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Research Programs


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:

  1. monitor and assess ecological condition of coastal ecosystems;
  2. identify waters that have been damaged and diagnose causes; and
  3. 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.

EPA Strategic Plan 2011-2015

Current AED Research

core sampling

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.

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:

Environmental monitoring programs: Collaborative research programs between EPA, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop ecological risk assessment and environmental monitoring methods in support of the Navy's response to Superfund and RCRA, and the Corps’ conduct of marine dredging and disposal operations, including:

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).

Scientific Communications

Contact: Wayne Munns

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