Projects took place from 2015 to 2017
Investigator: Craig R. Tobias, University of Connecticut Department of Marine Sciences
The researcher will examine biogeochemical processes involving nitrogen loss and recycling in Long Island Sound sediments and the connections to overlying waters. The result will help researchers and managers gauge the susceptibility of the Sound to changes in nitrogen loads and how the system might respond to recent or future decreases in nitrogen.
Investigator: Robinson “Wally” Fulweiler, Boston University Department of Earth and Environment
The researcher will quantify changes in organic matter as it falls through the water to the sediment in five locations. She will also examine how the movement of nutrients into and out of the sediment may be changing in response to changes in the magnitude of nutrient inputs. Bacterial processes in the sediments can augment or mask changes in the nutrient concentration of the overlying water by storing or releasing nitrogen from the sediments, and these relationships can vary with changes in temperature, sediment type, and nitrogen concentration.
See journal article, Mazur, C.I., Al-Haj, A.N., Ray, N.E. et al. Low denitrification rates and variable benthic nutrient fluxes characterize Long Island Sound sediments. Biogeochemistry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-021-00795-7
Investigator: Mark A. Altabet, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth Department of Estuarine and Ocean Science
The researcher will use isotope geochemical techniques to examine the impact of recent changes in nitrogen inputs and oxygen levels due to recent upgrades to wastewater treatment plants. Stable isotopes allow scientists to identify the sources of nitrogen (e.g., sewage, fertilizers, and air emissions) and evaluate the importance of recycling and other bacterial processes to the overall nitrogen budget of Long Island Sound.