The Grand Canyon reach of the Colorado River meanders through one of the most remote ecosystems in the United States. It would be easy to assume steep canyon walls and uninhabited shores resulted in pristine waters. But research by Cary Institute’s Dr. Emma Rosi-Marshall and colleagues has found that this isolated part of the Colorado harbors toxic levels of mercury and selenium.
The Grand Canyon Reach of the Colorado River is breathtaking and remote. For hundreds of miles, the rugged landscape renders the river virtually inaccessible to people. Those intrepid enough to explore the area are treated to red rocks, blue skies, and meandering waters.
In October 2005, five scientists were marooned on a mountain near Yuan Yang Lake in Taiwan. Dead-set on installing a new batch of water quality sensors, the group had ignored an incoming typhoon that washed out the only road behind them, knocking chunks of pavement the size of a garage down the cypress-covered slopes.
Increasing salt in our streams has been a concern at the Cary Institute for many years. Even in the relatively undeveloped watershed of the East Branch of Wappinger Creek, the salt levels have increased since 1985 when sampling began.
Dr. Weathers is co-Chair of the Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON), a grassroots research network that conducts innovative science by sharing and interpreting high resolution sensor data to understand, predict and communicate the role and response of lakes in a changing global environment.
Carbon released from terrestrial ecosystems is an important source of organic matter in most streams, lakes and rivers. In the Hudson River there has been a doubling in concentration of dissolved organic carbon over the past 15 years.
Submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) is an important habitat in the Hudson River. We have investigated a wide range of functions in SAV beds including maintenance of high dissolved oxygen, effects on suspended sediment, and habitat value.
Beds of water celery (Vallisneria americana) and other plants are widespread in the Hudson River, and play several important ecological functions. These beds contain a diverse invertebrate community, which may serve as a major source of food to the river's fish.
We have carried out a diversity of small and mesocosm-scale experiments, in conjunction with regionally distributed field sampling, to assess when the composition of stream benthic bacterial communities corresponds with differences in stream metabolic activities.
For three decades, our scientists have been researching the Hudson River ecosystem– from the way shoreline development impacts water quality to how invasive species influence resident plants and animals. As a result, the Hudson is the most scientifically scrutinized river in the world.