"Trouble on the edge: Coastal ecosystems in a changing world"
Human-induced increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are expected to cause much more rapid changes in the earth’s climate than have been experienced for millennia. Such climate change will create novel challenges for coastal and marine ecosystems that are already stressed from human development, land-use change, environmental pollution, and over-fishing. Significant environmental factors that affect the structure (e.g., plant and animal composition) and function (e.g., plant and animal production, nutrient cycling) of estuarine and marine systems and that are expected to be part of global climate change include temperature, sea-level rise, the availability of water and associated nutrients from precipitation and runoff from land, wind patterns, and storminess. We will examine how these global issues are being examined in the northeastern US.