Collaborative Research: Impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on the biogeochemistry of oligotrophic coastal waters

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Deposition of atmospheric nitrogen provides reactive nitrogen species that influence primary production in nitrogen-limited regions. Although it is generally assumed that these species in precipitation contributes substantially to anthropogenic nitrogen loadings in many coastal marine systems, its biological impact remains poorly understood. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University, William & Mary College, and Old Dominion University will carry out a process-oriented field and modeling effort to test the hypothesis that deposits of wet atmospheric nitrogen (i.e., precipitation) stimulate primary productivity and accumulation of algal biomass in coastal waters following summer storms and this effect exceeds the associated biogeochemical responses to wind-induced mixing and increased stratification caused by surface freshening in oligotrophic coastal waters of the eastern United States. To attain their goal, the researchers would perform a Lagrangian field experiment during the summer months in coastal waters located between Delaware Bay and the coastal Carolinas to determine the response of surface-layer biogeochemistry and biology to precipitation events, which will be identified and intercepted using radar and satellite data. As regards the modeling effort, a 1-D upper ocean mixing model and a 1-D biogeochemical upper-ocean will be calibrated by assimilating the field data obtained a part of the study using the adjoint method. The hypothesis will be tested using sensitivity studies with the calibrated model combined with in-situ data and results from the incubation experiments. Lastly, to provide regional and historical context for the field measurements and the associated 1-D modeling, linked regional atmospheric-oceanic biogeochemical modeling will be conducted.

Broader Impacts. Results from the study would be incorporated into class lectures for graduate courses on marine policy and marine biogeochemistry. One graduate student from Pennsylvania State University, one graduate student from the College of William and Mary, and one graduate and one undergraduate student from Old Dominion University would be supported and trained as part of this project.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/15/132/28/17

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $386,113.00

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