Identifying and assessing effectiveness of alternative low-effort nitrogen footprint reductions in small research institutions
Giblin, Anne E.
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Concern over the ecological damage of excess nitrogen has brought increased attention to the role of research institutions and universities in contributing to this problem. Institutions often utilize the concept of the ecological 'footprint' to quantify and track nitrogen emissions resulting from their activities and guide plans and commitments to reduce emissions. Often, large-scale changes and commitments to reduce nitrogen footprints are not feasible at small institutions due to monetary and manpower constraints. We partnered with managers in the dining and facilities departments at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), a small research institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to develop five low-effort strategies to address nitrogen emissions at the institution using only resources currently available within those departments. Each proposed strategy achieved emissions reductions in their sector and in the overall nitrogen footprint of the MBL. If all modelled strategies are applied simultaneously, the MBL can achieve a 7.7% decrease in its nitrogen footprint. Managers at MBL considered strategies that required no monetary input most feasible. The intersection of carbon and nitrogen emissions also means the modelled strategies had the co-benefit of reducing the MBL's carbon footprint, strengthening the argument for applying these strategies. This paper may serve as a model for similar institutions looking to reduce the ecological impact of their activities.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Messenger, S., Lloret, J., Galloway, J. N., & Giblin, A. Identifying and assessing effectiveness of alternative low-effort nitrogen footprint reductions in small research institutions. Environmental Research Letters, 16(3), (2021): 035014, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abd9f6.
Suggested CitationMessenger, S., Lloret, J., Galloway, J. N., & Giblin, A. (2021). Identifying and assessing effectiveness of alternative low-effort nitrogen footprint reductions in small research institutions. Environmental Research Letters, 16(3), 035014.
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