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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Doing Business As Name:University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences
PD/PI:
  • Michael R Roman
  • (410) 221-8425
  • roman@hpl.umces.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Ming Li
Award Date:07/10/2008
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 801,467
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 801,467
  • FY 2008=$801,467
Start Date:10/01/2008
End Date:09/30/2013
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Regulation of Phytoplankton Dynamics in Mid-Atlantic Estuaries Subject to Climatic Perturbations.
Federal Award ID Number:0825453
DUNS ID:021463831
Parent DUNS ID:003256088
Program:BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY

Awardee Location

Street:BOX 775
City:Cambridge
State:MD
ZIP:21613-0775
County:Cambridge
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences
Street:BOX 775
City:Cambridge
State:MD
ZIP:21613-0775
County:Cambridge
Country:US
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

Climatic perturbations by drought-flood cycles, tropical storms, and hurricanes are increasingly important in Mid-Atlantic estuaries, leading to ecosystem-scale responses of the plankton system with significant trophic implications. Recent observations support an emerging paradigm that climate dominates nutrient enrichment in these ecosystems, explaining seasonal and interannual variability of phytoplankton floral composition, biomass (chl-a), and primary production (PP). This project will evaluate this paradigm in the two largest estuaries in the United States, Chesapeake Bay (CB) and Albemarle-Pamlico Sound-Neuse River Estuary (APS-NRE) by quantifying responses to climatic perturbations. This project will: (1) resolve long-term trends of plankton biomass/production from high variability driven by climatic forcing, such as drought-flood cycles that generate significant departures from the norm; (2) quantify the role of episodic wind and precipitation events, such as those associated with frontal passages, tropical storms, and hurricanes, that evoke consequential spikes of biomass/production outside the resolution of traditional methods. The field program will focus on event-scale forcing of phytoplankton dynamics by collecting shipboard, aircraft remote sensing, and satellite (SeaWiFS, MODIS-A) data, analyzing extensive monitoring data for CB and APS-NRE to develop context, and quantifying effects of climatic perturbations on phytoplankton dynamics as departures from long-term averages. The rapid-response sampling will be paired with numerical simulations using coupled hydrodynamic biogeochemical models based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS). This combination of observations and modeling will be used to explore mechanistic links and test empirical relationships obtained from field data. Intellectual Merit. Drought-flood cycles, tropical storms, and hurricanes are occurring at increasing severity and frequency, exerting significant pressures on land margin ecosystems. Research and monitoring in these ecosystems has focused singularly on eutrophication for nearly five decades. Recognition of climatic perturbations as the underlying cause of phytoplankton variability represents a significant departure from this singular focus. This project will combine observations and modeling to significantly extend our knowledge of how climate regulates phytoplankton dynamics in estuaries. Progress in calibrating and validating hydrodynamic biogeochemical models with data collected in CB and APS-NRE by this project will lead to predictive capabilities thus far unattained, allowing us to evaluate the paradigm that climatic perturbations regulate phytoplankton dynamics in estuaries. Broader Impacts: Addressing the effects of climatic perturbations on phytoplankton dynamics in estuaries with a combination of data collection, analysis, and mechanistic modeling has societal benefits for scientists and resource managers. Applications in addition to ?basic? science include the consideration of climatic forcing in designing effective nutrient management strategies. Specific impacts include: (1) quantifying the effects of climatic perturbations on planktonic processes for important estuarine-coastal ecosystems; (2) extending empirically-based water quality criteria forward by enabling predictions of floral composition, chl-a, and PP in changing climate conditions; (3) combining observations and mechanistic models to support scenario analysis, allowing us to distinguish long-term trends from variability imposed by climate. This project will offer a graduate course in physical transport processes and plankton productivity that will benefit from this research, support two Ph.D. students, and train undergraduates in NSF REU and minority outreach programs at HPL-UMCES and IMS-UNC. The main products will be peer-reviewed publications and presentations at scientific meetings. The three PIs maintain active web sites that will be used to distribute results and data.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Cheng, P, M. Li, and Y. Li. "Generation of an estuarine sediment plume by a tropical storm" Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v., 2013, p.. doi:doi:10.1029/2012JC008225 

Wetz, M.S, E. Hutchinson, R.S. Lunetta, H.W. Paerl and J.C. Taylor. "Severe droughts reduce estuarine planktonic productivity with cascading effects on higher trophic levels." Limnology and Oceanography, v., 2011, p.627.

Altman, J.C. and H.W. Paerl. "Composition of inorganic and organic nutrient sources influences phytoplankton community structure in the New River Estuary, North Carolina." Aquatic Ecology, v., 2012, p.269.

Peierls, B.L., and H.W. Paerl. "Longitudinal and depth variation of bacterioplankton productivity and related factors in a temperate estuary." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, v., 2011, p.207.

Peng Jia and Ming Li "Dynamics of wind-driven circulation in a shallow lagoon with strong horizontal density gradient" Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v.117, C0, 2012, p.. doi:doi:10.1029/2011JC007475 

Sokoletsky, L.G., R.S. Lunetta, M.S. Wetz, and H.W. Paerl. "MERIS retrieval of water quality components in the turbid Albemarle-Pamlico Sound Estuary, USA." Remote Sensing, v., 2011, p.684.

Jia, P. and M. Li. "Dynamics of wind-driven circulation in a shallow lagoon with strong horizontal density gradient" Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v., 2012, p.C05013. doi:doi:10.1029/2011JC007475 

Jia, P. and M. Li. "Circulation dynamics and salt budget in a lagoonal estuary." Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v., 2012, p.C01003. doi:doi:10.1029/2011JC007124 

Wetz, M.S., D.A. Yoskowitz. "An extreme future for estuaries? Effects of extreme climatic events on estuarine water quality and ecosystem dynamics." Marine Pollution Bulletin, v., 2013, p.7.

Paerl, H., K. Yin, and J. Cloern "Global patterns of phytoplankton dynamics in coastal ecosystems." EOS, v., 2011, p.85.

Paerl, H.W., K.L. Rossignol, Nathan S. Hall, B.L. Peierls, and Michael S. Wetz. "Phytoplankton community indicators of short- and long-term ecological change in the anthropogenically and climatically impacted Neuse River Estuary, North Carolina, USA." Estuaries and Coasts, v., 2010, p.485.

Peierls, B.L. and H.W. Paerl. "Temperature, organic matter, and the control of bacterioplankton in the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound estuarine system." Aquatic Microbial Ecology, v., 2010, p.139.

Peng Jia and Ming Li "Circulation dynamics and salt budget in a lagoonal estuary" Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v.117, C0, 2012, p.. doi:doi:10.1029/2011JC007124 

Li, M., L. Zhong and L.W. Harding, Jr. "Sensitivity of plankton biomass and productivity to variations in physical forcing and biological parameters in Chesapeake Bay." Journal of Marine Research, v., 2009, p.667.

Lee, Y.J., W.R. Boynton, M. Li and Y. Li "Role of later winter-spring wind influencing summer hypoxia in Chesapeake Bay" Estuaries and Coasts, v., 2013, p.. doi:doi: 10.1007/s12237-013-9592-5 

Yu, Q., Y. Wang, X. Tang, M. Li. "River flow control on the phytoplankton dynamics of Chesapeake Bay." Journal of Ocean University of China, v.1, 2013, p.103. doi:DOI 10.1007/s11802-013-1976-4 

Peierls, B.L., N.S. Hall and H.W. Paerl. "Non-monotonic responses of phytoplankton biomass accumulation to hydrologic variability: a comparison of two coastal plain North Carolina estuaries." Estuaries and Coasts, v., 2012, p.1376.

Hall, N.S., H.W. Paerl, B.L. Peierls, A.C. Whipple, and K.L. Rossignol. "Effects of climatic variability on phytoplankton biomass and community structure in the eutrophic, microtidal, New River Estuary, North Carolina, USA." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, v., 2013, p.70.

Li, M., L. Zhong and L. W. Harding. "Sensitivity of plankton biomass and productivity to variations in physical forcing and biological parameters in Chesapeake Bay." Journal of Marine Research, v.67, 2009, p.667.

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