UMass Dartmouth scientists have been awarded $34,232 by the National Science Foundation for the collaborative project “A RAPID response to Hurricane Harvey’s impacts on coastal carbon cycle, metabolic balance and ocean acidification.”
The initiative is being led by Dean Steven E. Lohrenz and Research Associate Sumit Chakraborty of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology. This investigative team has already been working on understanding the carbon cycle in Gulf of Mexico coastal waters, and has a significant body of prior findings that can serve as a baseline against which to measure the effects of the passage of Hurricane Harvey in August, 2017.
The team is working with collaborators at University of Delaware, Dauphin Island Marine Lab, and Louisiana State University to sample the waters and sediments of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico to assess Harvey's impacts on a timescale of weeks to months. They will also compare recent seasonal and post-hurricane data collected to study the impacts of storms occurring in the same region over a period of several years, including the impacts of Hurricane Harvey to those of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005) and Tropical Storm Cindy (2017).
“Understanding how extreme events, including hurricanes, impact coastal ecosystems and the cycling of elements like carbon and oxygen, is important for improving our ability to predict how the global carbon cycle will respond to climate,” said Lohrenz who specializes in characterization of how land-ocean interactions influence coastal ecosystems and carbon cycling.