Long Island Sound Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program
E. Connecticut Technical Work Group Discussions
This appendix is presented here to document work and discussions of the CT technical work group, however, it is important to note that not all work group suggestions represented here were incorporated into the bi-state plan. The Connecticut Technical Work Group developed a sentinel definition and list of desired attributes that was modified during discussions with the New York Technical Work Group (see section II of the main body of this document above). The original definition and attributes are as follows:
Definition of sentinel being a measurable variable that is susceptible to some key aspect of climate change and which is being monitored for the appearance of climate change. A sentinel was further defined as having the following attributes:
- sensitive to climate change
- natural variations over time do not cause a signal similar to climate change
- existing stressors are not causing changes (or need to be able to separate changes due to existing stressors and climate change)
- spatial distribution: can be measured at multiple sites or one fixed site
- needs to be feasible to measure (cheaper the better) OR technology can be readily developed to measure
- for habitats: representativeness of a community
- sentinels that are comparable to other areas better
- for species: species at edge of range or habitat limited
- needs to help make management decisions
The following questions were developed:
- What are the current major stressors to LIS?
The list of current stressors that were identified includes: Land Use and Land Use Change (including coastal flooding and erosion), Altered freshwater inflow, Harmful algal blooms, Excess nutrients, Hypoxia, Pathogens, Overfishing, Altered trophic and interaction webs, Invasive species, Toxic substances (e.g., heavy metals), Other existing forms of disturbance (e.g., ice, storm events, fishing gear).
- What changes have been observed in the physical and chemical environment that might influence the ecosystems of LIS and are linked to climate change?
Changes in: air temperature, wind speed and direction, seasonal precipitation, climatology of heavy precipitation events, sea level rise, chemistry of the water column and sediment (e.g., ocean acidification)
- What are the characteristics of LIS biota that determine their resilience or susceptibility to these changes in climate?
- What future changes to biodiversity, including species composition and ecological processes, might be expected in LIS ecosystems if the environment continues to change?
- Do populations of intertidal species change over time?
- Are there shifts in trophic interactions?
- Are there changes in community structure and patterns of diversity?
- How could rates of changes in biodiversity that result from climate change be measured in the short term and monitored over longer terms?
- What research is necessary to reduce uncertainty in LIS projections of future climate change and its impacts?