2002 Progress Report: Development of an Optical Indicator of Habitat Suitability for Submersed Aquatic Vegetation

EPA Grant Number: R828684C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R828684
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EAGLES - Atlantic Slope Consortium
Center Director: Brooks, Robert P.
Title: Development of an Optical Indicator of Habitat Suitability for Submersed Aquatic Vegetation
Investigators: Gallegos, Charles L.
Current Investigators: Wardrop, Denice Heller , Havens, Kirk , Hershner, Carl , Thornton, Kent
Institution: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Current Institution: Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus , FTN Associates Ltd. , Virginia Institute of Marine Science
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: March 1, 2001 through February 28, 2005 (Extended to February 28, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: March 1, 2001 through February 28, 2002
RFA: Environmental Indicators in the Estuarine Environment Research Program (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Ecosystems


This is one of four subprojects under the Atlantic Slope Consortium (ASC) center. It is closely related to Project R828684C001, Integrated Assessment of Estuarine Ecosystems. The objective of this work is to develop a regionally extensive diagnostic indicator of habitat suitability for submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), based on optical properties. For this purpose, field studies will be conducted to understand the regional variation in optical properties of suspended particulate material in the Chesapeake Bay region.

Progress Summary:

During 2002, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) optical indicator team collected 170 samples for optical water quality measurements from 25 estuarine segments. Optical absorption, scattering measurements, and water quality analyses have been completed on all samples. Preliminary analyses of data indicate that although the water quality conditions differ widely among the mesohaline Chesapeake sites, absorption and scattering coefficients per unit mass do not differ systematically among sites that have been sampled intensively enough to make such comparisons. This contrasts with the preliminary comparisons made with similar measurements made by the Atlantic Coast Environment Indicators Consortium (ACE-INC) Estuaries and Great Lakes (EaGLes), which come from a polyhaline site.

Collaborative studies have been initiated with investigators in the ACE-INC EaGLes in Morehead City, NC. Personnel there are collecting water samples from nine sites in and around beds of the seagrass, Zostera marina, for the purpose of generalizing the optical indicator being developed in the Atlantic slope region. Samples have been analyzed for the same standard water quality measures and optical properties that we measure at SERC. A total of 56 samples have been analyzed to date. Preliminary analyses indicate that absorption and scattering per unit mass of suspended solids at these more energetic sites are lower than at the more protected sites we are studying in ASC.

Future Activities:

The SERC optical indicator team plans to collect similar numbers of samples in Year 3 as in Year 2. The locations sampled will follow the locations studied by the SERC estuarine faunal and avian teams (see annual report for R828684C001), with resampling of 9 intensive segments and the addition of 13 new segments.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 5 publications for this subproject

Supplemental Keywords:

ecological indicator, optical indicator, submerged aquatic vegetation, SAV, Chesapeake Bay, mesohaline., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Geographic Area, Water, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Nutrients, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Ecological Monitoring, Mid-Atlantic, Ecological Risk Assessment, Biology, Atmosphere, Ecological Indicators, Risk Assessment, environmental monitoring, remote sensing, coastal ecosystem, aquatic ecosystem, bioindicator, degradation, ecological exposure, ecosystem assessment, watersheds, aquatic biota , optical indicators, socioeconomics, aquatic habitat, biomonitoring, ecological assessment, estuarine ecosystems, integrated assessment, nutrient stress, ecosystem indicators, Atlantic Slope Consortium, submerged aquatic vegetation, aquatic ecosystems, environmental stress, integrative indicators, bioindicators, Chesapeake Bay trophic network, ecosystem stress, Chesapeake Bay

Relevant Websites:

http://www.asc.psu.edu Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2001
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R828684    EAGLES - Atlantic Slope Consortium

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828684C001 Integrated Assessment of Estuarine Ecosystems
    R828684C002 Development of an Optical Indicator of Habitat Suitability for Submersed Aquatic Vegetation
    R828684C003 Integrated Assessment of Watersheds
    R828684C004 Socioeconomic and Institutional Research