Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Serves: An Integrated System of Sentinel Sites to Understand Baywide Climate Impacts for Stakeholders

Raleigh Hood, University of Maryland, Center for Envionmental Sciences


We propose to link the seven Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserves
together, forming a complex of sentinel sites for monitoring climate change impacts in
Chesapeake Bay. In collaboration with NERR stakeholders, we will use existing site
characterizations to identify key indicator species and related physical and
biogeochemical properties at each NERR. We will also characterize the NERR
ecosystems in terms of integrated ecosystem services such as tourism or migratory
waterfowl habitat. Using the extensive NERR datasets, along with external ancillary
data-streams, we will characterize and quantify the sensitivity of these sentinel species
and properties to stressors related to projected regional climate changes. Leveraging the
ensemble of sites, we will determine how these sensitivities relate to other tributaries and
ecosystems of Chesapeake Bay so that measurements at the NERR sites can be scaled up
to the entire Chesapeake Bay system. With these insights, we will predict Bay-wide
physical and biogeochemical changes under climate change scenarios using a coupled
physical-biogeochemical model, and project anticipated impacts of climate change on the
NERR sites. Working with NERR stakeholders to ensure that products meet their needs,
we will develop visualizations to illustrate anticipated changes, ranging from a K-12 ipad
based e-book to web served dynamic animations of climate change impacts.