OUR PROJECTS

The Focus of Our Efforts

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LAND TO SEA: WATER AND SUBSTANCE FLUXES

This Work Package (WP1) will focus on the composition and distribution of substances entering coastal waters, which depend on terrestrial processes including hydrogeology, geomorphology, coastal development, abundance and types of vegetation, soil erosion, and proportion of overland flow versus submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). One PhD will focus on hydrological and hydrogeological processes while a second will PhD focus on water quality and mitigation strategies .

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PHYSICAL AND CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF HYDRODYNAMICS OVER CARIBBEAN REEF SYSTEMS

Work Package (WP2) focuses on the import and movement of pollutants, resources, and other inputs from the open ocean and connects the flow of land-based inputs from WP1 to coral reef functioning and health in WP3, which in turn focuses on the growth, decline, and changes in near-shore coral reef communities.

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REEF BIOGEOCHEMISTRY

Work Package (WP3) automatically integrates aspects from WP1 (e.g., nutrient enrichment through groundwater inflow) and WP2 (e.g., losses of resources to the open ocean). Further, through pelagic-benthic coupling, WP3 links the distribution of substances to reef accretion, erosion, and changes in the composition and biomass of reef communities.

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MANAGEMENT OPTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE COASTAL USE UNDER DIFFERENT, UNCERTAIN, FUTURE CONTEXTS

Work Package 4 (WP4) will identify the social and communications conditions needed to ensure that research findings have maximum impact within a broad societal context. WP4 integrates the findings of all WPs (spanning from environmental to societal factors) to create risk assessments related to urban planning and the expected impacts of different forms of coastal land-use (including development, sewage infrastructure, water management, agriculture, etc.). These models will inform, and guide future decision-making aimed at improving the sustainable use of Caribbean coastal zones.

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THE EFFECT OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ON ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS, AND COMMUNITY BEHAVIOR

Work Package 5 (WP5) focuses on applied research by incorporating outcomes of WP1-4. Because the uptake of research findings does not occur automatically (and in some cases is resisted by local communities), WP5 will specifically identify strategies that maximize the use of scientific findings in complex, environmental decision-making contexts.