Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Physical Circulation of the Neuse River Estuary (NRE) and Its Contribution to the Occurrence of Fish Kills

EPA Grant Number: U915614
Title: Physical Circulation of the Neuse River Estuary (NRE) and Its Contribution to the Occurrence of Fish Kills
Investigators: Reynolds-Fleming, Janelle V.
Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $72,117
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems

Objective:

The objective of this research project is to investigate the hypothesis that fish kills in the Neuse River Estuary (NRE), NC, occur when meteorological conditions cause hypoxic/anoxic water from the deeper central part of the estuary to upwell and advect into shallower parts, thereby trapping fish in the creeks and along the shore with no escape route.

Approach:

Investigation of this hypothesis will be carried out through collection and analysis of both empirical and modeling data. Two acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs), which record water velocity through the water column, were placed on opposite shores in a section of the estuary where significant fish kills have occurred. Adjacent to the ADCPs are novel portable vertically profiling platforms that record a hydrographic profile of the entire water column every 15 minutes. The empirical data will document the onset and movement of low-dissolved oxygen water into shallower areas, but it will represent a limited spatial area. A hydrodynamic/oxygen transport model will be developed that increases the spatial and temporal range of the study area. This model will be calibrated with empirical data. Once calibrated, the model then will be used to simulate circulatory and dissolved oxygen conditions under varying forcing conditions (i.e., fresh water discharge, varying wind directions, and speed).

Expected Results:

A hydrodynamic/oxygen transport model will be developed that increases the spatial and temporal range of the study area.

Supplemental Keywords:

estuary, ecological effect, physical circulation, physical oceanography, modeling., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Oceanography, Aquatic Ecosystem, Environmental Microbiology, Ecology and Ecosystems, estuarine research, estuaries, fish kills, ecosystem monitoring, hydrodynamic oxygen transport model, fish communities, acoustic Doppler current profilers, aquatic ecosystems, Neuse River Estuary, estuarine waters