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Barataria Bay Multiple Stressors

Author(s): Turner, R. Eugene


Name of Publisher: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD

Publication Type: Fact Sheet

Journal Title: CSCOR Project Fact Sheet

Date of Publication: 2003

Reference Information: 1 p.

Keywords: Barataria Bay; multiple stressors; Mississippi River; diversions; nutrients; MULTISTRESS

Abstract: Coastal ecosystems are exposed to multiple stressors resulting from human activities that are ubiquitous and long-standing. Evaluating and understanding these stressors requires interdisciplinary investigations of scientists and management interests working together. The Barataria Multiple Stressor Research Project is a 5-year project that uses overlapping approaches for emergent, algal and pelagic food webs to determine the effects of multiple stressors on species and ecosystems. The Barataria watershed of Louisiana, a large estuary, is experiencing large habitat changes, anticipates a doubled nitrogen loading, has a significantly large fisheries yield and restoration program, and is adjacent to the Mississippi River (largest river in North America) whose watershed is proposed to be managed to reduce its nitrogen load. This natural ecosystem experiment, complemented by a controlled large river diversion (Mississippi River ), is a unique opportunity to receive scientific attention by a multi-disciplinary team of senior investigators. The project is yielding useful information through designed and opportunistic field experiments, analysis of long-term data sets, data syntheses, ecological and econometric modeling, and historical reconstruction of environmental change. A multi-disciplinary team of experienced scientists is constructing a hierarchical suite of indicators of estuarine stress over various temporal and spatial scales, conduct uncertainty analysis of indicators, evaluate various estuarine mitigation strategies using ecological and economic criteria, and extend approaches to other estuaries. The outcome will quantify the effects of eutrophication, land use, habitat change, toxins, and other natural and anthropogenic stressors on phytoplankton, benthic and pelagic food webs, and emergent marsh.

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