The isotopic composition of organic sulfur (δ34Sorg) is a potential recorder of past biogeochemical conditions that has, thus far, received relatively little attention in comparison to the pyrite sulfur isotope record (δ34Spyr). This study presents continuous organic and pyrite δ34S records from three basins of the organic-rich Miocene Monterey Formation, deposited over a similar time interval of c.14.5-6 Ma but under varying depositional conditions. In the San Joaquin basin, δ34Sorg and δ34Spyr average 0‰ and -4‰ respectively and maintain a relatively constant pyrite-organic sulfur isotopic offset of c. 5‰. The Santa Maria Basin exhibits δ34Sorg values that are >10‰ higher than in coeval San Joaquin basin intervals, with average δ34Sorg of c. 24‰ in the upper siliceous member the highest yet reported for marine organic sulfur and roughly 2-3‰ higher than Miocene seawater sulfate. δ34Spyr is consistently c. 12‰ depleted in comparison to organic sulfur in the lower phosphatic member of the Santa Maria Basin, but an abrupt enrichment in both δ34Spyr and δ34Sorg coincident with a sharp lithostratigraphic transition at c. 11 Ma reduces this offset to <4‰ for much of the upper siliceous shales. The Santa Barbara Basin shows a sulfur isotope record intermediate between the San Joaquin and Santa Maria Basins, with average δ34Spyr and δ34Sorg of 3‰ and 12‰ respectively, and relatively consistent c. 10‰ pyrite-organic isotope offset. Records for all three basins demonstrate a close correlation between coeval δ34Spyr and δ34Sorg values which we attribute to derivation from an equivalent, or at least similar, source of sedimentary or water column sulfide. However, marked offset in the isotopic composition of coexisting pyrite and organic sulfur, of variable magnitude within and between basins, implies some contrast in the diagenetic processes underlying sulfur incorporation into the two phases. We argue that the prominent δ34Spyr and δ34Sorg isotopic differences between broadly coeval basin sections are largely the result of differences in sedimentation regime and the associated balance of iron and sulfide supply during diagenesis. A likely factor of additional importance to this iron-sulfide balance is basin-specific sedimentary and water column redox. These findings illustrate the importance of determining independent constraints on the nature of a sedimentary system before conclusions are made relating the sulfur isotope composition of sedimentary species to paleoenvironmental conditions. Additionally, we suggest that records of δ34Spyr have a strong dependence on interaction with organic sulfur during formation, and thus that existing δ34Spyr records are more effectively interpreted in combination with δ34Sorg records.
Louisiana is undergoing rapid change from natural and anthropogenic forces, such as sea level rise, subsidence, and eutrophication. Sediment diversions on the lower Mississippi River are proposed as a large-scale restoration strategy to create new wetlands and sustain existing wetland areas in Barataria Basin, Louisiana. This will introduce a large volume of sediment and nutrient rich freshwater from the Mississippi River to the receiving basins. This will result in, at least, short term changes in light and nutrient dynamics and has potential to alter phytoplankton composition. In order to understand nitrogen dynamics in Barataria Basin due to large scale coastal restoration practices, the nitrogen budgets (including particulate and dissolved forms) were calculated from outputs of the Integrated Biophysical Model, which is based on the existing Delft3D model coupled with a water quality model (D-WAQ). Creating nitrogen budgets in estuarine systems allows for better understanding of the major sources, sinks, inputs and exports across the system, increasing understanding of the amount of nitrogen available to drive estuarine primary production. Quantification of nitrogen inputs, outputs and processes is essential because it is the limiting nutrient for most estuarine primary producers (e.g., phytoplankton and emergent macrophytes). Preliminary model results for the existing conditions suggest that the dissolved inorganic nitrogen in the estuarine waters is mainly derived from diffusional sediment fluxes and mineralization of particulate organic nitrogen. Most of the dissolved inorganic nitrogen was assimilated for phytoplankton growth. A relatively small portion of dissolved inorganic nitrogen was removed from the system through denitrification in the water column. More particulate organic nitrogen originated from emergent macrophytes than from phytoplankton primary production. These model results will help better understand how proposed sediment diversions on the lower Mississippi River may change the future ecological conditions of estuarine open water in coastal Louisiana.
The structure(s), distribution and dynamics of CDOM have been investigated over the last several decades largely through optical spectroscopy (including both absorption and fluorescence) due to the fairly inexpensive instrumentation and the easy-to-gather data (over thousands published papers from 1990-2016). Yet, the chemical structure(s) of the light absorbing and emitting species or constituents within CDOM has only recently being proposed and tested through chemical manipulation of selected functional groups (such as carbonyl and carboxylic/phenolic containing molecules) naturally occurring within the organic matter pool. Similarly, fitting models (among which the PArallel FACtor analysis, PARAFAC) have been developed to better understand the nature of a subset of DOM, the CDOM fluorescent matter (FDOM). Fluorescence spectroscopy coupled with chemical tests and PARAFAC analyses could potentially provide valuable insights on CDOM sources and chemical nature of the FDOM pool. However, despite that applications (and publications) of PARAFAC model to FDOM have grown exponentially since its first application/publication (2003), a large fraction of such publications has misinterpreted the chemical meaning of the delivered PARAFAC ‘components’ leading to more confusion than clarification on the nature, distribution and dynamics of the FDOM pool. In this context, we employed chemical manipulation of selected functional groups to gain further insights on the chemical structure of the FDOM and we tested to what extent the PARAFAC ‘components’ represent true fluorophores through a controlled chemical approach with the ultimate goal to provide insights on the chemical nature of such ‘components’ (as well as on the chemical nature of the FDOM) along with the advantages and limitations of the PARAFAC application.
Continental shelves are important land-ocean interfaces where natural and anthropogenic processes, as well as sediment geochemistry regulate the sequestration of organic matter (OM) in the sediment. In the Northern Gulf of Mexico, along the Louisiana shelf, the Mississippi River discharge asserts strong seasonal controls over primary production and sedimentary reserves of minerals. Recent studies have shown the importance of mineral-organic matter interactions in the sedimentary OM preservation, both of which are abundant in this region. Thus, the major objective of this work is to understand the spatial and temporal variability of the sediment organic carbon (OC) directly bound to the reactive iron (rFe) mineral phases such as goethite, ferrihydrite, lepidocrocite and hematite. Sediment samples were collected from five sites along the river plume during periods of low (August/September 2016) and high (May 2017) river discharge. Average rFe content in the top 20 cm of sediment was significantly higher at all sites in May (6.9 ±1.5 mg gdw-1) compared to August (4.3± 0.6 mg gdw-1), while particulate OC content in these sediments was higher in August (11.9 ± 3.7 mg gdw-1) compared to May (7.4± 4.7 mg gdw-1). However, the bulk OC bound to rFe in these sediments did not vary significantly between the two seasons and ranged between 2.3 - 3.4 mg gdw-1. Molar OC: Fe ratios in the OC associated with rFe ranged between 0.9-6.2, with higher ratios in the deeper sediment sections (5-20 cm) than at the top (0-5 cm). Our results indicate that 27- 32% of the total OC in sediment is associated with rFe phase and preserved in these recent shelf sediments. A combination of X-ray diffractometry and Fe-K Edge X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy analyses were carried out to identify the mineralogical composition of rFe bound to the organic carbon in the sediments. Preliminary findings indicate that most of the iron is found as non-reactive iron in clay mineral smectite, but the dominant form of rFe associated with OC is goethite.
Now published: Spilling K, Heinemann M, Vanharanta M, et al. (2023) Respiration rate scales inversely with sinking speed of settling marine aggregates. PLoS ONE 18(3): e0282294. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0282294 Sinking marine particles have been studied for a long time to understand its role in carbon sequestration. Traditionally, sinking speed and respiration rates have been treated as independent variables, but two recent papers suggest a connection albeit in contrasting directions. Alcolombri et al.  demonstrated that slow moving particles are respired faster than motionless particles, whereas García‐Martín et al.  found that respiration rate was higher for suspended particles compared with slow- and fast-sinking particles. Here we collected settling aggregates and determined respiration rates of particles sinking at different velocities. The average respiration rate of fast sinking particles (>100 m d-1) was 0.12 d-1. Slower sinking particles (<50 m d-1) had on average higher and more variable respiration rates. These findings provide insights into the efficiency of the biological carbon pump and help resolve the apparent discrepancy in the recent studies of the correlation between respiration and sinking speed. Alcolombri, U., F. J. Peaudecerf, V. I. Fernandez, L. Behrendt, K. S. Lee, and R. Stocker (2021), Sinking enhances the degradation of organic particles by marine bacteria, Nat Geosci, 1-6. García‐Martín, E. E., K. Davidson, C. Davis, C. Mahaffey, S. Mcneill, D. Purdie, and C. Robinson (2021), Low contribution of the fast‐sinking particle fraction to total plankton metabolism in a temperate shelf sea, Glob Biogeochem Cycles, 35(9), e2021GB007015.
Seawater rare earth element (REE) concentrations are increasingly applied to reconstruct water mass histories by exploiting relative changes in the distinctive normalised patterns. However, the mechanisms by which water masses gain their REE patterns are yet to be fully explained. To examine this, we collected water samples along the Extended Ellett Line (EEL), an oceanographic transect between Iceland and Scotland, and measured dissolved REE by offline automated chromatography (SeaFAST) and ICP-MS. The proximity to two continental boundaries, the incipient spring bloom coincident with the timing of the cruise, and the importance of deep water circulation in this climatically sensitive gateway region make it an ideal location to investigate sources of REE to seawater and the effects of vertical cycling and lateral advection on their distribution. The deep waters have REE concentrations closest to typical North Atlantic seawater and are dominated by lateral advection. Comparison to published seawater REE concentrations of the same water masses in other locations provides a first measure of the temporal and spatial stability of the seawater REE signature. We demonstrate the REE pattern is replicated for Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) in the Iceland Basin from adjacent stations sampled 16 years previously. A recently published Labrador Sea Water dissolved REE signature is reproduced in the Rockall Trough but shows greater light and mid REE alteration in the Iceland Basin, possibly due to the dominant effect of ISOW and/or continental inputs. An obvious concentration gradient from seafloor sediments to the overlying water column in the Rockall Trough, but not the Iceland Basin, highlights release of light and mid REE from resuspended sediments and pore waters, possibly a seasonal effect associated with the timing of the spring bloom in each basin. This study highlights the need for fully constrained REE sources and sinks, including the temporary nature of some sources, to achieve a balanced budget of seawater REE. In this contribution, I discuss some of the potential mechanisms and their implications for the longevity of the seawater REE signature.
We evaluate the mass transfer rate from the surface of rod- and disc- shaped particles with various aspect ratios and surface areas. The method of particle fabrication used here builds off of both traditional gypsum plaster dissolution methods and advances in sugar-glass particle recipes. The particles were created in-house with a nearly neutrally buoyant formula and custom molds. They were then tested in homogeneous, isotropic turbulence. The decrease in particle weight was recorded and results were compared to the Hixson-Crowell model for dissolution. We hypothesized that the turbulent flow would affect the boundary layer surrounding these particles and therefor their mass transfer rate. Results from these experiments show the dependence of shape and surface area to mass transfer rate in turbulent flow. The related questions are relevant to cases of marine biology, carbon sequestration, and pollution by microplastics.
Application of satellite derived models of primary production using ocean colour remote sensing data opens new possibilities of estimation of its time and spatial variability at different scales. However, it is always necessary to take into account that errors of model retrieval can affect wrong interpretation of this variability. In the study we analyzed errors of satellite derived primary production models and explain main reasons of its appearance for a case study of the western part of the Japan/East Sea (35-44 N, 130-137 E). As satellite derived primary production we used data of Vertical Generalized Production Model (VGPM) from Ocean Productivity database. Due to insufficient amount of in situ primary production data in the western part of the Japan/East Sea, satellite derived primary production was compared with modeled assessments, which were got using ship data of model input parameters (chlorophyll-a at different depths, assimilation number, euphotic depth etс). Applied analysis showed three reasons of errors of satellite derived primary production models: (1) accuracy of remote sensing chlorophyll-a, (2) oceanographic conditions - water stratification and (3) accuracy of assimilation number determination.
The aquaculture industry faces environmental threats from harmful algal blooms (HABs), which have the potential to cause devastating economic losses. Satellite earth observation offers a cost effective method for operational monitoring of HABs over vast areas. Whilst the Chl-a product, often used as a proxy for phytoplankton biomass, can be used to indicate high biomass blooms, there is a clear need for value-added products that not only alert on bloom presence, but also on the bloom type and persistence. The high biomass nature of the South African regional waters provide strong assemblage related spectral variability, which can be exploited with the spectral bands of OLCI and MERIS. This study demonstrates the identification of different phytoplankton types relevant to the aquaculture industry of South Africa. Thresholds of the reflectance peak in the red and NIR are related to phytoplankton count data, in order to identify blooms that pose a high hypoxia and/or toxicity risk. These techniques are applicable to both OLCI and MERIS reflectance data and are routinely used by the aquaculture industry in South Africa for timely risk assessment and mitigation. Application to both MERIS and OLCI not only ensures future monitoring capability, but also allows the creation of a historical risk climatology that can guide the site selection of industries sensitive to the presence of HABs, such as aquaculture farms and desalination plants.
In-situ and above water radiometers are a critical for validating Ocean Color Satellite measurements, used to monitor in-water constituents of the global ocean. The calibration process, instrument response characterization, and environmental measurement all contribute to the overall uncertainty budget of the radiometric measurement. An integral part of this uncertainty traceability chain is accurate laboratory calibration of radiometric sensors. Over its lifetime, the Sea-Bird Scientific Halifax site (formerly Satlantic, LP) participated in inter-laboratory comparisons to ensure the quality of its calibrations. These include: NASA’s Seventh SeaWIFS Intercalibration Round-Robin Experiment (SIRREX-7, Hooker et al. 2002), conducted in 1999, compared Halifax to the Center for Hydro-Optics and Remote Sensing (CHORS, San Diego State University, California, USA) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC, Ispra, Italy). More recently, Sea-Bird Scientific participated in the European Space Agency (ESA) sponsored Fiducial Reference Measurements for Satellite Ocean Colour (FRM4SOC) program. In 2017, Sea-Bird Scientific transitioned the manufacturing and calibration of radiometric products from the facility located in Halifax (HAL), Nova Scotia CA to the facility located in Philomath (PHI), Oregon USA (formerly WET Labs, Inc.). As part of this transition, the radiometer calibration facility was reproduced at the Philomath site and Sea-Bird Scientific conducted an extensive cross facility set of experiments to: 1. Quantify relative calibration uncertainties within and between Halifax and Philomath laboratories; 2. Quantify differences in repeatability relative to Halifax (established standard); 3. Compare relative laboratory calibration uncertainties to budget of estimated uncertainty sources; 4. Verify successful transfer of build and calibration processes at Philomath site.
Ocean color satellites require routine in-orbit verification and vicarious calibration to maintain accuracy over the mission lifetime and between satellites. The majority of vicarious calibration and validation activities for ocean color satellites are carried out in areas of uniform oceanic and atmospheric optical properties using in situ radiometric data collected from fixed mooring installations or oceanographic ships. These methods have limitations in spatial coverage and in the cost of maintenance and operation. A spatially extensive network of vicarious calibration match-up data points would aid in reducing vicarious calibration uncertainty. To meet these needs, we have developed a new approach to ocean color satellite vicarious calibration and validation. Our system (HYPERNAV) combines accurate, reliable and stable hyperspectral radiometric instruments with autonomous profiling float technologies to provide a cost effective, unattended means for vicarious calibration over periods of years in the open ocean. We present data from laboratory and field experiments of the HYPERNAV system used to characterize system performance and to quantify the end-to-end radiance uncertainty budget. We present match-up comparisons of HYPERNAV field data and coincident water leaving radiance measurements from ocean color satellites, demonstrating the capabilities of the system to provide new vicarious calibration paradigm for ocean-color remote-sensing satellites.
Seasonal African Dust (AD) transports soluble iron to oligotrophic Caribbean waters, and when bioavailable, it could increase marine primary productivity (PP). Recently, the region has experienced the proliferation of unusually high quantities of Sargassum, an iron-absorbing macroalgae inhabiting the air-sea interface, which possess ecological and economic challenges and whose driving factors are still uncertain. AD events reach Puerto Rico (PR) mostly during boreal summer months. This is also the season when chlorophyll-α (CHL) concentrations are highest, when the algae starts to bloom, and when sediment plumes from the Orinoco River (ORP), also reach nutrient discharge maxima. This study seeks to better understand the temporal relationships between increases in chlorophyll-α (CHL) and the presence of AD events in the region. Aerosol data collected at the Cabezas de San Juan Atmospheric Observatory was used to identify AD events between January 2005 and December 2015. Light scattering coefficients were measured with a integrating Nephelometer, while light absorption coefficients were obtained from either the Particle Soot/Absorption Photometer (PSAP) or the Continuous Light Absorption Photometer (CLAP). Spectral properties suggesting AD events were cross-referenced with surface dust concentration image models and source-attributed air masses corresponding to dusty periods using Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectories (HYSPLIT). For all years with spectral data, modeled monthly wet dust deposition was correlated (R= 0.64) with mean CHL concentrations from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Daily dust mass column densities from NASA’s MERRA-2 model were also correlated (R^2= 0.53) to sea surface iron concentrations from NASA’s Ocean Biogeochemical Model. We present the 2010 case study, which coincides with the start of the Sargassum bloom and shows CHL peaks occurring a month before ORPs but during the AD season, suggesting the AD role in enhancing PP. Other possible influencing climatic and oceanographic variables could be associated to these observations. Further efforts include spatially linking the Floating Algae Index in satellite imagery to AD concentrations, to better predict harmful algal blooms and inform management.
Microbial transformation and decomposition of organic matter in sediments constitutes one of the largest fluxes of carbon in marine environments. Mineralization of sedimentary organic matter by microorganisms results in selective degradation such that bioavailable or accessible compounds are rapidly metabolized while more recalcitrant, complex compounds are preserved and buried in sediment (Mahmoudi et al., 2017). Recent studies have found that the ability to use different carbon sources appears to vary among microorganisms, suggesting that the availability of certain pools of carbon can be specific to the taxa that utilize the pool. This implies that organic matter mineralization in marine environments may depend on the metabolic potential of the microbial populations that are present and active. The goal of our study was to investigate the extent to which organic matter availability and transformation may be species-specific using sediment from Guaymas Basin (Gulf of California). We carried out time-series incubations using bacterial isolates and sterilized sediment in the IsoCaRB system (Beaupre et al., 2016) which allowed us to measure the production rates and natural isotopic signatures (δ13C and Δ14C) of microbially-respired CO2. Separate incubations using two different marine bacterial isolates (Vibrio sp. and Pseudoalteromonas sp.) and sterilized Guaymas Basin sediment under oxic conditions showed that the rate and total quantity of organic matter metabolized by these two species differs. Approximately twice as much CO2 was collected during the Vibrio sp. incubation compared to the Pseudoalteromonas sp. incubation. Moreover, the rate at which organic matter was metabolized by the Vibrio sp. was much higher than the Pseudoalteromonas sp. indicating the intrinsic availability of organic matter in sediments may depend on the species that is present and active. Isotopic analyses of microbially respired CO2 will be used to constrain the type and age of organic matter that is accessible to each species. Moreover, molecular analysis of subsamples collected from each incubation will link carbon utilization with the underlying gene expression. Our study sheds light on the degree to which the metabolic capacities of microorganisms affect carbon transformation in sedimentary environments.
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth and provide significant ecological, economic, and societal benefits valued at approximately $9.8 trillion U.S. dollars per year. While there are multiple ways humans threaten coral reefs, climate change has become the single most important of these threats. NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch is the only program that operationally issues coral bleaching forecasts, using near real-time satellite monitoring to provide ecological nowcasting of the ocean heat stress that can cause mass coral bleaching and using climate models to forecast the potential for bleaching months into the future. Ocean temperatures began to rise in mid-2014, starting what turned out to be three full years of marine heatwaves that caused corals to bleach — expelling their symbiotic algae. When the film team at Exposure Labs started exploring how to film coral bleaching as it happened, Coral Reef Watch was an obvious partner. Exposure Labs worked with numerous scientists, including me as a Co-Chief Scientific Advisor, to get the science behind the Sundance-Award Winning film Chasing Coral correct. The film team went to great extremes to ensure every statistic, graph, scientific principle, and animation was clear and accurate – using science to explain and support the adventure of trying to capture the first on-reef time-lapse imagery of this important phenomenon. The result is a visually compelling film that tells the story of climate change and its impacts on an important ecosystem in a way that appeals to audiences, including viewers who usually would not sit down to watch a climate change documentary. Chasing Coralis an extremely effective combination of science and art that opens opportunities for dialogue on climate change in ways no scientific paper ever could.
Sea ice extent in the Bering Sea during the winter of 2017–2018 was the lowest on record with ice cover attaining less than half the long-term average. Mandt’s Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle mandtii), one of the few Arctic ice-obligate seabirds, typically winters in the Marginal Ice Zone over the Bering Sea shelf, occurring as far south as the shelf break. Adult survival and breeding biology of the species has been studied since 1975 at a breeding colony near Point Barrow, Alaska in the western Beaufort Sea, with nonbreeding distribution and movements monitored since 2011 with light-sensitive geolocators. Preliminary analysis of geolocators retrieved at the start of the 2018 breeding season indicates guillemots wintered further north than in any previous year with most birds remaining near the Bering Strait or in the southern Chukchi Sea. It appears the lack of sea ice in the traditional wintering area and resulting anomalous winter distribution had a major effect on the survival and condition of Mandt’s Black Guillemot in the Western Arctic, although direct causative factors have yet to be determined. Adult overwinter apparent mortality was the highest on record with 32 percent of the birds breeding in 2017 failing to return to the colony, compared to 11 percent apparent overwinter mortality for the period 1976–2013. Of the 70 pairs occupying nest sites in 2018, only 50 pairs produced eggs. Of those 50 nests, nearly one-half had no incubation occur after egg laying. Nonbreeding by established breeders occupying nest sites and abandonment of nests immediately after egg laying were extremely rare in earlier years. The number of breeding birds in 2018 was the lowest in four decades and punctuates a long-term decrease in the population since 1989. Analysis of geolocation and behavioral data from the 2017–2018 nonbreeding period will lend insights into how the anomalous winter sea ice conditions might have contributed to the observed high mortality and poor condition of surviving birds. Decreased prey availability in the Arctic Basin and Bering Strait regions, compared to the southern Bering Sea shelf, could be a factor, as could atypical oceanographic and sea ice conditions in the winter Marginal Ice Zone.
A modified version of the commercially available RheOptiCAD® was developed to examine the conformational changes and break-up of flocs in clay suspensions in microscopic detail, under shearing action. In contrast to the RheOptiCAD®, our device aims to enable the structural observation of suspensions even when coagulation or settling of particles onto the bottom plate of the shear cell occurs. This challenge was met by using an upright modular microscope instead of an inverted one, equipped with a CMOS camera to record the structural evolution of samples as a function of shear. The verification of the design was done by analysing a model system of un-flocculated and flocculated kaolin suspensions. Additional experiments with natural clay (mud) suspensions were performed.
A key to better constraining estimates of the ocean sink for fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide is reducing uncertainties in coastal carbon fluxes. A contributing factor in uncertainties in coastal carbon fluxes stems from the under sampling of seasonality and spatial heterogeneity. Our objectives were to i) assess satellite-based approaches that would expand the spatial and temporal coverage of the surface ocean pCO2 and sea-air CO2 flux for the northern Gulf of Mexico, and ii) investigate the seasonal and interannual variations in CO2 dynamics and possible environmental drivers. Regression tree analysis was effective in directly relating surface ocean pCO2 to satellite-retrieved (MODIS Aqua) products including chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, and dissolved/detrital absorption. Satellite-based assessments of sea surface pCO2 were made spanning the period from 2006-2010 and were used in conjunction with estimates of wind fields and atmospheric pCO2 to produce regional-scale estimates of air-sea fluxes. Seasonality was evident in air-sea fluxes of CO2, with an estimated annual average CO2 flux for the study region of -4.3 + 1.1 Tg C y-1, confirming prior findings that the Gulf of Mexico was a net CO2 sink. Interannual variability in fluxes was related to Mississippi River dissolved inorganic nitrogen inputs, an indication that human- and climate-related changes in river exports will impact coastal carbon budgets. This is the first multi-year assessment of pCO2 and air-sea flux of CO2 using satellite-derived environmental data for the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Local ecological knowledge (LEK) is the experiential knowledge of local people gained through day-to-day interactions with the environment. LEK can provide detailed, real-time information about target species, ecological resources, and rapid state shifts in ecosystems. LEK is becoming more important as a source of data for conservation research and management. LEK can supplement conventional ecological surveys and data by providing rich context and detail on the state of local ecosystems by the people who work on these ecosystems every day as part of their livelihoods (Burbidge et al., 1988, Turvey et al., 2010b). Many communities in the Coastal Bend region of Texas have citizens whose livelihoods depend entirely on ecosystems as well as economies largely dependent on ecotourism. Ecotourism important to Coastal Bend economies includes recreational fishing, coastal parks, birding, and other forms of wildlife tourism. These same communities were majorly impacted by Hurricane Harvey and are continuing to slowly recover one year after the storm. Ecotourism stakeholders possess detailed knowledge on 1) changes to the ecosystem post Harvey across scales, 2) the needs for prioritized ecosystem restoration and conservation initiatives that may quicken ecotourism recovery post-Harvey, and 2) possible blind spots for conservation and resource management of which decision-makers may be unaware. Given the urgency and heavy financial burden of hurricane recovery, LEK can be pathway to resilience. Resilience in the Coastal Bend post-Harvey would see communities, ecosystems, and economies not only recovering quickly to their pre-storm states, but also harnessing the ability to absorb similar shocks in the future. LEK can act as a pathway to resilience during hurricane recovery as it is inexpensive, first-hand, detailed knowledge of changes to ecosystem functions linked to economic development. These changes may be addressed by decision-makers and resource managers looking to enable post-storm recovery. This presentation discusses how ecotourism-dependent communities in the Texas Coastal Bend use LEK to recover from Hurricane Harvey and build resilience to future extreme events as a model framework for how LEK can be used more widely to enhance resilience, respond to hazards, and facilitate adaptation.