A Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and University of Connecticut Partnership
Long Island Sound Sentinel Monitoring for Climate Change Program

Priorities for Long Term Sentinel Monitoring and Data Gaps

A goal of this strategy is to provide long term sentinel monitoring priorities for climate change in LIS, as well as identify data gaps. Based on individual state results of the survey described in Section VII , the following sentinels were identified by each state work group as high priorities for climate change monitoring. These sentinels ranked high with regard to having a distinguishable climate change signal but have limited data availability and would be better suited to a long term program as opposed to a pilot study.

High priority sentinels identified by NY (scored 3.0 or above on survey with regard to strength of climate change signal, but data availability limited):

  • Ocean acidification
  • Increased incidence of calcinosis in lobster
  • Disease occurrence in lobster
  • Acidification impacts on shellfish and crustaceans
  • Disease occurrence in mollusks (e.g. Eastern oyster, Northern quahog, bay scallops)

High priority sentinels identified by CT (scored 3.0 or above on survey with regard to strength of climate change signal, but data availability limited):

  • Areal extent, diversity, and composition of freshwater tidal and brackish marshes
  • Extent and distribution of habitats associated with coastal embayments, e.g. fringe marsh, shorelines and tidal creeks

Five other sentinels were identified in the survey as priorities. These sentinels have an average rating (by both state work groups) for both strength of climate change signal and data availability greater than or equal to 2.5. However, actual data availability was not considered sufficient by the bi-state work group for inclusion in a pilot program. These sentinels are listed below:

  • Areal extent and distribution of eelgrass
  • Changes in diadromous fish run timing
  • Extent and distribution of sea cliffs/bluffs and escarpments
  • Extent and distribution of unvegetated nearshore (submerged and intertidal) habitats, e.g. mudflats, sandflats, rocky intertidal areas

The eleven sentinels listed above are considered priorities for monitoring beyond the pilot monitoring program, with some having clearly defined data gaps. It is important to note that not only is additional data collection needed for these sentinels, but analysis of existing data is critical in the development of sentinel tools that will lead to predictions of climate change impacts.

These research priorities and data needs are based on survey results and are dependent upon our current understanding.. It is recognized that sentinel monitoring is a dynamic process and that sentinels and their priority status may change as new and additional research efforts are undertaken.

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