Health Indicators for Salt Marsh Estuaries of the South Atlantic BightEPA Grant Number: R825147
Title: Health Indicators for Salt Marsh Estuaries of the South Atlantic Bight
Investigators: Alberts, James J. , Kneib, Ronald T. , Newell, Steven Y. , Pennings, Steven
Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1996 through September 30, 1999
Project Amount: $786,349
RFA: Ecological Assessment (1996) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems
This project involves the development and testing of simple, inexpensive, and rapid methods for assaying and monitoring the general health of salt-marsh ecosystems in the southeastern U.S. Paired sites (impacted and unimpacted) will be emphasized to give the program a regional scope. The methods to be tested would utilize responses to perturbations by elements of the salt-marsh ecosystem ranging from primary producers (smooth cordgrass), through microbial decomposers (bacteria) and eukaryotes (fungi), to small invertebrates at the base of the marsh food web.
Emphasis will be on field oriented studies including: 1) in situ photosynthetic and transpiration rates of salt marsh plants; 2) living fungal biomass and fungal reproductive activity; 3) MicrotoxR assay of bacterial response to interstitial waters; and 4) reproductive status of a tanaid, an amphipod and a grass shrimp. These species are positioned in the food web, such that they link primary producers/decomposers to higher tropic levels (i.e., fish).
If successful, these monitoring methods would provide a suite of rapid assays, involving indigenous species, with which to assess salt marsh ecosystem health throughout the southeastern region of North America.