Ecological Effects of Habitat Alteration
Many anthropogenic activities exert their influence on fish, shellfish, and waterfowl via effects on habitat. Habitat alterations have been identified as a major cause of endangerment for species within the United States. For example, the US has the most diverse temperate freshwater fish fauna in the world, but 35-40% of its 790 fish species are imperiled because of poor land use practices, wetland alteration, introductions of exotic species and other habitat altering factors. In addition, more than 50% of US marine fisheries (exclusive of Alaska pollock) exploit species that are dependent on estuaries at some life stage, and many estuarine fisheries are in decline due to combined effects of over fishing, habitat alteration and pollution.
A major literature and data review will be conducted to identify target species representing key assessment endpoints, the habitats upon which they depend, and published data on habitat alteration-biota response relationships. We will then developed a listing of the high priority species and habitat types and develop habitat alteration-response for these species and habitat types. This research will focus on development of stressor-response relationships at three scales: vegetated habitat, shoreline, and landscape One result of the vegetated habitat and shoreline scale research will be a number of habitat alteration-response relationships that can be used to guide habitat protection and restoration decisions.
Contact: Giancarlo Cicchetti