Connecticut Sea Grant awards funds for six research projects

Groton — Six research projects that will benefit Long Island Sound and coastal Connecticut with a total value of $879,091 will be funded by the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program, according to an announcement on Friday.

The projects help achieve objectives set out in the program’s four thematic focus areas: healthy coasts and oceans; safe, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; resilient coastal communities and economies; and environmental literacy and workforce development.

The recipients are:

• Wei Zhang and Christine Kirchhoff of the University of Connecticut Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for research aimed at reducing coastal community vulnerabilities by evaluating and comparing trade-offs in residential home building designs to reduce risk of wind and flood damage. The towns of Fairfield and Milford are participating in the study.

• Stephen Swallow of the UConn Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, who will lead a team of investigators who will survey Connecticut coastal residents to examine their preferences and values with respect to various measures to preserve coastal areas and resources in the face of sea level rise.

• Robert Mason and Zofia Baumann of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will examine mercury concentrations and methylation in water and sediments, and how it accumulates into marine fish and shellfish. They will sample multiple locations along the Connecticut coast that differ in mercury sediment concentration levels.

• Hans Dam of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will investigate the combined effects of warming waters and ocean acidification on a key species of copepod, Acartia tonsa. Copepods, small zooplankton, are the most abundant animals in the ocean and Long Island Sound, and are a primary food source for larger animals such as fish. Hannes Baumann and Michael Finiguerra are also participating in the project.

• Penny Vlahos and Michael Whitney of the UConn Department of Marine Sciences, who will determine chemical budgets and fluxes of carbon and nitrogen in Long Island Sound, to determine how much goes into the Sound and back out to the ocean, by what routes, and how fast. This information is essential to effectively manage water quality in the Sound.

• Finiguerra, of the UConn Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Rachel Gabriel, of the UConn Neag School of Education, will bring together an educational researcher, a coastal scientist, and high school teachers to develop and test a variety of education strategies to increase coastal literacy.

Connecticut Sea Grant, part of the National Sea Grant College Program, is a federal and state partnership based at UConn’s Avery Point campus and administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For information, visit: http://seagrant.uconn.edu or contact Sylvain De Guise at: sylvain.deguise@uconn.edu or Syma Ebbin at: syma.ebbin@uconn.edu.

 

 

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