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Application of Computer-Aided Tomography Technology (CTT)
Tuesday, September 03, 2019, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
Category: CERF Events & Webinars

Application of Computer-Aided Tomography Technology (CTT)

A powerful tool for the investigation of the below-ground structure, function, and condition of Marine Benthic and Salt Marsh Communities and response to anthropogenic impacts.

About the webinar

Computer-aided tomography (CT) medical technology is usually used to image the internal structures of humans; however, since this same technology was applied to image environmental samples, this specific application will be differentiated with the abbreviation CTT.

The first CTT project was started approximately 25 years ago, which investigated the potential below-ground benthic community response to the pollution gradient (metals, sewage, etc.) in Narragansett Bay. Two CTT parameters were found that correlated inversely with the pollution gradient: the benthic tube area and the wet bulk density of sediments. Both these parameters were found to increase with distance from Providence (the pollution source) to the mouth of Narraganset Bay (pristine seawater input) (Perez, 1999). Next, CTT was applied to Swedish fjords and found that benthic communities closer to the coast were more impacted than fjords further offshore (Rosenberg et. al., 2007). This investigation also proved that CTT could be applied anywhere else in the world that has medical CT scanners available for these projects.

It was almost 5 years later before the first CTT salt marsh investigation was published because it took that long to verify CTT results were comparable to standard wetland techniques and could work for both organic and mineral-dominated marshes (Davey et. al., 2011). Also, this CTT project established and quantified in field experimental plots in South Carolina that excess nitrates not only stimulated the below-ground biomass of Spartina alterniflora but these plants also produced larger diameter rhizomes than the controls. Similar, but more extreme plant effects were found in Jamaica Bay, New York, which was massively impacted by anthropogenic nutrient nitrogen inputs. Since this last publication, CTT has been applied to a number of salt marsh projects that are listed in the references below.

In this webinar, a few of these projects will be discussed to demonstrate how CTT can investigate below-ground marine benthic and salt marsh communities and contribute to the potential solution of environmental problems. Also for any of you who might be interested in applying CTT to your own research projects, a brief discussion will be presented about how CTT is accomplished and potential costs to do this type of research.


Watch the Recording

This webinar has passed. If you are a member of CERF, you can access this past webinar in our Webinar Library.

 About Dr. Earl Davey

Dr. Earl Davey

Earl Davey joined the precursor to the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a Research Aquatic Biologist in 1967. He later received a Ph.D. from Oregon State University (1970) in Biological Oceanography. His early research interests were the analysis of trace metals in seawater and their effects on marine phytoplankton. Also, the fate and effects of various anthropogenic organic compounds, such as kepone in marine microcosms. These microcosm investigations inspired the idea to apply Computer-aided Tomography Technology (CTT) to view and quantify the benthic component of these systems. Eventually, this concept was used to produce the first CTT publication followed by 25 years of research on the development and application of CTT to below-ground marine benthic and salt marsh communities.