History of Eutrophication

Amanda Spivak, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry


Amanda C. Spivak is an assistant scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department. Her research focuses on coastal sedimentary ecosystems with an emphasis on understanding how human disturbances alter biogeochemical processes, such as carbon cycling. She earned her PhD at the College of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science and joined WHOI's scientific staff in 2011.
Amanda will collect sediment cores from 2 sub-estuaries of the Waquoit Bay system that differ in nitrogen loading. She will analyze the chemical composition of the cores to determine how different levels of nutrient pollution affect sediment biogeochemical properties over time. Results from these analyses will be useful in understanding how the symptoms of eutrophication develop in coastal sediments and in gauging how divergent sediment geochemical properties are between polluted and pristine estuaries. Spivak will use data derived from the cores to apply for future funding from NSF, NOAA, and EPA to investigate how sediments in eutrophic estuaries recover from nutrient pollution and whether it is possible for sediment ecosystems to return to a pre-disturbance state. Because sediments play a key role in nutrient recycling, understanding how benthic processes respond to reduced nitrogen pollution will allow for more accurate predictions of estuarine recovery from prolonged eutrophication.