Contaminants in Estuarine Food Webs

In collaboration with colleagues at the Academy of Natural Science we are conducting studies examining how contaminants are transferred through estuarine food webs. Our recent studies focus on marsh restoration sites in which dredged sediments are used to build marshes and other nearshore areas. We are using stable isotopes of known toxic trace elements to follow the uptake of contaminants from sediments by marsh grasses and other vegetation planted as part of the restoration and whether these are transferred to grazers that feed on the plants and predators that feed on the grazers.

Tidal marsh mesocosms in a raceway with artificial tides. A treatment pair of experimental marsh mesocosms removed from the experimental system. Sediments are injected with stable isotopes that can be traced to marsh plants, grazers, and predators.