Radionuclide transport in aquatic systems and relationships to natural macromolecular organic matter compounds

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Pl: Dr. Peter Santschi

Examining the relationships between land use change, wetland alteration, and carbon sequestration in the Gulf of Mexico

The ultimate goal of this project is to calibrate Landsat imagery and characterize C storage within diverse estuarine wetland ecosystems (tidal marshes, mangroves). We will also examine the influence that land-use change (e.g., wetland loss) and climate-induced ecosystem shifts (salt marsh to mangrove succession) may have on both the pools and accumulation rates of C in these systems. Based on quantification of C sequestration potential on the Texas and Louisiana coasts, we will be able to scale-up our result to estimate C storage potential in tidal estuarine wetlands throughout similar environments within the Gulf of Mexico.

Pl: Dr. Patrick Louchouarn; Dr. Sam Brody; Dr. Anna Armitage; Dr. Wes Highfield

Evaluation of combustion by-products in urban and rural airsheds

Combustion processes, whether natural (wildfires) or anthropogenic (industrial/urban, agricultural, and vehicular) are major sources of particulate matter (PM), black carbon (BC), and volatile organic carbon to the atmosphere. Recent reconstructions of combustion sources and subsequent deposition in urban environments are vital for the purpose of understanding environmental impacts over spatial and temporal scales as well as for developing effective environmental and health management policies.

Pl: Dr. Patrick Louchouarn

Atmospheric deposition of toxics to the Puget Sound

In Puget Sound, population growth trends in most of the coastal counties have been linear over the last 50 years. Each day tons of toxic chemicals are emitted into the air from mobile, industrial, and commercial sources. The pathways for transporting toxics to Puget Sound waters range from direct deposition on the water surface to deposition on the landscape and subsequent mobilization during runoff events.

Pl: Dr. Patrick Louchouarn

Physical & biogeochemical constraints of hypoxia in Puget Sound

The impacts of coastal eutrophication range from economic and cultural losses to potential human health issues. Using a diverse suite of paleoecological indicators, preserved in sediment cores, this work reconstructed oxygen levels and organic matter inputs to in deep waters of two basins of the Puget Sound (Central Puget Sound and Hood Canal) over the 19th to 20th Centuries.

Pl: Dr. Patrick Louchouarn

Biomarkers as tracers of freshwater inputs to and circulation in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean receives about 10% of the global river discharge from rivers that drain vast regions in the arctic and subarctic climatic zones representing a major storage reservoir for soil organic carbon. Relative to its volume the Arctic Ocean receives a disproportional large share of river discharge. We have used that fact by utilizing the river fluorescence and lignin signal as a new tracer for oceanographic processes.

Pl: Dr. Rainer Amon

Source and fate of dioxins in Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay

This program examines the sources and distribution of Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzofurans (PCDFs), collectively referred to as dioxins, in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay using a suite of environmental markers. In addition, our group is studying in-situ remediation strategies of dioxins using naturally occurring bacteria that degrade them and carbonaceaous sorbents to immobilize them.

Pl: Dr. Robin Brinkmeyer, Dr. Patrick Louchouarn, Dr. Peter Santschi

Phytoplankton Elemental Profiles

Although all phyto-plankton use essentially the same nutrients and trace elements for growth and reproduction, when grown under identical conditions for growth and reproduction, distinct stoichiometric signatures may be assigned. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Gulf of Mexico dead zone

The most infamous "dead zone" develops in the Gulf of Mexico each summer, threatening fisheries. This dead zone is an area of anoxic and hypoxic water thought to develop because an excess of nitrogen from farm fertilizers, sewage and emissions from vehicles and factories enters the gulf predominately via the Mississippi River. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Galveston Bay System

A large estuary located along Texas's upper coast fed by the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers, numerous local bayous and incoming tides from the Gulf of Mexico. The bay covers 1,500 km², is about 50 km long and 27 km wide, and only 3 m deep in most locations. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Texas Bayous

With Offatts Bayou and Dickinson Bayou close to our campus we have excellent research opportunities delving in to the ecological, microbial and environmental conditions of these sensitive areas. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Ballast Water Program

Worldwide, concerns by business, government and the private sector regarding transport-ecosystem interactions focus on the introduction of hazardous materials from ship ballast water, particularly exotic and/or invasive species. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Texas Algal Biofuels Program

The first meeting to discuss Algal Biofuels Programs in Texas was held May 18-20, 2008, at The Cook’s Branch Conservancy in Montgomery,Texas. Learn More >

Pl: Dr. Antonietta Quigg

Microbial Ecology in Coastal Waters

Pl: Dr. Robin Brinkmeyer