Coastal Processes

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					Coastal Processes Coasts include watersheds adjacent to large bodies of water, bays, lagoons, barrier islands, estuaries, the continental shelf and slope and the populations, infrastructure and industries that occupy these areas. A large portion of the nation’s natural resources and economic assets are concentrated within coastal regions. Significant change, degradation, and loss of coastal environments have already occurred including resource depletion, pollution, and deterioration of ecosystem services. Recent hurricane-related events in the Gulf of Mexico emphasize how unprepared the nation is for the growing crises and risks associated with human occupation of coasts. A holistic and systematic approach to understanding resilience, vulnerability and adaptability of human, natural and engineered systems is essential for a sustainable future. The College of Geosciences has the intellectual capital, infrastructure and experience to contribute to critical needs for knowledge and information about coastal areas and the populations that occupy them. The College has strengths in its disciplinary units, integrated research programs and centers, and interdisciplinary research that inform the most intractable issues faced by coastal regions. Areas of research in the atmospheric sciences applicable to coastal regions include: aerosol research, atmospheric chemistry and air quality, climate, weather and weather forecasting. Geographers bring expertise in human geography, human-environment interactions, physical geography, and GIS and remote sensing. Geological and geophysical coastal research includes the study of geochemical and biogeochemical cycles, environmental change, energy and water resources, and geological hazards. Oceanographic research in coastal regions includes the study of marine biology and ecosystems, marine microbiology, harmful algal blooms, eutrophication and trophic dynamics, the estuarine chemistry, fisheries, biogeochemical cycles, contaminant and nutrient chemistry, coastal processes and morphology, coastal circulation and near-shore processes, climate, coupled ocean-atmosphere modeling, and ocean observations. There is also research expertise in contaminant chemistry, ocean observing, geochemistry, and fate and effects of pollutants that has application in coastal regions. Sea Grant’s work is almost exclusively concentrated in the coastal region. Its strategic focus includes aquaculture, resilient coastal communities, ocean observing, invasive species, and seafood safety and quality. Exemplar College programs include the Texas Automated Buoy (TABS) system that has saved the state $100,000’s of dollars in directing oil spill response along the coast. The study of the “dead-zone offshore off Texas and Louisiana has highlighted the need for control of fertilizer usage along the Mississippi River basin. The study of pre-conditions for harmful algal blooms has allowed for more accurate prediction of the onset of these event lending clues to potential preventative efforts. (I primarily know about OCNG programs and look to other departments to add additional examples).


				
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posted:1/9/2010
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