The Center investigates scientific processes related to societal problems arising in coastal and marine environments, including natural hazards, resources, and environmental change. Increased understanding of these topics will provide the basis for:
- predicting future coastal erosion,
- the fate of wetlands and coral reefs,
- accumulation of sediments,
- sediment transport and stability,
- movement of pollution through aqueous environments,
- and the locations of economically valuable minerals.
Pursuing effective studies Earth science requires a multidisciplinary approach and a broad range of expertise. Consequently, the USGS has designated the Center for Coastal and Regional Marine Studies as a center for integrated science. The scientific staff has grown from a core group of geologists to include biologists, hydrologists, remote sensing specialists, biogeochemists, microbiologists, coral reef experts, fish ecologists, and more.
Critical wetlands along the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. coast will be investigated cooperatively with the USGS Biological Resources Division, NOAA, the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service, and state agencies.
The investigation is determining change over historical time in these regions, identifying the significance of change over the past 20 years when detailed satellite imagery is available, and matching these changes to known factors such as sea level change, sedimentation, and human impacts. A landscape evolution model will be applied to evaluate existing studies and understanding of critical processes for assessing change and vulnerability of coastal environments with development and projected rises in sea level.