The Alabama Center for Ecological Resilience (ACER) Consortium came together to investigate how biodiversity influences an ecosystem’s resilience, or its ability to resist and recover from disturbance, specifically the ecosystems of the northern Gulf of Mexico to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ACER is focusing on the coastal ecosystems (marshes, beaches and estuaries) of the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Over the next 3 years, ACER scientists will examine the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem resilience across a gradient of oil exposure. Taxonomic, genetic and functional diversity will be considered at several scales and in many different groups of organisms. Experiments will be conducted both in the field and in large-scale controlled environments. Several ecological processes (primary productivity, nitrogen cycling, predation) as well as aspects of ecosystem structure (density, biomass, biodiversity) will be measured. Ecosystem services, such as shoreline stabilization and the availability of habitat, will also be assessed. Research results will not only allow for an assessment of oil spill impacts, but more generally, may also help to predict the impacts of other types of disturbance.
This week we are sharing the release of our ACER fact sheet series. These fact sheets focus on what is ACER and emerging research from the seven ACER research groups.
Have you ever wondered how they know what the atmosphere on Mars is made of? Did you ever doubt the nutritional information on the packaging of your favorite snack? If so, the tool that you would need to answer these questions is a mass spectrometer. Today’s blog provides a brief introduction to this tool, how they work and how ACER’s researchers are using it.