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Dr. Tom Frazer, Forest Resources and Conservation – Ecological Consequences of Nutrient Enrichment

Tom Frazer is an aquatic ecologist whose recent research is focused on the transport, transformation and fate of nutrients in riverine, estuarine and nearshore coastal ecosystems. He is a Professor in UF’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation and serves also as Associate Director and Leader of the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program. He teaches Marine Ecological Processes and Field Ecology of Aquatic Organisms. Additional information can be found at: http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/faculty/Frazer/index.html

Goals of the Ecological Consequences of Nutrient Enrichment component - To understand more fully the effects of increased nutrient delivery on key biogeochemical and ecological processes that, in turn, influence the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems. Specific Ecological Consequences of Nutrient Enrichment goals include:

(1) Differentiate natural variation in water quality from persistent declines that arise from human activities and threaten to degrade rivers and estuarine systems
(2) Identify targets for diagnostic studies that optimize management actions
(3) Design effective and efficient long-term monitoring to document the success of management and guide responses to unforeseen circumstances.

Aquatic resources are threatened worldwide. More intensive land use, growing populations requiring water for drinking and irrigation, and pollution from urban, industrial and agricultural activities have disrupted the water cycle and transformed ecosystems. In addition, the quality and security of aquatic resources are stressed by extreme events such as hurricanes, monsoonal flooding, and droughts that may be intensified by climate change. These threats are particularly evident in Florida where aquatic systems provide significant commercial and recreational opportunities. In fact, stakeholders have raised serious concerns about our water and associated resources.

The overarching goals of my individual and collaborative research efforts are to develop and transfer into management a mechanistic understanding of the effects of nutrient enrichment in aquatic systems, with a major focus on spring-fed rivers and associated estuaries along Florida’s central Gulf coast. Achieving these goals involves attaining several inter-related objectives that stem from long-term, large-scale sampling programs implemented over the last decade. The patterns documented by these regional programs that regularly sample over 100 stations spanning more than 100 kilometers of coastline provide a spatial and temporal context for designing, implementing and interpreting interdisciplinary experiments that elucidate ecological processes shaping the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems.