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NOAA Awards First Installment of $2.3 Million Grant to University of Michigan to Study Hypoxia Impact on Estuarine Ecosystems

NOAA has awarded the University of Michigan $1.4 million to develop new approaches to improve management of excess nutrients and hypoxia within many estuarine systems across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The award is the first installment of a five-year, approximately $2.3 million grant.

Hypoxia in aquatic systems occurs in waters where the dissolved oxygen concentration is below two milligrams per liter. Most organisms avoid or become physiologically stressed in such waters. While hypoxia can occur naturally, it is often a symptom of environments stressed by human impacts such as nutrient enrichment. More than half of U.S. estuaries experience natural or human-induced hypoxia at some time each year, and evidence suggests that its frequency and duration have increased. These events can affect ecosystems and their associated economies greatly.

This project will support research to integrate existing data and models within a framework which links together watersheds, estuaries, and their living resources to improve management of nutrient loading and hypoxia within many estuarine systems across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Three major components related to estuary degradation as a result of nutrient enrichment will be investigated: the effects of land-use change in the watershed, estuary sensitivity, and susceptibility of the estuarine food web. This research is done in collaboration with scientists from Cornell University and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=551

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