Rutgers Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences [Dept. of Animal Sciences]

Research and Monitoring

Aerial view of Tuckerton.

JC NERR conducts research on the physical, chemical, and biological components of the site estuaries and neighboring watersheds.



A school of barracuda follows an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) as seen from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone). The AUV team of New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station (NJAES) and Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences (DMCS) staff and faculty was supporting a mission by the Florida Institute of Human and Machine Cognition to map coral reef rehabilitation efforts near Key Largo for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission using overlapping 3-D point clouds generated by an on-board camera. The AUV carries many other sensors and is, in turn, able to track fish implanted with transmitters due to collaborative work between Rutgers NJAES, DMCS, and Computer Engineering partners, NOAA scientists, and private sector engineers. The propelled AUV complements the Rutgers glider AUV and surface vessel fleet and is available in support of science missions throughout the USA.

For more information about the REMUS:

Research Programs at the JC NERR

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Frequently Asked Questions

Scientist's Page: Research Publications

System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP)

The JC NERR currently has five permanent System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) monitoring sites. They include four water-quality monitoring stations (Channel Markers 126 and 139 in Great Bay, Chestnut Neck Marina near the Garden State Parkway overpass, and Lower Bank Bridge) and one
weather-monitoring station at Nacote Creek/Stockton College Marine Field Station. Additionally, nutrient-samples are collected and analyzed monthly at the aforementioned, and other, water-quality locations in the Great Bay-Little Egg Harbor estuary.y.

SWMP data can be accessed, and are available for download, at the Centralized Data Management office website.

Additional meteorological data is collected at a second weather station located at the Rutgers Marine Field Station (RUMFS), which lies within the boundaries of the Reserve.
Map of SWMP monitoring sites.

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Buildout Analysis

Mullica River Buildout Analysis

The Mullica River Watershed is located in the Pinelands ecosystem and currently contains a high percentage of unaltered land. However, due to its close proximity to the Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and New York City metropolitan areas there is great potential for further development. The Mullica River Buildout Analysis was conducted to determine the potential impact of past and future development on water resources. The project has three parts:

  1. identifying past land use;
  2. determining the potential of future development;
  3. using indicators to asses the impacts of the past and potential future development on water demand and urban non-point source pollution.

While there is currently little development in the watershed, our analysis indicates that a substantial portion of the land is available for future development. However, if growth is limited to the designated Pinelands’ growth areas, the impacts to water resources will be minimized.

Map of Buildout Analysis.[ View a PDF of the full report ]


Barnegat Bay Buildout Analysis

In this study, we quantified the amount of development possible at build-out by with the follwoing variables:

  1. number of dwelling units
  2. population
  3. percent of impervious surface cover

The number of dwelling units and population are indicators of residential water demand, while impervious surface is an indicator of non-point source pollution. By understanding the potential changes of these indicators, we can better identify actions needed to protect the resources in Barnegat Bay.

[View a PDF of the full report ]

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Finfish Studies

The Rutgers University Marine Field Station has also been involved in finfish research within the reserve.

Animation of Life Stages of Cyprinodon variegatus.

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