Date of Completion

Spring 5-14-2021

Project Advisor(s)

Craig Tobias; Eleanor Ouimet; William Ouimet; Jamie Vaudrey

University Scholar Major

Marine Sciences

Second University Scholar Major



Anthropology | Biogeochemistry | Geology | Geomorphology | Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology | Stratigraphy


This project examines the timing and effect of direct and indirect anthropogenic and natural influences on the marine environment in embayments in southern New England over the past decades to century timescale. We investigated the effects of human land use from colonial through post-industrial times, determined baseline conditions and natural climatic variability, and analyzed the response of marine ecosystems to specific local management actions aimed to improve water quality. A coastal sediment core was taken in Mumford Cove, CT and was analyzed downcore for eutrophication markers (C: N, %C, %N, d15N, d13C) and metals (Hg, Pb, Cu, and Zn). Analyses used include Elemental Analyzer/Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (EA/IRMS) for eutrophication markers, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Mercury Analyzer for metals, and archival research to obtain relevant local histories. Our results suggest major ecosystem shifts that track across all measurements, indicating that sediment geochemistry is able to faithfully record both direct and indirect anthropogenic influences.