Thresholds And Multiple Stable States In Southern New England Shallow Water Estuarine CommuntiesEPA Grant Number: R832448
Title: Thresholds And Multiple Stable States In Southern New England Shallow Water Estuarine Communties
Investigators: Osman, Richard W.
Current Investigators: Osman, Richard W. , Whitlatch, Robert B. , Zajac, Roman N.
Institution: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: September 1, 2005 through August 31, 2007 (Extended to August 31, 2008)
Project Amount: $299,694
RFA: Exploratory Research: Understanding Ecological Thresholds In Aquatic Systems Through Retrospective Analysis (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Aquatic Ecosystems , Ecosystems , Water
We will investigate threshold dynamics of shallow-water estuarine communities of the southern New England and study how the distribution of distinct, easily recognized alternate communities can be used to develop and measure the success of management decisions on local to regional scales. The alternative states we have identified reflect different biodiversity conditions and impacts of invasive species. We will model the system on several different scales with two main objectives: (a) using existing data to examine global, regional, and local processes that cause switches among the four threshold states of the communities, and what conditions enable these states remain resilient and unchanged, and (b) contrasting and evaluating adaptive management strategies for this system in the face of climate change.
Our analyses will center on four integrated modeling efforts: (a) using qualitative or loop modeling to explore and test the stability and total feedback of various simplified system configurations, (b) using a hydrodynamic/ spatial explicit recruitment model to link threshold states in different habitats and sites, (c) a coupled population/community model to examine intra- and inter-specific interactions and threshold dynamics between the various groups of species and how they are influence by long- and long-term physical forcing functions, and (d) using landscape modeling to address broader regional aspects of threshold states within the LIS system, how changes in land-use alter threshold communities, and the necessary management strategies to restore or maintain the desired mixture and distribution of threshold states.
Modeling and understanding transitions among these communities will provide strong predictive capabilities for managers and can be used to develop adaptive management scenarios that maintain ecosystem health and alert them of possible significant shifts in ecosystem properties which potentially may influence strategies for conservation and restoration. A focus will be on using invasive species as a metric for evaluating management outcomes.