New Study Explores Effects of Environmental Change on Hawaiian Macroalgae

In their recent publication in Water Resources Research, Kimberly Burnett, Christopher Wada, and Leah Bremer and their team shed light on the dynamics of Hawai’i’s nearshore groundwater ecosystems, revealing the profound implications of environmental change on native and invasive macroalgae. Titled “Effects of Multiple Drivers of Environmental Change on Native and Invasive Macroalgae in Nearshore Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems,” the study presents a comprehensive analysis of the threats faced by these fragile ecosystems from multiple drivers of change.

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) play a vital role in sustainable groundwater management, yet they are increasingly under threat from multiple environmental drivers. Utilizing a land-sea modeling framework, calibrated with real-world macroalgal experiments, the researchers offer a critical understanding of their vulnerabilities. By quantitatively assessing the impact of climate and land use change on submarine groundwater discharge (SGD), the researchers provide crucial insights into habitat suitability for native macroalgae. Moreover, the findings unveil warnings of potential unintended consequences, as invasive species might exploit alter conditions to their advantage.

We congratulate Dr. Burnett, Dr. Wada, and Dr. Bremer on their latest publication, which demonstrates the importance of considering multiple drivers of environmental change on GDEs. Their invaluable insights inform management strategies that effectively incorporate future human and climate-related impacts.

Okuhata, B. K., et al. “Effects of multiple drivers of environmental change on native and invasive macroalgae in nearshore groundwater dependent ecosystems.” Water Resources Research: e2023WR034593.

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