Science Inventory

CHARACTERIZE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING AND CHANGES IN CLIMATE, UV, AND LAND USE

Impact/Purpose:

The overall objective of this task is to develop quantitative relationships for assessing the vulnerability of aquatic resources to global change. The task will contribute experimental and modeling tools for assessments of the interactions of global climate and UV changes with coral reefs and selected watersheds and estuaries in the U.S. These activities are contributing primarily to two APGs in the ecosystems component of the Global Change Research Multiyear Plan: the 2006 APG (APG 3) on building the capacity to assess global change impacts on coastal aquatic ecosystems, including coral reefs and estuaries and the 2004 APG (APG 2) on building capacity to assess and respond to global change impacts on selected watersheds. One major task objective is to assess interactions of global warming and UV exposure that are contributing to the observed coral bleaching and disease. Our lab is working with scientists at the NHEERL Gulf Ecology Lab to characterize UV exposure and effects at several coral reef sites. Other research in this task is examining the interactions between UV-induced breakdown of refractory organic matter in estuaries and coastal areas that enhance UV penetration into the water and concurrently form biologically-labile nitrogen-, phosphorus- and carbon-containing substances that stimulate productivity and microbial activity. This task also involves research in central Brazil that is part of the Large Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Experiment (LBA). The objectives of this project are to assess the impacts of land use and climatic changes on soil nutrient cycles and microbiota, trace gas exchange and water quality in the Brazilian cerrado. This work involves a close collaboration between EPA and a group of scientists from the Department of Ecology, University of Brasilia, Brazil. Other objectives of this task are to assess the interactions of land use and climate changes with the ecological functioning of streams in watersheds of the Piedmont region of the southestern U.S.

Description:

Assessments of the long-term impacts of global changes in climate, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and land use on ecosystems require scientific data, concepts and models that describe the responses of ecosystem health to stresses related to the changes as well as information and models that describe human activities driving the changes. This research is developing tools for relating global environmental changes (climate variability and change, land use change, UV change) to changes in physical and chemical conditions in selected watersheds, estuaries and coral reefs. These changes in physicochemical conditions then will be linked to biological and ecological responses. Task activities related to global change and coral reefs will primarily focus on a case study in the Florida Keys, where extensive damage to coral reefs has occurred over the past few years. Other task activities are building assessment and response capacity for evaluating microbial and ecological responses to global change in selected watersheds. These activities include involvement in a Brazilian project that is examining how changes in land use and climate affect the biological, chemical, and physical functions of Amazonia and the Brazilian cerrado.

Record Details:

Record Type: PROJECT
Start Date: 10/01/2000
Completion Date: 09/30/2004
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 56178

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LABORATORY

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION