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Nutrient and Ecological Histories in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey

The primary objective of this project was to collect sediment cores from the tidal region of Barnegat Bay and determine the chronology of nutrient changes (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) and associated ecosystem level responses. Changes in various biogeochemical proxies (e.g., stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, etc.), along with changes in diatom community structure,were used to infer changes in nutrient loading and land use throughout the watershed. An additional objective of this study was to quantify rates of sediment mass accumulation and marsh accretion averaged over the past 100 years or more. With the threat of increased sea level rise over the next 20 to 50 years, this information can provide a much-needed baseline to evaluate the impacts of changes in land form and use throughout coastal areas.