Consortium Receives Funding for Sea Grant Activities
The National Sea Grant College Program awarded funding to the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium to support the first year of its research, extension, communications, and education efforts for 2018-2021. As part of this award, the following eight peer-reviewed research projects were selected for funding.
Sustainable Coastal Development and Economy
- Socioeconomic evaluation of stormwater control measures to guide decision-making in coastal South Carolina. Marzieh Motallebi and Daniel Hitchcock, Clemson University; Erik Smith, University of South Carolina; Susan Lovelace, S.C. Sea Grant Consortium. Researchers will analyze the costs and benefits of implementing various stormwater control measures, not just in terms of construction but over the span of their lifetimes. The goal is to help communities determine which stormwater control measures best fit their plans.
Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
- Examining the social carrying capacity for mariculture development in coastal South Carolina. William Norman, Laura Duffy, Jeffrey Hallo, Laura Jodice, Clemson University. Research has indicated South Carolina residents and tourists support clam mariculture, but little research has been done on the acceptability of the more visible infrastructure of oyster mariculture in the state’s waterways. Researchers will survey coastal homeowners and waterway users about their views on the expanding industry.
- Innovative fish aging methods for rapid detection of climate-driven changes in population demography. Joseph Quattro, Michelle Passerotti, University of South Carolina, and Joseph Ballenger, S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Researchers will assess Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Aspartic Acid Racemization as methods to determine the age of fish ear bones and vertebrae. The ability to quickly detect changes in age and growth trajectories of fish is a key to successfully managing them. Current methods are timeconsuming and make real-time management more challenging.
Weather and Climate Resilience
- 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.
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
- 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.
- Relating nonpoint source biochemical oxygen demand loading to land-use and stormwater-management practices in coastal South Carolina. Erik Smith, University of South Carolina. The occurrence of low dissolved oxygen is the leading cause of water quality impairment in the coastal zone. This research will examine the biochemical oxygen demand in waters related to various stormwater control measures, with the goal of helping stormwater managers plan future practices.
- 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.
- Linking land use to changes in physical processes in creeks and estuaries: Implications for increased development and changes in climate and weather. Andrew Tweel, Denise Sanger, and Stacie Crowe, S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Researchers will investigate how water quality following rain varies along the length of tidal creek systems in areas with various types and intensity of development. The results can be utilized to improve land-use planning.