Community Metabolism in Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands: Development of an Index of Susceptibility

EPA Grant Number: F6E61490
Title: Community Metabolism in Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands: Development of an Index of Susceptibility
Investigators: Cooper, Matthew J.
Institution: Grand Valley State University
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2008
Project Amount: $66,938
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Aquatic Ecosystems , Fellowship - Aquatic Sciences


A growing body of evidence suggests that community metabolism (the total and relative rates of primary production and respiration) contributes substantially to the structure of fish and invertebrate communities in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Community metabolism in coastal wetlands is affected by many natural (i.e., wind and wave energy, pelagic mixing, basin morphology) and anthropogenic factors (i.e., nutrient loading, hydrologic manipulation). Therefore, fish and invertebrate communities in some coastal wetlands may be more susceptible to anthropogenic disturbances than others based on geomorphology and orientation to prevailing wind and waves. The objective of my research is to quantify community metabolism in Great Lakes coastal wetlands and describe its relationship with both natural hydrologic variables and anthropogenic disturbance variables. This information will be used to generate an index for determining whether a wetland is particularly susceptible to anthropogenic disturbances based on natural geomorphology.


My approach is to measure community metabolism along a gradient of wave energy and hydrologic mixing and along a gradient of anthropogenic disturbance. Community metabolism will be measured in three compartments including the sediment, epibenthos, and the water column.

Expected Results:

Coastal wetlands that are subject to high wave energy by their geomorphology and orientation should be less susceptible to anthropogenic shifts in community metabolism. Coastal wetlands that are more protected from wind and wave energy should be more susceptible to shifts in community metabolism caused by anthropogenic factors (i.e., nutrient loading). Characteristics which make certain wetlands particularly vulnerable to disturbance (i.e., shallow, east-facing, limited fetch) will then be identified.

Supplemental Keywords:

Great Lakes coastal wetland, community metabolism, heterotrophy, autotrophy, anthropogenic disturbance, index of wetland susceptibility, wetland geomorphology, wave energy, pelagic mixing,, RFA, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Aquatic Ecosystem, Terrestrial Ecosystems, wetlands, coastal ecosystem, nutrient dynamics, ecosystem monitoring, anthropogenic impact, aquatic ecosystems, hydrodynamics

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final