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Baltimore Field Station

Aquatic Ecology and Management

[photo;] CrayfishIncreased urban land use in watersheds is known to affect aquatic species distributions and aquatic ecosystem health. In urbanized watersheds, engineered infrastructure can result in excessive stormwater runoff, lower groundwater levels, and increased loads of pollutants.  In addition, research has documented increasing trends in water temperature, alkalinity, and salinization in urban streams of the United States. Despite these trends and documented effects of urbanization, specific mechanisms that drive change in the presence of aquatic species and aquatic ecosystem processes are not well understood. Further research on biological engineering design approaches for urban stream restoration, bioretention of pollutants in urban water bodies, and stormwater infrastructure is needed.  Development of effective bioengineering and ecohydraulic design and maintenance for urban streams and stormwater basins are needed for effective management of aquatic species, habitat connectivity, and aquatic ecosystem processes across the urban to rural land gradient.

The Baltimore Field Station Aquatic Ecology Team currently investigates relationships between chemistry, temperature, flow, and aquatic species presence to identify mechanisms of urbanization effects on aquatic species and aquatic ecosystems.  These mechanisms can be applied to develop more effective stream restoration, bioretention, and stormwater infrastructure design for urban watersheds. High resolution stream flow and water quality data from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER and US Forest Service sampling of numerous Baltimore streams are being used to answer questions about the Urban Watershed Continuum, ecohydrology, and fluxes of organic matter. Additionally, data and literature are being synthesized to inform and encourage an ecohydrological approach for a wide range of research and management. This research seeks to uncover fundamental spatial and temporal patterns in urban ecohydrology and aquatic species ecology.

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Last Modified: February 9, 2017