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:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 LegacyXChange, ... LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce ... used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes ... originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will be ... of the DNA. Bill Bollander , ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... , March 18, 2016 ... Suppliers of Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure ... & security companies in the border security market and the ... and Europe has led visiongain ... companies improved success. --> defence & security ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... 14, 2016 http://www.apimages.com ) ... --> - Renvoi : image disponible via AP ... --> --> DERMALOG, le leader ... nouveaux lecteurs d,empreintes digitales pour l,enregistrement des réfugiés ... utilisé pour produire des cartes d,identité aux réfugiés. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, ... ... assay development and manufacturing company, today announced several positive developments that position the ... As a result of the transaction, Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Fitzmaurice recently became double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the hand by ... Fitzmaurice is no stranger to going above and beyond in his pursuit of ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering ... orphan drug designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... ... for blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is growing. , But according ... donations are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country are at their lowest ... in the last four years alone. , There is no substitute for blood. , “We ...
Breaking Biology Technology: