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Science Serving Maryland's Coasts


Benthic Studies in Chesapeake Bay: (1) Analysis and Synthesis of Faunal Data in Relation to Sediment and Water Column Interactions and (2) Scope for Future Needs

Principal Investigator: 

Roberta L. Marinelli

Start/End Year: 

2003 to 2006


Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science


A synthesis effort is proposed to examine relationships among benthic community composition and biogeochemical function, and identify "keystone" species having disproportionate effects on benthic biogeochemistry and benthic-water column interactions. The objectives are: (1) To examine the quality of faunal data sources, and to sort and arrange the data in terms of ecological relationships and likely biogeochemical interactions; (2) To examine the quality of related biogeochemical data and evaluate the extent of overlap (e.g. spatial and temporal scales) with the benthic faunal data; (3) To identify species associations, including potential "keystone" species, which are related to ecological or environmental characteristics; (4) To identify linkages between ecosystem/biogeochemical components and benthic community structure and function where statistical and scaling analyses are supportive; (5) To identify whether additional data collection, modification of existing procedures, or experimentation is warranted; (6) To disseminate the findings through internet and published sources, to participate in teacher training workshops, and to organize a workshop among stakeholders in the Bay program.

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