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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Bates College
  • Beverly J Johnson
  • (207) 786-6062
  • Bruce J Bourque
  • William G Ambrose Jr.
Award Date:09/18/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 392,803
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 392,803
  • FY 2009=$392,803
Start Date:10/01/2009
End Date:09/30/2013
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:RUI: Changes in Baseline Conditions in Gulf of Maine Coastal Ecosystems Over the Last 4000 Years
Federal Award ID Number:0929900
DUNS ID:058951401
Parent DUNS ID:058951401

Awardee Location

Street:2 Andrews Road
Awardee Cong. District:02

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Bates College
Street:2 Andrews Road
Cong. District:02

Abstract at Time of Award

Predicting the responses of marine ecosystems to natural and anthropogenic perturbation remains one of the greatest challenges to oceanography. In order to assess the significance of current changes in these systems and to predict possible future changes, oceanographers need to understand the ecological history of the ecosystem. The aim of this study is to create long-term records for the Gulf of Maine (GoM), a marginal shelf basin in the northwest Atlantic. Current knowledge of the resilience of the GoM ecosystem is based largely on studies focused on the last 70+ years. In this project, investigators will develop an understanding of ecosystem processes in the GoM extending back 4000 years by analyzing stable carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) isotopes preserved in tissues of modern and ancient marine organisms to assess long-term trends in nearshore primary production, trophic connectivity, and food web dynamics. The investigators will employ a combination of field, analytical, and modeling techniques to: (1) determine the spatial scale over which organic matter derived from seagrasses, microalgae, and macroalgae is currently transferred into coastal food webs, and (2) determine the timing, magnitude, and spatial extent of changes in nearshore primary production and trophic connectivity among organisms living in the GoM through the last 4000 years. Tissue samples will be obtained from different coastal settings, museum collections, and three coastal archaeological sites in the GoM. The bulk organic fractions of primary producers and consumers will be analyzed for C and N isotopes at Bates College and S isotopes at the University of Southern Denmark. The C isotope composition of essential amino acids (e.g., phenylalanine) will be measured, allowing for determination of the carbon source at the base of the food web. Nearshore food web interactions will be modeled by using the C, N and S isotope data and non-steady state equations that include competition-dependant changes in the consumers prey choice. The Broader Impacts of the project include: providing long-term datasets documenting the resiliency in the GoM coastal system which will enable development of better resource management strategies for the GoM, an international collaboration with Danish colleagues, and support for undergraduate students. Bates College is an undergraduate liberal arts institution with a strong commitment to supporting student research. In addition to thesis projects, students will assist with building and maintaining a relational database and interactive website to disseminate and manage the data generated from the project.

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