Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Climate Change
Tyler P. O'Neal - Delaware State University
Co-Author(s): Benjamin D. Jenkins, Morgan C. Jones, Laurieann R. Phalen, and Gulnihal Ozbay, Delaware State University, Dover, DE Shobha Sriharan, College of Agriculture, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA Jason E. Adolf, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Hilo, HI
As a part of an undergraduate fellowship on climate change at the University of Hawaii Hilo, three Delaware State University (DSU) students gained hands-on experience with collecting CO2 and water quality data while participating in a cooperative study with the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s (UHH) Marine Sciences department. Aboard the research vessel ¬¬¬ Makani Aha, these data were collected along a 220 degree line transect that began at the mouth of the Wailuku River and continued into the pelagic zone outside of Hilo Bay into the Pacific Ocean to a distance of 15,541 meters. Water clarity, turbidity, chlorophyll, and atmospheric CO2 levels were measured at specific locations along the transect, and the preservation of phytoplankton samples for future study was performed. CO2 data collected along the transect were examined by DSU to see how the concentration changed from the shoreline to the open ocean. In addition, atmospheric CO2 concentration was measured and recorded throughout the island of Hawaii over a two-week period in order to investigate how variations in microclimate, elevation, and land development affect the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We hypothesized differences at locations where there are river flows and land-cover changes due to anthropogenic activities. Atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing height. As elevation increases, pressure decreases, as does CO2 concentration in the air. Data show a positive correlation between population density and CO2 concentrations. An increase in population density is one of the driving forces behind increased CO2 emissions. These data are used to show the extent of anthropogenic activity on water quality and food web dynamics in the study area by UHH. Increased levels of CO2 from an increase in anthropogenic activities due to an increase in population density in critical microclimates can have disastrous effects on these fragile ecosystems and the species that call them home.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This study was supported primarily by USDA- NIFA Program. Student stipend and student training supplies were provided by the NSF EPSCOR Program.
Faculty Advisor: Gulnihal Ozbay,