Graham Sustainability Institute

Developing New Ways to Analyze Reserve Monitoring Data

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Why this work?

The national estuarine research reserves form a network of coastal sites protected for long-term stewardship, research, and education. To support this mission, the reserves conduct long-term monitoring of water quality, weather, coastal habitat, and biological communities using consistent methods. This system-wide  monitoring program has great value to support coastal resource management and research. However, this value has not been fully realized because reserve staffs often lack the time, technical expertise, and computational resources to analyze large, complex data sets.

About this project

This project provided research staff members from the mid-Atlantic reserves with targeted tools, graphical support, and training to facilitate the use of reserve monitoring data. The project team focused on deciphering trends in water quality parameters, which are related to management issues such as storm surge mitigation. Through workshops and the development of statistical applications, this project will increase capacity to distill monitoring data into a format that resource managers can use. The project team will share their approach and project outputs with the larger reserve system, and collectively, these efforts will demonstrate the value of the reserve monitoring program. 

Project Lead and Contact

Dr. Thomas M. Grothues, Rutgers University, Email:

To learn more, view the project fact sheet (PDF).