SS4.10 Interdisciplinary Contributions to the Maintenance of the Integrity of Aquatic Ecosystems
Date: Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Time: 3:00:00 PM
Location: Colwood
 
BreitburgDL, The Academy of Natural Sciences Estuarine Research Center, St. Leonard, USA, breit@acnatsci.org
 
LINKING ECOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF MULTIPLE STRESSORS IN THE PATUXENT RIVER AND ITS WATERSHED
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COASTES has involved a collaboration of ecologists, biogeochemists, and economists seeking to understand how multiple stressors and the complexity of ecological systems influence ecological processes and their consequences in the Patuxent River. Our results highlight the importance of considering spatial patterns, temporal variability, variation among species, and human behavioral responses in predicting and understanding effects of stressors on coastal systems. Nutrient loadings potentially vary greatly with the spatial arrangement of various land uses. Temporal variation drives the intensity and occurrence of multiple stressor interactions. Variation in primary producer responses to nutrients and trace metals may strongly influence the transmission of stressor effects to higher trophic levels. Because ecological consequences of eutrophication do not lower the economic value of property in the absence of human health impacts, negative economic feedback to processes leading to high nutrient loading is limited. Futhermore, the potential for alternate locations for commercial and recreational fishing limits the economic consequences of eutrophication within individual Chesapeake tributaries such as the Patuxent. However, substantial economic losses may occur in finfish and crab fisheries if water quality worsens.