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2018-2020 Research Projects

Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

Project R/ER-49: Development of models for phytoplankton-nutrient responses in support of numeric nutrient criteria for estuarine water quality.

James Pinckney and Erik Smith, University of South Carolina. Increasing population and changing agricultural practices have resulted in more nitrogen ending up in South Carolina estuaries and a general decline in water quality. This research is designed to develop models to quantify the response of the phytoplankton community in estuaries to increases and decreases in nitrogen. Full Project Description

Project R/ER-50: Quantifying responses of salt marsh productivity to environmental variability over various time scales.

Thomas O’Halloran, Clemson University, and Erik Smith, University of South Carolina. Researchers will use a device called an eddy flux tower to measure the net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide in a marsh at half-hour periods. The goal is to determine the sensitivity and health of the marsh during times of increased water levels and high salinity. This will be important as researchers try to understand the impact of sea-level rise on marsh ecosystems. Full Project Description

Project R/ER-51: Synthesis of long-term coastal monitoring datasets to identify and model relationships between land cover, coastal ecosystem change, and weather.

Andrew Tweel, Denise Sanger, and Sharleen Johnson, S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Researchers will quantify the relationships between land use and nearby water quality, then they will examine the impact of various climate and weather patterns on those relationships. The work is designed to help coastal planners and stormwater managers design best management practices moving forward. Full Project Description