March 26, 2006
Susan Lovelace, educational coordinator at Hollings Marine Laboratory has given me my research assignment! I have been assigned to the Tidal Creeks Monitoring and Assessment Project, an investigation of land use around coastal watersheds. The Tidal Creeks Monitoring and Assessment Project wants to understand how development around the tidal creeks causes pollution to be released into the creeks and what harm the pollution is causing. The tidal creeks are sentinel habitats. That means the tidal creeks can provide scientists with an early warning of the harm pollution is causing to the living organisms in the estuarine habitats. The project is also concerned with how the health of the estuaries affects the health of the people who eat the fish and shellfish and the people who swim in these areas. Key scientists from the Hollings Marine Laboratory include Fred Holland PhD, Denise Sanger PhD, Guy DiDonato PhD, and Ann Blair. The funding for the project was $286,135 in 2004 and $403,424 in 2005. The tidal creeks and rivers are the first areas in the coastal environment to be affected by human land use. Another goal of the Tidal Creeks Monitoring and Assessment Project is to develop and evaluate improved tools to determine the environmental quality of the tidal creeks and the human health risks of interaction with the coastal environment. HML are designing tools that can evaluate many different stressors (http://www.hml.noaa.gov/stressors/welcome.html) of the estuarine water quality rapidly and at a low cost.