Identifying the Environmental Impacts of Land Use Near the Grand Bay

The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve partnered with Dauphin Island Sea Lab to investigate how future human activity and natural changes could influence economically important habitats and water quality. Researchers looked at the nitrogen content of oyster shells in ancient shell mounds to see the geologic record of human activity and its impact on ecosystems going back thousands of years. They also reviewed how land use changes have impacted water quality, historic and modern oyster populations, shifts in nitrogen sources, and pathogen accumulation.

Municipal officials and wastewater treatment plant representatives are using this information to make decisions about operations, and Mississippi’s Utility Authority and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are using project data to evaluate how local shellfish beds are impacted by effluent from the utility. (2016)

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Partners: Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, United States Food and Drug Administration Office of Food Safety, University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory