Featured Scientist: Robert Max Holmes, Ph.D. Senior Scientist
Project: Global Rivers Observatory
Scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center have joined with colleagues from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, and collaborators around the world to launch the Global Rivers Project, which investigates river chemistry and land-ocean linkages in a growing number of globally significant river systems (see map below). Since river water chemistry is a function of processes occurring in the river’s watershed, changes on land lead to changes in river chemistry. Thus, much as human health can be evaluated by analyzing blood chemistry, so too can watershed health be assessed by monitoring river water chemistry. Because river inputs to the ocean impact ocean processes, changes on land are also altering the marine environment. Funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Harbourton Foundation, and private donors, this effort is measuring concentrations of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other naturally occurring compounds in the rivers near their mouths where they empty into the ocean. The resulting data are allowing improved understanding of how climate change, land use change, and other disturbances are impacting the functioning of the earth.
Video: Produced by Research Associate Kathleen Savage.
Images: Map developed by WHRC’s Greg Fiske; Scientist photo courtesy of Chris Linder. Composite design by Development Solutions of New England (DSNE).