Plum Island Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research (PIE LTER I, 1998-2004)


Human activities in rivers and watersheds have altered enormously the timing, magnitude and nature of inputs of materials such as water, sediments, nutrients and organic matter to estuaries. An important but neglected linkage between land and coastal waters is the input of dissolved and particulate organic carbon and organic nitrogen. This long-term ecological research (LTER) in land/ocean margin ecosystems will focus on the following question and hypotheses: How will trophic structure and primary and secondary productivity in estuaries be affected by changes in organic matter, nutrient and water fluxes cause by changing land cover, climate and sea level? Hypothesis 1. The interaction of inorganic nutrients with the quantity and quality of organic carbon and organic nitrogen plays an important role in determining the trophic structure, production and efficiency of estuarine food webs. Hypothesis 2. The variability in land, ocean and atmospheric forcing is a key component determining the fate of allochthonous and autochthonous materials and the location and magnitude of primary and secondary production.

Project Funding: 

NSF OCE LTER-Plum Island Ecosystems: Plum Island Sound Comparative Ecosystem Study (PISCES): Effects of changing land cover, climate, and sea level on estuarine trophic dynamics

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