2006 Research Project Descriptions

Linking Seafloor Habitat Mapping Protocols to Management and Policy Needs

Investigator: Dr. Peter J. Auster, National Undersea Research Center and Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut

The objective of this project is to produce a singular flexible habitat classification protocol that can be used by a range of workers focused on the Long Island Sound region. The research component of developing the habitat classification protocol will be explicitly linked to those who will implement and use the map products derived from the protocol (i.e., to insure that map products are both user-friendly and user-useful). To accomplish this task, an initial email survey of managers, policy-makers, researchers, engineers and other stakeholders (fishers, energy industry, environmentalists, coastal land developers) will be conducted to ascertain the range of habitat attributes that they deem relevant in their work. This initial survey will assist in the identification of a set of habitat attributes that are common across user groups and in the selection of a range of published marine habitat classification schemes to test with existing data. An interactive workshop with representatives of all stakeholder groups will be convened to assess the utility of the range of classification approaches tested and determine where modifications for a final protocol are needed. The final protocol and example applications will be produced as a technical document for web delivery. Final Report

Multi-component Evaluation to Minimize the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Seaweeds and Harmful Algal Bloom Microalgae via Live Bait Vectors in Long Island Sound

Dr. Robert Whitlatch, Dr. Charlie Yarish, and Dr. Senjie Lin, University of Connecticut
Dr. George Kraemer, State University of New York, Purchase

The goal of this project is to quantify the importance of bait products and associated packing materials as vectors for the introduction of non-indigenous species and harmful algal bloom (HAB)-forming microalgae to Long Island Sound. Non-native, invasive seaweeds and HAB-forming organisms represent threats to the ecological and economic health of the Sound. Samples of bait will be examined for non-indigenous species and cultured to identify microscopic stages and HAB microalgae using molecular analysis. Specific outputs include reports of the frequency of non-native, invasive seaweeds and HAB-forming microalgae by taxon as functions of season and the location of bait product purchase. A workshop on the project’s findings will be held at the end of the research to bring together relevant stakeholders.
Final Report Summary
Final Report

Published paper: Haska, C.L., and  C. Yarish, G. Kraemer, N. Blaschik, R. Whitlatch, H. Zhang and S. Lin. Bait worm packaging as a potential vector of invasive species. (2012) Biological Invasions. Volume 14, Number 2, 481–493.

Development of a Long Island Sound-Specific Water Quality Index Using Cluster Analysis and Discriminant Analysis

Investigator: Dr. Pengfei Zhang, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York

The objective of this project is to develop a Long Island Sound-specific water quality index. The water quality index will be computed using multivariate cluster analysis and discriminant analysis of a set of individual water quality indicators. A numerical water quality index (around -1 to 1) will result, with a value close to 1 indicating good water quality (oligotrophic), a value close to -1 indicating poor water quality (eutrophic), and a slight negative value representing mesotrophic conditions (intermediate water quality). The new method will be applied to the Long Island Sound water quality data (past 15 years at ~20 stations) collected by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. Monthly water quality indices will be computed for every station, and seasonal and annual trends in the water quality indices will be examined. The outputs of this project include a new LIS-specific water quality index and an automated procedure for computing the index. The numerical water quality index will give clear indications of the trophic status of LIS waters for routine water quality assessments. {Final Report}{App. 1a}{App. 1b} {App. 2a}{App. 3}

Simulation of Long Island Sound with the System-wide Eutrophication Model (SWEM): Inter-annual Variability and Sensitivity

Investigators: Dr. Hans Dam and Dr. James O’Donnell, University of Connecticut

The objectives of this project are to evaluate the effectiveness of SWEM and to identify additional studies that will improve our ability to predict the impact of management strategies on the water quality of Long Island Sound. The researchers will establish the sensitivity of SWEM to model parameters, model formulation, and inter-annual variations in weather and river discharge and will provide an independent, quantitative evaluation of the model and its utility as a management tool.  Final Report Summary | Final Report

This project was funded as an enhancement grant in 2005 through the Long Island Sound Study.

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