This CAREER proposal will put into place an academic program that prioritizes the direct integration of science and education. The project is structured around three goals: 1. To provide new insights into the effects of aquatic ecosystem fragmentation through the development of novel approaches to study the population- and community-wide aspects of food web structure, 2. To actively engage students and the public through a series of grassroots tidal creek restoration projects, and to use ecosystem-scale manipulations to integrate hypothesis-driven testing of ecological concepts with hands-on learning experiences, and 3. To provide unique educational opportunities for students and the general public, emphasizing opportunities for minorities underrepresented in scientific fields. This project will incorporate recently proposed stable isotope-based metrics as a tool that may reveal unique insights into an organisms trophic niches, as well as characteristics of the food webs in which they are embedded. In this proposal, the application of these metrics, at both population- and community- levels, is applied in the study of aquatic ecosystem fragmentation. Ecosystem fragmentation is regarded as one of the core causes of global biodiversity loss and the associated erosion of ecosystem function, but most of the research in this area has focused primarily on terrestrial ecosystems. In the Bahamas, fragmentation of tidal creek ecosystems is widespread and can have drastic impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function. With an extremely diverse team of collaborating partners, this proposal outlines an extensive examination of the effects of fragmentation, including application of the new stable isotope-based metrics. The grassroots nature of the project (i.e., local people carry out major parts of the restoration and associated scientific research) provides a unique opportunity for hands-on learning experiences for local citizens and students, in addition to expanding the scope of data to be collected. The end result of this project will be a broader conceptual basis for understanding the effects of aquatic ecosystem fragmentation, as well as a novel set of tools that can be used to test core ecological theory and assess the effects of other anthropogenic impacts.