Ecological Assessment of Generalized Littoral Environments Decision-Support System (EAGLE/OS)

EPA Grant Number: R835193
Title: Ecological Assessment of Generalized Littoral Environments Decision-Support System (EAGLE/OS)
Investigators: Muller-Karger, Frank Edgar , Chen, F. Robert
Current Investigators: Muller-Karger, Frank Edgar , Chen, F. Robert , McCarthy, Matthew , Mendez-Lazaro, Pablo , Otis, Daniel
Institution: University of South Florida
Current Institution: University of South Florida , University of Puerto Rico - Medical Sciences Campus
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: June 1, 2012 through August 14, 2014 (Extended to May 31, 2016)
Project Amount: $750,000
RFA: Extreme Event Impacts on Air Quality and Water Quality with a Changing Global Climate (2011) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Water Quality , Climate Change , Air , Water


Climate change modulates the variability, including the frequency, timing and intensity, of a wide range of processes that affect sea level and water quality in coastal and estuarine areas. This is a continuous process. We can learn about how climate change affected ocean and human health in the past by examining historical time series of environmental observations. This will help understand whether the phasing and possible synergies between processes may effect extreme impacts under changing climate conditions.


We propose to develop a decision- support tool that includes scientific research and links to a regional climate change education partnership to understand past changes in climate, the occurrence of extreme events, and their impacts on water quality in major estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. territories in the Caribbean Sea. Specifically, we will study the interaction between a suite of forcing functions estimated from instrumented records of precipitation, water and air temperature, the frequency and intensity of storms, wind intensity and direction, river discharge, nutrient and sediment load, temperature, harmful algal bloom records, and tide gauge sea level and wave records as available over the past 100 years, and compare these with novel synoptic water quality indices derived using NASA MODIS satellite observations of the estuaries over the past 11 years (1999 to present). The program focuses on National Estuary Program areas that include Coastal Bend Bays, Galveston Bay, Barataria-Terrebonne Bay, Mobile Bay, Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor, and San Juan Bay in Puerto Rico, but the approach and methods are applicable in any coastal, marine, or inland water body. The study will be linked with the Coastal Areas Climate Change Education (CACCE) Partnership, which is developing a transdisciplinary model of climate change education and research specifically for Florida and the Caribbean region, and other education efforts. The PI and Co-l have extensive experience in examining long time series of environmental records in marine environments.

Expected Results:

The outcomes include an assessment of probabilities of high water quality conditions or risks of extreme water quality degradation due to synergistic forcing functions, a decision-support system that integrates available real-time or near-real-time environmental and satellite observations into a decision-support system, and a strategy to educate the public and professionals engaged in coastal planning and development. The effort addresses EPA's fundamental cross-cutting strategy of Advancing Science, Research and Technological Innovation.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 7 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Water Quality, Climate Change, Environmental Variability, Turbidity, Particulate Matter, Red Tides, Harmful Algal Blooms, Satellite Remote Sensing

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • Final Report