For immediate release
July 31, 2020

Statewide research seeks to address critical aquatic ecosystem and watershed challenges

(HARRISBURG, PA) –The Pennsylvania Sea Grant College Program is pleased to announce $1.4 million in funding for aquatic and watershed-related research in Pennsylvania. The investment supports seven statewide research projects led by six academic institutions and one natural resource agency, investigating critical issues such as parasitic impacts on Brook and Rainbow trout, coastal resilience, plastic pollution, and stormwater.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant conducts and supports scientific research that promotes the ecological and economic sustainability of Pennsylvania’s coastal and watershed resources. Funding for current research projects is provided by the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Penn State University, and matching funds from participating investigators institutions.

Since 2012, Pennsylvania Sea Grant has invested $3.9 million to support 62 research projects conducted by 23 organizations. This science-based research has the potential to yield solution-based results to assist decision makers, address pressing coastal and watershed issues, and develop or update statewide water quality and coastal management strategies.

“Pennsylvania Sea Grant’s competitive research program supports scientific research to expand our understanding of aquatic ecosystems, coastlines, and watersheds, which are all identified as priority concerns for the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Sean Rafferty, Research Director for Pennsylvania Sea Grant. “The growth of Pennsylvania Sea Grant’s research program, and the quality of research occurring in Pennsylvania have the potential to yield solution-based results that contribute to enhanced water quality and natural resource management strategies in Pennsylvania.”

Through the current biennial research competition, Pennsylvania Sea Grant is providing funding to researchers affiliated with Penn State University, Penn State Hazleton, Temple University, Villanova University, Gannon University, Bryn Mawr College, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

The research will take place 2020 through 2022, and include:

• Evaluating the effects of the recently discovered non-native, parasitic copepods Salmincola edwardsii and S. californiensis on Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout, respectively in Pennsylvania inland streams and Lake Erie tributaries;
• Quantifying urban litter contribution to plastic pollution and assessing best mitigation practice;
• Evaluating the comprehensive impacts of urbanization and restoration on stream processes;
• Stormwater nitrogen management – evaluating the intersection between stormwater management practice design, nitrogen speciation, and performance;
• A paradigm shift: re-evaluating Phragmites and Phragmites management in terms of coastal resilience;
• Diet composition of invasive Flathead Catfish in the Susquehanna River Basin: quantifying impacts on native and migratory fishes and recreational fisheries; and
• Quantifying the roles of changing watershed conditions and biotic interactions in structuring Pennsylvania stream fish communities.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant is one of 34 Sea Grant Programs, administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more-than 50 Years, the National Sea Grant College Program has promoted the ecological and economic sustainability of coastal and Great Lakes resources through the development of science-based research, education, and extension programs.

For more information about Pennsylvania Sea Grant programs and research, visit

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Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011