Habitat Issues


Habitat Quality

In addition to the outright loss of habitat, its quality can be impacted by many factors, including:

  • modification of habitat
  • alteration of habitat linkages
  • nitrogen loading and eutrophication
  • pollution
  • temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and other water quality parameter changes
  • population increases and regional development
  • variation in freshwater discharge

Our understanding of historic, present, and future changes in habitat distribution and habitat quality and the causes of these changes in Mt. Hope Bay is currently poor. Evidence suggests that dramatic changes in habitat distribution and type have occurred over the last century and have accelerated in recent decades. Excessive nutrient loading to MHB has led to eutrophication and the loss of eelgrass habitat. An important focus of the MHBNL is to quantify the distribution of habitat types within MHB, to examine historic trends in their occurrence, and to incorporate habitat effects into the modeling program. Although information on habitat distributions in Narragansett Bay are currently available, summaries specifically for Mt. Hope Bay have not yet been completed.


The School for Marine Science and Technology
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
706 South Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA 02744-1221
(508) 910-8193 • FAX (508) 910-6371
Brian Rothschild, P.I: brothschild@umassd.edu
Changsheng Chen, MHBNL Modeling Program Manager: c1chen@umassd.edu

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