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Sea grant awards more than $1.1 million for research under EPA's Long Island Sound study
Date:3/8/2011

arish will look at the impacts of nitrogen on habitats in some of the many small embayments that surround the Sound in Connecticut and New York. They will assess the uncertain ability of these habitats to support eelgrass under conditions of eutrophication and changing climate. Eelgrass is ecologically and economically valuable, particularly as bay scallop habitat.

A project led by Darcy Lonsdale and Christopher Gobler at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at SBU will look at how increasing populations of gelatinous zooplankton, such as comb jellies and jellyfish, might affect hypoxia and food webs in the Sound.

Harmful algal blooms, increasing globally, have negative effects on fisheries and economies. In a separate project, SBU's Gobler will determine possible anthropogenic causes of fundamental changes in the Sound that may encourage toxin-producing algal bloom events. The blooms can cause PSP and DSP, two different types of shellfish poisoning that impact human health.

Finally, in a small-scale pilot project, Craig R. Tobias, UConn Department of Marine Sciences, and Bongkuen Song, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Biology Department, will team up to quantify seasonal removal rates of nitrogen in tidal reaches of a Connecticut estuary. The results will be mapped and provide clues to whether hot spots for these processes persist over time and space or are transient. This information will help inform future management choices.

"Nitrogen plays an invaluable role in society as fertilizer, but we know that too much nitrogen in coastal waters such as Long Island Sound can degrade water quality and contribute to harmful algal blooms," said Mark Tedesco, director of the EPA Long Island Sound Office which manages the Long Island Sound Study partnership, and provided the funds for the Sea Grant- administered research projects.

Since 2000, the Long Island Sound grant program has awarded 26 grants to scientis
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Contact: Barbara Branca
barbara.branca@stonybrook.edu
631-632-6956
Stony Brook University
Source:Eurekalert

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