Four SoMAS research projects receive funding from New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG) has awarded approximately $1.3 million to support eight research projects — four of which are based at Stony Brook University — that will directly address multiple high-priority community, economic and environmental objectives.

The projects — administered by NYSG and funded through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Sea Grant’s federal parent agency, represent a range of stakeholder-driven topics across a number of New York’s coastal geographies. 

Below are the four Stony Brook research projects that will receive funding.

Quantifying the Carbon Sequestration Stocks, Sources and Accumulation Rates of Eelgrass (Zostera marina) In the Southshore and Peconic Estuaries of Long Island
Lead PI: Bradley Peterson, Associate Professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Oceanacidification seagrass research 0219 ii
Eelgrass (Zostera marina) can be found in the Long Island South Shore Estuary. The seagrass canopy (made up of the leaves of the plants) soaks up CO2 from the water column as it photosynthesizes. Credit: Kaitlyn O’Toole

Increased carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in marine waters can lead to Ocean Acidification (OA) that can have adverse impacts on fisheries, especially shellfish. Seagrass meadows are recognized to be among the most significant blue carbon sinks, capturing CO2 out of the water column. This carbon sequestration by eelgrass (Zostera marina) could be a potential OA mitigation strategy for New York. This project is aimed at understanding the spatial variability of carbon storage in eelgrass sediments across the Long Island South Shore and Peconic Estuaries. The estimated carbon accumulation rates from the project will help assess the potential of eelgrass ecosystems to help address impacts of OA.

“Resource managers recognize the potential consequences of ocean acidification for coastal waters,” said Peterson. “They are striving to ensure that the best available science is used to assess and respond to this emerging threat.”

Stony Brook University, 2 February 2022. Website and blogs.

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