Kenneth H. Foreman


In Waquoit Bay, permeable reactive barrier intercept and denitrify nitrates in groundwater.

Semester in Environmental Science
Director, Semester in Environmental Science

Tel: 508-289-7348 | Fax: 508-457-1548

Ph.D., Boston University Marine Program, 1989
AB, Stanford University, 1974

Links: Full CV

Research Statement

I am responsible for directing the Semester in Environmental Science (SES), an off-campus program for undergraduates interested in studying and conducting research at the Ecosystems Center. The SES emphasizes biogeochemistry and provides students hands-on training addressing ecosystem scale questions in diverse freshwater, estuarine and forest systems on Cape Cod. One of the major questions explored during the SES program is how land-use change alters nutrient inputs to coastal systems. This dovetails well with my broad research interests in the effects of nutrient loading and eutrophication in the coastal zone.

I am especially interested in shallow bays and estuaries that receive the majority of their nutrient inputs through submarine groundwater discharge. These shallow systems differ from more well studied deep systems like main stem of Chesapeake Bay in that enough light reaches the bottom sediments to sustain significant benthic primary productivity. In nutrient-poor shallow systems, eelgrass communities thrive, but as these systems become eutrophic due to nutrient inputs, macroalgae replace eelgrass , hypoxia becomes more frequent and some desirable species, like scallops, are lost. I have been studying the factors controlling nutrient loading via groundwater and the effects of this loading on total ecosystem metabolism, phytoplankton abundance and production in two estuaries on Cape Cod, Waquoit Bay, and in West Falmouth Harbor. The West Falmouth Harbor research is part of a larger study funded through a NSF Biocomplexity grant that involves collaborators from Cornell and the University of Virginia. I am also co-principal investigator on a project evaluating innovative alternative approaches to remediating nitrogen pollution using a permeable reactive barrier to intercept and denitrify nitrates in groundwater.

Relevant Publications

Thoms, T., A.E. Giblin and K.H. Foreman. 2003. Multiple approaches to tracing nitrogen loss in the West Falmouth Wastewater Plume. Biological Bulletin 205:242-243.

Foreman, K.H., I. Valiela and R. Sardá. 1995. Controls of benthic marine food webs. Scientia Marina 59(Suppl. 1):119-128.

Valiela, I., K.H. Foreman, M. LaMontagne, D. Hersh, J. Costa, C.D. D'Avanzo, M. Babione, Chi-Ho Sham, J. Brawley, P. Peckol, B. DeMeo-Anderson, K. Lajtha. 1991. Coupling of watersheds and coastal waters: Sources and consequences of nutrient enrichment in Waquoit Bay. Estuaries 15:443-457.

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