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Quantifying Transport and Land-use Impacts of Groundwater and Nutrient Loadings to the Coastal Zones of Maui

Principal Investigator: Craig Glenn

Graduate Student: Joseph Kennedy

Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is an important source of new biologically-available nutrients to Hawaiian coastal environments, and high nutrient loading occurs even in areas that are not subject to anthropogenic pollution. Hydrological models show that nearly all groundwater is lost to the ocean as SGD, but we do not know how its magnitude is spatially distributed or controlled. We will test hypotheses that (1) submarine groundwater flow rates are variable and substantial throughout the coastal zones of all Maui, and (2) that nutrient concentrations and flux rates of nutrients and subterranean groundwaters entering the coastal zone vary as a function of the type of land-use beneath/through which they drain. The impact and use of this project's results are highly transferable to any island in the Pacific, and will have immediate and long-term application to the sustainability of Maui's coastal zone.