EPA Science Inventory

Development of resource shed delineation in aquatic ecosystems

Citation:

RAIKOW, D., J. F. Atkinson, AND T. E. Croley. Development of resource shed delineation in aquatic ecosystems. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 44(1):329-334, (2010).

Description:

Environmental issues in aquatic ecosystems of high management priority involve spatially explicit phenomena that occur over vast areas. A "landscape" perspective is thus necessary, including an understanding of how ecological phenomena at a local scale are affected by physical forcing variables at a regional scale. Analysis, explanation, and ultimately prediction of such ecological phenomena are, however, impeded by a lack of knowledge of, and tools to delimit, spatial patterns of material supply to point locations. To more fully understand factors controlling spatially-explicit phenomena in aquatic ecosystems, specifically the physical forcing variable of water movement, we apply the concept of "resource sheds" to coasts and watersheds. Resource sheds are defined as source areas for materials supplied to an individual organism, population, or point location, over a specified time interval. Here we delimit resource shed total spatial extent and relative contributory importance across space, for selected point locations in Lake Erie, including extension into the Maumee River watershed. Resource shed size and orientation are found to vary with in-lake circulation patterns, terrestrial precipitation patterns, time interval, and season. In-lake resource sheds for sites near river mouths and along shorelines showed less variation in size and shape with time and between seasons compared with sites further off shore. Including watersheds in models of resource sheds revealed the relative contributory importance of sub-watershed catchments to off-shore point locations. Potential applications of the resource shed concept are discussed, including use as an environmental forensics technique.

Purpose/Objective:

The goal of this research is to develop methods and indicators that are useful for evaluating the condition of aquatic communities, for assessing the restoration of aquatic communities in response to mitigation and best management practices, and for determining the exposure of aquatic communities to different classes of stressors (i.e., pesticides, sedimentation, habitat alteration).

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Projected Completion Date: 01/01/2011
Record Last Revised: 01/10/2014
Record Created: 05/15/2008
Record Released: 05/15/2008
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 191326

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ECOLOGICAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH DIVISION

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH BRANCH