Boston Harbour is an important port in United States history. It is a large harbour that constitutes the western extremity of Massachusetts Bay. In the past the harbour was extensively polluted. Since 1970 the water quality in both the Harbor and the Charles River has significantly improved, with clean up projects having dramatically transformed Boston Harbor from one of the filthiest in the nation to one of the cleanest. Today Boston Harbor is safe for fishing and for swimming nearly every day, though there are still beach closings after small rainstorms, caused by bacteria-laden storm water and the occasional combined sewer overflow.
The Coastal Sustainability Institute (CSI) Northeastern University have a major research effort focused on the themes of sustainability and resilience. CSI faculty work worldwide on forecasting social and ecological systems under global climate change, biogeochemical cycling in coastal systems, fisheries science and management, socioeconomic valuation of coastal restoration, and development of decision support tools for the coastal zone management, among other transdisciplinary strengths. Relevant to the WHP they have many experts working on the science and practice of ecological restoration and green infrastructure such as oyster reefs, coral reefs, wetlands, seagrass beds, and mangroves found in proximity to many coastal communities, ports and harbors. CSI develop new networked sensing technology to survey the coastal zone and ports and harbors efficiently as well as big data analytics for the coastal zone with a particular emphasis on genomics as a tool to understand biodiversity and ecosystem performance.
For further information on this partner harbour, please email the primary contact listed in bold below.
Dr. Geoffrey C. Trussell is Professor, Chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Director of the Marine Science Center at the Northeastern University College of Science. He has a M.S. from The University of New Hampshire and a Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary. Prof. Trussell’s research program currently focuses on a number of important issues in evolutionary, community and ecosystem ecology. These interests are being explored in a number of systems including rocky intertidal shores, old fields, and freshwater amphibian communities. Dr Trussell has been dealing with many of the principal issues facing coastal sustainability for some time.
Steven’s research lab focuses on understanding and enhancing the sustainability of coastal ecosystems and societies. We are particularly interested in tackling issues related to resource management, shoreline development, and urbanization. Most of our current projects involve: 1) coastlines as coupled coupled social-ecological systems, 2) participatory conservation and management of ecosystems, and 3) social outcomes of environmental management.
Steven is Northeastern University’s primary point of contact for the World Harbour Project. He is currently an Assistant Professor based at the Social-Ecological Sustainability Lab of Northeastern University, Boston studying complex socio-environmental problems and striving to develop strategies for sustaining both coastal ecosystems and societies. Their interdisciplinary research is problem-and-solution focused, and they routinely collaborate with diverse teams of natural and social scientists, engineers, practitioners, and stakeholders.
Jennifer Bower will work with the Water quality working group of the World Harbour Project. Jennifer is an Associate Professor at Northeastern Unversity. Her work runs the gamut from understanding how human derived nutrients are altering the structure and function of salt marshes to examining whether oyster aquaculture increases the prevalence of both beneficial and harmful microorganisms in the environment. At the broadest levels, I am interested in how human activities are altering the structure and function of microbial communities and in turn how microbial communities can help ameliorate pollution from human sources.
WG: Green Engineering, Education
I direct the Field Robotic Laboratory. For the last decade, our lab has been developing Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), free-swimming robots that survey the bottom and water column in ways superior to previous approaches like towed bodies or lowering an instrument over the side of a ship. I am convinced that AUVs are oceanography’s most important recent technological advance. The FRL has used AUVs to make new discoveries such as coherent structures of lowered oxygen over coral reefs, how krill swarms in the Antarctic appear on high frequency side scan sonar, and how to identify fishes from their side scan sonar images using neural network processing. This last area is poised to become a new tool for fisheries stock surveys. Current initiatives of the ASL include 1) developing a deep-sea autonomous vehicle swarm that can persist on-station for months, and return thousands of miles back to shore with physical samples, using a radical new approach to AUV design, 2) biologically-inspired autonomy whereby behaviors and structures by evolved organisms as diverse as salps, squids, sponges, fishes, marine mammals, and marine reptiles can increase the robust intelligence of AUVs, 3) new software for coordinating AUV swarms (CARNIVORE), and 4) developing methods to thwart the misuse of unmanned systems by terrorists.
WG: Education (Lead), Green Engineering
My research explores the effects of climate and climate change on the physiology and ecology of marine organisms. Specifically, I use thermal engineering techniques, including a combination of field work, remote sensing and mathematical modeling, to explore the ways in which the environment determines the body temperatures of coastal marine animals such as mussels and seastars. Combined with energetics models, this approach provides a quantitative method of mapping patterns of growth, reproduction, and survival in economically and ecologically important coastal species. A major goal of this approach is to inform decision makers with scientifically accurate and useful forecasts.
David Kimbro will work with the WHP’s green engineering working group. David is a Professor at Northeastern University with research interests including a broad range of issues in population dynamics, community ecology, invasion biology, ecosystem science, and coastal oceanography. He pursues these interests to understand why the conditions of important coastal habitats change and to learn how these changes impact services to society.
John Grabowski will work with the WHP’s Multiple Uses and Users working group. John is an Associate Professor at Northeasten University with research interests including a broad range of issues in population dynamics, community ecology, invasion biology, ecosystem science, and coastal oceanography. He pursues these interests to understand why the conditions of important coastal habitats change and to learn how these changes impact services to society.
WG: Green Engineering
My primary research focuses on developing dynamical models to understand how ecological and environmental processes occurring at different scales and levels of organization interact to shape the spatiotemporal distribution of marine species. I am particularly interested in using these models to devise adaptive management strategies such as reserve networks to maximize the productivity and persistence of interconnected coastal ecosystems experiencing environmental change.
WG: Multiple Uses & Users
Prof. Hughes is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of biodiversity within and across species. She focuses on marine and estuarine systems because of the strong experimental tradition in these systems and the important ecosystem services they provide to humans. The incredible productivity of marine ecosystems and our increasing impact and reliance on them makes marine ecology an ideal field for addressing questions of concern to basic and applied science.
WG: Sediment and Water Quality
My lab develops new sensors, instruments, and signal processing strategies to optimize our ability to study, protect, and improve the natural and built environments with a particular focus on studying and protecting coastal and aquatic systems and water resources. We take advantage of interdisciplinary viewpoints and expertise from both science and engineering to tackle important challenges in across sectors (science, remediation, energy, manufacturing) such as: characterizing nutrients in natural systems at high spatial and temporal frequency, enabling next-generation waste water treatment strategies, facilitating online controls for distributed renewable energy systems, and real-time monitoring of outflow water quality. Key tools and methods used in these projects include sensor and instrumentation development, embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, signal processing, machine learning, and closed-loop controls.