Scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency laboratory in Newport, Oregon, conduct research to assess the effects of stressors like pollution and climate change on coastal ecosystems, and how that affects public health, the economy and people’s well-being. Located on the Hatfield Marine Science Center campus in Newport, Oregon, our facilities include flowing seawater, large experimental mesocosms, cutting-edge analytical instruments, boats, and hovercraft, all used to support our coastal environmental research.
The videos below provide a glimpse into our coastal environmental research.
Formally, the Newport lab is part of EPA’s Pacific Ecological Systems Division (PESD) in the Office of Research and Development. PESD’s mission is to provide the research to assesses the condition of freshwater, terrestrial, and estuarine ecosystems, and how environmental condition affects beneficial uses of those ecosystems. Our team provides scientific leadership for national and regional-scale ecology and develops the scientific basis for assessing the condition of ecosystems and their response to natural and anthropogenic stresses.
Recent research projects at the EPA Newport facility include:
Identifying the causes and the extent of ocean acidification is key to understanding the types of environmental and human impacts as well as determining what our options are to minimize those impacts. Researchers use instrumentation like this to understand acidification. See the video on Coastal Acidification.
Medicine has really improved with the invention of X-ray, MRI and CT scan technologies. Similarly, technologies for studying geophysics (measuring and analyzing properties below the Earth’s surface) have improved our ability to understand what goes on underground. Researchers use a range of instrumentation to study groundwater contamination, movement of oil through barrier islands, and to learn about salt-water intrusion. See the video on Geophysics.
EPA scientists investigate if changes in seagrasses affect juvenile crabs and fishes. There have been global declines in seagrass, which have ecological impacts, and seagrasses are sensitive to nutrient pollution and increases in water temperature. This research seeks to understand if nutrient pollution harms Dungeness crab and finfish fisheries. Results from projects like this local effort are relevant for estuaries everywhere.
EPA researchers study more than environmental impacts. Studying the benefits people receive from nature helps inform smarter and more sustainable decision-making. This local project, mapping the suitable habitat for valuable seafood, uses the same approaches in estuaries everywhere. See the video on Ecosystem Services.
This early-career researcher is identifying and measuring finfishes captured in a trawl seine net as part of a study on how changes in seagrass abundance affect populations of crabs and fishes in Oregon estuaries. See the video on A Day in the Life.
To understand the global impacts of climate change at the local scale, EPA scientists are studying how salt marshes contribute to the long-term storage of carbon (carbon sequestration) and the reduction of nutrient pollution in estuaries. These researchers are measuring how below-ground microbial processes affect the transformation and movement of nitrogen and carbon in salt marsh soils. See the video on Nutrients and Bacteria.