Date of Completion
Hannes Baumann, Hans Dam, Michael Whitney
Field of Study
Master of Science
Project Oceanology, a non-profit oceanographic educational organization has been collecting data including pH, oxygen, and temperature conditions as well as abundances of benthic invertebrates and near-shore fish catches since 1972 from Eastern Long Island Sound. These data had been stored solely on single-copy paper sheets and were therefore inaccessible to analysis. I digitized more than 100,000 abiotic measurements and 50,000 species abundance and size data collected over the past 45 years, and developed a web-based SQL database housed on the Long Island Sound Integrated Coastal Observing System (LISICOS) server. The database will ultimately become a searchable, downloadable, user-friendly web-based tool to aid students, researchers, and educators. Here, I examined this long-term dataset for evidence of acidification and warming in North-Eastern Long Island Sound. Furthermore, I explored decadal shifts in species abundance, diversity, and richness in relation to shifts in abiotic parameters and large-scale climate indices (e.g. AMO). I applied wavelets analysis and principal components analysis (PCA), as well as linear regression and other simpler statistical metrics. Eastern Long Island Sound has been warming (0.45 ± 0.281°C · decade-1) significantly faster than the global ocean, acidifying at a rate twice as fast as the global average (-0.04 ± 0.044 · decade-1), and whole water-column dissolved oxygen concentrations are decreasing (-0.29 ± 0.233 mg/L · decade-1). Concomitantly, there has been no change in the abundance of warm-water adapted species, a significant decline in species richness, significant declines in lobsters, winter flounder, and significant increases in spider crab abundance. These data clearly show both the sensitivity of estuaries to climate change and the utility of a citizen-science collected data set when studying decadal variation.
Snyder, Jacob, "Analysis of a Newly Digitized Long-Term Dataset of Environmental Observations from Long Island Sound" (2017). Master's Theses. 1170.