Environmental Research at MRRI
In the United States, more than 50% of the human population lives within 50 miles of a coastline. The 2009 US Census Bureau estimates that 4.5 million people are living in the state of South Carolina with approximately 26% of the total population living in the eight coastal counties. Population throughout the state increased by 30.8% between 1990 and 2009; however, in the eight coastal counties population increased by 44.1%. A larger human population does not just mean more people. It means more cars, more houses, more roads and highways, more stores, more factories, more of everything that people need and want. It also means less habitat for wildlife including recreationally and commercially important fishery species and potential degradation of the habitat that remains.
In summary, increased population in coastal regions can cause great stress on the environment. Coastal ecosystems can become vulnerable to pollution, habitat degradation and loss, overfishing, invasive species, and increased coastal hazards such as sea-level rise.
It is the mission of the Environmental Research Section of the Marine Resources Research Institute to address important questions regarding human impacts on our state’s coastal resources. It is our goal to provide the citizens of SC with the information necessary to make sound coastal management decisions and to inform policy-makers of the pressing issues facing the coastal environment.
Dr. Denise Sanger
217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, SC 29412