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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
  • Benjamin D Walther
  • (361) 825-4168
Award Date:08/29/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 241,164
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 241,164
  • FY 2019=$241,164
Start Date:10/01/2019
End Date:09/30/2022
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:Collaborative Research: Shifting the Hypoxia Paradigm - New Directions to Explore the Spread and Impacts of Ocean/Great Lakes Deoxygenation
Federal Award ID Number:1924011
DUNS ID:095100152
Parent DUNS ID:042915991
Program Officer:
  • Cynthia Suchman
  • (703) 292-2092

Awardee Location

Street:6300 Ocean Drive, Unit 5844
City:Corpus Christi
County:Corpus Christi
Awardee Cong. District:27

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
Street:Texas A&M University - Corpus Ch
City:Corpus Christi
County:Corpus Christi
Cong. District:27

Abstract at Time of Award

Ocean oxygen loss (deoxygenation) is increasing due to climate warming. This warming, together with nutrient loading, is causing many marine and freshwater systems to experience increasing episodes of hypoxia (low oxygen) of greater duration and intensity. Impacts on fish and fisheries have been difficult to quantify; direct observation has been challenged by a lack of long-term exposure indicators. This team has successfully refined the use of fish chemical biomarkers in fish otoliths (earstones) to directly assess lifetime hypoxia exposure in fishes. This project will those findings to look for additional biomarkers and models, to expand our understanding of how hypoxia affects fish and their food webs, contaminant transfers, and ecosystem services including economic impacts. The project includes a unique way of training students in science communication, posing the question: What forms of media and "messaging strategies" about deoxygenation are most effective at raising public awareness and understanding? Students are developing entries for PlanetForward's Storyfest, which is a contest to tell compelling stories to foster environmental understanding and solutions. Students from historically underrepresented, economically disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly sought out to participate. The investigators will engage with regional, national, and international management agencies and other relevant stakeholder groups to share information. This project encompasses a novel, linked set of interdisciplinary studies of food webs, and ecosystem services assessment. The thematic questions explored in this project are: 1. How does hypoxia alter habitat use for fishes? 2. How does hypoxia-altered habitat use and habitat productivity change food webs? 3. How does hypoxia affect/enhance trophic transfer of methylmercury? 4. How do hypoxia-induced changes in food webs affect aquatic ecosystem services? The set of linked studies will employ chemical analyses of otoliths and eye lenses, combined with chemical analyses of muscle tissues (Questions 1 and 3), physiologically-structured food web modeling informed by monitoring time-series (Questions 2 and 4), and a scoping workshop to address ecosystem services (Question 4). The investigators are using a "trans-basin" comparative approach to system-specific responses, studying fishes in Lake Erie, the Baltic Sea, and a Gulf of Mexico estuary. They study three species from each system that represent different degrees of benthic reliance, to discern differential responses to the increasingly hypoxic environment. This research provides novel insight about variable biotic responses to oxygen loss and the impacts on ecosystem functioning. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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