Without nitrogen there would be no life’no me, no you, no blue whale, no Atlantic cod, no Antarctic krill. But too much nitrogen leads to a series of negative consequences. Human activities have more than doubled the amount of nitrogen cycling through the biosphere in the past 100 years, and in doing so we have introduced large amounts of nitrogen to coastal waters. This excess nitrogen has led to eutrophication, loss of submerged aquatic vegetation, harmful algal blooms, increased low oxygen conditions and dead zones, fish kills, and loss of biodiversity. Fortunately, we can take steps to mitigate this excess nitrogen and to decrease future inputs to marine waters. Fulweiler will tell the story of how one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century transformed our planet and how each of us can help save our coastal ocean through simple, easily adaptable changes.
BIO: Robinson Fulweiler
Robinson (Wally) Fulweiler’s research is focused on answering fundamental questions about energy flow and biogeochemical cycling of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and silica), carbon, and oxygen in a variety of environments. She is especially interested in how anthropogenic changes affect the ecology and elemental cycling of ecosystems on a variety of scales. She maintains the Boston University Coastal Ecology & Biogeochemistry Lab and has a joint appointment with the Department of Biology.