF's Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research.

These "primary consumers," in turn, serve as food sources for those at higher trophic levels--including humans.

As contaminants make their way up the food chain, they may become concentrated, as in the well-known example of mercury in fish.

"The effects of environmental stressors can cascade through ecosystems as metabolic pathways are altered," says Todd Crowl of NSF's Division of Environmental Biology, which co-funded the research. "The result may be an ecosystem that's radically altered well into the future."

The research, says Turner, is a benchmark study in salt marsh ecosystem change, and will answer key questions about salt marsh stability.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ben-Gurion U. researchers receive US-AID MERC grant for water project with the Palestinian authority
2. University of Maryland School of Medicine receives $7.9 million grant for super research magnet
3. NOAA awards grant to investigate impacts of land use and climate change on hypoxia in Green Bay
4. 5 UM Rosenstiel School students receive NSF grad reserach grants
5. $22.5 million grant funds international study of membrane proteins
6. Komen grant supports research into suspicious gene tied to breast cancer
7. UC Riverside receives 6 grants for tobacco-related research
8. Carnegie Mellons Yoed Rabin receives grants
9. New $1.5 million NSF grant to track bee declines and pollination
10. BU wins $1.6M NIH grant to target protein-protein interactions
11. LSU researchers secure NSF rapid response grants to study impact of oil spill
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Grant to study effects of oil and dispersants on Louisiana salt marsh ecosystem
(Date:6/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Transparency Market ... Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size ... to the report, the  global gesture recognition market ... and is estimated to grow at a CAGR ... 2024.  Increasing application of gesture recognition ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... LONDON , June 2, 2016 ... has awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, ... Security Embossed Vehicle Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure ... world leader in the production and implementation of Identity Management ... in January, however Decatur was selected ...
(Date:5/20/2016)...  VoiceIt is excited to announce its new ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer ... take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration ... usability. Both ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Windsor, Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... will introduce a new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively ... place September 12–17 in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... PUNE, India , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... culture media market research report to its pharmaceuticals ... company profiles, product details and much more. ... market spread across 151 pages, profiling 15 companies ... now available at http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The global biomarkers market ... 2013. The market is expected to grow at a five-year compound ... from $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 billion in 2020. ... (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As well, new products approved in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: