Ecosystem Health

MIT Sea Grant provides information on marine invasive species through its Marine Bioinvasions site and through a collaborative regional site, New England Marine Invasive Species (NEMIS). In addition, MIT Sea Grant coordinates periodic (four assessments since 2000) Rapid Assessment Surveys (RAS) of marine non-native species in the Northeast. During summer 2011, a Risk Assessment for Invasive Marine Species from Vessels Arriving in the Northeastern United States is being conducted. The goals of these programs are to raise public awareness and provide approaches to prevent and mitigate the spread of invaders.


Marine Introduced Species

MIT Sea Grant provides information on marine invasive species through its Marine Bioinvasions site and through a collaborative regional site, New England Marine Invasive Species (NEMIS). In addition, MIT Sea Grant coordinates periodic (four assessments since 2000) Rapid Assessment Surveys (RAS) of marine non-native species in the Northeast. For each RAS, an international team of marine species experts is assembled to identify, document, and distribute information about both native and introduced species found at selected sites. The goals of these programs are to raise public awareness and provide approaches to prevent and mitigate the spread of invaders.


Marine Invader Tracking and Information System (MITIS)

MITIS is a web-based data service intended to support marine introduced species monitoring in the Northeast United States. It hosts data collected as part of scientific survey initiatives and volunteer monitoring programs. Though not intended to be a formal Geographic Information System (GIS), MITIS provides basic functionality for the input, management, retrieval, and mapping of georeferenced biogeographic data and information.

Database users report invasive species sightings directly from their field sheets to our database via online forms. Along with taxonomic identification, ancillary environmental information such as water quality variables can be entered. Users who are program administrators can edit and delete records. All data can be subsetted, mapped, and downloaded (CSV, GML, KML formats) on the MITIS website. Because MIT Sea Grant is a distributor to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), individual program administrators and independent users can also opt to share their data via the OBIS web service.


A Risk Analysis for Emerging Contaminants in Coastal Massachusetts

In partnership with the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA), MIT Sea Grant is conducting a risk assessment for pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in Massachusetts coastal waters. This includes evaluation of potential sources within coastal watersheds (e.g. hospitals or drug manufacturers), determination of the potential for filtration and removal through sewage treatment, and appraisal of likely effects on ocean life in Massachusetts Bay.


Salt Marshes, Storm Surge, and Sea Level Rise: A Web-based Mapping Tool to Support Land Use Planning

MIT Sea Grant conducted surveys of salt marshes in the summer of 2010 in the towns of Duxbury, Kingston and Plymouth to study habitat quality and vulnerability to sea level rise. We measured biodiversity, tidal restrictions, land use, and other factors affecting ecosystem health. The results of these surveys will be made available through a web-based mapping tool, providing both homeowners and municipal planners with information to support adaptive management and land use decisions. A version of the map showing preliminary survey results can be found here. The project received funding from the National Sea Grant Office and was undertaken in collaboration with the Massachusetts Bays Program and the Office of Coastal Zone Management.


Gulf of Maine Regional Ocean Science Initiative

Recognizing the need for regional initiatives to support ecosystem-based management, a Gulf of Maine Regional Ocean Science Initiative was formed to identify pressing issues and research needs. The council adopted a Regional Ocean Science Plan (ROSP) that addresses stakeholder concerns, provides a strategic plan for funding and coordinating research and monitoring to address the region's issues, and transfer technology and information to decision makers and managers. Two research projects have been funded with long-term goals of minimizing impacts to fisheries by marine invaders and to marine mammals from rope entanglements.

This page was last modified: August 26, 2014 1:40 pm

Contact

Judith Pederson
Research Affiliate
jpederso@mit.edu
617-253-9310

Juliet Simpson
Coastal Ecologist
simpsonj@mit.edu
617-253-7079