The key objective of the research project is:
* To assess the significance of changing inputs of groundwater and the anthropogenic substances it contains for Eastern African nearshore ecosystems.
* To meet the general objective of the project, three more specific objectives will be pursued, which are indicated below together with an outline of the project methodology:
(1) To construct a model of groundwater flow along the Eastern African coast.
(2) To elucidate differences in nearshore community structures and ecosystem functions in relation to groundwater outflow.
(3) To elucidate the importance of groundwater as a vector of anthropogenic inputs into the coastal zone.
The project will contribute to the assessment of the significance of groundwater flow and contamination for tropical nearshore ecosystems, and on the vulnerability of these systems to changes in groundwater outflow. The programme will lead to the definition of a hierarchy in components and functions of the nearshore coastal ecosystems that are most sensitive to groundwater efflux. This information will help to delimit vulnerable coastal areas. The hydrological model developed in the project, moreover, will make it possible to assess the impact of various levels of disturbance on the groundwater flow, thereby improving the perspectives for sound management of the coastal environment.
The key activities envisaged are:
* Existing data on aquifers and the water balance in Eastern African coastal areas and hydrological field data will be collected, with the aim to construct a model of groundwater outflow that will allow a prediction of the response of the hydrological system to anthropogenic disturbances.
* Community structures in nearshore habitats will be studied in relation to different levels of groundwater outflow and quality. The effect of different levels of groundwater outflow on the productivity and population dynamics of some species of outstanding commercial value will also be examined. Sophisticated techniques in the field of population dynamics and analytical chemistry will be applied to detect historical changes in the primary productivity and vitality of seagrass meadows and in chemical characteristics of molluscs and corals in relation to changes in groundwater outflow in recent years.
* Groundwater will be sampled on a seasonal basis and analysed for nutriments, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, PCB's and selected pesticides. Microbial mineralisation, community metabolism and community structures will be investigated in areas receiving pollutant inputs and control areas.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
106 91 Stockholm