Water quality research
Components of water quality
SERC water research projects
Definitions and glossary of terms
Sources of information
SERC home page
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has established the Coastal Intensive Site Network (CISNet).
SERC has been established as a pilot site, which will become one of a network of "outdoor laboratories," where research and monitoring will be conducted to establish linkages between observed changes in environmental stressors and resulting changes in ecological resources.
The main ecological resource being looked at is the coastal ecosystem, which will be observed and examined through the study of the transmission of light underwater. Hydrologic optics is a useful way to examine changes in environmental stressors because many of the common stressors to coastal ecosystems result in characteristic changes in light penetration.
The research is expected to improve the environmental decision-making process, by establishing comparative mechanisms by which nutrient inputs from watershed discharge and precipitation affect trophic structure of an estuary, resulting in measurable and interpretable variations in estuarine optical properties. It will also allow monitoring of the effectiveness of nutrient reduction strategies, which are aimed at restoring estuarine habitats. For more information, see the phytoplankton lab's CISnet page.
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
647 Contees Wharf Road, P.O. Box 28, Edgewater, MD 21037-0028