Assessing The Vulnerability Of Coastal Aquatic Ecosystem Stability And Structure After Hurricane Passage
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Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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The primary objective of this research was to develop a framework of metrics for quantification and comparison of the ecological effects from hurricanes in coastal ecosystems. Many commercially important fishery species inhabit marine ecosystems that are exposed to risk from hurricane events. Understanding how the effects of hurricanes on biological production in coastal ecosystems are important for forecasting potential impacts to fishery resources. It is hypothesized that ecosystem stability and structure will display different levels of vulnerability to the passage of hurricanes with similar wind and precipitation. Through the use of numerical simulations, changes to biological production are examined relative to presumed changes in environmental factors caused by hurricane winds and precipitation. The results of these simulations are compared to observations in the literature. Vulnerability of ecosystems to hurricanes and the utility of numerical simulations as a resource management strategy are discussed.