CHARACTERIZING THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE COASTAL OCEAN AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO BIOLOGICAL INDICATORS

Project Details

Description

Coastal ecosystems span from watersheds to the deep sea and are extremely complex. This complexity hinders planning for ocean resource management, sustainable development, energy policy, homeland security and emergency response. This lack of understanding is fueling governments around the world to build regional integrated coastal ocean observing networks. The networks are enabled by rapid advances in technology, from satellites in space to robots below the ocean surface. They are built to support both basic research and the practical needs of society, from offshore resource management to the economy. While only 10% of the oceans are coastal, they contain an abundance of natural resources and by 2050 it is estimated that 75% of Earth's human population will live within its watershed. In New Jersey, its beautiful coastlines are an integral part of the state's vibrant landscape, providing myriad recreational opportunities for residents and visitors from around the world. Today, over half of New Jersey's residents take advantage of these scenic waterways, with sixty-one percent of the population living within 25 miles of the coast. For these communities and the entire state, beaches and other shorelines create jobs, support local business and invite new residents to make New Jersey their home. New Jersey's coastlines and waterways attract an estimated $36 billion in tourism each year. In 2004 alone, tourism provided 38,431 jobs locally, $1 billion in payroll, $.6 billion to restaurants, $.5 billion in real estate sales and $.2 billion in recreational spending. Issues related to sustainability and public health require products and tools based on sound scientific research. This research will build upon existing observation programs of both the physical and biological components of the coastal ecosystem. This approach enables new looks at the physics of the coastal ocean, including cross-shore transport pathways, upwelling eddies driven by topography, buoyant plumes forced by sea-breeze circulations; all with ecosystem wide implications. Specifically this analysis will quantify the importance of different ocean observing data products in explaining variability in the physical ocean as it relates to coupled physical/biological processes and thus identify specific parameters useful as habitat indicators. For example, physical/biological interactions between the physical habitat and fish distributions will be the basis for predictions of fish community distributions, single species distributions, and spatial ecosystem structure. Through a fully engaged stakeholder community the impact will be felt with products and tools that will improve decision making along the New Jersey coast and beyond.Description
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/086/30/13

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))

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