Research at the AED focuses on ecological effects of human activities on coastal waters and watersheds of the Atlantic seaboard, with particular emphasis on effects of these activities on populations of fish, shellfish, and aquatic-dependent wildlife. This research is designed to improve the ability of the Agency, coastal States, and Tribes to:
- monitor and assess ecological condition of coastal ecosystems;
- identify waters that have been damaged and diagnose causes; and
- develop predictive models of population responses and ecological condition under varying combinations of stresses.
Within this context, AED supports the overall mission of the U.S. EPA in three ways: conducting scientific research, providing scientific and organizational leadership, and supplying technical advice to EPA Program Offices and Regions.
Current AED Research
Research conducted at AED contributes to the transdisciplinary research programs that make up EPA’s research portfolio. These programs are aligned around the core principle of sustainability, and guided by Strategic Research Action Plans developed by EPA with input from its many partners and external stakeholders.
- Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS)
- Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR)
- Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC)
Research History at AED
AED has also been involved in a great many significant research programs over its history, its work evolving with the changing mission of the Agency and Office of Research and Development, including the areas of:
Environmental toxicology and chemistry:
- NTA (nitriloacetic acid) Research Program;
- studying the fate and biological effects of oil in the marine environment and responses to the Amoco Cadiz (1978), World Prodigy (1989), and North Cape (1996) Oil Spills;
- Complex Effluent Program;
- Marine Criteria Development, including National Water Quality, Sediment Quality, and Dissolved Oxygen Criteria, and Sediment Toxicity Identification Evaluations (TIE), an outgrowth of Sediment Quality Criteria and Complex Effluent Programs.
- Mussel Watch & Coastal Environmental Assessment Stations (CEAS) [1976 to 1988], EMAP Estuaries [1990 to 1993], Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA) [1997 to 1998] and National Coastal Assessment (NCA) [2000 to 2006] programs
- NHEERL Wildlife Research Strategy - A multidivisional document that describes a novel and comprehensive approach to assessing risks to wildlife populations from anthropogenic pollutants and databases providing Water Quality and Fish Mercury data and modeled estimates of Fish Mercury for lakes of New England.
- AED Lakes Ecosystem Services - Tools that foster a better understanding of links between management decisions affecting nutrient fluxes and selected ecosystem services; support other novel research questions such as examining the link between ecological condition and human health; and provide our many partners with reproducible research that enhances understanding of our work, and encourages using similar approaches and analyses in novel ways.
- Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) - a research program run by EPA’s Office of Research and Development to develop the tools necessary to monitor and assess the status and trends of national ecological resources.
- Ocean Dumping Research Program, Field Verification Program (FVP), Allen Harbor/Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Studies, and New Bedford Harbor (NBH) Project (1987 to present)
Among the significant products were the document Standard Operating Procedures and Field Methods Used for Conducting Ecological Risk Assessment Case Studies, and The Ecological History of New Bedford Harbor (PDF) (61 pp., 4.2MB)
AED also provided technical support to EPA’s response to the BP Oil Spill (Deepwater Horizon).
Contact: Wayne Munns