Developing Regional-scale Stressor Models for Managing Eutrophication in Coastal Marine Ecosystems, Including Interactions of Nutrients, Sediments, Land-use Change, and Climate Variability and Change

EPA Grant Number: R830882
Title: Developing Regional-scale Stressor Models for Managing Eutrophication in Coastal Marine Ecosystems, Including Interactions of Nutrients, Sediments, Land-use Change, and Climate Variability and Change
Investigators: Howarth, Robert W.
Current Investigators: Howarth, Robert W. , Marino, Roxanne M. , Swaney, Dennis P. , Boyer, Elizabeth W. , Scavia, Donald , Alber, Merryl
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: March 1, 2003 through June 8, 2007
Project Amount: $749,644
RFA: Developing Regional-Scale Stressor-Response Models for Use in Environmental Decision-making (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems , Global Climate Change


Our goal is to develop a regional-scale model for analyzing nutrient inputs to coastal ecosystems, to develop a classification scheme for the comparative analysis of the sensitivity of coastal ecosystems to these nutrient inputs, and to develop quantitative approaches for evaluating how other stressors such as climate change, land-use change, and sediment fluxes interact with nutrient inputs to affect coastal ecosystems.


The project will have two interacting parts. First, we will continue to develop and test the Regional Nutrient Management Model (ReNuMa), a model designed to be used by managers to evaluate sources and magnitude nutrient and sediment fluxes from regions and large watersheds to coastal marine ecosystems, and to be responsive to watershed management practices. We will explicitly refine and modify this model to increase its effectiveness as a tool to investigate the interacting effects of climate variability, potential future climate change, and land-use change on fluxes of water, sediments, and nutrients from regions and watersheds. Second, we will analyze two large, independent data sets (NOAA and LOICZ) on physical and ecological aspects of coastal marine ecosystems as a step towards developing a construct or typology for evaluating the sensitivity of coastal marine ecosystems to nutrient enrichment, and to predict how climate change and other stressors such as sediment loading and water diversions interact with this sensitivity.

Expected Results:

Nutrients are now the largest pollution problem in the U.S. This set of tools will allow environmental managers to set priorities for targets in nutrient reduction, by source of nutrient and among multiple watersheds in the context of relative benefit to be achieved in coastal water quality. It will also allow managers to explore scenarios for how land-use change and climate change may interact with plans for reducing nutrient pollution. This project will fulfill two high priority recommendations of the NRC (2000) report on coastal nutrient pollution.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 59 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 12 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

eutrophication, anoxia, hypoxia, nitrogen, phosphorus, nitrogen pollution, phosphorus pollution, global change., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Chemistry, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Monitoring/Modeling, Regional/Scaling, Environmental Monitoring, Ecological Risk Assessment, Atmosphere, anthropogenic stress, coastal ecosystem, eutrophication, aquatic species vulnerability, biodiversity, environmental measurement, ecosystem assessment, meteorology, climatic influence, global change, anthropogenic, climate models, UV radiation, environmental stress, coastal ecosystems, plankton, ecological models, climate model, nutrient fluxes, Global Climate Change, land use, regional anthropogenic stresses, atmospheric chemistry, stressor response model

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • Final Report