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Coastal Ecosystems

Coastal ecosystems, are regions of remarkable biological productivity and high accessibility. This has made them centers of human activity for millennia. Coastal ecosystems provide a wide array of goods and services: they host the world’s primary ports of commerce; they are the primary producers of fish, shellfish, and seaweed for both human and animal consumption; and they are also a considerable source of fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, household products, and construction materials. They also  store and cycle nutrients, filter pollutants from inland freshwater systems, and help to protect shorelines from erosion and storms.

  • Oil spills in mangroves Featured Article Oil spills in mangroves Oil spills in mangroves

    Editor's Note: This article is excerpted directly from NOAA, "Oil Spills in Mangroves: Planning and Response Considerations, " July 2010. It has been edited only to... More »

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Western Gulf coastal grasslands Last Updated on 2013-10-07 22:41:07 The geophysical province of this the Western Gulf coastal grasslands ecoregion is a distinct ecosystem in the southern USA, due to its more temperate climate, proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and associated natural processes (e.g., tropical storms), and geological origin with subsequent succession since the Pleistocene era inundation. This ecoregion is critical to many species of vertebrates, especially grassland birds, both resident and migrant, that are declining on a continental scale. Several endemic species of this ecoregion have become extinct in the wild, including the red wolf, or are critically imperiled such as the Attwater’s Greater Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), and Whooping Crane (Grus americana). Intertidal, estuarine marsh habitats are less threatened elements of the ecoregion; however, emergent palustrine wetlands within this ecoregion are the... More »
The forgotten coast (9:59) Last Updated on 2011-07-14 00:00:00 Mayor Van Johnson of Apalachicola Florida made a desperate plea this week for more support from the government and BP. Citizens and other officials also spoke out about the issue. More »
Wetlands of Nebraska two-part video series Last Updated on 2011-06-12 00:00:00 Learn about Nebraska's wetlands and the important values they provide. Explore the diversity of these habitats and the wildlife variety in them and of how the wetlands play roles in the lives of Nebraskans. Produced by Nebraska Game & Parks and Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. Funded by Nebraska Game & Parks, Ducks Unlimited and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Part 1   Part 2   More »
Teacher Guide: Human Impact on Estuaries, a Terrible Spill in Grand Bay Last Updated on 2011-05-24 00:00:00 In this activity developed by NOAA, students make a model of a pollution spill that occurred at Bangs Lake, a tidal lake within the Grand Bay NERR in Mississippi, in April 2005, and measure water quality parameters in their model.  Students then study the actual spill, analyzing various forms of data to determine the date of the spill and  identify how the spill changed water quality parameters in the estuary during and after the spill. They speculate on how various life forms in the estuary were affected. Finally, students produce a timeline of the spill event with recommendations to the state Department of  Environmental Quality about how to prevent large-scale pollution spills like this in the future. Students will be able to: Describe how a chemical reaction affects water  quality parameters of a sample of estuary water. Use their lab results to... More »
Teacher Guide: Chemistry in an Estuary Last Updated on 2011-05-24 00:00:00 In this activity, students investigate water quality parameters to study the nature of, and the cyclical changes inherent in, the chemistry of estuarine water. Students study key water quality factors at several stations in a single reserve over time—current, daily, and yearly time scales. Students also compare water quality values over a yearly time scale in three different estuaries within NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERR) —South Slough NERR, Oregon; Delaware NERR; and Old Woman Creek NERR, Ohio. Then students take water quality measurements at a site near them and compare their data to the water in the three geographically diverse NERR estuarine environments. Students will be able to: Describe how different chemical and physical  properties affect and interact within an estuarine  environment. Explain how analyzing... More »