The Georgia Sea Grant program, located in the School of Marine Programs, is taking part in an interagency project to identify priority coastal research needs. The project is based on a plan released April 28 by the South Atlantic Regional Research Project. The plan identifies critical research needed to protect the health of coastal ecosystems and the economies that depend upon them in the southeastern U.S.
“We’re taking a regional approach in addressing the problems and opportunities identified in this report because of the huge overlap of the ecosystems and economies involved,” said Charles Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant. “Cooperation among the region’s agencies and institutions is the smart way to focus our limited resources on the most important research that needs to be done.”
Among its 27 recommendations, the report describes the need for studies that assess the impacts that projected changes in sea level and temperature could have on marine species, and to determine the amount of freshwater flow that is required to ensure the health of estuaries and fisheries. The effects of population growth on sensitive coastal habitats also should be studied. The report also recommends that researchers examine the impacts of offshore energy development in light of renewed interest and the lifting of the moratorium on energy exploration along the Atlantic seaboard. The entire research plan is available for download as a PDF online at www.gcrc.uga.edu/SARRP/Documents/SARRP_ResearchPlan_2010.pdf.