The following topics are introduced and link to excellent sources. Use this page to start your research, supplement your research, or confirm you understandings about the current state of our coastal ecosystems.
Water Quality and Habitats along the MA coast
Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution
The MassBays National Estuary Program has published a “Blueprint for the Bays” that provides an excellent summary of water quality, habitats, and ecosystems. Examine pp 29-44.
Ocean Acidification: NOAA website, good overview of how excess CO2 lowers pH of seawater. The video below identifies the chemistry of a lower pH that releases highly reactive Hydrogen ions in the water thereby reducing the amount of calcium carbonate available for organisms to grow healthy shells (oysters, crabs, clams, coral, etc). As we continue to increase amounts of carbon dioxide (C02) in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels- which includes, remember, producing meat and driving cars- we set into motion chemical, biological, and physical processes that combine in complex networks to upset ecosystems in fundamental ways.
Eelgrass: the new frontier in the Blue Carbon economy
Epiphytes and sediment study: The CSCR video above clearly displays “organisms that settle and grow on eelgrass blades,” or epiphytes. Epiphytes of eelgrasses include algae, bacteria, fungi, sponges, bryozoans, tunicates, protozoa, hydroids, crustaceans and mollusks. Epiphytes provide food for many marine organisms. However, if epiphytic growth becomes too dense on eelgrass blades, it negatively affects the eelgrass by shading and competition for nutrients.
Coastal NON POINT Source Pollution: Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution occurs when contaminants are picked up by rain water and snow melt and carried over land, in groundwater, or through drainage systems to the nearest water body. NPS pollution is currently the number one pollution problem in U.S.