AED conducts sediment and water quality research in a variety of environments ranging from freshwater to marsh and estuarine to nearshore marine environments along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Maine. AED’s mission is to develop theory and methods, and analyze data to improve understanding of and quantify environmental effects of human activity on coastal waters and watersheds. Special areas of research include:
- understanding, quantifying, and modeling cumulative effects of multiple sources of stress on coastal ecosystems,
- developing methods for assessing ecological effects of contaminated marine sediments;
- clarifying the role of biogeochemical processes in effects of multiple sources of stress,
- developing species, population, and community indicators of ecological impacts resulting from human activities, and
- integrating ecological assessments of watersheds and coastal waters.
27 Tarzwell Drive, Narragansett, RI 02882
(401) 782-3000 Fax (401) 782-3030
From the North:
Take Interstate 95 South. If coming from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, follow the signs to join I-95 South towards New York. Take Exit 9 (a left exit) onto Route 4 South. Stay on Route 4 and it will become Route 1 South. Continue on Route 1 until the traffic light at the intersection with Route 138 West and Bridgetown Road. Turn left onto Bridgetown Road. At the next traffic light (intersection of Bridgetown Rd and Route 1a), go straight through the intersection onto South Ferry Road, pass the old South Ferry Church at the top of a hill on the left, and turn left onto Tarzwell Drive. Go straight after the guard post.
From the South:
From Route 1 North. At the intersection of Routes 1 & 138, bear right onto Bridgetown Road. At the next traffic light (intersection of Bridgetown Road and Route 1a), go straight through the intersection onto South Ferry Road, pass the old South Ferry Church at the top of a hill on the left, and turn left onto Tarzwell Drive. Go straight after the guard post.
From the West:
Take Interstate 95 North to Exit 3A in Rhode Island (URI/Kingston exit). Yield onto Route 138 East. Continue on Route 138 past the University of Rhode Island (Kingston Campus) until the traffic light at the intersection with Routes 1 & 138. From the far right lane, go straight across the intersection onto Bridgetown Road. At the next traffic light (intersection of Bridgetown Road & Route 1a), go straight through the intersection onto South Ferry Road, pass the old South Ferry Church at the top of a hill on the left, and turn left onto Tarzwell Drive. Go straight after the guard post.
From the East:
Take Interstate 195 West to 24 South to 138 West. Cross the Newport Bridge ($2 toll) and the Jamestown Bridge. Take the first exit after the Jamestown Bridge onto Route 1a. At the end of the ramp, bear right towards Narragansett. Travel on Route 1 South until the traffic light at the intersection with South Ferry Road and Bridgetown Road. Make a left onto South Ferry Rd. Continue past the old South Ferry Church on the left. Turn left onto Tarzwell Drive. Go straight after the guard post.
AED is located approximately 30 miles south of Providence, Rhode Island on the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The Main Office/Laboratory building houses a reception area, office space for administrative support and scientific staff, conference rooms, dry and wet laboratory space, and storage space for scientific samples.
Wet laboratories, including a greenhouse, provide areas for clean culture, holding and research of marine plants and animals. Tanks and wet tables can be supplied with seawater that is unfiltered to maintain a natural food source or filtered to allow control of the food source with the addition of cultured algae or shrimp. The seawater filtration system can supply filtered water at a rate of 300 gallons per minute. Seawater can be heated or cooled to accommodate the requirements of the organisms. Flexible systems allow for research using small aquaria for studying organisms to large tanks for examining populations and communities.
In addition, there are low- and high-hazard testing areas, a fabrication shop for designing and building test equipment, and an electronic control room. The high-hazard testing area contains wet table enclosures equipped with air exhausts for venting. This area has been used for conducting toxicity tests used to derive EPA's Water Quality Criteria and Equilibrium Partitioning Sediment Benchmarks. The low-hazard testing area has been used for the research on, maintenance of, or culture of marine algae, rotifers, brine shrimp, mysids, grass shrimp, estuarine and marine amphipods, mud crabs, lobster larvae and adults, blue mussels, quahogs, softshell clams, sea urchins, inland silversides, sheepshead minnows, mummichogs, summer flounder, and winter flounder. The main wet laboratory has also supported such diverse research as development of Complex Effluent and Dredged Materials toxicity tests, Reproductive Toxicology, Biomarkers, development of Dissolved Oxygen Criteria, and development of Sediment Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIEs) methodology.
Dry laboratories provide areas for analyses of water, sediment, and tissues samples for inorganic and organic chemicals, and acid-volatile sulfides (AVS) in sediments as well as sediment grain-size analysis. In order to examine ecological effects on marine organisms, examples of special analyses that can be conducted include isotope ratio mass spectrometry for measuring stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in fish to identify connections in the food web and reconstructing historical conditions and cellular and subcellular structure studies.
In order to carry out research in areas ranging shallow marshes to deeper nearshore waters, AED has both motorized and non-motorized vessels that can be trailered to location. These vessels range from small john boats and kayaks useful in tidal and marsh environments for research such as shorebird census to 27’ vessels capable of monitoring and sampling water, sediment, and organisms in deeper marine environments.
Field equipment includes samplers for measuring water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity in place; nets and samplers for collecting plankton communities, sediment, and water; trawl nets for collecting fish; towable underwater cameras for examining communities and structure on the bottom; and boat equipment such as davits and motorized winches. Dive facilities consist of a dressing room with cages for dive equipment and an air compressor and air storage cylinders. The field equipment and diving program support all research programs of the Division with the ability to collect samples of marine organisms, sediments, and water, to conduct on-site surveys, and to deploy and recover in situ experiments.
The library consists of a centralized collection of monographs and periodicals which support the research mission of the laboratory. The core space of 20 ft. x 50 ft. houses the collection, a public workstation and a small enclosed office for the Librarian. The room is divided into 2 basic sections: a reading area with tables and chairs; and stacks of print holdings. The primary function of the library is to obtain and provide specialized reference materials and library services for the scientific and administrative personnel at the Division. The library also responds to requests from the network of EPA libraries and to member libraries of the OCLC interlibrary loan system. The library, to the extent possible given its limited resources and holdings, responds to public requests as well.
The library is operated by one full-time professional Librarian with an ALA-accredited M.L.S. degree. The Librarian provides basic and specialized library services which include maintaining the research volumes and periodical holdings requested by AED researchers; performing specialized literature and database search services; cataloging new resources; and filling interlibrary loan requests.