Science.gov

Sample records for muhl coastal marshes

  1. Defining restoration targets for water depth and salinity in wind-dominated Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. coastal marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nyman, J. A.; La Peyre, M. K.; Caldwell, A.; Piazza, S.; Thom, C.; Winslow, C.

    2009-10-01

    SummaryCoastal wetlands provide valued ecosystem functions but the sustainability of those functions often is threatened by artificial hydrologic conditions. It is widely recognized that increased flooding and salinity can stress emergent plants, but there are few measurements to guide restoration, management, and mitigation. Marsh flooding can be estimated over large areas with few data where winds have little effect on water levels, but quantifying flooding requires hourly measurements over long time periods where tides are wind-dominated such as the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estimating salinity of flood water requires direct daily measurements because coastal marshes are characterized by dynamic salinity gradients. We analyzed 399,772 hourly observations of water depth and 521,561 hourly observations of water salinity from 14 sites in Louisiana coastal marshes dominated by Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. Unlike predicted water levels, observed water levels varied monthly and annually. We attributed those observed variations to variations in river runoff and winds. In stable marshes with slow wetland loss rates, we found that marsh elevation averaged 1 cm above mean high water, 15 cm above mean water, and 32 cm above mean low water levels. Water salinity averaged 3.7 ppt during April, May, and June, and 5.4 ppt during July, August, and September. The daily, seasonal, and annual variation in water levels and salinity that were evident would support the contention that such variation be retained when designing and operating coastal wetland management and restoration projects. Our findings might be of interest to scientists, engineers, and managers involved in restoration, management, and restoration in other regions where S. patens or similar species are common but local data are unavailable.

  2. Defining restoration targets for water depth and salinity in wind-dominated Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. coastal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nyman, J.A.; La Peyre, M.K.; Caldwell, A.; Piazza, S.; Thom, C.; Winslow, C.

    2009-01-01

    Coastal wetlands provide valued ecosystem functions but the sustainability of those functions often is threatened by artificial hydrologic conditions. It is widely recognized that increased flooding and salinity can stress emergent plants, but there are few measurements to guide restoration, management, and mitigation. Marsh flooding can be estimated over large areas with few data where winds have little effect on water levels, but quantifying flooding requires hourly measurements over long time periods where tides are wind-dominated such as the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estimating salinity of flood water requires direct daily measurements because coastal marshes are characterized by dynamic salinity gradients. We analyzed 399,772 hourly observations of water depth and 521,561 hourly observations of water salinity from 14 sites in Louisiana coastal marshes dominated by Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. Unlike predicted water levels, observed water levels varied monthly and annually. We attributed those observed variations to variations in river runoff and winds. In stable marshes with slow wetland loss rates, we found that marsh elevation averaged 1 cm above mean high water, 15 cm above mean water, and 32 cm above mean low water levels. Water salinity averaged 3.7 ppt during April, May, and June, and 5.4 ppt during July, August, and September. The daily, seasonal, and annual variation in water levels and salinity that were evident would support the contention that such variation be retained when designing and operating coastal wetland management and restoration projects. Our findings might be of interest to scientists, engineers, and managers involved in restoration, management, and restoration in other regions where S. patens or similar species are common but local data are unavailable. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.

  3. Defining restoration targets for water depth and salinity in wind-dominated Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. coastal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nyman, J.A.; LaPeyre, Megan K.; Caldwell, Andral W.; Piazza, Sarai C.; Thom, C.; Winslow, C.

    2009-01-01

    Coastal wetlands provide valued ecosystem functions but the sustainability of those functions often is threatened by artificial hydrologic conditions. It is widely recognized that increased flooding and salinity can stress emergent plants, but there are few measurements to guide restoration, management, and mitigation. Marsh flooding can be estimated over large areas with few data where winds have little effect on water levels, but quantifying flooding requires hourly measurements over long time periods where tides are wind-dominated such as the northern Gulf of Mexico. Estimating salinity of flood water requires direct daily measurements because coastal marshes are characterized by dynamic salinity gradients. We analyzed 399,772 hourly observations of water depth and 521,561 hourly observations of water salinity from 14 sites in Louisiana coastal marshes dominated by Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. Unlike predicted water levels, observed water levels varied monthly and annually. We attributed those observed variations to variations in river runoff and winds. In stable marshes with slow wetland loss rates, we found that marsh elevation averaged 1 cm above mean high water, 15 cm above mean water, and 32 cm above mean low water levels. Water salinity averaged 3.7 ppt during April, May, and June, and 5.4 ppt during July, August, and September. The daily, seasonal, and annual variation in water levels and salinity that were evident would support the contention that such variation be retained when designing and operating coastal wetland management and restoration projects. Our findings might be of interest to scientists, engineers, and managers involved in restoration, management, and restoration in other regions where S. patens or similar species are common but local data are unavailable.

  4. EFFECT OF NUTRIENT LOADING ON BIOGEOCHEMICAL AND MICROBIAL PROCESSES IN A NEW ENGLAND HIGH SALT MARSH, SPARTINA PATNES, (AITON MUHL)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal marshes represent an important transitional zone between uplands and estuaries and can assimilate nutrient inputs from uplands. We examined the effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) fertilization on biogeochemical and microbial processes during the summer growing sea...

  5. Impacts of marsh management on coastal-marsh bird habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mitchell, L.R.; Gabrey, S.; Marra, P.P.; Erwin, R.M.; ,

    2006-01-01

    The effects of habitat-management practices in coastal marshes have been poorly evaluated. We summarize the extant literature concerning whether these manipulations achieve their goals and the effects of these manipulations on target (i.e., waterfowl and waterfowl food plants) and non-target organisms (particularly coastal-marsh endemics). Although we focus on the effects of marsh management on birds, we also summarize the scant literature concerning the impacts of marsh manipulations on wildlife such as small mammals and invertebrates. We address three common forms of anthropogenic marsh disturbance: prescribed fire, structural marsh management, and open-marsh water management. We also address marsh perturbations by native and introduced vertebrates.

  6. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bartlett, K. B.; Harriss, R. C.; Sebacher, D. I.

    1985-06-01

    It is thought that biological methanogenesis in natural and agricultural wetlands and enteric fermentation in animals are the dominant sources of global tropospheric methane. It is pointed out that the anaerobic soils and sediments, where methanogenesis occurs, predominate in coastal marine wetlands. Coastal marine wetlands are generally believed to be approximately equal in area to freshwater wetlands. For this reason, coastal marine wetlands may be a globally significant source of atmospheric methane. The present investigation is concerned with the results of a study of direct measurements of methane fluxes to the atmosphere from salt marsh soils and of indirect determinations of fluxes from tidal creek waters. In addition, measurements of methane distributions in coastal marine wetland sediments and water are presented. The results of the investigation suggest that marine wetlands provide only a minor contribution to atmospheric methane on a global scale.

  7. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bartlett, K. B.; Harriss, R. C.; Sebacher, D. I.

    1985-01-01

    It is thought that biological methanogenesis in natural and agricultural wetlands and enteric fermentation in animals are the dominant sources of global tropospheric methane. It is pointed out that the anaerobic soils and sediments, where methanogenesis occurs, predominate in coastal marine wetlands. Coastal marine wetlands are generally believed to be approximately equal in area to freshwater wetlands. For this reason, coastal marine wetlands may be a globally significant source of atmospheric methane. The present investigation is concerned with the results of a study of direct measurements of methane fluxes to the atmosphere from salt marsh soils and of indirect determinations of fluxes from tidal creek waters. In addition, measurements of methane distributions in coastal marine wetland sediments and water are presented. The results of the investigation suggest that marine wetlands provide only a minor contribution to atmospheric methane on a global scale.

  8. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Bartlett, K.B.; Harriss, R.C.; Sebacher, D.I.

    1985-06-20

    The seasonal flux of methane to the atmosphere from salt marsh soils was examined in three different vegetation zones within a single marsh near Yorktown, Virginia. A total of 100 measurements were made over a 2-year period, with maximum rates occurring during summer and fall. Spatial and temporal variability in fluxes was high; rates ranged from -2.4 to 21.3 x 10/sup -3/ g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2//d. Estimates of annual methane losses to the atmosphere were 0.43 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for a salt meadow zone, 1.3 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for short Spartina alterniflora, and 1.2 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for tall creek-bank S. alterniflora. A total of 63 flux measurements, made in a variety of other coastal salt marshes along the east coast of the US, suggest that the Virginia site may be fairly typical for this region. In addition to diffusional losses across the air-soil interface, methane can be lost from the marsh system to the atmosphere through the lateral movement of pore waters supersaturated with methane into tidal creeks, with subsequent degassing across the water-air interface. Estimates of the magnitude of methane input to the atmosphere by this mechanism indicate it may be as important as diffusional losses across the air-soil interface. These data suggest that salt marshes of this type make only a minor contribution to global atmospheric methane.

  9. Coastal eutrophication as a driver of salt marsh loss.

    PubMed

    Deegan, Linda A; Johnson, David Samuel; Warren, R Scott; Peterson, Bruce J; Fleeger, John W; Fagherazzi, Sergio; Wollheim, Wilfred M

    2012-10-18

    Salt marshes are highly productive coastal wetlands that provide important ecosystem services such as storm protection for coastal cities, nutrient removal and carbon sequestration. Despite protective measures, however, worldwide losses of these ecosystems have accelerated in recent decades. Here we present data from a nine-year whole-ecosystem nutrient-enrichment experiment. Our study demonstrates that nutrient enrichment, a global problem for coastal ecosystems, can be a driver of salt marsh loss. We show that nutrient levels commonly associated with coastal eutrophication increased above-ground leaf biomass, decreased the dense, below-ground biomass of bank-stabilizing roots, and increased microbial decomposition of organic matter. Alterations in these key ecosystem properties reduced geomorphic stability, resulting in creek-bank collapse with significant areas of creek-bank marsh converted to unvegetated mud. This pattern of marsh loss parallels observations for anthropogenically nutrient-enriched marshes worldwide, with creek-edge and bay-edge marsh evolving into mudflats and wider creeks. Our work suggests that current nutrient loading rates to many coastal ecosystems have overwhelmed the capacity of marshes to remove nitrogen without deleterious effects. Projected increases in nitrogen flux to the coast, related to increased fertilizer use required to feed an expanding human population, may rapidly result in a coastal landscape with less marsh, which would reduce the capacity of coastal regions to provide important ecological and economic services. PMID:23075989

  10. Storminess helps coastal marshes withstand sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balcerak, Ernie

    2013-03-01

    Rising sea levels are predicted to threaten many coastal sea marshes around the world in the coming decades as the Earth's climate warms. In addition to accelerating sea level rise, global climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and severity of storms in many places around the world. However, few studies have taken into account how an increased storminess might affect the ability of coastal marshes to withstand sea level rise.

  11. Coastal zone development: Mitigation, marsh creation, and decision-making

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Race, Margaret Seluk; Christie, Donna R.

    1982-07-01

    Marsh creation is currently receiving wide attention in the United States as an important tool for mitigating the impacts of development in coastal wetlands. The perception that there is no net loss in valuable coastal wetlands when development is mitigated by the creation of man-made marshes can have a substantial impact on the permitting and decision-making processes. The effective result may be the trading of natural salt marshes for man-made marshes. Techniques for marsh creation were developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to enhance and stabilize dredge spoil materials. Most research sponsored by the Corps has been directed at determining whether these goals have been accomplished. A survey of the research indicates that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that man-made marshes function like natural salt marshes or provide the important values of natural marshes. It is necessary, therefore, for decision-makers to understand the limitations of present knowledge about man-made marshes, realistically evaluate the trade-offs involved, and relegate mitigation to its proper role in the permitting process—post facto conditions imposed on developments that clearly meet state qualifications and policies.

  12. Spatial response of coastal marshes to increased atmospheric CO2.

    PubMed

    Ratliff, Katherine M; Braswell, Anna E; Marani, Marco

    2015-12-22

    The elevation and extent of coastal marshes are dictated by the interplay between the rate of relative sea-level rise (RRSLR), surface accretion by inorganic sediment deposition, and organic soil production by plants. These accretion processes respond to changes in local and global forcings, such as sediment delivery to the coast, nutrient concentrations, and atmospheric CO2, but their relative importance for marsh resilience to increasing RRSLR remains unclear. In particular, marshes up-take atmospheric CO2 at high rates, thereby playing a major role in the global carbon cycle, but the morphologic expression of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, an imminent aspect of climate change, has not yet been isolated and quantified. Using the available observational literature and a spatially explicit ecomorphodynamic model, we explore marsh responses to increased atmospheric CO2, relative to changes in inorganic sediment availability and elevated nitrogen levels. We find that marsh vegetation response to foreseen elevated atmospheric CO2 is similar in magnitude to the response induced by a varying inorganic sediment concentration, and that it increases the threshold RRSLR initiating marsh submergence by up to 60% in the range of forcings explored. Furthermore, we find that marsh responses are inherently spatially dependent, and cannot be adequately captured through 0-dimensional representations of marsh dynamics. Our results imply that coastal marshes, and the major carbon sink they represent, are significantly more resilient to foreseen climatic changes than previously thought.

  13. Spatial response of coastal marshes to increased atmospheric CO2

    PubMed Central

    Ratliff, Katherine M.; Braswell, Anna E.; Marani, Marco

    2015-01-01

    The elevation and extent of coastal marshes are dictated by the interplay between the rate of relative sea-level rise (RRSLR), surface accretion by inorganic sediment deposition, and organic soil production by plants. These accretion processes respond to changes in local and global forcings, such as sediment delivery to the coast, nutrient concentrations, and atmospheric CO2, but their relative importance for marsh resilience to increasing RRSLR remains unclear. In particular, marshes up-take atmospheric CO2 at high rates, thereby playing a major role in the global carbon cycle, but the morphologic expression of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, an imminent aspect of climate change, has not yet been isolated and quantified. Using the available observational literature and a spatially explicit ecomorphodynamic model, we explore marsh responses to increased atmospheric CO2, relative to changes in inorganic sediment availability and elevated nitrogen levels. We find that marsh vegetation response to foreseen elevated atmospheric CO2 is similar in magnitude to the response induced by a varying inorganic sediment concentration, and that it increases the threshold RRSLR initiating marsh submergence by up to 60% in the range of forcings explored. Furthermore, we find that marsh responses are inherently spatially dependent, and cannot be adequately captured through 0-dimensional representations of marsh dynamics. Our results imply that coastal marshes, and the major carbon sink they represent, are significantly more resilient to foreseen climatic changes than previously thought. PMID:26644577

  14. Spatial response of coastal marshes to increased atmospheric CO2.

    PubMed

    Ratliff, Katherine M; Braswell, Anna E; Marani, Marco

    2015-12-22

    The elevation and extent of coastal marshes are dictated by the interplay between the rate of relative sea-level rise (RRSLR), surface accretion by inorganic sediment deposition, and organic soil production by plants. These accretion processes respond to changes in local and global forcings, such as sediment delivery to the coast, nutrient concentrations, and atmospheric CO2, but their relative importance for marsh resilience to increasing RRSLR remains unclear. In particular, marshes up-take atmospheric CO2 at high rates, thereby playing a major role in the global carbon cycle, but the morphologic expression of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, an imminent aspect of climate change, has not yet been isolated and quantified. Using the available observational literature and a spatially explicit ecomorphodynamic model, we explore marsh responses to increased atmospheric CO2, relative to changes in inorganic sediment availability and elevated nitrogen levels. We find that marsh vegetation response to foreseen elevated atmospheric CO2 is similar in magnitude to the response induced by a varying inorganic sediment concentration, and that it increases the threshold RRSLR initiating marsh submergence by up to 60% in the range of forcings explored. Furthermore, we find that marsh responses are inherently spatially dependent, and cannot be adequately captured through 0-dimensional representations of marsh dynamics. Our results imply that coastal marshes, and the major carbon sink they represent, are significantly more resilient to foreseen climatic changes than previously thought. PMID:26644577

  15. Recent Advances in Studies of Coastal Marsh Sedimentation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pasternack, G. B.; Leonard, L. A.

    2001-05-01

    Limited understanding of sedimentation processes in coastal marshes is a key constraint on the management of environmental impacts associated with sea level rise, degrading quality and quantity of aquatic habitats, and downstream impacts of watershed land use. The problem is exacerbated by complex interactions among physical, ecological, and chemical variables that impact sedimentation over a large range of spatio-temporal scales. These challenges are being met by increasingly sophisticated approaches which cross-fertilize from other disciplines or go even further to integrate multidisciplinary perspectives. One example of the former has been improved precision of fine scale measurements of fluid mechanics and sediment transport over marsh plains and application of those measurements in geomorphologic and coastal engineering models. This advancement has improved our understanding of marsh dynamics at a mechanistic level, which is key for improving the predictive capabilities of wetland models. An example of a multidisciplinary approach that has become very common is the combined usage of multiple monitoring, isotopic, and palynological methods for estimating sedimentation and erosion at a site over a range of time scales. By applying such combinations, it has been possible to piece apart the relative roles of natural processes such as sea level rise and storms from human impacts such as flow constrictions, channel dredging, and sediment supply changes. Beyond improving approaches used to study marshes, past work has led to new questions about marsh morphodynamics and how coastal marshes interact with upland watersheds. With the aid of chaos theory, some recent studies have asserted that coastal marsh channels are fractal and thus must follow universal laws in common with watershed drainages and other dendritic systems. Also, where marshes exist among a mosaic of habitats on a delta, research has revealed the relative roles of watershed versus coastal processes in

  16. Hydrology of Fritchie Marsh, coastal Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kuniansky, E.L.

    1985-01-01

    Fritchie Marsh, near Slidell, Louisiana, is being considered as a disposal site for sewage effluent. A two-dimensional, finite element, surface water modeling systems was used to solve the shallow water equations for flow. Factors affecting flow patterns are channel locations, inlets, outlets, islands, marsh vegetation, marsh geometry, stage of the West Pearl River, flooding over the lower Pearl River basin, gravity tides, wind-induced currents, and sewage discharge to the marsh. Four steady-state simulations were performed for two hydrologic events at two rates of sewage discharge. The events, near tide with no wind or rain and neap tide with a tide differential across the marsh, were selected as worst-case events for sewage effluent dispersion and were assumed as steady state events. Because inflows and outflows to the marsh are tidally affected, steady state simulations cannot fully define the hydraulic characteristics of the marsh for all hydrologic events. Model results and field data indicate that, during near tide with little or no rain, large parts of the marsh are stagnant; and sewage effluent, at existing and projected flows, has minimal effect on marsh flows. (USGS)

  17. Ecology of delta marshes of coastal Louisiana: a community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Gosselink, J.G.

    1984-05-01

    This report reviews and synthesizes ecological information and data on the extensive marshes of the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. Over the past 6000 years the river has built a delta onto the Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico covering about 23,900 km/sup 2/. This low land is primarily marshes and represents about 22% of the total coastal wetland area of the 48 conterminous United States. The delta is notable for its high primary productivity, its valuable fishery and fur industry, and the recreational fishing and hunting it supports. The Mississippi River delta marshes are subject to the unique problem of extremely rapid marsh degradation due to a complex mixture of natural processes and human activities that include worldwide sea-level rise; subsidence; navigation and extractive industry canal dredging; flood control measures that channel the river; and pollution from domestic sewage, exotic organic chemicals, and heavy metals. 262 references, 75 figures, 34 tables.

  18. Assessing the sedimentation deficit problem in Louisiana's coastal salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Reed, D.J.

    1990-09-01

    The imbalance between relative sea-level rise and vertical marsh accretion is frequently cited as a major factor in the problem of wetland loss in coastal Louisiana. Relative sea-level rise rates are high, compared to the rest of the Gulf coast, owing to subsidence of Holocene Mississippi deltaic plain sediments, and although marsh accretion rates are also high, in comparison with other coastal areas of the US, they are usually insufficient to maintain the relative elevation of the marsh surface. This situation is commonly referred to as a sedimentation deficit. One of the problems with evaluating the magnitude of the sedimentation deficit problem in Louisiana, and its spatial variation, is that measurements of subsidence and marsh accretion or sedimentation are rarely made on similar time scales. Subsidence affecting the marsh surface is composed of a number of factors, including compaction of recently deposited sediments, regional downwarping, and diagenesis of underlying Pleistocene and earlier sediments. The total effect of these factors, in combination with eustatic sea-level rise, is frequently obtained from tide gauge measurements over the last 50 years or so. Subsidence is also measured by dating sedimentary horizons of known depth that characterize surface environments. Carbon-14 is a common tool for this type of study and subsidence is then averaged over periods of up to several thousand years. In comparison, marsh accretion or sediment deposition can be measured over periods from several hundred years, using Lead-210 dating, to several days, using marsh surface sediment traps. The many techniques available for measuring the sedimentary status of the marsh surface can provide a variety of information concerning the processes responsible for sediment deposition and vertical accretion.

  19. Salt marshes: An important coastal sink for dissolved uranium

    SciTech Connect

    Church, T.M.; Sarin, M.M.; Fleisher, M.Q.; Ferdelman, T.G.

    1996-10-01

    The global budget for marine uranium demands another geochemical sink other than deep-sea systems, and the coastal environment may host some or all of this missing sink. In a previous paper, we have shown that some large subtidal estuaries are seasonal summer sinks at low salinities. In this paper, we show that intertidal salt marshes are even stronger sinks at all salinities, if for somewhat different reasons. Uranium was sampled in dissolved and particulate fractions over several tidal cycles and seasons for a lower Delaware Bay salt marsh (Canary Creek, Lewes, Delaware, USA), and uniquely, during summer months, the dissolved uranium is nonconservative. Moreover, because uranium extraction is greater on higher tides and occurs over the entire salinity gradient, this processing appears associated with surface of vegetated high marsh, We hypothesize that either (1) uranium scavenging occurs during the process of tidal mixing and attendant flocculation of humic acids and iron oxides-favoring this process is the presence of sulfonate complexes in salt marsh humic substances, and iron coprecipitation during its extensive redox cycling in the salt marsh-or (2) uranium extraction occurs at the marsh surface during extensive flooding of the salt marsh surface sediments-favoring this process is the increase in sulfuric acidity at the summer salt marsh surface that could destabilize the tetracarbonate species of U(VI). The latter option is favored by both field observations of maximum removal at the surface during the spring and summer tide conditions, and selective extraction of sediment phases where uranium is found as adsorbed and complexed forms in the ascorbate-citrate and humic acid fractions, respectively. Mass balance calculations show that under steady-state conditions, nearly two-thirds of the uranium extracted from tidal waters is retained in the sediments, while one-third is exported as U-enriched particles during ebbing tides. 41 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs.

  20. Coastal Marsh Monitoring for Persistent Saltwater Intrusion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hall, Callie M.

    2008-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews NASA's work on the project that supports the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Governors Action Plan to monitor the coastal wetlands for saltwater intrusion. The action items that relate to the task are: (1) Obtain information on projected relative sea level rise, subsidence, and storm vulnerability to help prioritize conservation projects, including restoration, enhancement, and acquisition, and (2) Develop and apply ecosystem models to forecast the habitat structure and succession following hurricane disturbance and changes in ecological functions and services that impact vital socio-economic aspects of coastal systems. The objectives of the program are to provide resource managers with remote sensing products that support ecosystem forecasting models requiring salinity and inundation data. Specifically, the proposed work supports the habitat-switching modules in the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration (CLEAR) model, which provides scientific evaluation for restoration management.

  1. Oil Detection in a Coastal Marsh with Polarimetric SAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramsey, E.; Rangoonwala, A.; Suzuoki, Y.; Bannister, T.

    2011-12-01

    The NASA UAVSAR was deployed June 2010 to support Deep Water Horizon oil spill response activities expressly, oil characterization, oil detection in wetlands, and coastal resource impact detection and recovery. The UAVSAR demonstrated enhanced capability to act rapidly and provide targeted mapping responses. Our research focused on the effectiveness of high spatial resolution and fully polarimetric L-band SAR for mapping oil in wetlands, specifically within Barataria Bay in eastern coastal Louisiana (Fig.). The Bay contained numerous site observations confirming spatially extensive shoreline oil impacts, multiple UAVSAR collections, and a near anniversary 2009 collection. PolSAR oil detection relied on decomposition and subsequent classifications of the single look complex (SLC) scenes. Initial analyses results found that shoreline marsh structural damage accompanied by oil occurrence were exhibited as anomalous features on post-spill SLC flightlines but were not evident on the pre-spill SLC flightline collected in 2009. Pre-spill and post-spill Freeman-Durden (FD) and Cloude-Pottier (CP) decompositions and Wishart classifications seeded with the FD and CP classes (Wishart-FD, Wishart-CP)also highlighted these nearshore features as a change in dominate scatter. In addition, all decompositions and classifications identify a class of interior marshes within the central core of the study region that reproduce spatially extensive changes in backscatter exhibited on the pre-spill and post-spill SLC image comparisons and on all post-spill SLC images. The FD and CP decompositions revealed that the change is associated with a transform of dominant scatter from primarily surface or volume to double or even bounce. As a preponderance of evidence supports the penetration of oil-polluted waters into interior marshes, it is reasonable that marshes exhibiting different backscatter in the pre-spill and post-spill SLC renditions, identify interior marshes exposed to flushing

  2. Structural marsh management effects on coastal fishes and crustaceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, Donna R.; Rogers, Barton D.; Herke, William H.

    1994-05-01

    Structural marsh management, using levees and water-control structures, is used in the coastal zone for many objectives, for example, to reduce marsh loss, to enhance waterfowl habitat, to revegetate open-water areas, and to reduce saltwater intrusion. The literature was evaluated to categorize structural marsh management and to determine some of its effects on fishes and crustaceans. Structural marsh management had positive effects on standing stock of most resident organisms and negative effects on marine-transient organisms. Emigration was negatively affected for both resident and marine-transient organisms. Techniques such as opening structures at critical migration times, designing structures that offer the greatest management flexibility, and using structures to create a flow-through system could reduce these impacts. More effort should be put into monitoring managed areas to determine if the objectives are being met and to evaluate the effects on fishes and crustaceans. Although frequent manipulation could reduce these impacts, the costs and problems incurred may outweigh the anticipated benefits.

  3. Decomposition of saltmeadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) in Louisiana coastal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Foote, A.L.; Reynolds, K.A.

    1997-01-01

    In Louisiana, plant production rates and associated decomposition rates may be important in offsetting high rates of land loss and subsidence in organic marsh soils. Decomposition of Spartina patens shoot and leaf material was studied by using litter bags in mesohaline marshes in the Barataria and Terrebonne basins of coastal Louisiana. Spartina patens decomposed very slowly with an average decay constant of 0.0007, and approximately 50% of the material remained after 2 years in the field. Material at the Barataria site decomposed faster than did Terrebonne material with trend differences apparent during the first 150 days. This difference might be explained by the higher content of phosphorus in the Barataria material or a flooding period experienced by the Barataria bags during their first 10 days of deployment. Nitrogen and carbon content of the plant material studied did not differ between the two basins. We detected no consistent significant differences in decomposition above, at, or below sediment/water level. Because S. patens is the dominant plant in these marshes, and because it is so slow to decompose, we believe that S. patens shoots are an important addition to vertical accretion and, therefore, marsh elevation.

  4. Salt marshes: An important coastal sink for dissolved uranium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Church, T. M.; Sarin, M. M.; Fleisher, M. Q.; Ferdelman, T. G.

    1996-10-01

    The global budget for marine uranium demands another geochemical sink other than deep-sea systems, and the coastal environment may host some or all of this missing sink. In a previous paper ( Sarin and Church, 1994), we have shown that some large subtidal estuaries are seasonal summer sinks at low salinities. In this paper, we show that intertidal salt marshes are even stronger sinks at all salinities, if for somewhat different reasons. Uranium was sampled in dissolved and particulate fractions over several tidal cycles and seasons for a lower Delaware Bay salt marsh (Canary Creek, Lewes, Delaware, USA), and uniquely, during summer months, the dissolved uranium is nonconservative. Moreover, because uranium extraction is greater on higher tides and occurs over the entire salinity gradient, this processing appears associated with surface of vegetated high marsh. We hypothesize that either (1) uranium scavenging occurs during the process of tidal mixing and attendant flocculation of humic acids and iron oxides—favoring this process is the presence of sulfonate complexes in salt marsh humic substances, and iron coprecipitation during its extensive redox cycling in the salt marsh—or (2) uranium extraction occurs at the marsh surface during extensive flooding of the salt marsh surface sediments—favoring this process is the increase in sulfuric acidity at the summer salt marsh surface that could destabilize the tetracarbonate species of U(VI). The latter option is favored by both field observations of maximum removal at the surface during the spring and summer tide conditions, and selective extraction of sediment phases where uranium is found as adsorbed and complexed forms in the ascorbate-citrate and humic acid fractions, respectively. Mass balance calculations show that under steady-state conditions, nearly two-thirds of the uranium extracted from tidal waters is retained in the sediments, while one-third is exported as U-enriched particles during ebbing tides

  5. Monitoring Coastal Marshes for Persistent Saltwater Intrusion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kalcic, Maria; Hall, Callie; Fletcher, Rose; Russell, Jeff

    2009-01-01

    Primary goal: Provide resource managers with remote sensing products that support ecosystem forecasting models requiring salinity and inundation data. Work supports the habitat-switching modules in the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration (CLEAR) model, which provides scientific evaluation for restoration management (Visser et al., 2008). Ongoing work to validate flooding with radar (NWRC/USGS) and enhance persistence estimates through "fusion" of MODIS and Landsat time series (ROSES A.28 Gulf of Mexico). Additional work will also investigate relationship between saltwater dielectric constant and radar returns (Radarsat) (ROSES A.28 Gulf of Mexico).

  6. Modeling of sulfur sequestration in coastal marsh soils

    SciTech Connect

    Hussein, A.H.; Rabenhorst, M.C.

    1999-12-01

    In transgressive coastal areas, marshes form in response to sea level rise and they generally represent an ideal environment for the sequestration of S species. Various predictions in rates of sea-level rise associated with global warming and concern for potential environmental problems from acid-sulfate weathering have prompted interest in modeling rates of S sequestration during coastal marsh pedogenesis. In this study, predictive models were derived for organic and pyrite S using data from pedons along two marsh transects in Dorchester County, MD. Organic S accumulates mainly in the organic horizons, and the rate is mainly driven by sea-level rise. Rates of organic S accumulation for the last 150 yr averaged 4.3 {+-} 1.19 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1}; before this, long-term rates ranged between 0.95 and 2.05 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1}. Pyrite S sequestration reflects accumulation both in organic horizons and in the submerged mineral soil. The rate of pyrite sequestration in organic horizons is generally driven by seal-level rise and the availability of reactive Fe. During the last 150 yr, the rates of pyrite accumulation averaged 7.2 {+-} 1.6 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1}; before this, long-term rates ranged between 0.53 and 1.14 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1}. Modeled predictions of pyrite and organic S accumulations in newly forming marshes during the next century were 15 {+-} 4.3 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1} and 19 {+-} 8.2 g m{sup {minus}2} yr{sup {minus}1}, respectively.

  7. Development of a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Management of Coastal Marsh Systems in Southern New England USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sea level rise is accelerating throughout the U.S. Northeast causing shoreline erosion, increased coastal flooding, and marsh vulnerability to the impact of storms. Coastal marshes provide flood abatement, carbon and nutrient sequestration, water quality maintenance, and habitat ...

  8. Development of a Climate-Change Adaptation Strategy for Management of Coastal Marsh Systems in Southern New England USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sea level rise is accelerating throughout the U.S. Northeast causing shoreline erosion, increased coastal flooding, and marsh vulnerability to the impact of storms. Coastal marshes provide flood abatement, carbon and nutrient sequestration, water quality maintenance, and habitat ...

  9. Biostimulation For The Treatment Of An Oil-Contaminated Coastal Salt Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    A field study was conducted on a coastal salt marsh in Nova Scotia, Canada, during the summer of 2000. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of biostimulation in restoring an oil-contaminated coastal marsh dominated by Spartina alterniflora under north...

  10. COASTAL SALT MARSH COMMUNITY CHANGE IN NARRAGANSETT BAY IN RESPONSE TO CULTURAL EUTROPHICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are susceptible to cultural eutrophication, particularly the over-enrichment of nitrogen, because they are often located where surface water and groundwater discharge into estuaries. In this report, the current areal extent of coastal salt marshes in Narrag...

  11. Phenological Impacts of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Gustav (2008) on Louisiana Coastal Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mo, Y.; Kearney, M.; Riter, A.

    2015-12-01

    Coastal marshes provide indispensable ecological functions, such as offering habitat for economic fish and wildlife, improving water quality, protecting inland areas from floods, and stabilizing the shoreline. Hurricanes—though helping to maintain the elevation of coastal wetlands by depositing large amounts of sediments—pose one of the largest threats for coastal marshes in terms of eroding shorelines, scouring marsh surfaces, and resuspending sediments. Coastal marshes phenologies can be important for understanding broad response of marshes to stressors, like hurricanes. We investigated the phenological impacts of Katrina and Gustav (Category 3 and 2 hurricanes at landfall in southeast Louisiana on 29 August, 2005, and 1 September, 2008, respectively) on freshwater, intermediate, brackish, and saline marshes in southeastern Louisiana. Landsat-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index data were processed using ENVI 4.8. Phenological patterns of the marshes were modeled using a nonlinear mixed model using SAS 9.4. We created and compared marsh phenologies of 1994 and 2014, the reference years, to those of 2005 and 2008, the hurricane years. Preliminary results show that in normal years: (1) the NDVI of four marsh types peaked in July; (2) freshwater marshes had the highest peak NDVI, followed by intermediate, brackish, and saline marshes; and (3) the growth durations of the marshes are around three to six months. In 2005, the major phenological change was shortening of growth duration, which was most obvious for intermediate and brackish marshes. The peak NDVI values of the four marsh types were not affected because the hurricane occurred at the end of August, one month after the peak NDVI time. By comparison, there was no obvious phenological impact on the marshes by Gustav (2008) with respect to peak NDVI, peak NDVI day, and growth duration.

  12. A New Approach to Monitoring Coastal Marshes for Persistent Flooding

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kalcic, M. T.; Underwood, L. W.; Fletcher, R. M.

    2012-12-01

    Many areas in coastal Louisiana are below sea level and protected from flooding by a system of natural and man-made levees. Flooding is common when the levees are overtopped by storm surge or rising rivers. Many levees in this region are further stressed by erosion and subsidence. The floodwaters can become constricted by levees and trapped, causing prolonged inundation. Vegetative communities in coastal regions, from fresh swamp forest to saline marsh, can be negatively affected by inundation and changes in salinity. As saltwater persists, it can have a toxic effect upon marsh vegetation causing die off and conversion to open water types, destroying valuable species habitats. The length of time the water persists and the average annual salinity are important variables in modeling habitat switching (cover type change). Marsh type habitat switching affects fish, shellfish, and wildlife inhabitants, and can affect the regional ecosystem and economy. There are numerous restoration and revitalization projects underway in the coastal region, and their effects on the entire ecosystem need to be understood. For these reasons, monitoring persistent saltwater intrusion and inundation is important. For this study, persistent flooding in Louisiana coastal marshes was mapped using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) time series of a Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI). The time series data were derived for 2000 through 2009, including flooding due to Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Using the NDWI, duration and extent of flooding can be inferred. The Time Series Product Tool (TSPT), developed at NASA SSC, is a suite of software developed in MATLAB® that enables improved-quality time series images to be computed using advanced temporal processing techniques. This software has been used to compute time series for monitoring temporal changes in environmental phenomena, (e.g. NDVI times series from MODIS), and was modified and used to

  13. A New Approach to Monitoring Coastal Marshes for Persistent Flooding

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kalcic, M. T.; Undersood, Lauren W.; Fletcher, Rose

    2012-01-01

    Many areas in coastal Louisiana are below sea level and protected from flooding by a system of natural and man-made levees. Flooding is common when the levees are overtopped by storm surge or rising rivers. Many levees in this region are further stressed by erosion and subsidence. The floodwaters can become constricted by levees and trapped, causing prolonged inundation. Vegetative communities in coastal regions, from fresh swamp forest to saline marsh, can be negatively affected by inundation and changes in salinity. As saltwater persists, it can have a toxic effect upon marsh vegetation causing die off and conversion to open water types, destroying valuable species habitats. The length of time the water persists and the average annual salinity are important variables in modeling habitat switching (cover type change). Marsh type habitat switching affects fish, shellfish, and wildlife inhabitants, and can affect the regional ecosystem and economy. There are numerous restoration and revitalization projects underway in the coastal region, and their effects on the entire ecosystem need to be understood. For these reasons, monitoring persistent saltwater intrusion and inundation is important. For this study, persistent flooding in Louisiana coastal marshes was mapped using MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) time series of a Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI). The time series data were derived for 2000 through 2009, including flooding due to Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Using the NDWI, duration and extent of flooding can be inferred. The Time Series Product Tool (TSPT), developed at NASA SSC, is a suite of software developed in MATLAB(R) that enables improved-quality time series images to be computed using advanced temporal processing techniques. This software has been used to compute time series for monitoring temporal changes in environmental phenomena, (e.g. NDVI times series from MODIS), and was modified and used to

  14. Seasonal comparison of aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in a flooded coastal freshwater marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kang, Sung-Ryong; King, Sammy L.

    2013-01-01

    Marsh flooding and drying may be important factors affecting aquatic macroinvertebrate density and distribution in coastal freshwater marshes. Limited availability of water as a result of drying in emergent marsh may decrease density, taxonomic diversity, and taxa richness. The principal objectives of this study are to characterize the seasonal aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblage in a freshwater emergent marsh and compare aquatic macroinvertebrate species composition, density, and taxonomic diversity to that of freshwater marsh ponds. We hypothesize that 1) freshwater emergent marsh has lower seasonal density and taxonomic diversity compared to that of freshwater marsh ponds; and 2) freshwater emergent marsh has lower taxa richness than freshwater marsh ponds. Seasonal aquatic macroinvertebrate density in freshwater emergent marsh ranged from 0 organisms/m2 (summer 2009) to 91.1 ± 20.53 organisms/m2 (mean ± SE; spring 2009). Density in spring was higher than in all other seasons. Taxonomic diversity did not differ and there were no unique species in the freshwater emergent marsh. Our data only partially support our first hypothesis as aquatic macroinvertebrate density and taxonomic diversity between freshwater emergent marsh and ponds did not differ in spring, fall, and winter but ponds supported higher macroinvertebrate densities than freshwater emergent marsh during summer. However, our data did not support our second hypothesis as taxa richness between freshwater emergent marsh and ponds did not statistically differ.

  15. Oil Detection in a Coastal Marsh with Polarimetric SAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramsey, E., III; Rangoonwala, A.; Suzuoki, Y.; Bannister, T.

    2011-09-01

    The NASA UAVSAR was deployed June 2010 to support Deep Water Horizon oil spill response activities specifically, oil detection and characterization, oil extent mapping in wetlands, coastal resource impact detection, and ecosystem recovery. The UAVSAR platform demonstrated enhanced capability to act rapidly and provide targeted mapping response. Our research focused on the effectiveness of high spatial resolution and fully polarimetric L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolSAR) for mapping oil in wetlands, specifically within Barataria Bay in eastern coastal Louisiana. Barataria Bay contained a numerous site observations confirming spatially extensive shoreline oil impacts, multiple oil spill UAVSAR collections, and a near anniversary 2009 collection. PolSAR oil detection relied on decomposition and subsequent classifications of the single look complex (SLC) calibrated radar cross sections representing the complex elements of the scattering matrix. Initial analyses results found that shoreline marsh structural damage as well as oil on marsh plants and sediments without canopy structural damage were exhibited as anomalous features on post-spill SLC scenes but were not evident on the pre-spill SLC scene collected in 2009. Pre-spill and post-spill Freeman-Durden (FD) and Cloude-Pottier (CP) decompositions and the Wishart classifications seeded with the FD and CP classes (Wishart-FD) also highlighted these nearshore features as a change in dominate scatter from pre-spill to post-spill. SLC analyses also indicated penetration of oil ladened waters into interior marshes well past the immediate shorelines; however, these post-spill SLC analyses results could not be validated due to the lack of observational data and possible flooding in the pre-spill SLC scene.

  16. [Emissions of methyl halides from coastal salt marshes: A review].

    PubMed

    Xie, Wen-xia; Zhao, Quan-sheng; Cui, Yu-qian; Du, Hui-na; Ye, Si-yuan

    2015-11-01

    Methyl halides are the major carrier of halogens in the atmosphere, and they play an important role in tropospheric and stratospheric ozone depletion. Meanwhile, methyl halides can act as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and they are also environmentally significant because of their toxicity. Coastal salt marshes, the important intertidal ecosystems at the land-ocean interface, have been considered to be a large potential natural source of methyl halides. In this paper, the research status of the natural source or sink of methyl halides, the mechanisms of their emission from coastal salt marshes and affecting factors were summarized. In view of this, the following research fields need to be strengthened in the future: 1) Long time-scale and large region-range researches about the emission of methyl halides and the evaluation of their source and sink function, 2) Accurate quantification of contribution rates of different plant species and various biological types to fluxes of methyl halides, 3) Further researches on effects of the tidal fluctuation process and flooding duration on methyl halides emission, 4) Effects of the global change and human activities on methyl halides emission. PMID:26915215

  17. Anthropogenic Impacts on the Evolution of Estuarine Fringe-marsh Shorelines: Implications of Coastal Setting on Marsh Sustainability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mattheus, C. R.; Rodriguez, A. B.; McKee, B. A.; Currin, C.

    2009-12-01

    Fringe marshes, which are common to estuarine shorelines, provide essential ecosystem services to coastal regions, including carbon sequestration, provision of shelter and nursery grounds for aquatic and terrestrial animals, and buffering of lowland areas from marine flooding. Thousands of acres of intertidal wetlands are lost each year in the U.S., in part due to a recent acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise. The ability of a marsh to sustain itself by vertical accretion is generally limited by inorganic sediment supply. Despite a continuing global population boom, models attempting to forecast marsh response to future sea-level rise do not take land-use changes into account, which have the potential to alter sediment sources and modify or disrupt established sediment pathways. This study investigates how landscape modifications can alter nearshore sedimentation regimes and influence marsh-edge evolution. Marshes in this study are located in similar hydrologic and geographic settings within coastal North Carolina and have comparable vegetation densities; however, their respective coastal environments are affected by different land-use modifications. Site A is situated within an upper bay environment, whereas Site B is located along the estuarine shoreline of a barrier island. Both sites are part of the same estuarine system. Marsh-shoreline positions and surface elevations were monitored at the sites over a two-year period using high-resolution terrestrial LIDAR. This data set was supplemented with accretion rates obtained from radioisotope analysis, precipitation records, and information on land-use changes in an effort to develop an understanding of their effect on marsh evolution. The study region has undergone significant land-use changes, including the introduction of tree farming in the lower reaches of a tributary creek to the upper bay. Widespread deforestation in this watershed led to increased upland erosion and higher sediment-supply rates to the

  18. The Protective Role of Coastal Marshes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    Shepard, Christine C.; Crain, Caitlin M.; Beck, Michael W.

    2011-01-01

    Background Salt marshes lie between many human communities and the coast and have been presumed to protect these communities from coastal hazards by providing important ecosystem services. However, previous characterizations of these ecosystem services have typically been based on a small number of historical studies, and the consistency and extent to which marshes provide these services has not been investigated. Here, we review the current evidence for the specific processes of wave attenuation, shoreline stabilization and floodwater attenuation to determine if and under what conditions salt marshes offer these coastal protection services. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a thorough search and synthesis of the literature with reference to these processes. Seventy-five publications met our selection criteria, and we conducted meta-analyses for publications with sufficient data available for quantitative analysis. We found that combined across all studies (n = 7), salt marsh vegetation had a significant positive effect on wave attenuation as measured by reductions in wave height per unit distance across marsh vegetation. Salt marsh vegetation also had a significant positive effect on shoreline stabilization as measured by accretion, lateral erosion reduction, and marsh surface elevation change (n = 30). Salt marsh characteristics that were positively correlated to both wave attenuation and shoreline stabilization were vegetation density, biomass production, and marsh size. Although we could not find studies quantitatively evaluating floodwater attenuation within salt marshes, there are several studies noting the negative effects of wetland alteration on water quantity regulation within coastal areas. Conclusions/Significance Our results show that salt marshes have value for coastal hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation. Because we do not yet fully understand the magnitude of this value, we propose that decision makers employ natural

  19. Long term (>100 years) Carbon Sequestration in California Coastal Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, L. N.; MacDonald, G. M.; Holmquist, J. R.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal salt marsh ecosystems rank as one of the ecosystems which sequester the most carbon (C) in the world (Chmura, 2003; Mcleod et al., 2011). California hosts multiple small marsh ecosystems outside of the San Francisco Bay that are limited in geographic extent but still contribute significantly to global soil C. This study evaluates 11 marsh sites along the California coast for annual soil C sequestration rates using 14C, 137Cs, and 210Pb chronologies. Estimates of carbon sequestration for California over the past 100 years from this study average at 49 g C m-2 yr-1. Long term estimates of soil C generally are lower because of natural decomposition of organic C, but this study indicates a persistence of high C storage capacity for coastal marsh systems. These estimates provide valuable insight into the long term capacity for coastal salt marshes to mitigate climate change through sequestration of C.

  20. Nonlinear responses of coastal salt marshes to nutrient additions and sea level rise

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increasing nutrients and accelerated sea level rise (SLR) can cause marsh loss in some coastal systems. Responses to nutrients and SLR are complex and vary with soil matrix, marsh elevation, sediment inputs, and hydroperiod. We describe field and greenhouse studies examining sing...

  1. Coastal Wetland Deterioration, Climate Change and Nutrient Inputs in California and Southern New England Salt Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the i...

  2. In situ burning restores the ecological function and structure of an oil-impacted coastal marsh.

    PubMed

    Baustian, Joseph; Mendelssohn, Irving; Lin, Qianxin; Rapp, John

    2010-11-01

    As the use of in situ burning for oil spill remediation in coastal wetlands accelerates, the capacity of this procedure to restore the ecological structure and function of oil-impacted wetlands becomes increasingly important. Thus, our research focused on evaluating the functional and structural recovery of a coastal marsh in South Louisiana to an in situ burn following a Hurricane Katrina-induced oil spill. Permanent sampling plots were set up to monitor marsh recovery in the oiled and burned areas as well as non-oiled and non-burned (reference) marshes. Plots were monitored for species composition, stem density, above- and belowground productivity, marsh resiliency, soil chemistry, soil residual oil, and organic matter decomposition. The burn removed the majority of the oil from the marsh, and structurally the marsh recovered rapidly. Plant biomass and species composition returned to control levels within 9 months; however, species richness remained somewhat lower in the oiled and burned areas compared to the reference areas. Recovery of ecological function was also rapid following the in situ burn. Aboveground and belowground plant productivity recovered within one growing season, and although decomposition rates were initially higher in the oiled areas, over time they became equivalent to those in reference sites. Also, marsh resiliency, i.e., the rate of recovery from our applied disturbances, was not affected by the in situ burn. We conclude that in situ burning is an effective way to remove oil and allow ecosystem recovery in coastal marshes. PMID:20821009

  3. In Situ Burning Restores the Ecological Function and Structure of an Oil-Impacted Coastal Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baustian, Joseph; Mendelssohn, Irving; Lin, Qianxin; Rapp, John

    2010-11-01

    As the use of in situ burning for oil spill remediation in coastal wetlands accelerates, the capacity of this procedure to restore the ecological structure and function of oil-impacted wetlands becomes increasingly important. Thus, our research focused on evaluating the functional and structural recovery of a coastal marsh in South Louisiana to an in situ burn following a Hurricane Katrina-induced oil spill. Permanent sampling plots were set up to monitor marsh recovery in the oiled and burned areas as well as non-oiled and non-burned (reference) marshes. Plots were monitored for species composition, stem density, above- and belowground productivity, marsh resiliency, soil chemistry, soil residual oil, and organic matter decomposition. The burn removed the majority of the oil from the marsh, and structurally the marsh recovered rapidly. Plant biomass and species composition returned to control levels within 9 months; however, species richness remained somewhat lower in the oiled and burned areas compared to the reference areas. Recovery of ecological function was also rapid following the in situ burn. Aboveground and belowground plant productivity recovered within one growing season, and although decomposition rates were initially higher in the oiled areas, over time they became equivalent to those in reference sites. Also, marsh resiliency, i.e., the rate of recovery from our applied disturbances, was not affected by the in situ burn. We conclude that in situ burning is an effective way to remove oil and allow ecosystem recovery in coastal marshes.

  4. How sea level rise affects sedimentation, plant growth, and carbon accumulation on coastal salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudd, S. M.; Howell, S. M.; Morris, J. T.

    2009-12-01

    The rate of accretion on coastal salt marshes depends on feedbacks between flow, macrophyte growth, and sedimentation. Under favourable conditions, marsh accretion rates will keep pace with the local rate of sea level rise. Marsh accretion is driven by both organic and inorganic sedimentation; mineral rich marshes will need less organic sedimentation to keep pace with sea level rise. Here we use a numerical model of marsh accretion, calibrated by sediment cores, to explore the relationship between sea level rise and carbon sequestration on salt marshes in the face of differing supplies of inorganic sediment. The model predicts that changes in carbon storage resulting from changing sediment supply or sea-level rise are strongly dependant on the background sediment supply: if inorganic sediment supply is reduced in an already sediment poor marsh the storage of organic carbon will increase to a far greater extent than in a sediment-rich marsh, provided that the rate of sea-level rise does not exceed a threshold. These results imply that altering sediment supply to estuaries (e.g., by damming upstream rivers or altering littoral sediment transport) could lead to significant changes in the carbon budgets of coastal salt marshes.

  5. Patterns of Seasonal Abundance and Social Segregation in Inland and Coastal Plain Swamp Sparrows in a Delaware Tidal Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Coastal Plain Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana nigrescens, CPSS) breeds in the coastal brackish marshes of the North American Mid-Atlantic States. During the non-breeding season, coastal brackish marshes are occupied by both this subspecies and two far more widespread inte...

  6. Recent accretion in two managed marsh impoundments in coastal Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cahoon, D.R.

    1994-01-01

    Recent accretion was measured by the feldspar marker horizon method in two gravity-drained, managed, marsh impoundments and unmanaged reference marshes located on the rapidly subsiding coast of Louisiana. Water level management was designed to limit hydrologic exchange to the managed marsh by regulating the direction and rate of water flows. During a drawdown-flooding water management cycle, the unmanaged reference marshes had significantly higher vertical accretion rates, higher soil bulk density and soil mineral matter content, lower soil organic matter content, and higher rates of organic matter accumulation than the managed marsh. The rate of mineral matter accumulation was higher in both reference marshes, but was significantly higher in only one. Spatial variability in accumulation rates was low when analyzed in one managed marsh site, suggesting a primarily autochthonous source of matter. In contrast, the associated reference marsh apparently received allochthonous material that settled out in a distinct spatial pattern as water velocity decreased. The impoundment marshes experienced an accretion deficit of one full order of magnitude (0.1 vs. 1.0 m/yr) based on comparison of accretion and sea level rise data, while the unmanaged reference marshes experienced a five-fold smaller deficit or no deficit. These data suggest that the gravity-drained impoundments likely have a shorter life expectancy than the reference marshes in the rapidly subsiding Louisiana coast.

  7. Marsh collapse thresholds for coastal Louisiana estimated using elevation and vegetation index data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Couvillion, Brady R.; Beck, Holly

    2013-01-01

    Forecasting marsh collapse in coastal Louisiana as a result of changes in sea-level rise, subsidence, and accretion deficits necessitates an understanding of thresholds beyond which inundation stress impedes marsh survival. The variability in thresholds at which different marsh types cease to occur (i.e., marsh collapse) is not well understood. We utilized remotely sensed imagery, field data, and elevation data to help gain insight into the relationships between vegetation health and inundation. A Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset was calculated using remotely sensed data at peak biomass (August) and used as a proxy for vegetation health and productivity. Statistics were calculated for NDVI values by marsh type for intermediate, brackish, and saline marsh in coastal Louisiana. Marsh-type specific NDVI values of 1.5 and 2 standard deviations below the mean were used as upper and lower limits to identify conditions indicative of collapse. As marshes seldom occur beyond these values, they are believed to represent a range within which marsh collapse is likely to occur. Inundation depth was selected as the primary candidate for evaluation of marsh collapse thresholds. Elevation relative to mean water level (MWL) was calculated by subtracting MWL from an elevation dataset compiled from multiple data types including light detection and ranging (lidar) and bathymetry. A polynomial cubic regression was used to examine a random subset of pixels to determine the relationship between elevation (relative to MWL) and NDVI. The marsh collapse uncertainty range values were found by locating the intercept of the regression line with the 1.5 and 2 standard deviations below the mean NDVI value for each marsh type. Results indicate marsh collapse uncertainty ranges of 30.7–35.8 cm below MWL for intermediate marsh, 20–25.6 cm below MWL for brackish marsh, and 16.9–23.5 cm below MWL for saline marsh. These values are thought to represent the ranges of

  8. Microbial Community Analysis of a Coastal Salt Marsh Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    Beazley, Melanie J.; Martinez, Robert J.; Rajan, Suja; Powell, Jessica; Piceno, Yvette M.; Tom, Lauren M.; Andersen, Gary L.; Hazen, Terry C.; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Zhou, Jizhong; Mortazavi, Behzad; Sobecky, Patricia A.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are highly sensitive wetland ecosystems that can sustain long-term impacts from anthropogenic events such as oil spills. In this study, we examined the microbial communities of a Gulf of Mexico coastal salt marsh during and after the influx of petroleum hydrocarbons following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Total hydrocarbon concentrations in salt marsh sediments were highest in June and July 2010 and decreased in September 2010. Coupled PhyloChip and GeoChip microarray analyses demonstrated that the microbial community structure and function of the extant salt marsh hydrocarbon-degrading microbial populations changed significantly during the study. The relative richness and abundance of phyla containing previously described hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria) increased in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments and then decreased once hydrocarbons were below detection. Firmicutes, however, continued to increase in relative richness and abundance after hydrocarbon concentrations were below detection. Functional genes involved in hydrocarbon degradation were enriched in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments then declined significantly (p<0.05) once hydrocarbon concentrations decreased. A greater decrease in hydrocarbon concentrations among marsh grass sediments compared to inlet sediments (lacking marsh grass) suggests that the marsh rhizosphere microbial communities could also be contributing to hydrocarbon degradation. The results of this study provide a comprehensive view of microbial community structural and functional dynamics within perturbed salt marsh ecosystems. PMID:22815990

  9. Coastal marsh response to rising sea levels in the Grand Bay, MS estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alizad, K.; Hagen, S. C.; Morris, J. T.; Medeiros, S. C.; Bilskie, M. V.; Passeri, D. L.

    2015-12-01

    The Grand Bay estuary, situated along the border of Alabama and Mississippi, is a marine dominant estuary. Juncus roemerianus and Spartina alterniflora cover approximately 49% of the estuary (Eleuterius and Criss, 1991); However, this marsh system is prone to erosion more than other marsh systems in the state (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources 1999). Water level and wind-driven waves are critical factors that cause erosion in the Grand Bay estuary. Sediment transport induced by wave forces from the Gulf of Mexico and sea level rise force salt marshes to migrate landward (Schmid 2000). Understanding projected variations in vegetation can aid in productive restoration planning and coastal management decisions. An integrated hydro-marsh model was developed to incorporate the dynamic interaction between tidal hydrodynamics and salt marsh system. This model projects salt marsh productivity by coupling a two-dimensional, depth-integrated ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) finite element model and a parametric marsh model (Morris et al., 2002). The model calculates marsh productivity as a function of mean low water (MLW), mean high water (MHW), and the elevation of the marsh platform. The coupling exchange process is divided into several time intervals that capture the rate of sea level rise, and update the elevation and bottom friction from the computed marsh productivity. Accurate description of salt marsh platform is necessary for calculating accurate biomass results (Hagen et al. 2013). Lidar-derived digital elevation models (DEM) over-estimate marsh platform elevations, but can be corrected with Real Time Kinematic (RTK) survey data (Medeiros et al., 2015). Using RTK data, the salt marsh platform was updated and included in a high resolution hydrodynamic model. Four projections of sea level rise (Parris et al., 2012) were used to project salt marsh productivity for the year 2100 for the Grand Bay, MS estuary. The results showed a higher productivity under low sea

  10. Abstracts from "Coastal Marsh Dieback in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stewart, Robert E.; Proffitt, C. Edward; Charron, Tammy Michelle

    2001-01-01

    In the spring of 2000, scientists discovered a new and unprecedented loss of salt marsh vegetation in coastal Louisiana and other areas along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. This dieback of salt marsh vegetation, sometimes called the brown marsh phenomenon', primarily involved the rapid browning and dieback of smooth cordgrass (Spanina alterniflora). Coastal Louisiana has already undergone huge, historical losses of coastal marsh due to both human-induced and natural factors, and the current overall rate of wetland loss (25-35 sq mi 65-91 SQ KM each year) stands to threaten Louisiana's coastal ecosystem, infrastructure, and economy. On January 11-12, 2001, individuals from Federal and State agencies, universities, and the private sector met at the conference 'Coastal Marsh Dieback in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Extent, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies' to discuss and share information shout the marsh dieback. Presentations discussed trends in the progress of dieback during the summer of 2000 and in environmental conditions occurring at field study sites, possible causes including drought and Mississippi low flow' conditions, changes in soil conditions (salinity, the bioavailability of metals, pathogens, etc.), the potential for wetland loss that could occur if above and below normality occurs and is sustained over an extended period, advanced techniques for tracking the dieback via aerial photography and remote sensing, linkages of marsh hydrology to the dieback, and mechanisms of modeling dieback and recovery. In addition, presentations were made regarding development of a web site to facilitate information sharing and progress in preparation for requests for proposals based on an emergency appropriation by the U.S. Congress. All findings tended to support the idea that the dieback constituted a continuing environmental emergency and research and natural resource management efforts should be expended accordingly.

  11. Intertidal salt marshes as an important source of inorganic carbon to the coastal ocean

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wang, Zhaohui Aleck; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Ganju, Neil K.; Gonneea, Meagan; Chu, Sophie N.

    2016-01-01

    Dynamic tidal export of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) to the coastal ocean from highly productive intertidal marshes and its effects on seawater carbonate chemistry are thoroughly evaluated. The study uses a comprehensive approach by combining tidal water sampling of CO2parameters across seasons, continuous in situ measurements of biogeochemically-relevant parameters and water fluxes, with high-resolution modeling in an intertidal salt marsh of the U.S. northeast region. Salt marshes can acidify and alkalize tidal water by injecting CO2 (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA). DIC and TA generation may also be decoupled due to differential effects of marsh aerobic and anaerobic respiration on DIC and TA. As marsh DIC is added to tidal water, the buffering capacity first decreases to a minimum and then increases quickly. Large additions of marsh DIC can result in higher buffering capacity in ebbing tide than incoming tide. Alkalization of tidal water, which mostly occurs in the summer due to anaerobic respiration, can further modify buffering capacity. Marsh exports of DIC and alkalinity may have complex implications for the future, more acidified ocean. Marsh DIC export exhibits high variability over tidal and seasonal cycles, which is modulated by both marsh DIC generation and by water fluxes. The marsh DIC export of 414 g C m−2 yr−1, based on high-resolution measurements and modeling, is more than twice the previous estimates. It is a major term in the marsh carbon budget and translates to one of the largest carbon fluxes along the U.S. East Coast.

  12. Different time and energy budgets of Lesser Snow Geese in rice-prairies and coastal marshes in southwest Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jonsson, J.E.; Afton, A.D.

    2006-01-01

    Many bird species use human-made habitats and an important issue is whether these are equally suitable foraging habitats as are historical, natural habitats. Historically, Lesser Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens caerulescens, hereafter Snow Geese) wintered in coastal marshes in Louisiana but began using rice-prairies within the last 60 years. Time spent feeding was used as an indicator of habitat suitability and time and energy budgets of Snow Geese were compared between rice-prairies and coastal marshes in southwest Louisiana. Composite diets of Snow Geese have a lower energy density in the rice-prairies than in coastal marshes; thus, we predicted that Snow Geese would spend relatively more time feeding in rice-praires to obtain existence energy. However, time spent feeding was higher in coastal marshes and thus, not proportional to energy density of composite diets. Snow Geese in coastal marshes ingested less apparent metabolizable energy than did Snow Geese in rice-prairies. In rice-prairies, juveniles spent more time feeding than did adults; however, time spent feeding was similar between age classes in coastal marshes. Undeveloped foraging skills probably cause juvenile Snow Geese to forage less efficiently in coastal marshes than in rice-prairies. These findings are consistent with recent trends in Snow Goose numbers, which increased in rice-prairies but remained stable in coastal marshes.

  13. Analysis of change in marsh types of coastal Louisiana, 1978-2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Linscombe, Robert G.; Hartley, Stephen B.

    2011-01-01

    Scientists and geographers have provided multiple datasets and maps to document temporal changes in vegetation types and land-water relationships in coastal Louisiana. Although these maps provide useful historical information, technological limitations prevented these and other mapping efforts from providing sufficiently detailed calculations of areal changes and shifts in habitat coverage. The current analysis of habitat change draws upon these past mapping efforts but is based on an advanced, geographic information system dataset that was created by using Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper imagery and digital orthophoto quarter quadrangles. The objective of building this dataset was to more specifically define land-water relationships over time in coastal Louisiana, and it provides the most detailed analysis of vegetation shifts to date. In the current study, we have attempted to explain these vegetation shifts by interpreting them in the context of rainfall records, data from the Palmer Drought Severity Index, and salinity data. During the 23 years we analyzed, total marsh acreage decreased, with conversion of marsh to open water. Furthermore, the general trend across coastal Louisiana was a shift to increasingly fresh marsh types. Although fresh marsh remained almost the same during the 1978-88 study period, there were greater increases during the 1988-2001 study periods. Intermediate marsh followed the same pattern, whereas brackish marsh showed a reverse (decreasing) pattern. Changes in saline (saltwater) marsh were minimal. Interpreting shifts in marsh vegetation types by using climate and salinity data provides better understanding of factors influencing these changes and, therefore, can improve our ability to make predictions about future marsh loss related to vegetation changes. Results of our study indicate that precipitation fluctuations prior to vegetation surveys impacted salinities differently across the coast. For example, a wet 6 months prior to the survey

  14. Regeneration of coastal marsh vegetation impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Middleton, B.A.

    2009-01-01

    The dynamics of plant regeneration via seed and vegetative spread in coastal wetlands dictate the nature of community reassembly that takes place after hurricanes or sea level rise. The objectives of my project were to evaluate the potential effects of saltwater intrusion and flooding of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on seedling regeneration in coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast. Specifically I tested hypotheses to determine for species in fresh, brackish and salt marshes of the Gulf Coast if 1) the pattern of seed germination and seedling recruitment differed with distance from the shoreline, and 2) seed germination and seedling recruitment for various species were reduced in higher levels of water depth and salinity. Regarding Hypothesis 1, seedling densities increased with distance from the shoreline in fresh and brackish water marshes while decreasing with distance from the shoreline in salt marshes. Also to test Hypothesis 1, I used a greenhouse seed bank assay to examine seed germination from seed banks collected at distances from the shoreline in response to various water depths and salinity levels using a nested factorial design. For all marsh types, the influence of water level and salinity on seed germination shifted with distance from the shoreline (i.e., three way interaction of the main effects of distance nested within site, water depth, and salinity). Data from the seed bank assay were also used to test Hypothesis 2. The regeneration of species from fresh, brackish, and salt marshes were reduced in conditions of high salinity and/or water, so that following hurricanes or sea level rise, seedling regeneration could be reduced. Among the species of these coastal marshes, there was some flexibility of response, so that at least some species were able to germinate in either high or low salinity. Salt marshes had a few fresher marsh species in the seed bank that would not germinate without a period of fresh water input (e.g., Sagittaria lancifolia) as well

  15. Implications of Vegetation Shifts on Greenhouse Gas Production in a Coastal Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouni, S.; Corbett, J. E.; Peteet, D. M.

    2014-12-01

    Methane production in salt marshes is understudied, although these anaerobic environments store vast amounts of carbon and may release large quantities as climate shifts. Studies show ranges of salt marsh methane emissions that vary widely from 0.4-160 g CH4 m-2 y-1. CH4 production in salt marshes is governed by several variables. Due to high sulfate concentrations in these environments, less CH4 is expected to form and escape from the subsurface. However, vascular plants allow greater amounts of CH4 escape from subsurface porewater and produce more labile organic carbon substrates, which support higher rates of microbial decomposition. Coastal salt marshes are also dominated by various vascular plant species both native and invasive which may allow for greater amounts of CH4 formation and escape than previously thought. To better understand CH4 dynamics in coastal salt marshes, pore water samples were collected from various depths in Piermont salt marsh, NY (40 ̊00' N, 73 ̊55'W), a tidal wetland that has been invaded in the last century by Phragmites australis. Dissolved organic carbon lability was measured, previously developed isotope-mass balance equations were utilized, and root depth and density were analyzed from several vegetation zones. Areas dominated by invasive Phragmites australis vegetation contain deeper and denser root zones and are expected to produce more subsurface methane and release more methane than areas dominated by native vegetation types. This study will allow us to identify zones more likely to contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and increase knowledge of CH4 production and release in coastal salt marshes.

  16. Geochemistry of selenium in a coastal salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    Velinsky, D.J.; Cutter, G.A. )

    1991-01-01

    The cycling of sedimentary selenium was examined over a one-year period in the Great Marsh, Delaware (USA). While total selenium and elemental selenium decrease with depth in the sediments at similar rates, Se(IV + VI) exhibits pronounced seasonality related to the redox conditions of the marsh. Porewater selenium reflects the diagenetic cycling of Se(IV + VI) in the sediments and suggests that a partial remobilization of sedimentary selenium occurs when the upper sediments become oxidizing. Diagenetic and mass-balance models indicate that the major sources of selenium to the marsh are creek waters and atmospheric deposition, while total selenium may be removed from the sediments via the flux of volatile selenium compounds.

  17. RIBBED MUSSEL NITROGEN ISOTOPE SIGNATURES REFLECT NITROGEN SOURCES IN COASTAL MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The stable nitrogen isotope ratio in tissue of the ribbed mussel (Geukensia demissa) was investigated as an indicator of the source of nitrogen inputs to coastal salt marshes. Initially, mussels were fed a diet of 15N-enriched algae in the laboratory to determine how the tissue n...

  18. Using Nitrogen Stable Isotope Tracers to Track Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Climate change impacts on coastal salt marshes are predicted to be complex and multi-faceted. In addition to rising sea level and warmer water temperatures, regional precipitation patterns are also expected to change. At least in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S., more severe s...

  19. Tampa Bay coastal wetlands: nineteenth to twentieth century tidal marsh-to-mangrove conversion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Raabe, Ellen A.; Roy, Laura C.; McIvor, Carole C.

    2012-01-01

    Currently, mangroves dominate the tidal wetlands of Tampa Bay, Florida, but an examination of historic navigation charts revealed dominance of tidal marshes with a mangrove fringe in the 1870s. This study's objective was to conduct a new assessment of wetland change in Tampa Bay by digitizing nineteenth century topographic and public land surveys and comparing these to modern coastal features at four locations. We differentiate between wetland loss, wetland gain through marine transgression, and a wetland conversion from marsh to mangrove. Wetland loss was greatest at study sites to the east and north. Expansion of the intertidal zone through marine transgression, across adjacent low-lying land, was documented primarily near the mouth of the bay. Generally, the bay-wide marsh-to-mangrove ratio reversed from 86:14 to 25:75 in 125 years. Conversion of marsh to mangrove wetlands averaged 72 % at the four sites, ranging from 52 % at Old Tampa Bay to 95 % at Feather Sound. In addition to latitudinal influences, intact wetlands and areas with greater freshwater influence exhibited a lower rate of marsh-to-mangrove conversion. Two sources for nineteenth century coastal landscape were in close agreement, providing an unprecedented view of historic conditions in Tampa Bay.

  20. Geomorphic and ecological effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on coastal Louisiana marsh communities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Piazza, Sarai C.; Steyer, Gregory D.; Cretini, Kari F.; Sasser, Charles E.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Holm, Guerry O.; Sharp, Leigh Anne; Evers, D. Elaine; Meriwether, John R.

    2011-01-01

    Hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall in 2005, subjecting the coastal marsh communities of Louisiana to various degrees of exposure. We collected data after the storms at 30 sites within fresh (12), brackish/intermediate (12), and saline (6) marshes to document the effects of saltwater storm surge and sedimentation on marsh community dynamics. The 30 sites were comprised of 15 pairs. Most pairs contained one site where data collection occurred historically (that is, prestorms) and one Coastwide Reference Monitoring System site. Data were collected from spring 2006 to fall 2007 on vegetative species composition, percentage of vegetation cover, aboveground and belowground biomass, and canopy reflectance, along with discrete porewater salinity, hourly surface-water salinity, and water level. Where available, historical data acquired before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were used to compare conditions and changes in ecological trajectories before and after the hurricanes. Sites experiencing direct and indirect hurricane influences (referred to in this report as levels of influence) were also identified, and the effects of hurricane influence were tested on vegetation and porewater data. Within fresh marshes, porewater salinity was greater in directly impacted areas, and this heightened salinity was reflected in decreased aboveground and belowground biomass and increased cover of disturbance species in the directly impacted sites. At the brackish/intermediate marsh sites, vegetation variables and porewater salinity were similar in directly and indirectly impacted areas, but porewater salinity was higher than expected throughout the study. Interestingly, directly impacted saline marsh sites had lower porewater salinity than indirectly impacted sites, but aboveground biomass was greater at the directly impacted sites. Because of the variable and site-specific nature of hurricane influences, we present case studies to help define postdisturbance baseline conditions in

  1. Microbial community analysis of an Alabama coastal salt marsh impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beazley, M. J.; Martinez, R.; Rajan, S.; Powell, J.; Piceno, Y.; Tom, L.; Andersen, G. L.; Hazen, T. C.; Van Nostrand, J. D.; Zhou, J.; Mortazavi, B.; Sobecky, P. A.

    2011-12-01

    Microbial community responses of an Alabama coastal salt marsh environment to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were studied by 16S rRNA (PhyloChip) and functional gene (GeoChip) microarray-based analysis. Oil and tar balls associated with the oil spill arrived along the Alabama coast in June 2010. Marsh and inlet sediment samples collected in June, July, and September 2010 from a salt marsh ecosystem at Point Aux Pines Alabama were analyzed to determine if bacterial community structure changed as a result of oil perturbation. Sediment total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentrations ranged from below detection to 189 mg kg-1 and were randomly dispersed throughout the salt marsh sediments. Total DNA extracted from sediment and particulates were used for PhyloChip and GeoChip hybridization. A total of 4000 to 8000 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were detected in marsh and inlet samples. Distinctive changes in the number of detectable OTUs were observed between June, July, and September 2010. Surficial inlet sediments demonstrated a significant increase in the total number of OTUs between June and September that correlated with TPH concentrations. The most significant increases in bacterial abundance were observed in the phyla Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia. Bacterial richness in marsh sediments also correlated with TPH concentrations with significant changes primarily in Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Proteobacteria. GeoChip microarray analysis detected 5000 to 8300 functional genes in marsh and inlet samples. Surficial inlet sediments demonstrated distinctive increases in the number of detectable genes and gene signal intensities in July samples compared to June. Signal intensities increased (> 1.5-fold) in genes associated with petroleum degradation. Genes related to metal resistance, stress, and carbon cycling also demonstrated increases in oiled sediments. This study

  2. Testing two potential fates for coastal marshes: Greenhouse gas emissions from native, Phragmites australis-invaded, and permanently inundated zones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moseman-Valtierra, S.; Martin, R.; Tang, J.; Morkeski, K.; China, I.; Brannon, E.; Watson, E. B.

    2014-12-01

    Global changes such as biological invasions and sea level rise can significantly affect GHG emissions from coastal wetlands by changing plant community composition and/or environmental conditions. To first characterize GHG fluxes across major plant-defined marsh zones, CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes were compared between S. patens- dominated high marsh and S. alterniflora low marsh during 2012 and 2013 growing seasons in 3 New England marshes. To test how these fluxes may change in response to biological invasions and sea level rise, GHG fluxes were then compared between native, P.australis- invaded, and permanently inundated marsh zones at these sites in 2013 and 2014. GHG emissions were analyzed simultaneously from marsh ecosystems using infrared-based spectrometers connected to static flux chambers. Daytime CO2 uptake rates (ranging on average between -2 and -21 μmol CO2 m-2s-1) were generally greater in S. alterniflora low marsh zones than in S. patens high marsh among all 3 sites. Methane fluxes were generally low in both native marsh zones (< 50 μmol CH4 m-2 h-1) and N2O emissions were rare. However, CO2 uptake and CH4 emissions from P. australis zones were typically more than an order of magnitude greater than those of either native marsh zone. In contrast, permanently inundated marsh soils had similar GHG emissions to native marsh zones. . Though large, the P. australis CH4 emissions are estimated to offset less than 5% of observed CO2 uptake rates based on a global warming potential of 25 (100 years). These results suggest that two alternative fates for coastal marshes in the future- conversion to P. australis marshes or to standing water with sea level rise- will substantially affect CO2 and CH4 emissions. Net impacts on climatic forcing of these ecosystems will depend on how long term C sequestration is affected as these emissions shift.

  3. Consequences of Climate Change, Eutrophication, and Other Anthropogenic Impacts to Coastal Salt Marshes: Multiple Stressors Reduce Resiliency and Sustainability

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the ...

  4. Relationships between watershed emergy flow and coastal New England salt marsh structure, function, and condition.

    PubMed

    Brandt-Williams, Sherry; Wigand, Cathleen; Campbell, Daniel E

    2013-02-01

    This study evaluated the link between watershed activities and salt marsh structure, function, and condition using spatial emergy flow density (areal empower density) in the watershed and field data from 10 tidal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, RI, USA. The field-collected data were obtained during several years of vegetation, invertebrate, soil, and water quality sampling. The use of emergy as an accounting mechanism allowed disparate factors (e.g., the amount of building construction and the consumption of electricity) to be combined into a single landscape index while retaining a uniform quantitative definition of the intensity of landscape development. It expanded upon typical land use percentage studies by weighting each category for the intensity of development. At the RI salt marsh sites, an impact index (watershed emergy flow normalized for marsh area) showed significant correlations with mudflat infauna species richness, mussel density, plant species richness, the extent and density of dominant plant species, and denitrification potential within the high salt marsh. Over the 4-year period examined, a loading index (watershed emergy flow normalized for watershed area) showed significant correlations with nitrite and nitrate concentrations, as well as with the nitrogen to phosphorus ratios in stream discharge into the marshes. Both the emergy impact and loading indices were significantly correlated with a salt marsh condition index derived from intensive field-based assessments. Comparison of the emergy indices to calculated nitrogen loading estimates for each watershed also produced significant positive correlations. These results suggest that watershed emergy flow is a robust index of human disturbance and a potential tool for rapid assessment of coastal wetland condition.

  5. Effects of hydrologic connectivity and environmental nariables on nekton assemblage in a coastal marsh system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kang, Sung-Ryong; King, Sammy L.

    2013-01-01

    Hydrologic connectivity and environmental variation can influence nekton assemblages in coastal ecosystems. We evaluated the effects of hydrologic connectivity (permanently connected pond: PCP; temporary connected pond: TCP), salinity, vegetation coverage, water depth and other environmental variables on seasonal nekton assemblages in freshwater, brackish, and saline marshes of the Chenier Plain, Louisiana, USA. We hypothesize that 1) nekton assemblages in PCPs have higher metrics (density, biomass, assemblage similarity) than TCPs within all marsh types and 2) no nekton species would be dominant across all marsh types. In throw traps, freshwater PCPs in Fall (36.0 ± 1.90) and Winter 2009 (43.2 ± 22.36) supported greater biomass than freshwater TCPs (Fall 2009: 9.1 ± 4.65; Winter 2009: 8.3 ± 3.42). In minnow traps, saline TCPs (5.9 ± 0.85) in Spring 2009 had higher catch per unit effort than saline PCPs (0.7 ± 0.67). Our data only partially support our first hypothesis as freshwater marsh PCPs had greater assemblage similarity than TCPs. As predicted by our second hypothesis, no nekton species dominated across all marsh types. Nekton assemblages were structured by individual species responses to the salinity gradient as well as pond habitat attributes (submerged aquatic vegetation coverage, dissolved oxygen, hydrologic connectivity).

  6. Effects of marsh pond terracing on coastal wintering waterbirds before and after Hurricane Rita.

    PubMed

    O'Connell, Jessica L; Nyman, John A

    2011-11-01

    From February to March 2005-2006, we surveyed wintering waterbirds to test effects of terracing on coastal pond use before and after Hurricane Rita. Marsh terracing is intended to slow coastal marsh loss in the Chenier Plain by slowing marsh erosion and encouraging vegetation expansion. Terraces also increase marsh edge in ponds, possibly benefiting waterbirds. We monitored paired terraced and unterraced ponds in three sites within southwestern Louisiana's Chenier Plain. Waterbirds were 75% more numerous in terraced than unterraced ponds. Waterbird richness was similar among ponds when corrected for number of individuals, suggesting terracing increased bird density but did not provide habitat unique from unterraced ponds. Birds were 93% more numerous following Hurricane Rita, mostly due to an influx of migrating waterfowl. Year round residents were similar in number before and after Hurricane Rita. Resident richness did not differ among years after correcting for number of observed individuals. Wading and dabbling foragers were more abundant in terraced ponds and these two guilds represented 74% of birds observed. We detected no difference among ponds for other guilds, i.e., probing, aerial, and diving foragers. Increasing proportion of mash edge increased bird density disproportionately: On average ponds with 10% edge had 6 birds observed and ponds with 30% edge had 16 birds observed. Terraces increased habitat interspersion and were an effective tool for increasing numbers of wintering waterfowl and wading birds. The extent to which terraces were sustainable following hurricane forces is unknown. PMID:21874599

  7. Effects of marsh pond terracing on coastal wintering waterbirds before and after Hurricane Rita.

    PubMed

    O'Connell, Jessica L; Nyman, John A

    2011-11-01

    From February to March 2005-2006, we surveyed wintering waterbirds to test effects of terracing on coastal pond use before and after Hurricane Rita. Marsh terracing is intended to slow coastal marsh loss in the Chenier Plain by slowing marsh erosion and encouraging vegetation expansion. Terraces also increase marsh edge in ponds, possibly benefiting waterbirds. We monitored paired terraced and unterraced ponds in three sites within southwestern Louisiana's Chenier Plain. Waterbirds were 75% more numerous in terraced than unterraced ponds. Waterbird richness was similar among ponds when corrected for number of individuals, suggesting terracing increased bird density but did not provide habitat unique from unterraced ponds. Birds were 93% more numerous following Hurricane Rita, mostly due to an influx of migrating waterfowl. Year round residents were similar in number before and after Hurricane Rita. Resident richness did not differ among years after correcting for number of observed individuals. Wading and dabbling foragers were more abundant in terraced ponds and these two guilds represented 74% of birds observed. We detected no difference among ponds for other guilds, i.e., probing, aerial, and diving foragers. Increasing proportion of mash edge increased bird density disproportionately: On average ponds with 10% edge had 6 birds observed and ponds with 30% edge had 16 birds observed. Terraces increased habitat interspersion and were an effective tool for increasing numbers of wintering waterfowl and wading birds. The extent to which terraces were sustainable following hurricane forces is unknown.

  8. Effects of Marsh Pond Terracing on Coastal Wintering Waterbirds Before and After Hurricane Rita

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Connell, Jessica L.; Nyman, John A.

    2011-11-01

    From February to March 2005-2006, we surveyed wintering waterbirds to test effects of terracing on coastal pond use before and after Hurricane Rita. Marsh terracing is intended to slow coastal marsh loss in the Chenier Plain by slowing marsh erosion and encouraging vegetation expansion. Terraces also increase marsh edge in ponds, possibly benefiting waterbirds. We monitored paired terraced and unterraced ponds in three sites within southwestern Louisiana's Chenier Plain. Waterbirds were 75% more numerous in terraced than unterraced ponds. Waterbird richness was similar among ponds when corrected for number of individuals, suggesting terracing increased bird density but did not provide habitat unique from unterraced ponds. Birds were 93% more numerous following Hurricane Rita, mostly due to an influx of migrating waterfowl. Year round residents were similar in number before and after Hurricane Rita. Resident richness did not differ among years after correcting for number of observed individuals. Wading and dabbling foragers were more abundant in terraced ponds and these two guilds represented 74% of birds observed. We detected no difference among ponds for other guilds, i.e., probing, aerial, and diving foragers. Increasing proportion of mash edge increased bird density disproportionately: On average ponds with 10% edge had 6 birds observed and ponds with 30% edge had 16 birds observed. Terraces increased habitat interspersion and were an effective tool for increasing numbers of wintering waterfowl and wading birds. The extent to which terraces were sustainable following hurricane forces is unknown.

  9. Limits on the adaptability of coastal marshes to rising sea level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; D'Alpaos, Andrea; Morris, James T.; Mudd, Simon M.; Temmerman, Stijn

    2010-01-01

    Assumptions of a static landscape inspire predictions that about half of the world's coastal wetlands will submerge during this century in response to sea-level acceleration. In contrast, we use simulations from five numerical models to quantify the conditions under which ecogeomorphic feedbacks allow coastal wetlands to adapt to projected changes in sea level. In contrast to previous sea-level assessments, we find that non-linear feedbacks among inundation, plant growth, organic matter accretion, and sediment deposition, allow marshes to survive conservative projections of sea-level rise where suspended sediment concentrations are greater than ~20 mg/L. Under scenarios of more rapid sea-level rise (e.g., those that include ice sheet melting), marshes will likely submerge near the end of the 21st century. Our results emphasize that in areas of rapid geomorphic change, predicting the response of ecosystems to climate change requires consideration of the ability of biological processes to modify their physical environment.

  10. Assessing wildlife benefits and carbon storage from restored and natural coastal marshes in the Nisqually River Delta: Determining marsh net ecosystem carbon balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, Frank; Bergamaschi, Brian; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Woo, Isa; De La Cruz, Susan; Drexler, Judith; Byrd, Kristin; Thorne, Karen M.

    2016-01-01

    Working in partnership since 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nisqually Indian Tribe have restored 902 acres of tidally influenced coastal marsh in the Nisqually River Delta (NRD), making it the largest estuary-restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to date. Marsh restoration increases the capacity of the estuary to support a diversity of wildlife species. Restoration also increases carbon (C) production of marsh plant communities that support food webs for wildlife and can help mitigate climate change through long-term C storage in marsh soils.In 2015, an interdisciplinary team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers began to study the benefits of carbon for wetland wildlife and storage in the NRD. Our primary goals are (1) to identify the relative importance of the different carbon sources that support juvenile chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) food webs and contribute to current and historic peat formation, (2) to determine the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) in a reference marsh and a restoration marsh site, and (3) to model the sustainability of the reference and restoration marshes under projected sea-level rise conditions along with historical vegetation change. In this fact sheet, we focus on the main C sources and exchanges to determine NECB, including carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake through plant photosynthesis, the loss of CO2 through plant and soil respiration, emissions of methane (CH4), and the lateral movement or leaching loss of C in tidal waters.

  11. Assessing wildlife benefits and carbon storage from restored and natural coastal marshes in the Nisqually River Delta: Determining marsh net ecosystem carbon balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, Frank; Bergamaschi, Brian; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Woo, Isa; De La Cruz, Susan; Drexler, Judith; Byrd, Kristin; Thorne, Karen M.

    2016-06-24

    Working in partnership since 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nisqually Indian Tribe have restored 902 acres of tidally influenced coastal marsh in the Nisqually River Delta (NRD), making it the largest estuary-restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to date. Marsh restoration increases the capacity of the estuary to support a diversity of wildlife species. Restoration also increases carbon (C) production of marsh plant communities that support food webs for wildlife and can help mitigate climate change through long-term C storage in marsh soils.In 2015, an interdisciplinary team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers began to study the benefits of carbon for wetland wildlife and storage in the NRD. Our primary goals are (1) to identify the relative importance of the different carbon sources that support juvenile chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) food webs and contribute to current and historic peat formation, (2) to determine the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) in a reference marsh and a restoration marsh site, and (3) to model the sustainability of the reference and restoration marshes under projected sea-level rise conditions along with historical vegetation change. In this fact sheet, we focus on the main C sources and exchanges to determine NECB, including carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake through plant photosynthesis, the loss of CO2 through plant and soil respiration, emissions of methane (CH4), and the lateral movement or leaching loss of C in tidal waters.

  12. A meta-analysis of vertical accretion data in North American Coastal Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holmquist, J. R.; Brown, L. N.; MacDonald, G. M.

    2014-12-01

    North America's coastal marshes are uniquely vulnerable to sea-level rise (SLR), and coastal subsidence (Torio and Chmura, 2013). While many studies have measured rates of vertical accretion in marshes, none have synthesized accretion rates to report basic summary statistics or make geographical comparisons. In this meta-analysis we synthesized accretion data, and SLR estimates when available, from 75 different sources reporting 704 measures from artificial plots, Cs-137 dates, Pb-210 dates, pollen horizons in sediment cores, and C-14 dates. Accretion generally decreased over longer time spans, likely due to a combination of shallow autocompaction, below ground carbon loss, and the recent acceleration of SLR. Artificial plots had an average time span of ~4 years and had the highest average accretion rate of all methods (7.8±9.9 mm/yr). Cs-137 and Pb-210 dates represented ~30 and ~100 years of accretion respectively, and had relatively moderate rates of accretion, 5.6±3.8 and 4.0±2.5 mm/yr respectively. C-14 dates had the lowest accretion rates (average = 2.5±2.5 mm/yr), and represented the longest records ranging from 206-9000 years. A subset of 15 studies (n=130) reported Cs-137 and tide gauge data in order to calculate accretion relative to eustatic SLR and coastal subsidence/uplift. A cursory analysis of these studies indicates that the subsiding regions of the Gulf Coast are the most vulnerable to SLR, while tectonically uplifting regions of the West Coast are the most resilient. The mapped deficits are overly optimistic as Cs-137 accretion rates do not fully represent net elevation change. Sediment elevation table and modeling data indicate that shallow autocompaction rates range from 1.2-27.8 mm/yr and net elevation gain ranges from -23.4 to 24.9 mm/yr in North America. Despite some methodological inconsistencies, this database indicates that the current relative SLR of ~10 mm/yr is contributing to massive submergence of Gulf Coast marshes. Models predict

  13. Effects of Disturbance Associated With Seismic Exploration for Oil and Gas Reserves in Coastal Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howard, Rebecca J.; Wells, Christopher J.; Michot, Thomas C.; Johnson, Darren J.

    2014-07-01

    Anthropogenic disturbances in wetland ecosystems can alter the composition and structure of plant assemblages and affect system functions. Extensive oil and gas extraction has occurred in wetland habitats along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast since the early 1900s. Activities involved with three-dimensional (3D) seismic exploration for these resources cause various disturbances to vegetation and soils. We documented the impact of a 3D seismic survey in coastal marshes in Louisiana, USA, along transects established before exploration began. Two semi-impounded marshes dominated by Spartina patens were in the area surveyed. Vegetation, soil, and water physicochemical data were collected before the survey, about 6 weeks following its completion, and every 3 months thereafter for 2 years. Soil cores for seed bank emergence experiments were also collected. Maximum vegetation height at impact sites was reduced in both marshes 6 weeks following the survey. In one marsh, total vegetation cover was also reduced, and dead vegetation cover increased, at impact sites 6 weeks after the survey. These effects, however, did not persist 3 months later. No effects on soil or water properties were identified. The total number of seeds that germinated during greenhouse studies increased at impact sites 5 months following the survey in both marshes. Although some seed bank effects persisted 1 year, these effects were not reflected in standing vegetation. The marshes studied were therefore resilient to the impacts resulting from 3D seismic exploration because vegetation responses were short term in that they could not be identified a few months following survey completion.

  14. Effects of disturbance associated with seismic exploration for oil and gas reserves in coastal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Howard, Rebecca J.; Wells, Christopher J.; Michot, Thomas C.; Johnson, Darren J.

    2014-01-01

    Anthropogenic disturbances in wetland ecosystems can alter the composition and structure of plant assemblages and affect system functions. Extensive oil and gas extraction has occurred in wetland habitats along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast since the early 1900s. Activities involved with three-dimensional (3D) seismic exploration for these resources cause various disturbances to vegetation and soils. We documented the impact of a 3D seismic survey in coastal marshes in Louisiana, USA, along transects established before exploration began. Two semi-impounded marshes dominated by Spartina patens were in the area surveyed. Vegetation, soil, and water physicochemical data were collected before the survey, about 6 weeks following its completion, and every 3 months thereafter for 2 years. Soil cores for seed bank emergence experiments were also collected. Maximum vegetation height at impact sites was reduced in both marshes 6 weeks following the survey. In one marsh, total vegetation cover was also reduced, and dead vegetation cover increased, at impact sites 6 weeks after the survey. These effects, however, did not persist 3 months later. No effects on soil or water properties were identified. The total number of seeds that germinated during greenhouse studies increased at impact sites 5 months following the survey in both marshes. Although some seed bank effects persisted 1 year, these effects were not reflected in standing vegetation. The marshes studied were therefore resilient to the impacts resulting from 3D seismic exploration because vegetation responses were short term in that they could not be identified a few months following survey completion.

  15. Effects of disturbance associated with seismic exploration for oil and gas reserves in coastal marshes.

    PubMed

    Howard, Rebecca J; Wells, Christopher J; Michot, Thomas C; Johnson, Darren J

    2014-07-01

    Anthropogenic disturbances in wetland ecosystems can alter the composition and structure of plant assemblages and affect system functions. Extensive oil and gas extraction has occurred in wetland habitats along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast since the early 1900s. Activities involved with three-dimensional (3D) seismic exploration for these resources cause various disturbances to vegetation and soils. We documented the impact of a 3D seismic survey in coastal marshes in Louisiana, USA, along transects established before exploration began. Two semi-impounded marshes dominated by Spartina patens were in the area surveyed. Vegetation, soil, and water physicochemical data were collected before the survey, about 6 weeks following its completion, and every 3 months thereafter for 2 years. Soil cores for seed bank emergence experiments were also collected. Maximum vegetation height at impact sites was reduced in both marshes 6 weeks following the survey. In one marsh, total vegetation cover was also reduced, and dead vegetation cover increased, at impact sites 6 weeks after the survey. These effects, however, did not persist 3 months later. No effects on soil or water properties were identified. The total number of seeds that germinated during greenhouse studies increased at impact sites 5 months following the survey in both marshes. Although some seed bank effects persisted 1 year, these effects were not reflected in standing vegetation. The marshes studied were therefore resilient to the impacts resulting from 3D seismic exploration because vegetation responses were short term in that they could not be identified a few months following survey completion.

  16. Tidal Marsh Outwelling of Dissolved Organic Matter and Resulting Temporal Variability in Coastal Water Optical and Biogeochemical Properties

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tzortziou, Maria; Neale, Patrick J.; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Butterworth, Megan; Jaffe, Rudolf; Yamashita, Youhei

    2010-01-01

    Coastal wetlands are highly dynamic environments at the land-ocean interface where human activities, short-term physical forcings and intense episodic events result in high biological and chemical variability. Long being recognized as among the most productive ecosystems in the world, tidally-influenced coastal marshes are hot spots of biogeochemical transformation and exchange. High temporal resolution observations that we performed in several marsh-estuarine systems of the Chesapeake Bay revealed significant variability in water optical and biogeochemical characteristics at hourly time scales, associated with tidally-driven hydrology. Water in the tidal creek draining each marsh was sampled every hour during several semi-diurnal tidal cycles using ISCO automated samplers. Measurements showed that water leaving the marsh during ebbing tide was consistently enriched in dissolved organic carbon (DOC), frequently by more than a factor of two, compared to water entering the marsh during flooding tide. Estimates of DOC fluxes showed a net DOC export from the marsh to the estuary during seasons of both low and high biomass of marsh vegetation. Chlorophyll amounts were typically lower in the water draining the marsh, compared to that entering the marsh during flooding tide, suggesting that marshes act as transformers of particulate to dissolved organic matter. Moreover, detailed optical and compositional analyses demonstrated that marshes are important sources of optically and chemically distinctive, relatively complex, high molecular weight, aromatic-rich and highly colored dissolved organic compounds. Compared to adjacent estuarine waters, marsh-exported colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) was characterized by considerably stronger absorption (more than a factor of three in some cases), larger DOC-specific absorption, lower exponential spectral slope, larger fluorescence signal, lower fluorescence per unit absorbance, and higher fluorescence at visible wavelengths

  17. Monitoring duration and extent of storm-surge and flooding in Western Coastal Louisiana marshes with Envisat ASAR data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, E.; Lu, Zhiming; Suzuoki, Y.; Rangoonwala, A.; Werle, D.

    2011-01-01

    Inundation maps of coastal marshes in western Louisiana were created with multitemporal Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture (ASAR) scenes collected before and during the three months after Hurricane Rita landfall in September 2005. Corroborated by inland water-levels, 7 days after landfall, 48% of coastal estuarine and palustrine marshes remained inundated by storm-surge waters. Forty-five days after landfall, storm-surge inundated 20% of those marshes. The end of the storm-surge flooding was marked by an abrupt decrease in water levels following the passage of a storm front and persistent offshore winds. A complementary dramatic decrease in flood extent was confirmed by an ASAR-derived inundation map. In nonimpounded marshes at elevations 80cm during the first month after Rita landfall. After this initial period, drainage from marshes-especially impounded marshes-was hastened by the onset of offshore winds. Following the abrupt drops in inland water levels and flood extent, rainfall events coinciding with increased water levels were recorded as inundation re-expansion. This postsurge flooding decreased until only isolated impounded and palustrine marshes remained inundated. Changing flood extents were correlated to inland water levels and largely occurred within the same marsh regions. Trends related to incremental threshold increases used in the ASAR change-detection analyses seemed related to the preceding hydraulic and hydrologic events, and VV and HH threshold differences supported their relationship to the overall wetland hydraulic condition. ?? 2010 IEEE.

  18. Global warming, sea-level rise, and coastal marsh survival

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cahoon, Donald R.

    1997-01-01

    Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. These wetlands at the land-ocean margin provide many direct benefits to humans, including habitat for commercially important fisheries and wildlife; storm protection; improved water quality through sediment, nutrient, and pollution removal; recreation; and aesthetic values. These valuable ecosystems will be highly vulnerable to the effects of the rapid rise in sea level predicted to occur during the next century as a result of global warming.

  19. The effects of herbivory on neighbor interactions along a coastal marsh gradient

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Taylor, K.L.; Grace, J.B.; Marx, B.D.

    1997-01-01

    Many current theories of community function are based on the assumption that disturbances such as herbivory act to reduce the importance of neighbor interactions among plants. In this study, we examined the effects of herbivory (primarily by nutria, Myocastor coy-pus) on neighbor interactions between three dominant grasses in three coastal marsh communities, fresh, oligohaline, and mesohaline. The grasses studied were Panicum virgatum, Spartina patens, and Spartina alterniflora, which are dominant species in the fresh, oligohaline, and mesohaline marshes, respectively. Additive mixtures and monocultures of transplants were used in conjunction with exclosure fences to determine the impact of herbivory on neighbor interactions in the different marsh types. Herbivory had a strong effect on all three species and was important in all three marshes. In the absence of herbivores, the impact of neighbors was significant for two of the species (Panicum virgatum and Spartina patens) and varied considerably between environments, with competition intensifying for Panicum virgatum and decreasing for Spartina patens with increasing salinity. Indications of positive neighbor effects (mutualisms) were observed for both of these species, though in contrasting habitats and to differing degrees. In the presence of herbivores, however, competitive and positive effects were eliminated. Overall, then, it was observed that in this case, intense herbivory was able to override other biotic interactions such as competition and mutualism, which were not detectable in the presence of herbivores.

  20. Monitoring Coastal Marshes for Persistent Flooding and Salinity Stress

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kalcic, Maria

    2010-01-01

    Our objective is to provide NASA remote sensing products that provide inundation and salinity information on an ecosystem level to support habitat switching models. Project born out of need by the Coastal Restoration Monitoring System (CRMS), joint effort by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey, for information on persistence of flooding by storm surge and other flood waters. The results of the this work support the habitat-switching modules in the Coastal Louisiana Ecosystem Assessment and Restoration (CLEAR) model, which provides scientific evaluation for restoration management. CLEAR is a collaborative effort between the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Anticipated results will use: a) Resolution enhanced time series data combining spatial resolution of Landsat with temporal resolution of MODIS for inundation estimates. b) Potential salinity products from radar and multispectral modeling. c) Combined inundation and salinity inputs to habitat switching module to produce habitat switching maps (shown at left)

  1. Dynamics of mangrove-marsh ecotones in subtropical coastal wetlands: fire, sea-level rise, and water levels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, Thomas J.; Foster, Ann M.; Tiling-Range, Ginger; Jones, John W.

    2013-01-01

    Ecotones are areas of sharp environmental gradients between two or more homogeneous vegetation types. They are a dynamic aspect of all landscapes and are also responsive to climate change. Shifts in the position of an ecotone across a landscape can be an indication of a changing environment. In the coastal Everglades of Florida, USA, a dominant ecotone type is that of mangrove forest and marsh. However, there is a variety of plants that can form the marsh component, including sawgrass (Cladium mariscus [L.] Pohl), needlegrass rush (Juncus roemerianus Scheele), and spikerush (Eleocharis spp.). Environmental factors including water depth, soil type, and occurrence of fires vary across these ecotones, influencing their dynamics. Altered freshwater inflows from upstream and increasing sea level over the past 100 years may have also had an impact. We analyzed a time series of historical aerial photographs for a number of sites in the coastal Everglades and measured change in position of mangrove–marsh ecotones. For three sites, detailed maps were produced and the area of marsh, mangrove, and other habitats was determined for five periods spanning the years 1928 to 2004. Contrary to our initial hypothesis on fire, we found that fire did not prevent mangrove expansion into marsh areas but may in fact assist mangroves to invade some marsh habitats, especially sawgrass. Disparate patterns in mangrove–marsh change were measured at two downstream sites, both of which had multiple fires over from 1948 to 2004. No change in mangrove or marsh area was measured at one site. Mangrove area increased and marsh area decreased at the second of these fire-impacted sites. We measured a significant increase in mangrove area and a decline in marsh area at an upstream site that had little occurrence of fire. At this site, water levels have increased significantly as sea level has risen, and this has probably been a factor in the mangrove expansion.

  2. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-06-01

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4–16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6–25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3–6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary.

  3. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes.

    PubMed

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-06-23

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4-16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6-25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3-6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary.

  4. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes.

    PubMed

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-01-01

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4-16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6-25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3-6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary. PMID:27334452

  5. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes

    PubMed Central

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-01-01

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4–16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6–25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3–6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary. PMID:27334452

  6. Generation of coastal marsh topography with radar and ground-based measurements

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W., III; Nelson, G.A.; Laine, S.C.; Kirkman, R.G.; Topham, W.

    1997-01-01

    A topographic surface of a low lying coastal marsh was created by using three flood extent vectors digitized from ERS-1 SAR images and two elevation contours from U.S. Geological Survey topographic quadrangles. Point measurement of water depth at the times of the SAR collections allowed conversion of the radar measured flood extent vectors to topographic contours. Generation of the topographic surface was accomplished with a surface gridding algorithm. SAR and on-site measures. Errors in the generated topography were mainly associated with the lack of input contours covering narrow to broad plateaus and topographic highs and lows. The misplacement of SAR derived flood extent vectors also caused errors in sparsely vegetated high marsh at convoluted marsh-forest boundaries, and at topographic depressions. Overall, the standard deviation of differences between measured and predicted elevations at 747 points was 19 cm. Excluding the above mentioned abrupt boundaries and topographic highs and lows outside the range of available contours, standard deviation differences averaged about 14 cm, but most often averaged about 8 cm. This suggested a 5 to 9 factor improvement over the 150 cm topographic resolution currently available for this area.

  7. Generation of coastal marsh topography with radar and ground-based measurements

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W., III; Nelson, G.A.; Laine, S.C.; Kirkman, R.G.; Topham, W.

    1998-01-01

    A topographic surface of a low lying coastal marsh was created by using three flood extent vectors digitized from ERS-1 SAR images and two elevation contours from U.S. Geological Survey topographic quadrangles. Point measurement of water depth at the times of the SAR collections allowed conversion of the radar measured flood extent vectors to topographic contours. Generation of the topographic surface was accomplished with a surface gridding algorithm, SAR and on-site measures. Errors in the generated topography were mainly associated with the lack of input contours covering narrow to broad plateaus and topographic highs and lows. The misplacement of SAR derived flood extent vectors also caused errors in sparsely vegetated high marsh, at convoluted marsh-forest boundaries, and at topographic depressions. Overall, the standard deviation of differences between measured and predicted elevations at 747 points was 19 cm. Excluding the above mentioned abrupt boundaries and topographic highs and lows outside the range of available contours, standard deviation differences averaged about 14 cm, but most often averaged about 8 cm. This suggested a 5 to 9 factor improvement over the 150 cm topographic resolution currently available for this area.

  8. Latitudinal trends in Spartina alterniflora productivity and the response of coastal marshes to global change

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Morris, James T.

    2009-01-01

    Marshes worldwide are actively degrading in response to increased sea level rise rates and reduced sediment delivery, though the growth rate of vegetation plays a critical role in determining their stability. We have compiled 56 measurements of above-ground annual productivity for Spartina alterniflora, the dominant macrophyte in North American coastal wetlands. Our compilation indicates a significant latitudinal gradient in productivity, which we interpret to be determined primarily by temperature and/or the length of growing season. Simple linear regression yields a 27 g m-2 yr -1 increase in productivity with an increase of mean annual temperature by one degree C. If temperatures warm 2?4 C over the next century, then marsh productivity may increase by 10?40%, though physiological research suggests that increases in the north could potentially be offset by some decreases in the south. This increase in productivity is roughly equivalent to estimates of marsh lost due to future sea level change. If a warming-induced stimulation of vegetation growth will enhance vertical accretion and limit erosion, then the combined effects of global change may be to increase the total productivity and ecosystem services of tidal wetlands, at least in Northern latitudes.

  9. Tidal Influences on Belowground Methane Dynamics in a Mesohaline Coastal Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reid, M. C.; Tripathee, R.; Pal, D.; Schafer, K. V.; Jaffe, P. R.

    2012-12-01

    The influence of tidal hydrology on belowground distributions and atmospheric fluxes of methane (CH4) remain poorly understood. The greenhouse gas balance of coastal wetland systems is a topic of increasing importance due to mounting proposals for coastal wetland preservation and/or restoration for carbon sequestration purposes, so it is essential that the effects of tides on methane dynamics be more fully understood. Here we describe a set of porewater measurements intended to clarify the influence of tides on belowground CH4 dynamics and their consequent effects on atmospheric emissions. Monthly measurements were conducted for one year in a marsh with mixed Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis vegetation and in an adjacent intertidal mud flat. The site is located in the Hackensack Meadowlands in northern New Jersey and is mesohaline, with a range of salinities from 4 - 8 ppt. Measurements indicate major differences in the spatial and temporal dynamics of belowground CH4 between the low marsh and mud flat sediments, though both are characterized by very high dissolved CH4 concentrations of >1,000 μM in summer months. A particularly important distinction is that mud flat porewaters remain saturated with dissolved CH4 into early winter, while low marsh porewarers never reach CH4 saturation and rapidly fall off to negligible concentrations in the autumn months. We attribute this long-term CH4 storage to differences in low-tide water table depths between the mud flat and low marsh, as well as the ventilating effects of macrophytes in the low marsh. We hypothesize that CH4-enriched gas bubbles are produced in mud flat sediments in summer, and then slowly dissolve over the fall and early winter months to maintain near-saturation concentrations in porewater. Static flux chamber measurements conducted at the same site, and discussed in detail in a separate submission, confirm the importance of mud flat CH4 storage in contributing to significant CH4 emissions

  10. Oil detection in a coastal marsh with polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W.; Rangoonwala, Amina; Suzuoki, Yukihiro; Jones, Cathleen E.

    2011-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's airborne Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) was deployed in June 2010 in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. UAVSAR is a fully polarimetric L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor for obtaining data at high spatial resolutions. Starting a month prior to the UAVSAR collections, visual observations confirmed oil impacts along shorelines within northeastern Barataria Bay waters in eastern coastal Louisiana. UAVSAR data along several flight lines over Barataria Bay were collected on 23 June 2010, including the repeat flight line for which data were collected in June 2009. Our analysis of calibrated single-look complex data for these flight lines shows that structural damage of shoreline marsh accompanied by oil occurrence manifested as anomalous features not evident in pre-spill data. Freeman-Durden (FD) and Cloude-Pottier (CP) decompositions of the polarimetric data and Wishart classifications seeded with the FD and CP classes also highlighted these nearshore features as a change in dominant scattering mechanism. All decompositions and classifications also identify a class of interior marshes that reproduce the spatially extensive changes in backscatter indicated by the pre- and post-spill comparison of multi-polarization radar backscatter data. FD and CP decompositions reveal that those changes indicate a transform of dominant scatter from primarily surface or volumetric to double or even bounce. Given supportive evidence that oil-polluted waters penetrated into the interior marshes, it is reasonable that these backscatter changes correspond with oil exposure; however, multiple factors prevent unambiguous determination of whether UAVSAR detected oil in interior marshes.

  11. Vertebrate herbivory in managed coastal wetlands: A manipulative experiment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, L.A.; Foote, A.L.

    1997-01-01

    Structural marsh management and nutria herbivory are both believed to strongly influence plant production in the brackish, deltaic marshes of coastal Louisiana, USA. Previous studies have tested the effects of structural management on aboveground biomass after implementing management, but very few studies have collected data before and after management. Thus, to test the effects of structural marsh management on Spartina patens (Ait.) Muhl. and Scirpus americanus Pers., the aboveground biomass of both species was estimated before and after the construction of shallow, leveed impoundments. The water level in each impoundment was managed with a single flap-gated culvert fitted with a variable crest weir. Additionally, the influence of nutria grazing on aboveground biomass was measured by nondestructively sampling fenced (ungrazed) and unfenced (grazed) plots in both managed and unmanaged areas. While there was no significant difference in S. patens production between managed and unmanaged areas, marsh management negatively affected Sc. americanus production the two species also differed in their responses to grazing. Grazing dramatically reduced the sedge, Sc. americanus, while the grass, S. patens, remained at similar biomass levels in grazed and ungrazed plant stands. These findings support the belief that herbivory has a strong influence on plant production, but do not support the claim that management increases plant production in the deltaic marshes of Louisiana.

  12. Fresh and weathered crude oil effects on potential denitrification rates of coastal marsh soil.

    PubMed

    Pietroski, Jason P; White, John R; DeLaune, Ronald D; Wang, Jim J; Dodla, Syam K

    2015-09-01

    On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform experienced an explosion which triggered the largest marine oil spill in US history, resulting in the release of ∼795 million L of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Once oil reached the surface, changes in overall chemical composition occurred due to volatilization of the smaller carbon chain compounds as the oil was transported onshore by winds and currents. In this study, the toxic effects of both fresh and weathered crude oil on denitrification rates of coastal marsh soil were determined using soil samples collected from an unimpacted coastal marsh site proximal to areas that were oiled in Barataria Bay, LA. The 1:10 ratio of crude oil:field moist soil fully coated the soil surface mimicking a heavy oiling scenario. Potential denitrification rates at the 1:10 ratio, for weathered crude oil, were 46 ± 18.4% of the control immediately after exposure and 62 ± 8.0% of the control following a two week incubation period, suggesting some adaptation of the denitrifying microbial consortium over time. Denitrification rates of soil exposed to fresh crude oil were 51.5 ± 5.3% of the control after immediate exposure and significantly lower at 10.9 ± 1.1% after a 2 week exposure period. Results suggest that fresh crude oil has the potential to more severely impact the important marsh soil process of denitrification following longer term exposure. Future studies should focus on longer-term denitrification as well as changes in the microbial consortia in response to oil exposure. PMID:25929872

  13. The interactive effects of fire and herbivory on a coastal marsh in Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ford, M.A.; Grace, J.B.

    1998-01-01

    Both vertebrate herbivores and fire have long been known to have dramatic and important effects on wetland vegetation. However, the interactive effects of burning and herbivory have received less attention. In this study, conducted in the coastal marshes of the Pearl River Basin in Louisiana, USA, both the effects of herbivory and fire as well as the interaction between these effects were examined in three marsh com-munity types: Sagittaria lancifolia, PanicUm virgatum, and Spartina patens. At five sites for each of the three community types, the effects of burning and fencing to exclude herbivores were determined over two years. Results showed that total biomass was reduced by burning but increased by fencing, with no interactive effects on total biomass. Species density (the number of species per unit area) was enhanced in plots that were both burned and fenced. Spartina patens was an important component in all three communities. Cover estimates indicated that S. patens responded to burning and fencing differently from the other dominant species. In the Panicum virgatum community, P. virgatum cover was enhanced by burning and fencing while S. patens cover was reduced. In the Sagittaria lancifolia community, S. lancifolia and Vigna luteola were enhanced by burning and fencing while S. patens was reduced. In the S. patens community, Scirpits americanus was enhanced by fencing, but burning had no significant effect on cover of either dominant species. These and other data are generally consistent with the hypothesis that herbivory favors S. patens while burning favors other dominant species. Thus, the relative effects of fire and herbivory have an influence (along with other factors such as salinity) on the dominance of S. patens in coastal marshes.

  14. Lower Miocene plant assemblage with coastal-marsh herbaceous monocots from the Vienna Basin (Slovakia)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kvaček, Zlatko; Teodoridis, Vasilis; Kováčová, Marianna; Schlögl, Ján; Sitár, Viliam

    2014-06-01

    A new plant assemblage of Cerová-Lieskové from Lower Miocene (Karpatian) deposits in the Vienna Basin (western Slovakia) is preserved in a relatively deep, upper-slope marine environment. Depositional conditions with high sedimentation rates allowed exceptional preservation of plant remains. The plant assemblage consists of (1) conifers represented by foliage of Pinus hepios and Tetraclinis salicornioides, a seed cone of Pinus cf. ornata, and by pollen of the Cupressaceae, Pinaceae, Pinus sp. and Cathaya sp., and (2) angiosperms represented by Cinnamomum polymorphum, Platanus neptuni, Potamogeton sp. and lauroid foliage, by pollen of Liquidambar sp., Engelhardia sp. and Craigia sp., and in particular by infructescences (so far interpreted as belonging to cereal ears). We validate genus and species assignments of the infructescences: they belong to Palaeotriticum Sitár, including P. mockii Sitár and P. carpaticum Sitár, and probably represent herbaceous monocots that inhabited coastal marshes, similar to the living grass Spartina. Similar infructescences occur in the Lower and Middle Miocene deposits of the Carpathian Foredeep (Slup in Moravia), Tunjice Hills (Žale in Slovenia), and probably also in the Swiss Molasse (Lausanne). This plant assemblage demonstrates that the paleovegetation was represented by evergreen woodland with pines and grasses in undergrowth, similar to vegetation inhabiting coastal brackish marshes today. It also indicates subtropical climatic conditions in the Vienna Basin (central Paratethys), similar to those implied by other coeval plant assemblages from Central Europe

  15. Consequences of climate change, eutrophication, and other anthropogenic impacts to coastal salt marshes: multiple stressors reduce resiliency and sustainability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watson, E. B.; Wigand, C.; Nelson, J.; Davey, E.; Van Dyke, E.; Wasson, K.

    2011-12-01

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the impacts of future sea level rise combined with other anthropogenic stressors to salt marsh sustainability through the implementation of field and laboratory mesocosms, manipulative experiments, correlative studies, and predictive modeling conducted in central California and southern New England salt marshes. We report on measurements of soil respiration, decomposition, sediment accumulation, and marsh elevation, which considered jointly suggest an association between nitrate input and marsh elevation loss resulting from mineralization of soil organic matter. Furthermore, use of imaging techniques (CT scans) has shown differences in belowground root and rhizome structure associated with fertilization, resulting in a loss of sediment cohesion promoted by fine root structure. Additionally, field and greenhouse mesocosm experiments have provided insight into the specific biogeochemical processes responsible for plant mortality at high immersion or salinity levels. In conclusion, we have found that poor water quality (i.e. eutrophication) leads to enhanced respiration and decomposition of soil organic matter, which ultimately contributes to a loss of salt marsh sustainability. However, marsh deterioration studied at field sites (Jamaica Bay, NY and Elkhorn Slough, CA) is associated not only with enhanced nutrient loads, but also increased immersion due to tidal range increases resulting from dredging. To ensure the continuation of the ecosystem services provided by tidal wetlands and to develop sustainable management strategies that provide favorable outcomes under a variety of future sea level rise and land use scenarios, we need to develop a better understanding of the relative impacts of the

  16. Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Osland, Michael J; Enwright, Nicholas; Day, Richard H; Doyle, Thomas W

    2013-05-01

    We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios? We developed simple winter climate-based models to predict mangrove forest distribution and relative abundance using observed winter temperature data (1970-2000) and mangrove forest and salt marsh habitat data. Our results identify winter climate thresholds for salt marsh-mangrove forest interactions and highlight coastal areas in the southeastern United States (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida) where relatively small changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme winter events could cause relatively dramatic landscape-scale ecosystem structural and functional change in the form of poleward mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The ecological implications of these marsh-to-mangrove forest conversions are poorly understood, but would likely include changes for associated fish and wildlife populations and for the supply of some ecosystem goods and services.

  17. Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Osland, Michael J; Enwright, Nicholas; Day, Richard H; Doyle, Thomas W

    2013-05-01

    We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios? We developed simple winter climate-based models to predict mangrove forest distribution and relative abundance using observed winter temperature data (1970-2000) and mangrove forest and salt marsh habitat data. Our results identify winter climate thresholds for salt marsh-mangrove forest interactions and highlight coastal areas in the southeastern United States (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida) where relatively small changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme winter events could cause relatively dramatic landscape-scale ecosystem structural and functional change in the form of poleward mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The ecological implications of these marsh-to-mangrove forest conversions are poorly understood, but would likely include changes for associated fish and wildlife populations and for the supply of some ecosystem goods and services. PMID:23504931

  18. Evaluation of sensor types and environmental controls on mapping biomass of coastal marsh emergent vegetation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Byrd, Kristin B.; O'Connell, Jessica L.; Di Tommaso, Stefania; Kelly, Maggi

    2014-01-01

    There is a need to quantify large-scale plant productivity in coastal marshes to understand marsh resilience to sea level rise, to help define eligibility for carbon offset credits, and to monitor impacts from land use, eutrophication and contamination. Remote monitoring of aboveground biomass of emergent wetland vegetation will help address this need. Differences in sensor spatial resolution, bandwidth, temporal frequency and cost constrain the accuracy of biomass maps produced for management applications. In addition the use of vegetation indices to map biomass may not be effective in wetlands due to confounding effects of water inundation on spectral reflectance. To address these challenges, we used partial least squares regression to select optimal spectral features in situ and with satellite reflectance data to develop predictive models of aboveground biomass for common emergent freshwater marsh species, Typha spp. and Schoenoplectus acutus, at two restored marshes in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, California, USA. We used field spectrometer data to test model errors associated with hyperspectral narrowbands and multispectral broadbands, the influence of water inundation on prediction accuracy, and the ability to develop species specific models. We used Hyperion data, Digital Globe World View-2 (WV-2) data, and Landsat 7 data to scale up the best statistical models of biomass. Field spectrometer-based models of the full dataset showed that narrowband reflectance data predicted biomass somewhat, though not significantly better than broadband reflectance data [R2 = 0.46 and percent normalized RMSE (%RMSE) = 16% for narrowband models]. However hyperspectral first derivative reflectance spectra best predicted biomass for plots where water levels were less than 15 cm (R2 = 0.69, %RMSE = 12.6%). In species-specific models, error rates differed by species (Typha spp.: %RMSE = 18.5%; S. acutus: %RMSE = 24.9%), likely due to the more vertical structure and

  19. Links Between Watershed Activities and the Degradation of Coastal, Tidal Salt Marshes in Southern New England USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Human activities (e.g., land development, wastewater) in coastal watersheds in New England USA are linked with community- and system-level changes in tidal, organic-rich salt marshes. Significant relationships between various indicators of watershed activities and ecosystem stru...

  20. Remote sensing for monitoring of wildlife habitat: Lesser snow geese and sub-Arctic coastal marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gadallah, Fawziah L.

    Human environmental impact has occurred on a global scale. Effective management of problems occurring over broad regions requires monitoring and intervention over large extents of space and time. Remote sensing provides an attractive data source, particularly as satellite data have been consistently collected over both space and time and present a readily available, inexpensive archive. At best, however, remote sensing provides proxy data for the underlying variables of interest. Here remotely sensed data are used to measure habitat degradation at a lesser snow goose colony. An increase in goose numbers has led to a loss of forage vegetation in the arctic and sub-arctic marshes where the geese nest and raise their young. In particular, isostatic rebound has generated extensive coastal marshes along the west coast of Hudson Bay, and lesser snow geese colonized such a marsh at La Perouse Bay in the late 1950's. This well-studied colony is used to assess the feasibility of mapping decadal change with Landsat imagery. A baseline map is developed using satellite data, aerial photography, and a knowledge of vegetation dynamics at the site. Calibration equations, relating the quantity of above-ground vegetation and its reflectance, are developed using cross-validation and goodness-of-prediction measures for field data collected on-site. To detect changes in vegetation state, tree-classification and cross-validation were applied to ground data. Using satellite imagery, changes in vegetation quantity and type could be detected against a background of mineral soil, but not against a background of mosses. Even in this site with low topographic variability, few species and few strong driving forces (i.e. isostatic rebound and herbivory), multiple change trajectories are possible. As different trajectories have different influences on both the reflectance of the surface and the expected behaviour and functioning of the system, each must be accounted for separately. Failure to

  1. Shifts in methanogen community structure and function across a coastal marsh transect: effects of exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2016-01-01

    Invasion of Spartina alterniflora in coastal areas of China increased methane (CH4) emissions. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we measured CH4 production potential, methanogen community structure and biogeochemical factors along a coastal wetland transect comprised of five habitat regions: open water, bare tidal flat, invasive S. alterniflora marsh and native Suaeda salsa and Phragmites australis marshes. CH4 production potential in S. alterniflora marsh was 10 times higher than that in other regions, and it was significantly correlated with soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and trimethylamine concentrations, but was not correlated with acetate or formate concentrations. Although the diversity of methanogens was lowest in S. alterniflora marsh, invasion increased methanogen abundance by 3.48-fold, compared with native S. salsa and P. australis marshes due to increase of facultative Methanosarcinaceae rather than acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Ordination analyses suggested that trimethylamine was the primary factor regulating shift in methanogen community structure. Addition of trimethylamine increased CH4 production rates by 1255-fold but only by 5.61- and 11.4-fold for acetate and H2/CO2, respectively. S. alterniflora invasion elevated concentration of non-competitive trimethylamine, and shifted methanogen community from acetotrophic to facultative methanogens, which together facilitated increased CH4 production potential. PMID:26728134

  2. Shifts in methanogen community structure and function across a coastal marsh transect: effects of exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2016-01-01

    Invasion of Spartina alterniflora in coastal areas of China increased methane (CH4) emissions. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we measured CH4 production potential, methanogen community structure and biogeochemical factors along a coastal wetland transect comprised of five habitat regions: open water, bare tidal flat, invasive S. alterniflora marsh and native Suaeda salsa and Phragmites australis marshes. CH4 production potential in S. alterniflora marsh was 10 times higher than that in other regions, and it was significantly correlated with soil organic carbon, dissolved organic carbon and trimethylamine concentrations, but was not correlated with acetate or formate concentrations. Although the diversity of methanogens was lowest in S. alterniflora marsh, invasion increased methanogen abundance by 3.48-fold, compared with native S. salsa and P. australis marshes due to increase of facultative Methanosarcinaceae rather than acetotrophic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens. Ordination analyses suggested that trimethylamine was the primary factor regulating shift in methanogen community structure. Addition of trimethylamine increased CH4 production rates by 1255-fold but only by 5.61- and 11.4-fold for acetate and H2/CO2, respectively. S. alterniflora invasion elevated concentration of non-competitive trimethylamine, and shifted methanogen community from acetotrophic to facultative methanogens, which together facilitated increased CH4 production potential.

  3. Identification of marsh vegetation and coastal land use in ERTS-1 imagery

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klemas, V.; Daiber, F. C.; Bartlett, D. S.

    1973-01-01

    Coastal vegetation species appearing in the ERTS-1 images taken of Delaware Bay on August 16, and October 10, 1972 have been correlated with ground truth vegetation maps and imagery obtained from high altitude RB-57 and U-2 overflights. The vegetation maps of the entire Delaware Coast were prepared during the summer of 1972 and checked out with ground truth data collected on foot, in small boats, and from low-altitude aircraft. Multispectral analysis of high altitude RB-57 and U-2 photographs indicated that five vegetation communities could be clearly discriminated from 60,000 feet altitude including: (1) salt marsh cord grass, (2) salt marsh hay and spike grass, (3) reed grass, (4) high tide bush and sea myrtle, and (5) a group of fresh water species found in impoundments built to attract water fowl. All of these species are shown in fifteen overlay maps, covering all of Delaware's wetlands prepared to match the USGS topographic map size of 1:24,000.

  4. Impact of permanent inundation on methane emissions from a Spartina alterniflora coastal salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ding, Weixin; Zhang, Yaohong; Cai, Zucong

    2010-10-01

    To understand the effect of water level on CH 4 emissions from an invasive Spartina alterniflora coastal brackish marsh, we measured CH 4 emissions from intermittently and permanently (5 cm water depth) inundated mesocosms with or without N fertilizer added at a rate of 2.7 g N m -2. Dissolved CH 4 concentrations in porewater and vertically-profiled sediment redox potential were measured, as were aboveground biomass and stem density of S. alterniflora. Mean CH 4 fluxes during the growing season in permanently inundated mesocosms without and with N fertilizer were 1.03 and 1.73 mg CH 4 m -2 h -1, respectively, which were significantly higher than in the intermittently inundated mesocosms. This response indicates that prolonged submergence of sediment, up to a water depth of 5 cm, stimulated CH 4 release. Inundation did not greatly affect aboveground biomass and stem density, but did significantly reduce redox potential in sediment, which in turn stimulated CH 4 production and increased the CH 4 concentration of porewater, resulting in higher CH 4 emission in the mesocosm. Our data showed that the stimulatory effect of shallow, permanent inundation on CH 4 emission in S. alterniflora marsh sediment was due primarily to an improved methanogenic environment rather than an increase in plant-derived substrates and/or the number of gas emission pathways through the plant's aerenchymal system.

  5. Adjusting lidar-derived digital terrain models in coastal marshes based on estimated aboveground biomass density

    SciTech Connect

    Medeiros, Stephen; Hagen, Scott; Weishampel, John; Angelo, James

    2015-03-25

    Digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from airborne lidar are traditionally unreliable in coastal salt marshes due to the inability of the laser to penetrate the dense grasses and reach the underlying soil. To that end, we present a novel processing methodology that uses ASTER Band 2 (visible red), an interferometric SAR (IfSAR) digital surface model, and lidar-derived canopy height to classify biomass density using both a three-class scheme (high, medium and low) and a two-class scheme (high and low). Elevation adjustments associated with these classes using both median and quartile approaches were applied to adjust lidar-derived elevation values closer to true bare earth elevation. The performance of the method was tested on 229 elevation points in the lower Apalachicola River Marsh. The two-class quartile-based adjusted DEM produced the best results, reducing the RMS error in elevation from 0.65 m to 0.40 m, a 38% improvement. The raw mean errors for the lidar DEM and the adjusted DEM were 0.61 ± 0.24 m and 0.32 ± 0.24 m, respectively, thereby reducing the high bias by approximately 49%.

  6. Adjusting lidar-derived digital terrain models in coastal marshes based on estimated aboveground biomass density

    DOE PAGES

    Medeiros, Stephen; Hagen, Scott; Weishampel, John; Angelo, James

    2015-03-25

    Digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from airborne lidar are traditionally unreliable in coastal salt marshes due to the inability of the laser to penetrate the dense grasses and reach the underlying soil. To that end, we present a novel processing methodology that uses ASTER Band 2 (visible red), an interferometric SAR (IfSAR) digital surface model, and lidar-derived canopy height to classify biomass density using both a three-class scheme (high, medium and low) and a two-class scheme (high and low). Elevation adjustments associated with these classes using both median and quartile approaches were applied to adjust lidar-derived elevation values closer tomore » true bare earth elevation. The performance of the method was tested on 229 elevation points in the lower Apalachicola River Marsh. The two-class quartile-based adjusted DEM produced the best results, reducing the RMS error in elevation from 0.65 m to 0.40 m, a 38% improvement. The raw mean errors for the lidar DEM and the adjusted DEM were 0.61 ± 0.24 m and 0.32 ± 0.24 m, respectively, thereby reducing the high bias by approximately 49%.« less

  7. Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Osland, Michael J.; Day, Richard H.; Doyle, Thomas W.; Enwright, Nicholas

    2013-01-01

    We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios? We developed simple winter climate-based models to predict mangrove forest distribution and relative abundance using observed winter temperature data (1970–2000) and mangrove forest and salt marsh habitat data. Our results identify winter climate thresholds for salt marsh–mangrove forest interactions and highlight coastal areas in the southeastern United States (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida) where relatively small changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme winter events could cause relatively dramatic landscape-scale ecosystem structural and functional change in the form of poleward mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The ecological implications of these marsh-to-mangrove forest conversions are poorly understood, but would likely include changes for associated fish and wildlife populations and for the supply of some ecosystem goods and services.

  8. Seasonal methane emissions by diffusion and ebullition from oligohaline marsh environments in coastal Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Leventhal, Joel S.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.

    2004-01-01

    Methane is an important atmospheric greenhouse gas that is emitted from many natural and anthropogenic sources. In order to evaluate the global methane budget, precise data are needed from the diverse sources including coastal wetlands. Over 100 time-series determinations of methane emissions from an oligohaline wetland (brackish marsh) in coastal Louisiana show large variability during five seasonal sampling periods. Emission by both diffusion and ebullition (bubbles) was measured, however, neither of these emission modes were strongly dependent on either water depth or temperature (except in winter). Methane emission to static collectors placed over plants (Scirpus olneyi andSpartina patens) was not significantly different from shallow open water or mud. However, considerable heterogeneity in methane emissions and processes occurs even at a single site. Thus, establishing a reasonable estimate of the overall methane emission for a particular marsh environment and season requires multiple measurements at several sites. The average emissions for April, May, July, and September ranged from 31 to 54 mg/m2/h (744–1296 mg/m2/day). This can be separated into emissions from diffusion ranging from 8.3 to 20 mg/m2/h (18–50% of total) and emissions due to ebullition of 20–44 mg/m /h (50–82%). January emissions were much lower, amounting to 0.2 mg/m2/h (6 mg/m2/day), mainly by diffusion with only one episode of ebullition. Extrapolating these data to annual emissions gives total annual methane emissions of 203 g/m2/yr (61 g/m2/yr by diffusion and 142 g/m2/yr by ebullition).

  9. Experimental restoration of a salt marsh with some comments on ecological restoration of coastal vegetated ecosystems in Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koo, Bon Joo; Je, Jong Geel; Woo, Han Jun

    2011-03-01

    Since the 1980s, the coastal wetlands in Korea have been rapidly degraded and destroyed mainly due to reclamation and landfills for coastal development. In order to recover damaged coastal environments and to develop wetland restoration technologies, a 4-year study on ecological the restoration of coastal vegetated ecosystems was started in 1998. As one of a series of studies, a small-scale experiment on salt marsh restoration was carried out from April 2000 to August 2001. The experiment was designed to find effective means of ecological restoration through a comparison of the changes in environmental components and species structure between two different experimental plots created using sediment fences, one with and one without small canals. Temporal variation in surface elevation, sedimentary facies, and benthic species were measured seasonally in each plot and in the adjacent natural reference sites. Monthly exposure occurred from 330 cm to mean sea level, which represents the critical tidal level (CTL) at which salt marsh plants colonize. Vegetation, especially Suaeda japonica, colonized the site the following spring and recovered to a similar extent in the natural marshes 16 months later. The sedimentary results indicated that the sediment fences had effects on particle size and sediment accumulation, especially in the plot with small canals. This experiment also showed that tidal height, especially that exceeding the CTL, is an important factor in the recovery of the benthic fauna of salt marshes. From these results, we suggested that designs for the restoration of salt marsh ecosystems must consider the inclusion of a tidal height exceeding CTL, as this may allow reconstruction of the previous natural ecosystem without artificial transplanting.

  10. Vegetation as self-adaptive coastal protection: Reduction of current velocity and morphologic plasticity of a brackish marsh pioneer.

    PubMed

    Carus, Jana; Paul, Maike; Schröder, Boris

    2016-03-01

    By reducing current velocity, tidal marsh vegetation can diminish storm surges and storm waves. Conversely, currents often exert high mechanical stresses onto the plants and hence affect vegetation structure and plant characteristics. In our study, we aim at analysing this interaction from both angles. On the one hand, we quantify the reduction of current velocity by Bolboschoenus maritimus, and on the other hand, we identify functional traits of B. maritimus' ramets along environmental gradients. Our results show that tidal marsh vegetation is able to buffer a large proportion of the flow velocity at currents under normal conditions. Cross-shore current velocity decreased with distance from the marsh edge and was reduced by more than 50% after 15 m of vegetation. We were furthermore able to show that plants growing at the marsh edge had a significantly larger diameter than plants from inside the vegetation. We found a positive correlation between plant thickness and cross-shore current which could provide an adaptive value in habitats with high mechanical stress. With the adapted morphology of plants growing at the highly exposed marsh edge, the entire vegetation belt is able to better resist the mechanical stress of high current velocities. This self-adaptive effect thus increases the ability of B. maritimus to grow and persist in the pioneer zone and may hence better contribute to ecosystem-based coastal protection by reducing current velocity. PMID:27087929

  11. Vegetation as self-adaptive coastal protection: Reduction of current velocity and morphologic plasticity of a brackish marsh pioneer.

    PubMed

    Carus, Jana; Paul, Maike; Schröder, Boris

    2016-03-01

    By reducing current velocity, tidal marsh vegetation can diminish storm surges and storm waves. Conversely, currents often exert high mechanical stresses onto the plants and hence affect vegetation structure and plant characteristics. In our study, we aim at analysing this interaction from both angles. On the one hand, we quantify the reduction of current velocity by Bolboschoenus maritimus, and on the other hand, we identify functional traits of B. maritimus' ramets along environmental gradients. Our results show that tidal marsh vegetation is able to buffer a large proportion of the flow velocity at currents under normal conditions. Cross-shore current velocity decreased with distance from the marsh edge and was reduced by more than 50% after 15 m of vegetation. We were furthermore able to show that plants growing at the marsh edge had a significantly larger diameter than plants from inside the vegetation. We found a positive correlation between plant thickness and cross-shore current which could provide an adaptive value in habitats with high mechanical stress. With the adapted morphology of plants growing at the highly exposed marsh edge, the entire vegetation belt is able to better resist the mechanical stress of high current velocities. This self-adaptive effect thus increases the ability of B. maritimus to grow and persist in the pioneer zone and may hence better contribute to ecosystem-based coastal protection by reducing current velocity.

  12. In situ burning of oil in coastal marshes. 1. Vegetation recovery and soil temperature as a function of water depth, oil type, and marsh type.

    PubMed

    Lin, Qianxin; Mendelssohn, Irving A; Bryner, Nelson P; Walton, William D

    2005-03-15

    In-situ burning of oiled wetlands potentially provides a cleanup technique that is generally consistent with present wetland management procedures. The effects of water depth (+10, +2, and -2 cm), oil type (crude and diesel), and oil penetration of sediment before the burn on the relationship between vegetation recovery and soil temperature for three coastal marsh types were investigated. The water depth over the soil surface during in-situ burning was a key factor controlling marsh plant recovery. Both the 10- and 2-cm water depths were sufficient to protect marsh vegetation from burning impacts, with surface soil temperatures of <35 and 48 degrees C, respectively. Plant survival rate and growth responses at these water depth burns were not significantly different from the unburned control. In contrast, a water table 2 cm below the soil surface during the burn resulted in high soil temperatures, with 90-200 degrees C at 0-0.5 cm soil depth and 55-75 degrees C at 1-2 cm soil depth. The 2-cm soil exposure to fire significantly impeded the post-burn recovery of Spartina alterniflora and Sagittaria lancifolia but did not detrimentally affect the recovery of Spartina patens and Distichlis spicata. Oil type (crude vs diesel) and oil applied to the marsh soil surface (0.5 L x m(-2)) before the burn did not significantly affect plant recovery. Thus, recovery is species-specific when no surface water exists. Even water at the soil surface will most likely protect wetland plants from burning impact.

  13. Use of historical and geospatial data to guide the restoration of a Lake Erie coastal marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kowalski, Kurt P.; Wilcox, Douglas A.

    1999-01-01

    Historical and geospatial data were used to identify the relationships between water levels, wetland vegetation, littoral drift of sediments, and the condition of a protective barrier beach at Metzger Marsh, a coastal wetland in western Lake Erie, to enhance and guide a joint federal and state wetland restoration project. Eleven sets of large-scale aerial photographs dating from 1940 through 1994 were interpreted to delineate major vegetation types and boundaries of the barrier beach. A geographic information system (GIS) was then used to digitize the data and calculate the vegetated area and length of barrier beach. Supplemented by paleoecological and sedimentological analyses, aerial photographic interpretation revealed that Metzger Marsh was once a drowned-river-mouth wetland dominated by sedges and protected by a sand barrier beach. Extremely high water levels, storm events, and reduction of sediments in the littoral drift contributed to the complete destruction of the barrier beach in 1973 and prevented its recovery. The extent of wetland vegetation, correlated to water levels and condition of the barrier beach, decreased from a high of 108 ha in 1940 to a low of 33 ha in 1994. The lack of an adequate sediment supply and low probability of a period of extremely low lake levels in the near future made natural reestablishment of the barrier beach and wetland vegetation unlikely. Therefore, the federal and state managers chose to construct a dike to replace the protective barrier beach. Recommendations stemming from this historical analysis, however, resulted in the incorporation of a water-control structure in the dike that will retain a hydrologic connection between wetland and lake. Management of the wetland will seek to mimic processes natural to the wetland type identified by this analysis.

  14. Shifts and dynamics of greenhouse gas fluxes in coastal marshes: Responses to short- and long-term nitrogen additions (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moseman-Valtierra, S.; Kroeger, K. D.; Tang, J.; Fisher, K.; Bratton, J. F.; Crusius, J.

    2010-12-01

    Coastal wetlands are estimated to sequester carbon at faster rates than most ecosystems, and thus they are appealing targets for efforts to ameliorate climate change through biological C storage. However, to accurately estimate the climatic impact of such strategies, we must simultaneously consider fluxes of greenhouse gases from these ecosystems, including CH4 and N2O. Coastal salt marshes are currently thought to represent minor sources of greenhouse gases relative to freshwater wetlands, but the few measurements that exist for N2O and CH4 fluxes in these systems have not spanned the range of their dynamic environmental conditions. Further, multiple anthropogenic sources have disproportionately increased nitrogen loads in coastal ecosystems, which we hypothesized may significantly enhance N2O emissions from salt marshes. We tested this hypothesis with short- and long-term manipulative experiments at low to moderate nitrogen loads in pristine temperate Spartina patens marshes at Plum Island (MA). In July 2009, we compared background greenhouse gas fluxes with those measured immediately after either a single addition of nitrate (equivalent to 1.4g N m -2) or a control solution of artificial seawater. Prior to manipulations, the salt marsh sediments represented small sinks of N2O, as fluxes averaged -33 μmol N2O m-2 day-1. Yet, within one hour of manipulations, the plots with nitrate additions became sources of N2O, with fluxes averaging 42 and 108 μmol N2O m-2 day-1 in light and dark chambers, respectively. These exceeded fluxes in control plots by more than an order of magnitude. Respiratory CO2 fluxes were also significantly higher in nitrate-enriched plots (4.4 +/- 1 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1) than in controls (2.4 +/- 0.3 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1) immediately following the nitrate additions. Methane fluxes were not affected by nitrogen, but they varied spatially, ranging from 7.5 to 2200 μmol CH4 m-2 day-1. Although the enhanced N2O fluxes did not persist after 2 days, the

  15. Shifts in vegetation affect organic carbon quality in a coastal marsh along the Hudson River Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, A. H.; Corbett, J. E.; Tfaily, M. M.; Martin, I.; Ho, L.; Sun, E.; Sevilla, L.; Vincent, S.; Newton, R.; Peteet, D. M.

    2015-12-01

    To better understand carbon storage in coastal salt marshes, samples were collected from Piermont Marsh, NY (40 ̊00' N, 73 ̊55'W) located within the Hudson River Estuary. Porewater from three different vegetation sites was analyzed to compare the quality of the dissolved organic carbon. Sites contained either native or invasive vegetation with variations in live plant root depth. Porewater was taken from 0-3m in 50cm intervals, and sites were dominated either by invasive Phragmites australis, native Eleocharis , or native mixed vegetation (Spartina patens, Scirpus, and Typha angustifolia). Sites dominated by invasive Phragmites australis were found to have lower dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations, lower cDOM absorption values, and more labile organic carbon compounds. The molecular composition of the DOC was determined with Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). Labile DOC components were defined as proteins, carbohydrates, and amino sugars while recalcitrant DOC components were defined as lipids, unsaturated hydrocarbons, lignins, tannins, and condensed hydrocarbons. For the Phragmites, Eleocharis, and mixed vegetation sites, average DOC concentrations with depth were found to be 1.71 ± 1.06, 4.64 ± 1.73, and 4.62 ± 3.5 (mM), respectively and cDOM absorption values with depth were found to be 13.22 ± 4.81, 49.42 ± 10.8, and 35.74 ± 17.49 (m-1). Additionally, DOC concentrations increased with depth in the mixed vegetation and Eleocharis sites, but remained relatively constant in the Phragmites site. The percent of labile compounds in the surface samples were found to be 19.02, 14.64, and 14.07% for the Phragmites, Eleocharis, and mixed vegetation sites, respectively. These findings suggest that sites dominated by Phragmites may have more reactive DOC substrates than sites dominated by native vegetation. These results indicate that the carbon storage in marshes invaded by Phragmites would be expected to decrease over time.

  16. Spatial and Temporal Variability in Carbon Dioxide Fluxes at Three Coastal Marshes Along a Salinity Gradient in the Northern Gulf of Mexico: how Susceptible are Coastal Marshes in the Region to Future Wariming?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mortazavi, B.; Wilson, B.; Kiene, R. P.

    2014-12-01

    Carbon gas fluxes in tidal marshes vary spatially and temporally because of vegetation cover, subsurface biogeochemical processes, and environmental forcing and predicting the impact of climate change on greenhouse gas fluxes from wetlands remains challenging. We examined how ecosystem carbon gas exchange varies along a salinity gradient (0-32 ppt) in three marshes along an estuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, USA. Midday net ecosystem exchange (where a negative rate indicates net carbon assimilated through photosynthesis) was greatest at the most freshwater site (4.8 ± 0.3 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1), followed by the saline (2.8 ± 1.0 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1) and brackish (1.4 ± 0.6 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1) sites. However, net ecosystem exchange integrated diurnally revealed each marsh to be a net CO2 source to the atmosphere as a result of high ecosystem respiration with no significant difference across the fresh (105.5 ± 28.9 mmol CO2 m-2 d-1), brackish (100.1 ± 36.5 mmol CO2 m-2 d-1), and salt marsh (78.3 ± 28.6 mmol CO2 m-2 d-1) sites. The large loss of carbon from these ecosystems is suggested to be a contributing factor to the disappearances of marshes in the region. Fifty percent of coastal Alabama wetlands, for examples, have disappeared from 1780 to 1980, and between 1955 and 1979 the percent loss (29%) in the region has exceeded the national average by a factor of three. While future warming is not expected to impact carbon assimilation significantly, our warming simulations suggest that carbon loss in these ecosystems can be enhanced by 12 to 26%, potentially exasperating the loss of marshes in the region.

  17. Variations in organic carbon chemistry in the Gulf Coast and coastal marshes following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holloway, J. M.; Orem, W. H.; Aiken, G.; Varonka, M. S.; Butler, K.; Kokaly, R. F.

    2011-12-01

    Record volumes of oil released from the Macondo well following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil-drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico significantly impacted coastal marshes in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Remote sensing and water sampling was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey to evaluate the extent of impact. Water samples were collected offshore from near the spill site July 5-10, 2010 to characterize molecular organic carbon chemistry on unfiltered samples and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) on filtered samples. Three field visits were conducted in July 7-10, August 12-14, and August 24-26, 2010, to collect samples from the soil-water interface in coastal marshes along lower Barataria Bay and the Bird's Foot Delta at the distal end of the Mississippi River Delta. Visible oil in the marsh was observed as thick coatings on vegetation and soil and as sheens at the water surface. Samples were extracted for hydrocarbons with dichloromethane, separated into aliphatic, aromatic and polar compound classes using standard column techniques, and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. A significant amount of oil was observed "dissolved" in the water column with a hydrocarbon distribution resembling that of the surface oil slick. While oils maintained many of the more volatile lower molecular weight components near the spill site, these were mostly gone in the onshore Barataria Bay samples, leaving mostly higher molecular weight components. Dissolved organic carbon was characterized using concentration, fluorescence index (FI), specific ultratviolet absorbance (SUVA) and excitation/emission fluorescence (EEM). Offshore samples had distinctive EEMs patterns, SUVA and FI. With few exceptions, marsh samples had EEMs patterns more similar to previously extracted organic matter from the Mississippi River than to the offshore oil. In spite of visible oil sheen in unfiltered water from contaminated shorelines and no visible sign of impact on

  18. What happens to soil organic carbon as coastal marsh ecosystems change in response to increasing salinity? An exploration using ramped pyrolysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Elizabeth K.; Rosenheim, Brad E.

    2015-07-01

    Coastal wetlands store vast amounts of organic carbon, globally, and are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of anthropogenic sea level rise. To understand the effect of sea level rise on organic carbon fate and preservation in this global sink, it is necessary to characterize differences in the biogeochemical stability of coastal wetland soil organic carbon (SOC). Here we use ramped pyrolysis/oxidation decomposition characteristics as proxies for SOC stability to understand the fate of carbon storage in coastal wetlands comprising the Mississippi River deltaic plain, undergoing rapid rates of local sea level rise. Soils from three wetland types (fresh, brackish, and salt marshes) along a salinity gradient were subjected to ramped pyrolysis analysis to evaluate decomposition characteristics related to thermochemical stability of SOC. At equivalent soil depths, we observed that fresh marsh SOC was more stable than brackish and salt marsh SOC. Depth, isotopic, elemental, and chemical compositions, bulk density, and water content of SOC all exhibited different relationships with SOC stability across the marsh salinity gradient, indicative of different controls on SOC stability within each marsh type. The differences in stability imply stronger preservation potential of fresh marsh soil carbon, compared to that of salt and brackish marshes. Considering projected marsh ecosystem responses to sea level rise, these observed stability differences are important in planning and implementing coastal wetland carbon-focused remediation and improving climate model feedbacks with the carbon cycle. Specifically, our results imply that ecosystem changes associated with sea level rise will initiate the accumulation of less stable carbon in coastal wetlands.

  19. Role of salt-marsh erosion in barrier island evolution and deterioration in coastal Louisiana

    SciTech Connect

    Reed, D.J. )

    1989-09-01

    Barrier shoreline erosion in Louisiana reaches over 10 m/year, and island area decreased by 40% between 1880 and 1979. Salt-marsh erosion is an important factor in evolutionary barrier shoreline development and is presently contributing, both directly and indirectly, to the deterioration of Louisiana's barrier islands. The marshes originally developed as fresh marshes associated with regression of Mississippi River delta lobes. After abandonment, salinity gradually increased and natural habitat change occurred as subsidence of deltaic sediments and transgression of the coastline by marine processes proceeded. The marsh surface is subjected to relative sea level rise and unless there is sufficient sedimentation to maintain marsh elevation, erosional processes become dominant. Increased inundation of marsh vegetation stresses even halophytic vegetation and leads to plant death. Examination of variations in marsh topography over an area of approximately 1 ha. revealed marked variations in the frequency and duration of tidal inundation. Increased flooding of lower areas can be sufficient to cause plant death and the opening of marsh ponds. As small ponds expand and coalesce to form larger areas of open water, wave action becomes important in eroding pond banks and mobilizing sediment from the bed causing pond deepening. Fragmentation of the marsh by these subsidence-induced processes is part of the evolution of morphostratigraphic forms in the Mississippi deltaic plain from erosional headland with flanking barriers to barrier island arc.

  20. Loss of 'blue carbon' from coastal salt marshes following habitat disturbance.

    PubMed

    Macreadie, Peter I; Hughes, A Randall; Kimbro, David L

    2013-01-01

    Increased recognition of the global importance of salt marshes as 'blue carbon' (C) sinks has led to concern that salt marshes could release large amounts of stored C into the atmosphere (as CO2) if they continue undergoing disturbance, thereby accelerating climate change. Empirical evidence of C release following salt marsh habitat loss due to disturbance is rare, yet such information is essential for inclusion of salt marshes in greenhouse gas emission reduction and offset schemes. Here we investigated the stability of salt marsh (Spartinaalterniflora) sediment C levels following seagrass (Thallasiatestudinum) wrack accumulation; a form of disturbance common throughout the world that removes large areas of plant biomass in salt marshes. At our study site (St Joseph Bay, Florida, USA), we recorded 296 patches (7.5 ± 2.3 m(2) mean area ± SE) of vegetation loss (aged 3-12 months) in a salt marsh meadow the size of a soccer field (7 275 m(2)). Within these disturbed patches, levels of organic C in the subsurface zone (1-5 cm depth) were ~30% lower than the surrounding undisturbed meadow. Subsequent analyses showed that the decline in subsurface C levels in disturbed patches was due to loss of below-ground plant (salt marsh) biomass, which otherwise forms the main component of the long-term 'refractory' C stock. We conclude that disturbance to salt marsh habitat due to wrack accumulation can cause significant release of below-ground C; which could shift salt marshes from C sinks to C sources, depending on the intensity and scale of disturbance. This mechanism of C release is likely to increase in the future due to sea level rise; which could increase wrack production due to increasing storminess, and will facilitate delivery of wrack into salt marsh zones due to higher and more frequent inundation.

  1. Research note: Feeding various levels of ground Sesbania macrocarpa Muhl. seed to bobwhite quail.

    PubMed

    Flunker, L K; Damron, B L; Wilson, H R

    1991-03-01

    Two 28-day experiments were conducted to determine the effects of various levels of ground Sesbania macrocarpa Muhl. seed on mature bobwhite quail. In Experiment 1, S. macrocarpa Muhl. seed levels of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5% were added to a basal diet at the expense of filler and fed to five replicate groups of six 58-wk-old paired quail (one male and one female). Average daily feed consumption, hen-day egg production, average BW change, mortality, fertility, and hatchability were monitored. Four groups of eight individually caged females, 63 wk of age, were each given a diet containing 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10% ground S. macrocarpa Muhl. seed in Experiment 2. A seventh treatment was added that consisted of 10% ground S. macrocarpa Muhl. from an older seed shipment used previously in work with White Leghorn hens. Increasing S. macrocarpa Muhl. seed levels in Experiment 1 did not cause significant deviations from the control treatment for average daily feed consumption, BW change, hen-day egg production, fertility, total hatchability, or hatchability of fertile eggs. In Experiment 2 neither average daily feed consumption nor hen-day egg production were affected by seed level or source. Quail given the 10% seed level using the older seed shipment had a significantly greater weight loss than the control birds. With the exception of this greater weight loss and in contrast with work involving chickens, dietary levels of ground S. macrocarpa Muhl. seed of up to 10% were acceptable to bobwhite quail. PMID:2047355

  2. Relationships Between Watershed Emergy Flow and Coastal New England Salt Marsh Structure, Function, and Condition

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study evaluated the link between watershed activities and salt marsh structure, function, and condition using spatial emergy flow density (areal empower density) in the watershed and field data from 10 tidal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, RI. The field-collected data wer...

  3. Salt Marsh as a Coastal Filter for the Oceans: Changes in Function with Experimental Increases in Nitrogen Loading and Sea-Level Rise

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Joanna L.; Zavaleta, Erika S.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are among Earth's most productive ecosystems and provide a number of ecosystem services, including interception of watershed-derived nitrogen (N) before it reaches nearshore oceans. Nitrogen pollution and climate change are two dominant drivers of global-change impacts on ecosystems, yet their interacting effects at the land-sea interface are poorly understood. We addressed how sea-level rise and anthropogenic N additions affect the salt marsh ecosystem process of nitrogen uptake using a field-based, manipulative experiment. We crossed simulated sea-level change and ammonium-nitrate (NH4NO3)-addition treatments in a fully factorial design to examine their potentially interacting effects on emergent marsh plants in a central California estuary. We measured above- and belowground biomass and tissue nutrient concentrations seasonally and found that N-addition had a significant, positive effect on a) aboveground biomass, b) plant tissue N concentrations, c) N stock sequestered in plants, and d) shoot:root ratios in summer. Relative sea-level rise did not significantly affect biomass, with the exception of the most extreme sea-level-rise simulation, in which all plants died by the summer of the second year. Although there was a strong response to N-addition treatments, salt marsh responses varied by season. Our results suggest that in our site at Coyote Marsh, Elkhorn Slough, coastal salt marsh plants serve as a robust N trap and coastal filter; this function is not saturated by high background annual N inputs from upstream agriculture. However, if the marsh is drowned by rising seas, as in our most extreme sea-level rise treatment, marsh plants will no longer provide the ecosystem service of buffering the coastal ocean from eutrophication. PMID:22879873

  4. Salt marsh as a coastal filter for the oceans: changes in function with experimental increases in nitrogen loading and sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Joanna L; Zavaleta, Erika S

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are among Earth's most productive ecosystems and provide a number of ecosystem services, including interception of watershed-derived nitrogen (N) before it reaches nearshore oceans. Nitrogen pollution and climate change are two dominant drivers of global-change impacts on ecosystems, yet their interacting effects at the land-sea interface are poorly understood. We addressed how sea-level rise and anthropogenic N additions affect the salt marsh ecosystem process of nitrogen uptake using a field-based, manipulative experiment. We crossed simulated sea-level change and ammonium-nitrate (NH(4)NO(3))-addition treatments in a fully factorial design to examine their potentially interacting effects on emergent marsh plants in a central California estuary. We measured above- and belowground biomass and tissue nutrient concentrations seasonally and found that N-addition had a significant, positive effect on a) aboveground biomass, b) plant tissue N concentrations, c) N stock sequestered in plants, and d) shoot:root ratios in summer. Relative sea-level rise did not significantly affect biomass, with the exception of the most extreme sea-level-rise simulation, in which all plants died by the summer of the second year. Although there was a strong response to N-addition treatments, salt marsh responses varied by season. Our results suggest that in our site at Coyote Marsh, Elkhorn Slough, coastal salt marsh plants serve as a robust N trap and coastal filter; this function is not saturated by high background annual N inputs from upstream agriculture. However, if the marsh is drowned by rising seas, as in our most extreme sea-level rise treatment, marsh plants will no longer provide the ecosystem service of buffering the coastal ocean from eutrophication.

  5. The shift from hold-the-line to management retreat and implications to coastal change: Farlington Marshes, a case of conflicts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esteves, L. S.; Foord, J.; Draux, H.

    2012-04-01

    Although it can be argued that coastal erosion is primarily a natural process, in many developed coasts it has been triggered or intensified by human-induced activities affecting local sediment budget and pathways. For a long time, coastal engineering works have been used to reshape the world's coastlines to accommodate for social and economic needs. The realisation that such interference with natural processes would result in cascading environmental impacts at various temporal and spatial scales is relatively recent. As a result, a series of regulations have been implemented to mitigate further damage to coastal environments and compensatory measures are now required as part of licensing approval for certain coastal activities. For example, the construction and upgrade of coastal defences are now constrained due to potential detrimental impacts caused on adjacent designated European habitats or species. This study evaluates how a shift from socio-economic needs to a natural-conservancy focus is influencing coastal management approaches in England and the implications for coastal evolution. More specifically, Farlington Marshes (Portsmouth, southern England) will be used as a case study to assess how complex interactions between natural coastal processes, coastal defences and the need for environmental conservation are affecting shoreline changes, evolution of intertidal habitats and biodiversity. Farlington Marshes are designated grazing marshes of national and European importance and a valued recreational area used by local residents. Seawalls built in the 18th century protect the freshwater habitats from flooding but cause detrimental impact on intertidal habitats of Langstone Habour, which are also designated conservation areas (Ramsar, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest). The presence of seawalls has caused erosion and coastal squeeze, which are the main causes of the rapid loss of saltmarshes observed

  6. Coastal flood protection by a combined nature-based and engineering approach: Modeling the effects of marsh geometry and surrounding dikes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stark, Jeroen; Plancke, Yves; Ides, Stefaan; Meire, Patrick; Temmerman, Stijn

    2016-06-01

    As ecosystem-based adaptation to global change is gaining ground, strategies to protect coastal and estuarine areas from increasing flood hazards are starting to consist of natural tidal wetland conservation and restoration in addition to conventional coastal defense structures. In this study, the capacity of tidal wetlands to locally attenuate peak water levels during storm tides is analyzed using a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model (TELEMAC2D) for a 3000 ha intertidal marsh (SW Netherlands). Model results indicate that peak water level reduction largely varies between individual flooding events and between different locations in the marsh. Model scenarios with variable dike positions show that attenuation rates can be minimized by blockage and set up of water levels against dikes or other structures confining the marsh size. This blockage only affects peak water level attenuation across wetlands if the duration of the flood wave is long compared to the marsh size. A minimum marsh width of 6-10 km is required to completely avoid blockage effects for the storm tidal cases assessed in this study. If blockage does not affect flood wave propagation, variations in attenuation rates between different locations in the marsh and between tides with varying high water levels can be explained with a single relationship based on the ratio between the water volume on the marsh platform and the total water volume on the platform and in the channels. Attenuation starts to occur when this ratio exceeds 0.2-0.4 and increases from there on up to a maximum of 29 cm/km for a ratio of about 0.85. Furthermore, model scenarios with varying marsh channel depth show that marsh scale attenuation rates increase by up to 4 cm/km if the channel elevation is raised by 0.7 m on average. Conversely, marsh scale attenuation rates decrease by up to 2 cm/km for scenarios in which the channels are lowered by 0.9 m on average. The marsh platform elevation has little effect on the maximum attenuation

  7. Simulated storm surge effects on freshwater coastal wetland soil porewater salinity and extractable ammonium levels: Implications for marsh recovery after storm surge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKee, M.; White, J. R.; Putnam-Duhon, L. A.

    2016-11-01

    Coastal wetland systems experience both short-term changes in salinity, such as those caused by wind-driven tides and storm surge, and long-term shifts caused by sea level rise. Salinity increases associated with storm surge are known to have significant effects on soil porewater chemistry, but there is little research on the effect of flooding length on salt penetration depth into coastal marsh soils. A simulated storm surge was imposed on intact soil columns collected from a non-vegetated mudflat and a vegetated marsh site in the Wax Lake Delta, LA. Triplicate intact cores were continuously exposed to a 35 salinity water column (practical salinity scale) for 1, 2, and 4 weeks and destructively sampled in order to measure porewater salinity and extractable NH4sbnd N at two cm depth intervals. Salinity was significantly higher in the top 8 cm for both the marsh and mudflat cores after one week of flooding. After four weeks of flooding, salinity was significantly higher in marsh and mudflat cores compared to the control (no salinity) cores throughout the profile for both sites. Extractable ammonium levels increased significantly in the marsh cores throughout the experiment, but there was only a marginally (p < 0.1) significant increase seen in the mudflat cores. Results indicate that porewater salinity levels can become significantly elevated within a coastal marsh soil in just one week. This vertical intrusion of salt can potentially negatively impact macrophytes and associated microbial communities for significantly longer term post-storm surge.

  8. Coastal marsh response to historical and future sea-level acceleration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirwan, M.; Temmerman, S.

    2009-01-01

    We consider the response of marshland to accelerations in the rate of sea-level rise by utilizing two previously described numerical models of marsh elevation. In a model designed for the Scheldt Estuary (Belgium-SW Netherlands), a feedback between inundation depth and suspended sediment concentrations allows marshes to quickly adjust their elevation to a change in sea-level rise rate. In a model designed for the North Inlet Estuary (South Carolina), a feedback between inundation and vegetation growth allows similar adjustment. Although the models differ in their approach, we find that they predict surprisingly similar responses to sea-level change. Marsh elevations adjust to a step change in the rate of sea-level rise in about 100 years. In the case of a continuous acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise, modeled accretion rates lag behind sea-level rise rates by about 20 years, and never obtain equilibrium. Regardless of the style of acceleration, the models predict approximately 6-14 cm of marsh submergence in response to historical sea-level acceleration, and 3-4 cm of marsh submergence in response to a projected scenario of sea-level rise over the next century. While marshes already low in the tidal frame would be susceptible to these depth changes, our modeling results suggest that factors other than historical sea-level acceleration are more important for observations of degradation in most marshes today.

  9. A comparison between conventional and AMS [sup 14]C dates on basal salt marsh peats from coastal Maine. [Accelerator Mass Spectroscopy

    SciTech Connect

    Gehrels, R.W.; Belknap, D.F. . Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1992-01-01

    This study reports AMS dates from four Maine salt marshes: Webbannet Marsh (Wells), Morse and Sprague River marshes (Phippsburg), and Sanborn Cove marsh (Machiasport). The AMS dates are compared with conventional dates on bulk samples obtained from either the same cores or from other cores at comparable depths. Four AMS dates from the Webhannet and Sanborn Cove marshes were considerably older than their conventional counterparts, by as much as 1,000 years. Three causes for this age discrepancy are suggested. First, under slow rates of marsh accretion, peats remain within the root zone of modern plants for a relatively long period, causing a continued input of younger carbon. Intruded roots are undetectable in the highly macerated, 4,000--5,000 C-14 year old peats. Another source of contamination is the percolation of mobile humic acids along the impermeable Pleistocene substrate. Finally, a date on a bulk peat of 10 cm vertical extent represents an average age for a portion of peat that spans a time interval possibly of several centuries. The age difference between the bulk date and the AMS date from the base of the peat increases with decreasing rates of marsh accretion. The forested steep slopes of the upland surrounding the marsh seem a likely source of old carbon that can easily be washed onto the marsh surface. The slow rate of late-Holocene sea-level rise in Maine, as well as the geologic and hydrologic setting of the salt marshes, make conventional C-14 dating of salt marsh peats in Maine a problematic affair. This study implies that AMS dates may be needed to verify Holocene sea-level curves from other coastal areas that have hitherto been based solely on conventional C-14 peat dates.

  10. Levels of Mercury in Feathers of Clapper Rails (Rallus crepitans) over 45 Years in Coastal Salt Marshes of New Hanover County, North Carolina.

    PubMed

    Fournier, Auriel M V; Welsh, Kyle James; Polito, Michael; Emslie, Steven D; Brasso, Rebecka

    2016-10-01

    We sampled clapper rail (Rallus crepitans) feathers from museum specimens collected between 1965 and 2010 to investigate changes in mercury (Hg) availability in coastal marshes of New Hanover County, North Carolina. Stable isotope analysis (δ(13)C and δ(15)N) was conducted to control for dietary shifts that may have influenced Hg exposure. Hg concentrations ranged from 0.96 to 9.22 μg/g (ppm), but showed no significant trend over time; diet (δ(15)N) or foraging habitat (δ(13)C) also provided little to no explanatory power to the variation in Hg concentrations among clapper rails. Our findings suggest the bioavailability of Hg to clapper rails in coastal North Carolina salt marshes has remained consistent over time, despite the global trend of increasing mercury in many other bird species, providing an excellent baseline for any future assessment of Hg availability to salt marsh birds in coastal North Carolina. PMID:27370821

  11. Exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion alters ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CH4 and N2O and carbon sequestration in a coastal salt marsh in China.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Freeman, Chris; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2015-04-01

    Coastal salt marshes are sensitive to global climate change and may play an important role in mitigating global warming. To evaluate the impacts of Spartina alterniflora invasion on global warming potential (GWP) in Chinese coastal areas, we measured CH4 and N2O fluxes and soil organic carbon sequestration rates along a transect of coastal wetlands in Jiangsu province, China, including open water; bare tidal flat; and invasive S. alterniflora, native Suaeda salsa, and Phragmites australis marshes. Annual CH4 emissions were estimated as 2.81, 4.16, 4.88, 10.79, and 16.98 kg CH4 ha(-1) for open water, bare tidal flat, and P. australis, S. salsa, and S. alterniflora marshes, respectively, indicating that S. alterniflora invasion increased CH4 emissions by 57-505%. In contrast, negative N2O fluxes were found to be significantly and negatively correlated (P < 0.001) with net ecosystem CO2 exchange during the growing season in S. alterniflora and P. australis marshes. Annual N2O emissions were 0.24, 0.38, and 0.56 kg N2O ha(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat and S. salsa marsh, respectively, compared with -0.51 kg N2O ha(-1) for S. alterniflora marsh and -0.25 kg N2O ha(-1) for P. australis marsh. The carbon sequestration rate of S. alterniflora marsh amounted to 3.16 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) in the top 100 cm soil profile, a value that was 2.63- to 8.78-fold higher than in native plant marshes. The estimated GWP was 1.78, -0.60, -4.09, and -1.14 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat, P. australis marsh and S. salsa marsh, respectively, but dropped to -11.30 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in S. alterniflora marsh. Our results indicate that although S. alterniflora invasion stimulates CH4 emissions, it can efficiently mitigate increases in atmospheric CO2 and N2O along the coast of China.

  12. Exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion alters ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CH4 and N2O and carbon sequestration in a coastal salt marsh in China.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Freeman, Chris; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2015-04-01

    Coastal salt marshes are sensitive to global climate change and may play an important role in mitigating global warming. To evaluate the impacts of Spartina alterniflora invasion on global warming potential (GWP) in Chinese coastal areas, we measured CH4 and N2O fluxes and soil organic carbon sequestration rates along a transect of coastal wetlands in Jiangsu province, China, including open water; bare tidal flat; and invasive S. alterniflora, native Suaeda salsa, and Phragmites australis marshes. Annual CH4 emissions were estimated as 2.81, 4.16, 4.88, 10.79, and 16.98 kg CH4 ha(-1) for open water, bare tidal flat, and P. australis, S. salsa, and S. alterniflora marshes, respectively, indicating that S. alterniflora invasion increased CH4 emissions by 57-505%. In contrast, negative N2O fluxes were found to be significantly and negatively correlated (P < 0.001) with net ecosystem CO2 exchange during the growing season in S. alterniflora and P. australis marshes. Annual N2O emissions were 0.24, 0.38, and 0.56 kg N2O ha(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat and S. salsa marsh, respectively, compared with -0.51 kg N2O ha(-1) for S. alterniflora marsh and -0.25 kg N2O ha(-1) for P. australis marsh. The carbon sequestration rate of S. alterniflora marsh amounted to 3.16 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) in the top 100 cm soil profile, a value that was 2.63- to 8.78-fold higher than in native plant marshes. The estimated GWP was 1.78, -0.60, -4.09, and -1.14 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat, P. australis marsh and S. salsa marsh, respectively, but dropped to -11.30 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in S. alterniflora marsh. Our results indicate that although S. alterniflora invasion stimulates CH4 emissions, it can efficiently mitigate increases in atmospheric CO2 and N2O along the coast of China. PMID:25367159

  13. Canopy reflectance related to marsh dieback onset and progression in Coastal Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W.; Rangoonwala, A.

    2006-01-01

    In this study, we extended previous work linking leaf spectral changes, dieback onset, and progression of Spartina alterniflora marshes to changes in site-specific canopy reflectance spectra. First, we obtained canopy reflectance spectra (approximately 20 m ground resolution) from the marsh sites occupied during the leaf spectral analyses and from additional sites exhibiting visual signs of dieback. Subsequently, the canopy spectra were analyzed at two spectral scales: the first scale corresponded to whole-spectra sensors, such as the NASA Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) Hyperion, and the second scale corresponded to broadband spectral sensors, such as the EO-1 Advanced Land Imager and the Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper. In the whole-spectra analysis, spectral indicators were generated from the whole canopy spectra (about 400 nm to 1,000 nm) by extracting typical dead and healthy marsh spectra, and subsequently using them to determine the percent composition of all canopy reflectance spectra. Percent compositions were then used to classify canopy spectra at each field site into groups exhibiting similar levels of dieback progression ranging from relatively healthy to completely dead. In the broadband reflectance analysis, blue, green, red, red-edge, and near infrared (NIR) spectral bands and NIR/green and NIR/red transforms were extracted from the canopy spectra. Spectral band and band transform indicators of marsh dieback and progression were generated by relating them to marsh status indicators derived from classifications of the 35 mm slides collected at the same time as the canopy reflectance recordings. The whole spectra and broadband spectral indicators were both able to distinguish (a) healthy marsh, (b) live marsh impacted by dieback, and (c) dead marsh, and they both provided some discrimination of dieback progression. Whole-spectra resolution sensors like the EO-1 Hyperion, however, offered an enhanced ability to categorize dieback progression. ?? 2006

  14. Suitability of Coastal Marshes as Whooping Crane Foraging Habitat in Southwest Louisiana, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    King, Sammy L.; Kang, Sung-Ryong

    2014-01-01

    Foraging habitat conditions (i.e., water depth, prey biomass, digestible energy density) can be a significant predictor of foraging habitat selection by wading birds. Potential foraging habitats of Whooping Cranes (Grus americana) using marshes include ponds and emergent marsh, but the potential prey and energy availability in these habitat types have rarely been studied. In this study, we estimated daily digestible energy density for Whooping Cranes in different marsh and microhabitat types (i.e., pond, flooded emergent marsh). Also, indicator metrics of foraging habitat suitability for Whooping Cranes were developed based on seasonal water depth, prey biomass, and digestible energy density. Seasonal water depth (cm), prey biomass (g wet weight m-2), and digestible energy density (kcal g-1m-2) ranged from 0.0 to 50.2 ± 2.8, 0.0 to 44.8 ± 22.3, and 0.0 to 31.0 ± 15.3, respectively. With the exception of freshwater emergent marsh in summer, all available habitats were capable of supporting one Whooping Crane per 0.1 ha per day. All habitat types in the marshes had relatively higher suitability in spring and summer than in fall and winter. Our study indicates that based on general energy availability, freshwater marshes in the region can support Whooping Cranes in a relatively small area, particularly in spring and summer. In actuality, the spatial density of ponds, the flood depth of the emergent marsh, and the habitat conditions (e.g., vegetation density) between adjacent suitable habitats will constrain suitable habitat and Whooping Crane numbers.

  15. Ecogeomorphic Properties of Flood-ebb Flows on a Coastal North Carolina Salt-marsh Platform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S.; Furbish, D.; Mudd, S.

    2006-12-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems play a vital role in nutrient processing, shoreline defense, and as habitats for commercially important species. Along the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, North Carolina, where the tidal amplitude ranges from 1.0 to 1.5 m, salt marsh communities are expected to undergo a transition from intertidal marshes to subtidal habitats in response to sea-level rise and associated increases in inundation and possibly tidal range. Intertidal areas along the back-barrier sound of Bogue Banks feature well developed networks of tidal channels and exhibit classic macrophyte zonation, with Spartina spp. residing along lower elevations and Juncus roemerianus at higher elevations. As part of a long-term study of macrophyte dynamics, sedimentation and geomorphology in the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds area, here we describe the pattern of flood-ebb flow on a marsh platform. Continuous measurements from a set of pressure transducers arranged along a marsh transect are used to describe spatial variations in the frequency, duration and depth of inundation as a function of platform elevation, macrophyte biomass, and proximity to the tidal creek. Stem density and diameter of Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus affect the magnitude of drag forces on the marsh platform during flooding; our field measurements are used to constrain the relationship between macrophyte stand characteristics and these drag forces.

  16. Sediment redistributed by coastal marsh mosquito ditching in Cape May County, New Jersey, U.S.A.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirby, Ronald E.; Widjeskog, Lee E.

    2013-01-01

    Effects of mosquito ditching on salt marsh sediment budgets have not been quantified for lack of sufficient records, but such information is necessary to provide historical context for current management objectives. We were able to do so in Cape May County New Jersey where Mosquito Extermination Commission records reported 1,493,900 m3 of spoil redistributed through ditching from1902 to 1974. The amount of spoil redistributed rose to 2,240,850 m3–22,987,800 m3 overall when ditch cleaning efforts were included. On a 54 km2 study area, 161,560 m of ditches removed as much as 99,000 m3 of material. If all such sediment stayed in the system and was deposited in open water, it would have added 0.082 mm/yr to those areas. If the sediments had accumulated only in the larger water bodies, it would have been sufficient to add 0.16 mm/yr to those areas. Alternatively, if the material had been deposited only on the marsh surface, the material displaced by mosquito ditching was capable of adding only 0.036 mm/yr. These rates are inconsequential in a system infilling at a rate of 4.4–7.4 mm/yr. Materials released by mosquito ditching thus have added to the sediment budgets of this coastal system, but shoaling of bays and sounds in recent centuries is a consequence of increases in all sediment sources including many of anthropogenic origin. Nonetheless, other consequences of ditching to the marsh (e.g., increased drainage, transport of water, and erosion of ditch banks) are not negligible in consideration of all anthropogenic effects. These data can help parameterize models of salt marsh accretion in the face of climate change.

  17. High Biomass Specific Methyl Halide Production Rates of Selected Coastal Marsh Plants and its Relationship to Halide Content

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Manley, S. L.; Wang, N.; Cicerone, R. J.

    2002-12-01

    Salt tolerant coastal marsh plants (halophytes) have previously been shown to be globally significant producers of methyl chloride (MeCl) and methyl bromide (MeBr). While halophytes are known for their high salt content, there are few reports of their halide content. Our studies have attempted to quantify biomass specific methyl halide (MeX) production from these plants and relate it to tissue halide levels. MeCl, MeBr and MeI production rates and tissue chloride, bromide and iodide concentrations from selected coastal marsh plants were measured for nearly a year. Certain halophyte species (i.e. Batis and Frankenia) have very high summer biomass specific production rates for MeX (e.g. Frankenia: 1 ug MeCl /gfwt/hr; 80 ng MeBr/gfwt/hr; 8 ng MeI/gfwt/hr). These rates of MeCl and MeBr production are much higher than those from other coastal marsh plants or seaweeds. Plant halide levels remain high throughout the year, while MeX production peaks at a high level in mid summer falling to low winter rates. This implies a linkage to plant growth. Higher levels of chloride and bromide were seen in the fleshy marsh plants such as Batis (saltwort, approximately 20 percent dry wt chloride, 0.4 percent dry wt bromide) and Salicornia (pickleweed) than in the others such as Frankenia (alkali heath) approx 7 percent dry wt chloride, 0.1 percent dry wt bromide) or Spartina (cordgrass). No such trend was seen for iodide, which ranged from 4 - 10 ppm. Calculations show the daily halide losses from MeX production are far less than the variability in tissue halide content. MeX production removes a small fraction of the total tissue halide from these plants suggesting that MeX production is not a mechanism used by these species to control internal halide levels. Saltwort cell-free extracts incubated with bromide or iodide in the presence of S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) produced the corresponding MeX. MeBr production was inhibited by caffeic acid the substrate of lignin-specific O

  18. Problems, Prescriptions and Potential in Actionable Climate Change Science - A Case Study from California Coastal Marsh Research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacDonald, G. M.; Ambrose, R. F.; Thorne, K.; Takekawa, J.; Brown, L. N.; Fejtek, S.; Gold, M.; Rosencranz, J.

    2015-12-01

    Frustrations regarding the provision of actionable science extend to both producers and consumers. Scientists decry the lack of application of their research in shaping policy and practices while decision makers bemoan the lack of applicability of scientific research to the specific problems at hand or its narrow focus relative to the plethora of engineering, economic and social considerations that they must also consider. Incorporating climate change adds additional complexity due to uncertainties in estimating many facets of future climate, the inherent variability of climate and the decadal scales over which significant changes will develop. Recently a set of guidelines for successful science-policy interaction was derived from the analysis of transboundary water management. These are; 1 recognizing that science is a crucial but bounded input into the decision-making processes, 2 early establishment of conditions for collaboration and shared commitment among participants, 3 understanding that science-policy interactions are enhanced through greater collaboration and social or group-learning processes, 4 accepting that the collaborative production of knowledge is essential to build legitimate decision-making processes, and 5 engaging boundary organizations and informal networks as well as formal stakeholders. Here we present as a case study research on California coastal marshes, climate change and sea-level that is being conducted by university and USGS scientists under the auspices of the Southwest Climate Science Center. We also present research needs identified by a seperate analysis of best practices for coastal marsh restoration in the face of climate change that was conducted in extensive consultation with planners and managers. The initial communication, scientific research and outreach-dissemination of the marsh scientfic study are outlined and compared to best practices needs identified by planners and the science-policy guidelines outlined above

  19. Historic topographic sheets to satellite imagery—A methodology for evaluating coastal change in Florida's Big Bend tidal marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Raabe, Ellen A.; Streck, Amy E.; Stumpf, Richard P.

    2004-01-01

    This open-file report details the methodology used to rectify, digitize, and mosaic nineteen 19th century topographic sheets on the marsh-dominated Big Bend Gulf coast of Florida. Historic charts of tidal marshes in Florida's Big Bend were prepared in a digital grid-based format for comparison with modern features derived from 1995 satellite imagery. The chart-by-chart rectification process produced a map accuracy of ± 8 m. An effort was made to evaluate secondary map features, such as tree islands, but changes during the intervening years exceed standard surveying errors and rendered the analysis ineffective. A map, at 1:300,000 comparing historic and modern features, is provided to illustrate major changes along the coastline. Shoreline erosion is exceeded by the inland migration of the intertidal zone onto adjoining coastal forest lands. While statements of mapping accuracy are provided in the text, graphic representation of changes in the intertidal zone may be inexact at any given location. Thus caution is advised for site-specific applications. Maps and digital files provided should be used to visualize overall trends and regional anomalies, and not used to critically assess features at a particular location. Final product includes mosaic of historic coastal features and comparison to modern features.

  20. Adaptation as a potential response to sea-level rise: a genetic basis for salinity tolerance in populations of a coastal marsh fish

    PubMed Central

    Purcell, Kevin M; Hitch, Alan T; Klerks, Paul L; Leberg, Paul L

    2008-01-01

    Abstract Relative sea-level rise is resulting in the intrusion of saline waters into marshes historically dominated by fresh water. Saltwater intrusions can potentially affect resident marsh species, especially when storm-related tidal surges cause rapid changes in salinity. We examined the role of historical salinity exposure on the survival of Gambusia affinis from two locations in coastal Louisiana. At each location, we sampled fish populations from fresh, intermediate and brackish marshes. Individuals were then exposed to a salinity of 25‰ and survival time was measured. We found that fish from brackish and intermediate marshes had an increased tolerance to salinity stress relative to fish from freshwater environments. We then tested the descendents of fish from the fresh and brackish marshes, reared for two generation in fresh water, to determine if there was a genetic basis for differential survival. We found that descendents of individuals from brackish marshes showed elevated survivals relative to the descendents of fish with no historical exposure to salinity. The most reasonable mechanism to account for the differences in survival relative to historical exposure is genetic adaptation, suggesting that natural selection may play a role in the responses of resident marsh fishes to future increases in salinity. PMID:25567498

  1. Influence of the Wax Lake Delta sediment diversion on aboveground plant productivity and carbon storage in deltaic island and mainland coastal marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeLaune, R. D.; Sasser, C. E.; Evers-Hebert, E.; White, J. R.; Roberts, H. H.

    2016-08-01

    Coastal Louisiana is experiencing a significant loss of coastal wetland area due to increasing sea level rise, subsidence, sediment starvation and marsh collapse. The construction of large scale Mississippi River sediment diversions is currently being planned in an effort to help combat coastal wetlands losses at a rate of >50 km-2 y-1. The Wax Lake Delta (WLD) is currently being used as a model for evaluating potential land gain from large scale diversions of Mississippi River water and sediment. In this study, we determine the impact of the WLD diversion on plant production at newly formed islands within the delta and adjacent, mainland freshwater marshes. Plant aboveground productivity, sediment nutrient status and short term accretion were measured at three locations on a transect at each of three fresh water marsh sites along Hog Bayou and at six newly formed emerging island sites in the delta. Spring flooding has resulted in a greater increase in plant production and consequently, greater carbon sequestration potential in adjacent mainland marshes compared to the newly formed island sites, which contain less total carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) in the sediment. While sediment diversions are predicted to create land, as seen in island formation in the WLD, the greatest benefit of river sediment diversions from a carbon credit perspective might be to the adjacent freshwater mainland marshes for several reasons. Both greater plant production and sediment C accumulation are two important factors for marsh stability, while perhaps even more critical, is the prevention of the loss of stored sediment C in the marsh profile. This stored C would be lost without the introduction of freshwater, nutrients and sediment through river sediment diversion efforts.

  2. Relationships between wintering waterbirds and invertebrates, sediments and hydrology of coastal marsh ponds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bolduc, F.; Afton, A.D.

    2004-01-01

    We studied relationships among sediment variables (carbon content, C:N, hardness, oxygen penetration, silt-clay fraction), hydrologic variables (dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, transparency, water depth), sizes and biomass of common invertebrate classes, and densities of 15 common waterbird species in ponds of impounded freshwater, oligohaline, mesohaline, and unimpounded mesohaline marshes during winters 1997-98 to 1999-2000 on Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, USA. Canonical correspondence analysis and forward selection was used to analyze the above variables. Water depth and oxygen penetration were the variables that best segregated habitat characteristics that resulted in maximum densities of common waterbird species. Most common waterbird species were associated with specific marsh types, except Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) and Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata). We concluded that hydrologic manipulation of marsh ponds is the best way to manage habitats for these birds, if the hydrology can be controlled adequately.

  3. Threats to Marsh Resources and Mitigation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes inhabit low-energy, intertidal shorelines worldwide and are among the most abundant and productive coastal ecosystems. Salt-marsh ecosystems provide a wide array of benefits to coastal populations, including shoreline protection, fishery support, water quality impr...

  4. VARYING STABLE NITROGEN ISOTOPIC RATIOS OF DIFFERENT COASTAL MARSH PLANTS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH WASTEWATER NITROGEN AND LAND USE IN NEW ENGLAND, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Stable nitrogen isotopic ratios of coastal biota have been used as indicators of sources of anthropogenic nitrogen. In this study the relationships of the stable nitrogen isotopic ratios of salt marsh plants, Iva frutescens (L.), Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin ex Steud, Spar...

  5. Anthropogenic disruptions of the sedimentary record in coastal marshes: Examples from the southern Bay of Biscay (N. Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leorri, Eduardo; Cearreta, Alejandro; Jesús Irabien, María; García-artola, Ane; Corbett, D. Reide; Horsman, Eric; Blake, William H.; Sanchez-Cabeza, Joan-Albert

    2014-09-01

    Understanding sedimentological discontinuities is essential to accurately reconstruct former climatic and sea-level changes from coastal sediments. Four short cores (<50 cm) from two estuaries located in the Bay of Biscay, Northern Spain, have been collected to provide analogues of recent anthropogenic sedimentary disturbance in salt marsh environments. Accurate maps and aerial photography can identify previously reclaimed areas but anthropogenic disruptions are more difficult to detect in regions abandoned before the 1950s and in areas with poor historical records. Our study aimed to provide the tools to identify former land reclamation horizons and apply an established environmental template to interpret a new core record from a previously unsampled estuary. Cores were analyzed using a multidisciplinary approach that includes sedimentology, micropaleontology, geochemistry, and bulk magnetic susceptibility (BMS). Results suggest that areas used for agricultural purposes are characterized in the sediment record by the absence of foraminifera that, after abandonment, are rapidly colonized by salt marsh plants in response to rapid vertical accretion. The initial colonization is marked by the presence of low foraminiferal numbers and a sharp increase in magnetic susceptibility, which proved helpful to improve the timing of the sedimentological boundaries when combined with other proxies. Our results indicate that anthropogenic disruptions to the sedimentary record are common over the recent past (100 years) and likely extend over the historic period in this part of southwestern Europe. These disruptions reflect historic land use changes. In the case of land clearance, proximal sites reflect sudden grain size changes, foraminiferal data and BMS. Distal sites affected by land clearance and the transition from agricultural soils to salt marsh occur in the mud fraction and require a multidisciplinary approach to pin them down. BMS has proven to be very useful when

  6. Impacts and recovery of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on vegetation structure and function of coastal salt marshes in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Lin, Qianxin; Mendelssohn, Irving A

    2012-04-01

    We investigated the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill on two dominant coastal saltmarsh plants, Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus, in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the processes controlling differential species-effects and recovery. Seven months after the Macondo MC 252 oil made landfall along the shoreline salt marshes of northern Barataria Bay, Louisiana, concentrations of total petroleum hydrocarbons in the surface 2 cm of heavily oiled marsh soils were as high as 510 mg g(-1). Heavy oiling caused almost complete mortality of both species. However, moderate oiling impacted Spartina less severely than Juncus and, relative to the reference marshes, had no significant effect on Spartina while significantly lowering live aboveground biomass and stem density of Juncus. A greenhouse mesocosm study supported field results and indicated that S. alterniflora was much more tolerant to shoot oil coverage than J. roemerianus. Spartina recovered from as much as 100% oil coverage of shoots in 7 months; however, Juncus recovered to a much lesser extent. Soil-oiling significantly affected both species. Severe impacts of the Macondo oil to coastal marsh vegetation most likely resulted from oil exposure of the shoots and oil contact on/in the marsh soil, as well as repeated oiling events.

  7. Forcing functions governing salt transport processes in coastal navigation canals and connectivity to surrounding marshes in South Louisiana using Houma Navigation Canal as a surrogate

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snedden, Gregg

    2014-01-01

    Understanding how circulation and mixing processes in coastal navigation canals influence the exchange of salt between marshes and coastal ocean, and how those processes are modulated by external physical processes, is critical to anticipating effects of future actions and circumstance. Examples of such circumstances include deepening the channel, placement of locks in the channel, changes in freshwater discharge down the channel, changes in outer continental shelf (OCS) vessel traffic volume, and sea level rise. The study builds on previous BOEM-funded studies by investigating salt flux variability through the Houma Navigation Canal (HNC). It examines how external physical factors, such as buoyancy forcing and mixing from tidal stirring and OCS vessel wakes, influence dispersive and advective fluxes through the HNC and the impact of this salt flux on salinity in nearby marshes. This study quantifies salt transport processes and salinity variability in the HNC and surrounding Terrebonne marshes. Data collected for this study include time-series data of salinity and velocity in the HNC, monthly salinity-depth profiles along the length of the channel, hourly vertical profiles of velocity and salinity over multiple tidal cycles, and salinity time series data at three locations in the surrounding marshes along a transect of increasing distance from the HNC. Two modes of vertical current structure were identified. The first mode, making up 90% of the total flow field variability, strongly resembled a barotropic current structure and was coherent with alongshelf wind stress over the coastal Gulf of Mexico. The second mode was indicative of gravitational circulation and was linked to variability in tidal stirring and the longitudinal salinity gradients along the channel’s length. Diffusive process were dominant drivers of upestuary salt transport, except during periods of minimal tidal stirring when gravitational circulation became more important. Salinity in the

  8. Effects of freshwater input on trace element pollution in salt marsh soils of a typical coastal estuary, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bai, Junhong; Zhao, Qingqing; Lu, Qiongqiong; Wang, Junjing; Reddy, K. Ramesh

    2015-01-01

    Freshwater input is an important pathway for the restoration of degraded coastal wetlands, however, little information is available on the negative effects of freshwater inputs on salt marsh soils in restored wetlands. Soil profile samples to a depth of 70 cm were collected in both degraded wetland (DW) and freshwater restored wetland (RW) in the Yellow River Delta of China to analyze the trace element pollution effects of freshwater input on coastal wetland soils. Heavy metals (i.e. Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) and arsenic (As) concentrations were determined using the inductively coupled plasma atomic absorption spectrometry to investigate their distributions, sources and ecotoxicity in marsh soils from both wetlands. Our results showed that these trace elements had moderate spatial variability in both DW and RW soils. The concentrations of As, Cr, Pb and Cd in all soil layers were generally higher in RW soils than those in DW soils (p < 0.05), whereas the concentrations of Zn and Cu were higher in DW soils. Heavy metals had similar source in both wetlands, however, As and Zn in DW or As, Zn and Ni in RW might have another similar origin. The enrichment factor (EF) values for Cu, Ni and Pb in both wetlands indicated minimal enrichment levels, whereas both As and Cd were significantly enriched with EF values 3 or 6 times greater than 1.5, implying a significant natural or anthropogenic origin. As and Ni exceeded the effect range low (ERL) and threshold effect level (TEL) in both wetlands, even As exceeded the probable effect level (PEL) in RW soils. Cr, Cu and Cd were grouped into TELs-PELs, moreover, Cr concentrations in RW soils exceeded the ERL. However, both Pb and Zn concentrations were below the TELs in both wetlands. Generally, The toxic unit in more than 85% of DW or RW soil samples showed low toxicity with higher contribution of As and Ni. It is necessary to monitor and control trace elements in the freshwater supplied to restored wetlands in coastal wetland

  9. Ecogeomorphology of Spartina patens-dominated tidal marshes: Soil organic matter accumulation, marsh elevation dynamics, and disturbance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cahoon, D.R.; Ford, M.A.; Hensel, P.F.; Fagherazzi, Sergio; Marani, Marco; Blum, Linda K.

    2004-01-01

    Marsh soil development and vertical accretion in Spartina patens (Aiton) Muhl.-dominated tidal marshes is largely dependent on soil organic matter accumulation from root-rhizome production and litter deposition. Yet there are few quantitative data sets on belowground production and the relationship between soil organic matter accumulation and soil elevation dynamics for this marsh type. Spartina patens marshes are subject to numerous stressors, including sea-level rise, water level manipulations (i.e., flooding and draining) by impoundments, and prescribed burning. These stressors could influence long-term marsh sustainability by their effect on root production, soil organic matter accumulation, and soil elevation dynamics. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on the interactions among vegetative production, soil organic matter accumulation and marsh elevation dynamics, or the ecogeomorphology, of Spartina patens-dominated tidal marshes. Additional studies are needed of belowground production/decomposition and soil elevation change (measured simultaneously) to better understand the links among soil organic matter accumulation, soil elevation change, and disturbance in this marsh type. From a management perspective, we need to better understand the impacts of disturbance stressors, both lethal and sub-lethal, and the interactive effect of multiple stressors on soil elevation dynamics in order to develop better management practices to safeguard marsh sustainability as sea level rises.

  10. A nitrogen-rich septage-effluent plume in a coastal aquifer, marsh, and creek system, Orleans, Massachusetts; project summary, 1988-95

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weiskel, P.K.; DeSimone, L.A.; Howes, B.L.

    1996-01-01

    A report summarizing the major findings of an ongoing study of a nitrogen-rich septage-effluent plume in Orleans, Massachusetts has been published. The study is being conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Watershed Management, with additional support from the Cape Cod Commission. The report describes the history of the septage-effluent plume in the coastal aquifer and the results of baseline water-quality, sediment, and vegetation monitoring in Namskaket Marsh and Namskaket Creek, the expected discharge areas for the effluent plume. Namskaket Marsh has been recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern, and Namskaket Creek, which flows through the marsh, has been designated as an Outstanding Resource Water. Peter Weiskel, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist and principal author of the report, said that discharge of effluent from the treatment facility since February 1990 has resulted in a plume of nitrogen-rich (10 to 40 milligrams of nitrogen per liter) ground water that is travelling at about 0.4 feet per day westward and northwestward toward Namskaket Marsh and Cape Cod Bay. Seepage zones near the marsh-upland boundary and the bottoms of Namskaket Creek and tributaries are the most likely discharge areas for the effluent plume. High rates of ground-water discharge (averaging 0.30 gallon per square foot per hour) have been measured in these zones during the ebb-tide. Measurements of nitrate uptake by sediments in these zones indicate considerable potential for nitrate removal during plume discharge through these zones. The marsh vegetation is dominated by Phragmites australis (common reed) in the seepage zone near the upland boundary, and by Spartina patens (salt-meadow grass) in the interior areas of the marsh. Further study is required to (1) continue mapping the progress of the plume toward the marsh and creek, (1) define the potential

  11. Effects of dispersant used for oil spill remediation on nitrogen cycling in Louisiana coastal salt marsh soil.

    PubMed

    Pietroski, Jason P; White, John R; DeLaune, Ronald D

    2015-01-01

    On April 20, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon (DWH) offshore oil platform experienced an explosion which triggered the largest marine oil spill in US history. Approximately 7.9 million liters of dispersant, Corexit EC9500A, was used during the spill between May 15th and July 12th. Marsh soil samples were collected from an unimpacted marsh site proximal to coastal areas that suffered light to heavy oiling for a laboratory evaluation to determine the effect of Corexit on the wetland soil microbial biomass as well as N-mineralization and denitrification rates. Microbial biomass nitrogen (N) values were below detection for the 1:10, 1:100 and 1:1000 Corexit:wet soil treatments. The potentially mineralizable N (PMN) rate correlated with microbial biomass with significantly lower rates for the 1:10 and 1:100 Corexit:wet soil additions. Potential denitrification rates for Corexit:wet soil ratios after immediate dispersant exposure were below detection for the 1:10 treatment, while the 1:100 was 7.6±2.7% of the control and the 1:1000 was 33±4.3% of the control. The 1:10000 treatment was not significantly different from the control. Denitrification rates measured after 2 weeks exposure to the surfactant found the 1:10 treatment still below detection limit and the 1:100 ratio was 12±2.6% of the control. Results from this lab study suggest that chemical dispersants have the potential to negatively affect the wetland soil microbial biomass and resultant microbial activity. Consequences of exposure led to reductions in several important microbial-regulated ecosystem services including water quality improvement (denitrification) and ecosystem primary productivity (N-mineralization). Future studies should investigate the longer-term impacts of dispersant exposure on the microbial consortia to determine if microbial activity recovers over time. PMID:25123788

  12. Effects of dispersant used for oil spill remediation on nitrogen cycling in Louisiana coastal salt marsh soil.

    PubMed

    Pietroski, Jason P; White, John R; DeLaune, Ronald D

    2015-01-01

    On April 20, 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon (DWH) offshore oil platform experienced an explosion which triggered the largest marine oil spill in US history. Approximately 7.9 million liters of dispersant, Corexit EC9500A, was used during the spill between May 15th and July 12th. Marsh soil samples were collected from an unimpacted marsh site proximal to coastal areas that suffered light to heavy oiling for a laboratory evaluation to determine the effect of Corexit on the wetland soil microbial biomass as well as N-mineralization and denitrification rates. Microbial biomass nitrogen (N) values were below detection for the 1:10, 1:100 and 1:1000 Corexit:wet soil treatments. The potentially mineralizable N (PMN) rate correlated with microbial biomass with significantly lower rates for the 1:10 and 1:100 Corexit:wet soil additions. Potential denitrification rates for Corexit:wet soil ratios after immediate dispersant exposure were below detection for the 1:10 treatment, while the 1:100 was 7.6±2.7% of the control and the 1:1000 was 33±4.3% of the control. The 1:10000 treatment was not significantly different from the control. Denitrification rates measured after 2 weeks exposure to the surfactant found the 1:10 treatment still below detection limit and the 1:100 ratio was 12±2.6% of the control. Results from this lab study suggest that chemical dispersants have the potential to negatively affect the wetland soil microbial biomass and resultant microbial activity. Consequences of exposure led to reductions in several important microbial-regulated ecosystem services including water quality improvement (denitrification) and ecosystem primary productivity (N-mineralization). Future studies should investigate the longer-term impacts of dispersant exposure on the microbial consortia to determine if microbial activity recovers over time.

  13. NITROGEN CONCENTRATIONS IN LOADING SOURCES FOR THREE COASTAL LAGOONS FROM ATMOSPHERIC AND WATERSHED SOURCES, ADJACENT COASTAL MARSHES, TIDAL EXCHANGES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract and Oral Presentation Gulf Estuarine Research Society.

    Standing stocks and inputs of total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) to three coastal lagoons, hereafter referred to as Kee's Bayou, Gongora, and State Park, with varying adjacent land-use, geomorphology, and water re...

  14. Fluxes of nitrous oxide and methane in different coastal Suaeda salsa marshes of the Yellow River estuary, China.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhigao; Wang, Lingling; Tian, Hanqin; Jiang, Huanhuan; Mou, Xiaojie; Sun, Wanlong

    2013-01-01

    The spatial and temporal variations of the fluxes of nitrous oxide (N(2)O) and methane (CH(4)) and associated abiotic sediment parameters were quantified for the first time across the coastal marsh dominated by Suaeda salsa in the Yellow River estuary during 2009/2010. During all times of day and the seasons measured, N(2)O and CH(4) fluxes from coastal marsh ranged from -0.0147 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1) to 0.0982 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1) and -0.7421 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1) to 0.4242 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1), respectively. The mean N(2)O fluxes in spring, summer, autumn and winter were 0.0325 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1), 0.0089 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1), 0.0119 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1) and 0.0140 mg N(2)O m(-2) h(-1), and the average CH(4) fluxes were -0.0109 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1), -0.0174 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1), -0.0141 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1) and -0.0089 mg CH(4) m(-2) h(-1), respectively, indicating that the coastal marsh acted as N(2)O source and CH(4) sink. Both N(2)O and CH(4) fluxes differed significantly between times of day of sampling. N(2)O fluxes differed significantly between sampling seasons as well as between sampling positions, while CH(4) fluxes had no significant differences between seasons or positions. Temporal variations of N(2)O emissions were probably related to the effects of vegetation (S. salsa) during summer and autumn and the frequent freeze/thaw cycle of sediment during spring and winter, while those of CH(4) fluxes were controlled by the interactions of thermal conditions and other abiotic factors (soil moisture and salinity). Spatial variations of N(2)O and CH(4) fluxes were primarily affected by soil moisture fluctuation derived from astronomic tide, sediment substrate and vegetation composition. N(2)O and CH(4) fluxes, expressed as CO(2)-equivaltent (CO(2)-e) emissions, showed that N(2)O comprised the principal part of total calculated CO(2)-e emissions during spring and winter, while the contributions of CH(4) could not be ignored during summer and autumn. This study

  15. Changes in soils and vegetation in a Mediterranean coastal salt marsh impacted by human activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Álvarez-Rogel, J.; Jiménez-Cárceles, F. J.; Roca, M. J.; Ortiz, R.

    2007-07-01

    This paper reports changes in vegetation distribution and species cover in relation to soil factors and hydrology in a semiarid Mediterranean salt marsh adjacent to the Mar Menor saline lagoon. Species cover, soil salinity, and the groundwater level were monitored between 1991 and 1993 and between 2002 and 2004, and total organic carbon, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, nitrates, ammonium and exchangeable phosphorus were measured in the soils in both study periods. In addition, three soil profiles were described in August 1992 and August 2004. The results indicate an elevation of the water table throughout the 13-year period, which was attributable to water flowing from areas with intensive agriculture. Flooding increased and soil salinity dropped in the most saline sites and increased in the least saline ones. The morphology of the soil profiles reflected the increase in flooding periods, due to the appearance of a greyer matrix in the deeper horizons and a more diffuse pattern of Fe mottles. Following these environmental changes, Sarcocornia fruticosa, Phragmites australis and Juncus maritimus strongly expanded at the wettest sites, which led to the disappearance of the original zonation pattern. The cover of Limonium delicatulum, in turn, decreased with the increase in moisture but increased following the increase in salinity. Changes in soil nutrients were only very evident in the sandy soils of the beach, probably due to the influence of organic debris deposited on the shoreline by the storms and due to the strong increase in the colonisation of this habitat by perennial species. According to the results obtained, control measures are needed in order to preserve habitat diversity in this and other salt marshes of this area. Monitoring of the vegetation distribution could be a useful tool to identify environmental impacts, in order to implement remedial actions.

  16. Level and degradation of Deepwater Horizon spilled oil in coastal marsh sediments and pore-water.

    PubMed

    Natter, Michael; Keevan, Jeff; Wang, Yang; Keimowitz, Alison R; Okeke, Benedict C; Son, Ahjeong; Lee, Ming-Kuo

    2012-06-01

    This research investigates the level and degradation of oil at ten selected Gulf saltmarsh sites months after the 2010 BP Macondo-1 well oil spill. Very high levels (10-28%) of organic carbon within the heavily oiled sediments are clearly distinguished from those in pristine sediments (<3%). Dissolved organic carbon in contaminated pore-waters, ranging up to hundreds of mg/kg, are 1 to 2 orders of magnitude higher than those at pristine sites. Heavily oiled sediments are characterized by very high sulfide concentrations (up to 80 mg/kg) and abundance of sulfate reducing bacteria. Geochemical biomarkers and stable carbon isotope analyses fingerprint the presence of oils in sediments. Ratios of selected parameters calculated from the gas chromatograph spectra are in a remarkable narrow range among spilled oils and initial BP crude. At oiled sites dominated by C(4) plants, δ(13)C values of sediments (-20.8 ± 2.0‰) have been shifted significantly lower compared to marsh plants (-14.8 ± 0.6‰) due to the inflow of isotopically lighter oil (-27 ± 0.2‰). Our results show that (1) lighter compounds of oil are quickly degraded by microbes while the heavier fractions of oil still remain and (2) higher inputs of organic matter from the oil spill enhance the key microbial processes associated with sulfate reducing bacteria. PMID:22571231

  17. INDICATORS OF ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCE IN STREAMS AND RECEIVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Land use and anthropogenic activities in watersheds affect biological, chemical, and physical conditions in streams and receiving coastal salt marshes. Our objective was to compare indicators of stream and riparian condition with analogous indicators of the coastal salt marshes i...

  18. INDICATORS OF ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCE IN STREAMS AND RECEINVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Land use and anthropogenic activities in watersheds affect biological, chemical, and physical conditions in streams and receiving coastal salt marshes. Our objective was to compare indicators of stream and riparian condition with analogous indicators of the coastal salt marshes...

  19. INDICATORS OF ANTHROPOGENIC DISTURBANCES IN STREAMS AND RECEIVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Land use and anthropogenic activities in watersheds affect biological, chemical, and physical conditions in streams and receiving coastal salt marshes. Our objective was to compare indicators of stream and riparian condition with analogous indicators of the coastal salt marshes i...

  20. Diversity of Vibrio spp in Karstic Coastal Marshes in the Yucatan Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Ortiz-Carrillo, Icela; Estrella-Gómez, Neyi Eloísa; Zamudio-Maya, Marcela; Rojas-Herrera, Rafael

    2015-01-01

    Coastal bodies of water formed by the combination of seawater, underground rivers and rainwater comprise the systems with the greatest solar energy flow and biomass production on the planet. These characteristics make them reservoirs for a large number species, mainly microorganisms. Bacteria of the genus Vibrio are natural inhabitants of these environments and their presence is determined by variations in the nutrient, temperature and salinity cycles generated by the seasonal hydrologic behavior of these lagoon systems. This study determined the diversity of the genus Vibrio in 4 coastal bodies of water on the Yucatan Peninsula (Celestun Lagoon, Chelem Lagoon, Rosada Lagoon and Sabancuy Estuary). Using the molecular technique of 454 pyrosequencing, DNA extracted from water samples was analyzed and 32,807 reads were obtained belonging to over 20 culturable species of the genus Vibrio and related genera. OTU (operational taxonomic unit) richness and Chao2 and Shannon Weaver diversity indices were obtained with the database from this technique. Physicochemical and environmental parameters were determined and correlated with Vibrio diversity measured in OTUs.

  1. Diversity of Vibrio spp in Karstic Coastal Marshes in the Yucatan Peninsula

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Coastal bodies of water formed by the combination of seawater, underground rivers and rainwater comprise the systems with the greatest solar energy flow and biomass production on the planet. These characteristics make them reservoirs for a large number species, mainly microorganisms. Bacteria of the genus Vibrio are natural inhabitants of these environments and their presence is determined by variations in the nutrient, temperature and salinity cycles generated by the seasonal hydrologic behavior of these lagoon systems. This study determined the diversity of the genus Vibrio in 4 coastal bodies of water on the Yucatan Peninsula (Celestun Lagoon, Chelem Lagoon, Rosada Lagoon and Sabancuy Estuary). Using the molecular technique of 454 pyrosequencing, DNA extracted from water samples was analyzed and 32,807 reads were obtained belonging to over 20 culturable species of the genus Vibrio and related genera. OTU (operational taxonomic unit) richness and Chao2 and Shannon Weaver diversity indices were obtained with the database from this technique. Physicochemical and environmental parameters were determined and correlated with Vibrio diversity measured in OTUs. PMID:26252792

  2. Salt marsh dieback in coastal Louisiana: survey of plant and soil conditions in Barataria and Terrebonne basins, June 2000-September 2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.; Mendelssohn, Irving A.; Materne, Michael D.

    2006-01-01

    Sudden and extensive dieback of the perennial marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora Loisel (smooth cordgrass), which dominates regularly flooded salt marshes along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastlines, occurred in the coastal zone of Louisiana. The objectives of this study were to assess soil and plant conditions in dieback areas of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuarine system as well as vegetative recovery during and after this dieback event. Multiple dieback sites were examined along 100 km of shoreline from the Atchafalaya River to the Mississippi River during the period from June 2000 through September 2001. The species primarily affected was S. alterniflora; sympatric species such as Avicennia germinans (L.) Stearn (black mangrove) and Juncus roemerianus Scheele (needlegrass rush) showed no visible signs of stress. The pattern of marsh dieback was distinctive with greatest mortality in the marsh interior, suggesting a correlation with local patterns of soil chemistry and/or hydrology. Little or no expansion of dieback occurred subsequent to the initial event, and areas with 50 percent or less mortality in the fall of 2000 had completely recovered by April 2001. Recovery was slower in interior marshes with 90 percent or greater mortality initially. However, regenerating plants in dieback areas showing some recovery were robust, and reproductive output was high, indicating that the causative agent was no longer present and that post-dieback soil conditions were actually promoting plant growth. Stands of other species within or near some dieback sites remained largely unchanged or expanded (A. germinans) into the dead salt marsh. The cause of the dieback is currently unknown. Biotic agents and excessive soil waterlogging/high sulfide were ruled out as primary causes of this acute event, although they could have contributed to overall plant stress and/or interacted with the primary agent to cause plant mortality. Our observations over the 15 month study

  3. Depth-distribution patterns and control of soil organic carbon in coastal salt marshes with different plant covers

    PubMed Central

    Bai, Junhong; Zhang, Guangliang; Zhao, Qingqing; Lu, Qiongqiong; Jia, Jia; Cui, Baoshan; Liu, Xinhui

    2016-01-01

    This study was carried out in three kinds of salt marshes according to the vegetation covers, including Phragmites australis salt marsh (PSM), Suaeda salus salt marsh (SSM) and Tamarix chinensis-Suaeda salus salt marsh (TSSM). We applied allometric function, exponential function and logistic function to model the depth distribution of the SOCv and SOCc for each salt marsh, respectively. The results showed that the exponential function fits the depth distribution of the SOCv more well than other two functions. The SOCc can be fitted very well by all three functions for three salt marsh (Adj. R2 > 0.99), of which the allometric function was the best one. The mean topsoil concentration factors (TCFs) of three salt marshes were beyond 0.1, which means the SOC enrichment in surface soils due to plant cycling, but TCFs in PSM were significantly higher than those in SSM (P < 0.05). Nearly 30% of SOC was concentrated in the top 20 cm soils. The results of general linear model (GLM) suggested that four soil properties (soil water content, pH, soil salt content and silt+clay) and their interactive effects explained about 80% of the total variation of SOC stock in the top 20 cm soils and the 20–100 cm soil layers. PMID:27708421

  4. Geochemistry of salt marsh sediments deposited during simulated sea-level rise and consequences for recent and Holocene coastal development of NW Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kolditz, Kerstin; Dellwig, Olaf; Barkowski, Jan; Badewien, Thomas H.; Freund, Holger; Brumsack, Hans-Jürgen

    2012-02-01

    De-embankment in the salt marshes of the island of Langeoog was carried out in 2004, thereby inducing an artificial transgression within an area of 2.2 km2. Material from three suspended matter traps (SMTs) located along a N-S transect was collected monthly between January 2006 and February 2007. Besides geochemical (major and trace elements) and grain-size analyses, the duration and height of water cover were continuously measured by pressure gauges during the sampling period at two sites, thus revealing inundation frequency (max. 280 year-1) and level (max. 2.4 m). Generally, the silt-dominated SMT material exhibits a geochemical composition similar to that of suspended particulate matter from the adjacent Wadden Sea. However, distinctly increasing enrichments of TOC, P, Mn and Mo from the shoreline towards the higher salt marsh clearly indicate fractionation processes during material transport. Geochemical comparison with older Holocene coastal deposits reveals a mixture of brackish and tidal flat sediments, thus reflecting an early stage of sea-level rise and the development from a terrestrial towards a marine-dominated system. Sedimentation rates are higher than the local sea-level rise, as revealed by vertical salt marsh growth. Storm surges deliver the highest amounts of sediment and play an important role in salt marsh accumulation within the study area. Average accumulation rates of TOC (780 t year-1), P (54 t year-1) and Mn (5.2 t year-1) in the de-embanked area suggest that the former sand-dominated sediments currently receive significant amounts of reactive organic-rich material, thus fostering biogeochemical cycling.

  5. Effects of continual burial by sediment on seedling emergence and morphology of Suaeda salsa in the coastal marsh of the Yellow River estuary, China.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhigao; Song, Hongli; Sun, Jingkuan; Sun, Wenguang

    2014-03-15

    A greenhouse study was conducted to determine the impacts of continual burial on seedling emergence and morphology of Suaeda salsa, a pioneer species in the coastal marsh of the Yellow River estuary. From May to June 2012, seeds of S. salsa were artificially buried to depths of 0 cm (no burial), 2 cm (burial of 1 mm d(-1)), 4 cm (burial of 2 mm d(-1)), 6 cm (burial of 3 mm d(-1)), 8 cm (burial of 4 mm d(-1)) and 10 cm (burial of 5 mm d(-1)) in plastic pots filled with unsterilized sediment. Results showed that the percent emergence of seedlings had a significantly negative correlation with continual burial depth (p < 0.001). A large percentage of seedlings emerged from 2, 4 and 6 cm burial depths, with the highest emergence (56.00 ± 6.60%) occurring from 2 cm depth. The shortest emergence time occurred at 4 cm burial depth and seeds buried at 10 cm depth took longer to emerge than those at other depths. At shallow or moderate burials, a stimulatory effect on seedling height, stem diameter, number and length of branch, taproot length and dry mass were observed. With increasing burial depth, root-mass and leaf-mass ratios generally increased while stem-mass ratio decreased. Sediment burial also stimulated part of the hypocotyl below the sediment to form adventitious roots, implying that S. salsa seedlings had a special adaptive strategy in response to the rapid and dynamic burial environment in the coastal marsh of the Yellow River estuary. The use of thin-layer continual burial (1-2 mm d(-1)) to promote the emergence of S. salsa seedlings in degraded marsh was feasible, and our study provided another way for the restoration of S. salsa marsh during the initial stage of seedling establishment and laid a good foundation for the scientific decision-making and management of restoration project at a large scale.

  6. Bottom-up and top-down human impacts interact to affect a protected coastal Chilean marsh.

    PubMed

    Fariña, José M; He, Qiang; Silliman, Brian R; Bertness, Mark D

    2016-03-01

    Many ecosystems, even in protected areas, experience multiple anthropogenic impacts. While anthropogenic modification of bottom-up (e.g., eutrophication) and top-down (e.g., livestock grazing) forcing often co-occurs, whether these factors counteract or have additive or synergistic effects on ecosystems is poorly understood. In a Chilean bio-reserve, we examined the interactive impacts of eutrophication and illegal livestock grazing on plant growth with a 4-yr fertilization by cattle exclusion experiment. Cattle grazing generally decreased plant biomass, but had synergistic, additive, and antagonistic interactions with fertilization in the low, middle, and high marsh zones, respectively. In the low marsh, fertilization increased plant biomass by 112%, cattle grazing decreased it by 96%, and together they decreased plant biomass by 77%. In the middle marsh, fertilization increased plant biomass by 47%, cattle grazing decreased it by 37%, and together they did not affect plant biomass. In the high marsh, fertilization and cattle grazing decreased plant biomass by 81% and 92%, respectively, but together they increased plant biomass by 42%. These interactions were also found to be species specific. Different responses of plants to fertilization and cattle grazing were likely responsible for these variable interactions. Thus, common bottom-up and top-down human impacts can interact in different ways to affect communities even within a single ecosystem. Incorporating this knowledge into conservation actions will improve ecosystem management in a time when ecosystems are increasingly challenged by multiple interacting human impacts. PMID:27197391

  7. Marsh Soil Responses to Nutrients: Belowground Structural and Organic Properties

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal marsh responses to nutrient enrichment apparently depend upon soil matrix and whether the system is primarily biogenic or minerogenic. Deteriorating organic rich marshes (Jamaica Bay, NY) receiving wastewater effluent had lower belowground biomass, organic matter, and soi...

  8. Marsh Soil Responses to Nutrients: Belowground Structural and Organic Properties.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal marsh responses to nutrient enrichment apparently depend upon soil matrix and whether the system is primarily biogenic or minerogenic. Deteriorating organic rich marshes (Jamaica Bay, NY) receiving wastewater effluent had lower belowground biomass, organic matter, and soi...

  9. Composition of breeding bird communities in Gulf Coast Chenier Plain marshes: Effects of winter burning

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gabrey, S.W.; Afton, A.D.

    2004-01-01

    Marsh managers along the Gulf Coast Chenier Plain frequently use winter burns to alter marsh vegetation and improve habitat quality for wintering waterfowl. However, effects of these burns on marsh avifauna are not well documented. We recorded abundances of breeding bird species and vegetation structure in burned and unburned control marshes during one breeding season before (1996) and two breeding seasons after (1997, 1998) experimental winter burns. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis to assess the extent and direction of changes in bird community compositions of burned and unburned control marshes and to investigate the influence of vegetation structure on bird community composition. Overall, we found that Seaside Sparrows (Emberizidae: Ammodramus maritimus [Wilson]) and Red-winged Blackbirds and Boat-tailed Grackles (Icteridae: Agelaius phoeniceus [L.] and Quiscalus major Vieillot, respectively) comprised > 85% of observed birds. In burned marshes during the first breeding season following experimental burns (1997), icterid abundance increased while Seaside Sparrow abundance decreased relative to pre-burn (1996) conditions. This pattern was reversed during the second breeding season post-burn. No obvious patterns of change in avian abundance were detected in unburned control marshes over the 3-year period. Qualitative changes in breeding bird community composition were related to effects of winter burning on percent cover of dead vegetation and Spartina patens (Aiton) Muhl.

  10. Comparison of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in plants from disturbed and adjacent undisturbed regions of a coastal salt marsh in Clinton, Connecticut, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, John C.; Lefor, Michael W.

    1990-01-01

    Roots of salt marsh plant species Spartina alterniflora, S. patens, Distichlis spicata, and others were examined for the presence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi. Samples were taken from introduced planted material in a salt marsh restoration project and from native material in adjacent marsh areas along the Indian River, Clinton, Connecticut, USA. After ten years the replanted area still has sites devoid of vegetation. The salt marsh plants introduced there were devoid of VAM fungi, while high marsh species from the adjacent undisturbed region showed consistent infection, leading the authors to suggest that VAM fungal infection of planting stocks may be a factor in the success of marsh restoration.

  11. Fate and Transport of Organic Contaminants in Coastal Marsh Sediments Resulting from the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Natter, M.; Keevan, J.; Lee, M.; Keimowitz, A.; Savrda, C.; Son, A.; Okeke, B.; Wang, Y.

    2011-12-01

    The devastating explosion and subsequent sinking of the oil platform Deepwater Horizon at the British Petroleum Macondo-1 well in the Northern Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, released approximately 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf before the well was capped on July 15, 2010. Although most light compounds of oil may be easily degraded by natural microbes on the short term, saturated heavy oil (e.g., asphaltenes, resins, polycyclic aromatics, etc.) and those adsorbed by sediments could persist in the environment for decades. The long-term effects of high levels of persistent oil compounds on biogeochemical evolution and ecosystems of salt marshes remain unclear. This research investigates the spatial range and changes in levels of oil and their biogeochemical impacts. A total of ten marsh sampling sites that varied from pristine, non-effected marshes (e.g., Weeks Bay and Wolf Bay, Alabama) to heavily oiled wetlands (e.g., Bay Jimmy and Bayou Dulac, Louisiana) were utilized for this study. Sediment cores, bulk sediments, surface water samples, degraded oil, oiled dead marsh grass, and live marsh grass were collected from these sites in an attempt to study the source, distribution, and evolution of organic compounds and oil present in sediments and pore-waters. Geochemical analyses show alarmingly high organic carbon loads in pore-waters and sediments at heavily contaminated sites months after the influx of oil ceased. Very high levels (10-28%) of total organic carbon (TOC) within the heavily oiled sediments (down to 30 cm) are clearly distinguished from those found in pristine wetland sediments (generally < 5%). TOC levels are elevated in the deeper sediments while being depleated in the uppermost ones at certain locations. The TOC contents in uppermost sediments may be reduced by microbial degradation, water mixing, and the use of oil dispersants. Furthermore, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) levels of pore-waters extracted from oiled sediments, ranging

  12. Oil detection in the coastal marshes of Louisiana using MESMA applied to band subsets of AVIRIS data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peterson, Seth H.; Roberts, Dar A.; Beland, Michael; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Ustin, Susan L.

    2015-01-01

    We mapped oil presence in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data. Oil and non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV) have very similar spectra, differing only in two narrow hydrocarbon absorption regions around 1700 and 2300 nm. Confusion between NPV and oil is expressed as an increase in oil fraction error with increasing NPV, as shown by Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis (MESMA) applied to synthetic spectra generated with known endmember fractions. Significantly, the magnitude of error varied depending upon the type of NPV in the mixture. To reduce error, we used stable zone unmixing to identify a nine band subset that emphasized the hydrocarbon absorption regions, allowing for more accurate detection of oil presence using MESMA. When this band subset was applied to post-spill AVIRIS data acquired over Barataria Bay on several dates following the 2010 oil spill, accuracies ranged from 87.5% to 93.3%. Oil presence extended 10.5 m into the marsh for oiled shorelines, showing a reduced oil fraction with increasing distance from the shoreline.

  13. Effects of sediment burial disturbance on macro and microelement dynamics in decomposing litter of Phragmites australis in the coastal marsh of the Yellow River estuary, China.

    PubMed

    Sun, Zhigao; Mou, Xiaojie

    2016-03-01

    From April 2008 to November 2009, a field decomposition experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of sediment burial on macro (C, N) and microelement (Pb, Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni, and Mn) variations in decomposing litter of Phragmites australis in the coastal marsh of the Yellow River estuary. Three one-off sediment burial treatments [no sediment burial (0 mm year(-1), S0), current sediment burial (100 mm year(-1), S10), and strong sediment burial (200 mm year(-1), S20)] were laid in different decomposition sites. Results showed that sediment burials showed significant influence on the decomposition rate of P. australis, in the order of S10 (0.001990 day(-1)) ≈ S20 (0.001710 day(-1)) > S0 (0.000768 day(-1)) (p < 0.05). The macro and microelement in decomposing litters of the three burial depths exhibited different temporal variations except for Cu, Zn, and Ni. No significant differences in C, N, Pb, Cr, Zn, and Mn concentrations were observed among the three burial treatments except for Cu and Ni (p > 0.05). With increasing burial depth, N, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Mn concentrations generally increased, while C, Pb, and Zn concentrations varied insignificantly. Sediment burial was favorable for C and N release from P. australis, and, with increasing burial depth, the C release from litter significantly increased, and the N in litter shifted from accumulation to release. With a few exceptions, Pb, Cr, Zn, and Mn stocks in P. australis in the three treatments evidenced the export of metals from litter to environment, and, with increasing burial depth, the export amounts increased greatly. Stocks of Cu and Ni in P. australis in the S10 and S20 treatments were generally positive, evidencing incorporation of the two metals in most sampling times. Except for Ni, the variations of C, N, Pb, Cr, Cu, Zn, and Mn stocks in P. australis in the S10 and S20 treatments were approximated, indicating that the strong burial episodes (S20) occurred in P. australis marsh in

  14. Changes in the concentration and relative abundance of alkanes and PAHs from the Deepwater Horizon oiling of coastal marshes.

    PubMed

    Turner, R E; Overton, E B; Meyer, B M; Miles, M S; Hooper-Bui, L

    2014-09-15

    We determined changes of 28 alkanes and 43 different PAHs in 418 wetland soil samples collected on ten sampling trips to three Louisiana estuaries before and after they were oiled from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. There was a significant decline in 22 of the 28 alkane analytes (0.42% day(-1)), no change in 6, over 2.5 years. The concentration of five aromatic petroleum hydrocarbons (PAHs) increased (range 0.25-0.70% day(-1)), whereas the total PAH pool did not change. Of these five, naphthalene and C-1-naphthalenes are suggested to be of higher toxicity than the other three because of their relatively higher volatility or solubility. The relative proportions of alkane analytes, but not PAHs, does not yet resemble that in the pre-oiled marshes after 3 years, The trajectories of nine indicators for degradation/weathering were either inconclusive or misleading (alkanes) or confirmed the relatively meager degradation of PAHs. PMID:25127500

  15. FROM MARSHES TO THE CONTINENTAL SHELF: RESULTS OF THE WESTERN COMPONENT OF THE USEPA NATIONAL COASTAL ASSESSMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The National Coastal Assessment of the US EPA began field work in the Western US in 1999 -2000. Probabilistic sampling for biotic and abiotic condition indicators was conducted at 381 stations within estuaries of Washington, Oregon and California. In 2002, intertidal and low sal...

  16. Microbial Community Structure Responses to Long-Term Acid-Mine Drainage Contamination in a Coastal Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moreau, J. W.; Zierenberg, R. A.; Banfield, J. F.

    2004-12-01

    Constructed wetlands for in situ bioremediation of metals and acid mine drainage (AMD) require the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to sequester dissolved metals into metal-sulfide precipitates (e.g. Webb et al. 1998). Factors such as low pH and high dissolved [Cu] will constrain the growth of SRB (Sani et al. 2001). Unintentional stimulation of the growth of sulfuric acid-generating microbes, such as Thiomicrospira, would also decrease bioremediation efficiency. Few studies of natural wetlands under long-term forcing by AMD and metals have been performed. We characterized the microbial diversity, mineralogy and geochemistry of a contaminated salt marsh at the Richmond Field Station along the East San Francisco Bay. For over 50 years, this marsh has received pH ˜2, metal-rich groundwaters from near-surface pyrite tailings and paint and explosives manufacturers. Sediment cores (30-40 cm long) were taken from contaminated sites with pH ˜2 and ˜8. Whole-sediment analyses showed As, Cd, Cu, Se, Zn, and Pb are present at 100s of ppm (URS Corp. 2001). ICP-AES analyses of pore waters showed 10-50 ppb As. All cores contained fine-grained black muds and exhibited a noticeable sulfide odor. Transmission electron microscope studies of marsh sediments support the sequestration of metals into aggregates of nanocrystalline sulfides. Isotopic analyses of pore-water sulfate taken at several depths within cores of AMD pool (SMR-1) and tidal slough sediments (SM148-1) at pHs 2-3 and 7-8, respectively, all yielded significant negative δ 34S values (-25 to -35 ‰ ) consistent with bacterial sulfate reduction. However, values of the upper 10 cm of SMR-1 are roughly 10 ‰ heavier than seawater and support a significant contribution of dissolved sulfate from direct oxidation of pyrite tailings. 16S gene clone libraries revealed significantly different microbial community structures in cores SMR-1 and SM148-1. Roughly 40% of the library from SMR-1 consisted of

  17. Long-term effect of agricultural reclamation on soil chemical properties of a coastal saline marsh in Bohai Rim, northern China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yidong; Wang, Zhong-Liang; Feng, Xiaoping; Guo, Changcheng; Chen, Qing

    2014-01-01

    Over the past six decades, coastal wetlands in China have experienced rapid and extensive agricultural reclamation. In the context of saline conditions, long-term effect of cultivation after reclamation on soil chemical properties has not been well understood. We studied this issue using a case of approximately 60-years cultivation of a coastal saline marsh in Bohai Rim, northern China. The results showed that long-term reclamation significantly decreased soil organic carbon (SOC) (-42.2%) and total nitrogen (TN) (-25.8%) at surface layer (0-30 cm) as well as their stratification ratios (SRs) (0-5 cm:50-70 cm and 5-10 cm:50-70 cm). However, there was no significant change in total phosphorus (TP) as well as its SRs under cultivation. Cultivation markedly reduced ratios of SOC to TN, SOC to TP and TN to TP at surface layer (0-30 cm) and their SRs (0-5 cm:50-70 cm). After cultivation, electrical conductivity and salinity significantly decreased by 60.1% and 55.3% at 0-100 cm layer, respectively, suggesting a great desalinization. In contrast, soil pH at 20-70 cm horizons notably increased as an effect of reclamation. Cultivation also changed compositions of cations at 0-10 cm layer and anions at 5-100 cm layer, mainly decreasing the proportion of Na+, Cl- and SO4(2-). Furthermore, cultivation significantly reduced the sodium adsorption ratio and exchangeable sodium percentage in plow-layer (0-20 cm) but not residual sodium carbonate, suggesting a reduction in sodium harm.

  18. Long-Term Effect of Agricultural Reclamation on Soil Chemical Properties of a Coastal Saline Marsh in Bohai Rim, Northern China

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yidong; Wang, Zhong-Liang; Feng, Xiaoping; Guo, Changcheng; Chen, Qing

    2014-01-01

    Over the past six decades, coastal wetlands in China have experienced rapid and extensive agricultural reclamation. In the context of saline conditions, long-term effect of cultivation after reclamation on soil chemical properties has not been well understood. We studied this issue using a case of approximately 60-years cultivation of a coastal saline marsh in Bohai Rim, northern China. The results showed that long-term reclamation significantly decreased soil organic carbon (SOC) (−42.2%) and total nitrogen (TN) (−25.8%) at surface layer (0–30 cm) as well as their stratification ratios (SRs) (0–5 cm:50–70 cm and 5–10 cm:50–70 cm). However, there was no significant change in total phosphorus (TP) as well as its SRs under cultivation. Cultivation markedly reduced ratios of SOC to TN, SOC to TP and TN to TP at surface layer (0–30 cm) and their SRs (0–5 cm:50–70 cm). After cultivation, electrical conductivity and salinity significantly decreased by 60.1% and 55.3% at 0–100 cm layer, respectively, suggesting a great desalinization. In contrast, soil pH at 20–70 cm horizons notably increased as an effect of reclamation. Cultivation also changed compositions of cations at 0–10 cm layer and anions at 5–100 cm layer, mainly decreasing the proportion of Na+, Cl− and SO42−. Furthermore, cultivation significantly reduced the sodium adsorption ratio and exchangeable sodium percentage in plow-layer (0–20 cm) but not residual sodium carbonate, suggesting a reduction in sodium harm. PMID:24695526

  19. Long-term effect of agricultural reclamation on soil chemical properties of a coastal saline marsh in Bohai Rim, northern China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yidong; Wang, Zhong-Liang; Feng, Xiaoping; Guo, Changcheng; Chen, Qing

    2014-01-01

    Over the past six decades, coastal wetlands in China have experienced rapid and extensive agricultural reclamation. In the context of saline conditions, long-term effect of cultivation after reclamation on soil chemical properties has not been well understood. We studied this issue using a case of approximately 60-years cultivation of a coastal saline marsh in Bohai Rim, northern China. The results showed that long-term reclamation significantly decreased soil organic carbon (SOC) (-42.2%) and total nitrogen (TN) (-25.8%) at surface layer (0-30 cm) as well as their stratification ratios (SRs) (0-5 cm:50-70 cm and 5-10 cm:50-70 cm). However, there was no significant change in total phosphorus (TP) as well as its SRs under cultivation. Cultivation markedly reduced ratios of SOC to TN, SOC to TP and TN to TP at surface layer (0-30 cm) and their SRs (0-5 cm:50-70 cm). After cultivation, electrical conductivity and salinity significantly decreased by 60.1% and 55.3% at 0-100 cm layer, respectively, suggesting a great desalinization. In contrast, soil pH at 20-70 cm horizons notably increased as an effect of reclamation. Cultivation also changed compositions of cations at 0-10 cm layer and anions at 5-100 cm layer, mainly decreasing the proportion of Na+, Cl- and SO4(2-). Furthermore, cultivation significantly reduced the sodium adsorption ratio and exchangeable sodium percentage in plow-layer (0-20 cm) but not residual sodium carbonate, suggesting a reduction in sodium harm. PMID:24695526

  20. Salt marshes. (Latest citations from Oceanic abstracts). Published Search

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-03-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning the environmental protection of coastal marshes. The citations explore the fauna and flora of the marshes, geological and ecological processes, and the effects of marine pollution. Seasonal and environmental variations, the effects of erosion, and stabilization techniques of marshes are also considered. (Contains 250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  1. The role of epibenthic predators in structuring the marine invertebrate community of a British coastal salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frid, C. L. J.; James, R.

    The marine fauna of salt marshes are subjected to predation by birds, tidally feeding flatfish, crabs, prawns and small gobiid fish. The role of these epibenthic predators in structuring the community was investigated using cages to exclude predators. A range of designs of cages and partial cages was employed to control for artefacts due to caging, and sufficient cages were employed so that each cage was only sampled once to prevent the compounding of disturbance due to predation and sampling. Two mesh sizes were employed, a fine mesh excluding epibenthic predators and a coarse mesh allowing access by small crabs, prawns and gobiid fish but excluding birds and larger fish. The exclusion was maintained for 2 years. The presence of any experimental structure had a significant effect on the sedimentary regime within the cage. Epibentic predator exclusion let to an increase in infaunal predator density, but had no significant effect on the infaunal deposit feeders. There was some evidence that predators limit the surface deposit feeding gastropood Hydrobia ulvae during the winter. The gastropod Littorina littorea responded positively to the presence of any caging structure; this may be the result of changes in the availability of food, as the sides of a cage support a diatom flora which this species can exploit. The lack of a response from the infaunal deposit feeders is attributed to their horizontal mobility within the sediment. The possible interactions between epibenthic and infaunal predators are discussed.

  2. What's the Use of a Salt Marsh?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Van Raalte, Charlene

    1977-01-01

    Summarizes information about salt marshes, including descriptions of their development and structure, details of their values in terms of commercial fishing, stabilization of coastal zones, "reclamation" for grazing and cropfields, recreation and aesthetics. (CS)

  3. Phenological development stages variation versus mercury tolerance, accumulation, and allocation in salt marsh macrophytes Triglochin maritima and Scirpus maritimus prevalent in Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal).

    PubMed

    Anjum, Naser A; Ahmad, Iqbal; Válega, Mónica; Figueira, Etelvina; Duarte, Armando C; Pereira, Eduarda

    2013-06-01

    Efficient and sustainable management of rapidly mounting environmental issues has been the focus of current intensive research. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of plant phenological development stage variation on mercury (Hg) tolerance, accumulation, and allocation in two salt marsh macrophytes Triglochin maritima and Scirpus maritimus prevalent in historically Hg-contaminated Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal). Both plant samples and the sediments vegetated by monospecific stands of T. maritima and S. maritimus were collected from reference (R) and sites with moderate (M) and high (H) Hg contamination in Laranjo bay within Ria de Aveiro lagoon. Hg tolerance, uptake, and allocation in T. maritima and S. maritimus, physico-chemical traits (pH, redox potential, and organic matter content) and Hg concentrations in sediments vegetated by these species were impacted differentially by phenological development stages variation irrespective of the Hg contamination level. In T. maritima, Hg concentration increased with increase in Hg contamination gradient where root displayed significantly higher Hg followed by rhizome and leaf maximally at H. However, in S. maritimus, the highest Hg concentration was perceptible in rhizome followed by root maximally at M. Between the two studied plant species, S. maritimus displayed higher Hg tolerance index (depicted by higher plant dry mass allocated to reproductive stage) and higher available Hg at M (during all growth stages) and H (during senescent stage) when compared to T. maritimus. Both plant species proved to be Hg excluder (low root/rhizome-leaf Hg translocation). Additionally, T. maritima also acted as Hg stabilizer while, S. maritimus as Hg accumulator. It can be inferred from the study that (a) the plant phenological development stage variations significantly influenced plant Hg sensitivity by impacting sediment chemistry, plant growth (in terms of plant dry mass), Hg accumulation, and its subsequent

  4. Phenological development stages variation versus mercury tolerance, accumulation, and allocation in salt marsh macrophytes Triglochin maritima and Scirpus maritimus prevalent in Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal).

    PubMed

    Anjum, Naser A; Ahmad, Iqbal; Válega, Mónica; Figueira, Etelvina; Duarte, Armando C; Pereira, Eduarda

    2013-06-01

    Efficient and sustainable management of rapidly mounting environmental issues has been the focus of current intensive research. The present study aimed to investigate the impact of plant phenological development stage variation on mercury (Hg) tolerance, accumulation, and allocation in two salt marsh macrophytes Triglochin maritima and Scirpus maritimus prevalent in historically Hg-contaminated Ria de Aveiro coastal lagoon (Portugal). Both plant samples and the sediments vegetated by monospecific stands of T. maritima and S. maritimus were collected from reference (R) and sites with moderate (M) and high (H) Hg contamination in Laranjo bay within Ria de Aveiro lagoon. Hg tolerance, uptake, and allocation in T. maritima and S. maritimus, physico-chemical traits (pH, redox potential, and organic matter content) and Hg concentrations in sediments vegetated by these species were impacted differentially by phenological development stages variation irrespective of the Hg contamination level. In T. maritima, Hg concentration increased with increase in Hg contamination gradient where root displayed significantly higher Hg followed by rhizome and leaf maximally at H. However, in S. maritimus, the highest Hg concentration was perceptible in rhizome followed by root maximally at M. Between the two studied plant species, S. maritimus displayed higher Hg tolerance index (depicted by higher plant dry mass allocated to reproductive stage) and higher available Hg at M (during all growth stages) and H (during senescent stage) when compared to T. maritimus. Both plant species proved to be Hg excluder (low root/rhizome-leaf Hg translocation). Additionally, T. maritima also acted as Hg stabilizer while, S. maritimus as Hg accumulator. It can be inferred from the study that (a) the plant phenological development stage variations significantly influenced plant Hg sensitivity by impacting sediment chemistry, plant growth (in terms of plant dry mass), Hg accumulation, and its subsequent

  5. ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES ON STREAMS AND THEIR RECEIVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Land use and anthropogenic activities in watersheds affect biological, chemical, and physical conditions in streams and receiving coastal salt marshes. Our objective is to compare indicators of stream condition and riparian vegetation with analagous indicators of the coastal salt...

  6. Sea level driven marsh expansion in a coupled model of marsh erosion and migration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Walters, David C.; Reay, William G.; Carr, Joel A.

    2016-05-01

    Coastal wetlands are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth, where ecosystem services such as flood protection depend nonlinearly on wetland size and are threatened by sea level rise and coastal development. Here we propose a simple model of marsh migration into adjacent uplands and couple it with existing models of seaward edge erosion and vertical soil accretion to explore how ecosystem connectivity influences marsh size and response to sea level rise. We find that marsh loss is nearly inevitable where topographic and anthropogenic barriers limit migration. Where unconstrained by barriers, however, rates of marsh migration are much more sensitive to accelerated sea level rise than rates of edge erosion. This behavior suggests a counterintuitive, natural tendency for marsh expansion with sea level rise and emphasizes the disparity between coastal response to climate change with and without human intervention.

  7. Sediments in marsh ponds of the Gulf Coast Chenier Plain: Effects of structural marsh management and salinity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bolduc, F.; Afton, A.D.

    2005-01-01

    Physical characteristics of sediments in coastal marsh ponds (flooded zones of marsh associated with little vegetation) have important ecological consequences because they determine compositions of benthic invertebrate communities, which in turn influence compositions of waterbird communities. Sediments in marsh ponds of the Gulf Coast Chenier Plain potentially are affected by (1) structural marsh management (levees, water control structures and impoundments; SMM), and (2) variation in salinity. Based on available literature concerning effects of SMM on sediments in emergent plant zones (zones of marsh occasionally flooded and associated with dense vegetation) of coastal marshes, we predicted that SMM would increase sediment carbon content and sediment hardness, and decrease oxygen penetration (O2 depth) and the silt-clay fraction in marsh pond sediments. Assuming that freshwater marshes are more productive than are saline marshes, we also predicted that sediments of impounded freshwater marsh ponds would contain more carbon than those of impounded oligohaline and mesohaline marsh ponds, whereas C:N ratio, sediment hardness, silt-clay fraction, and O2 depth would be similar among pond types. Accordingly, we measured sediment variables within ponds of impounded and unimpounded marshes on Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge, near Grand Chenier, Louisiana. To test the above predictions, we compared sediment variables (1) between ponds of impounded (IM) and unimpounded mesohaline marshes (UM), and (2) among ponds of impounded freshwater (IF), oligohaline (IO), and mesohaline (IM) marshes. An a priori multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) contrast indicated that sediments differed between IM and UM marsh ponds. As predicted, the silt-clay fraction and O2 depth were lower and carbon content, C:N ratio, and sediment hardness were higher in IM than in UM marsh ponds. An a priori MANOVA contrast also indicated that sediments differed among IF, IO, and IM marsh ponds. As

  8. EFFECTS OF NUTRIENT LOADING ON BIOGEOCHEMICAL AND MICROBIAL PROCESSES IN A NEW ENGLAND SALT MARSH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal marshes represent an important transitional zone between uplands and estuaries. One important function of marshes is to assimilate nutrient inputs from uplands, thus providing a buffer for anthropogenic nutrient loads. We examined the effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphoru...

  9. Consumer control of salt marshes driven by human disturbance.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Silliman, Brian R

    2008-06-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems are widely considered to be controlled exclusively by bottom-up forces, but there is mounting evidence that human disturbances are triggering consumer control in western Atlantic salt marshes, often with catastrophic consequences. In other marine ecosystems, human disturbances routinely dampen (e.g., coral reefs, sea grass beds) and strengthen (e.g., kelps) consumer control, but current marsh theory predicts little potential interaction between humans and marsh consumers. Thus, human modification of top-down control in salt marshes was not anticipated and was even discounted in current marsh theory, despite loud warnings about the potential for cascading human impacts from work in other marine ecosystems. In spite of recent experiments that have challenged established marsh dogma and demonstrated consumer-driven die-off of salt marsh ecosystems, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations continue to manage marsh die-offs under the old theoretical framework and only consider bottom-up forces as causal agents. This intellectual dependency of many coastal ecologists and managers on system-specific theory (i.e., marsh bottom-up theory) has the potential to have grave repercussions for coastal ecosystem management and conservation in the face of increasing human threats. We stress that marine vascular plant communities (salt marshes, sea grass beds, mangroves) are likely more vulnerable to runaway grazing and consumer-driven collapse than is currently recognized by theory, particularly in low-diversity ecosystems like Atlantic salt marshes. PMID:18577090

  10. Consumer control of salt marshes driven by human disturbance.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Silliman, Brian R

    2008-06-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems are widely considered to be controlled exclusively by bottom-up forces, but there is mounting evidence that human disturbances are triggering consumer control in western Atlantic salt marshes, often with catastrophic consequences. In other marine ecosystems, human disturbances routinely dampen (e.g., coral reefs, sea grass beds) and strengthen (e.g., kelps) consumer control, but current marsh theory predicts little potential interaction between humans and marsh consumers. Thus, human modification of top-down control in salt marshes was not anticipated and was even discounted in current marsh theory, despite loud warnings about the potential for cascading human impacts from work in other marine ecosystems. In spite of recent experiments that have challenged established marsh dogma and demonstrated consumer-driven die-off of salt marsh ecosystems, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations continue to manage marsh die-offs under the old theoretical framework and only consider bottom-up forces as causal agents. This intellectual dependency of many coastal ecologists and managers on system-specific theory (i.e., marsh bottom-up theory) has the potential to have grave repercussions for coastal ecosystem management and conservation in the face of increasing human threats. We stress that marine vascular plant communities (salt marshes, sea grass beds, mangroves) are likely more vulnerable to runaway grazing and consumer-driven collapse than is currently recognized by theory, particularly in low-diversity ecosystems like Atlantic salt marshes.

  11. Marsh canopy leaf area and orientation calculated for improved marsh structure mapping

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey III, Elijah W.; Rangoonwala, Amina; Jones, Cathleen E.; Bannister, Terri

    2015-01-01

    An approach is presented for producing the spatiotemporal estimation of leaf area index (LAI) of a highly heterogeneous coastal marsh without reliance on user estimates of marsh leaf-stem orientation. The canopy LAI profile derivation used three years of field measured photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) vertical profiles at seven S. alterniflora marsh sites and iterative transform of those PAR attenuation profiles to best-fit light extinction coefficients (KM). KM sun zenith dependency was removed obtaining the leaf angle distribution (LAD) representing the average marsh orientation and the LAD used to calculate the LAI canopy profile. LAI and LAD reproduced measured PAR profiles with 99% accuracy and corresponded to field documented structures. LAI and LAD better reflect marsh structure and results substantiate the need to account for marsh orientation. The structure indexes are directly amenable to remote sensing spatiotemporal mapping and offer a more meaningful representation of wetland systems promoting biophysical function understanding.

  12. DENITRIFICATION ENZYME ACTIVITY OF FRINGE SALT MARSHES IN NEW ENGLAND (USA)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are a buffer between the uplands and adjacent coastal waters in New England (USA). With increasing N loads from developed watersheds, salt marshes could play an important role in the water quality maintenance of coastal waters. In this study we examined seaso...

  13. Simulation of Water Levels and Salinity in the Rivers and Tidal Marshes in the Vicinity of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Coastal South Carolina and Georgia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conrads, Paul A.; Roehl, Edwin A.; Daamen, Ruby C.; Kitchens, Wiley M.

    2006-01-01

    The Savannah Harbor is one of the busiest ports on the East Coast of the United States and is located downstream from the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the Nation?s largest freshwater tidal marshes. The Georgia Ports Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funded hydrodynamic and ecological studies to evaluate the potential effects of a proposed deepening of Savannah Harbor as part of the Environmental Impact Statement. These studies included a three-dimensional (3D) model of the Savannah River estuary system, which was developed to simulate changes in water levels and salinity in the system in response to geometry changes as a result of the deepening of Savannah Harbor, and a marsh-succession model that predicts plant distribution in the tidal marshes in response to changes in the water-level and salinity conditions in the marsh. Beginning in May 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey entered into cooperative agreements with the Georgia Ports Authority to develop empirical models to simulate the water level and salinity of the rivers and tidal marshes in the vicinity of the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and to link the 3D hydrodynamic river-estuary model and the marsh-succession model. For the development of these models, many different databases were created that describe the complexity and behaviors of the estuary. The U.S. Geological Survey has maintained a network of continuous streamflow, water-level, and specific-conductance (field measurement to compute salinity) river gages in the study area since the 1980s and a network of water-level and salinity marsh gages in the study area since 1999. The Georgia Ports Authority collected water-level and salinity data during summer 1997 and 1999 and collected continuous water-level and salinity data in the marsh and connecting tidal creeks from 1999 to 2002. Most of the databases comprise time series that differ by variable type, periods of record, measurement frequency, location, and

  14. Ecogeomorphic Heterogeneity Sculpts Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonardi, N.; Fagherazzi, S.

    2014-12-01

    We present cellular automata simulations and high-resolution field measurements of five sites along the United States Atlantic Coast, to investigate the erosion of marsh boundaries by wave action. For several years, we tracked marsh contours of three sites in Plum Island Sound and two sites in the Virginia Coastal Reserve using a Real-Time-Kinematic GPS, and measurements were collected up to 20 cm apart. The cellular automata model consists of a 2D square lattice, whose elements have randomly distributed resistance. Randomly distributed resistance values are meant to take into account the variety of biological and geomorphologic processes affecting each portion of the marsh. Among others, seepage erosion, crab burrowing, vegetation and sediment cohesion make difficult to predict which portion of the marsh will collapse first. In case of high wave power, erosion proceeds uniformly because each marsh portion has similar resistance if compared to the main external driver. On the contrary, when wind waves are weak and the local marsh resistance is strong, jagged marsh boundaries form. From a statistical viewpoint, the system behaves differently for the two extreme conditions of very low and very high wave power. The frequency magnitude distribution of erosion events approaches a Gaussian distribution in case of high wave power. In case of low wave power, the frequency magnitude distribution is characterized by a long-tailed power-law distribution. For the low wave power case, a long time is required to erode very resistant cells. However, once the most resistant cells are eliminated, several weak sites remain exposed and can be rapidly removed, with consequent generation of large-scale failures. Field data confirm model results, and show the passage from a logarithmic frequency magnitude distribution of erosion events to a Gaussian distribution for increasing wave power exposure. The logarithmic frequency magnitude distribution suggests the emergence of a critical

  15. Carbon accumulation in Bay of Fundy salt marshes: Implications for restoration of reclaimed marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Connor, Richard F.; Chmura, Gail L.; Beecher, C. Beth

    2001-12-01

    Transformation of agricultural land to natural terrestrial vegetation has been suggested as a means to increase soil carbon storage. However, the capacity for carbon storage in terrestrial soils is limited as compared to soils of tidal salt marshes, the original vegetation of many coastal agricultural lands. In a number of countries, tidal salt marshes have been "reclaimed," that is drained and diked to prevent tidal flooding and create suitable conditions for dry land agriculture. In this study we examine spatial and temporal patterns of carbon accumulation in tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy and estimate the carbon storage potential of the bay's extensive area of reclaimed marsh. Rates of carbon accumulation vary from the upper to the outer Bay, over which there is a gradient of decreasing tidal range and suspended sediment supply. In the outer bay, high-marsh densities are highest (0.042 ± 0.009 g C cm-3), but carbon accumulation rates over the past 30 years are lowest (76 g C m-2 yr-1). The reverse pattern occurs in the upper bay where carbon densities in the high-marsh environment are lowest (0.036 ± 0.002 g C cm-3), but carbon accumulation rates over the past 30 years may be as high (184 g C m-2 yr-1). Compared to other ecosystems, the rates of carbon accumulation presented in this study were similar over timescales of years to centuries. Increases in relative sea level (over time) and suspended sediment supply (across the bay) positively affect the marsh soil accumulation rate and the rate of carbon sequestration. Parameters such as %C are not useful predictors of a marsh's potential for carbon sequestration. Soil carbon densities of functioning marshes and reclaimed marsh soils are similar, but marsh soils have a storage capacity that increases with rising sea level, while agricultural soils, such as those in reclaimed marshes, have a fixed (or possibly decreasing in reclaimed marshes) volume over time.

  16. Vegetation, substrate and hydrology in floating marshes in the Mississippi river delta plain wetlands, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sasser, C.E.; Gosselink, J.G.; Swenson, E.M.; Swarzenski, C.M.; Leibowitz, N.C.

    1996-01-01

    In the 1940s extensive floating marshes (locally called 'flotant') were reported and mapped in coastal wetlands of the Mississippi River Delta Plain. These floating marshes included large areas of Panicum hemitomon-dominated freshwater marshes, and Spartina patens/Scirpus olneyi brackish marshes. Today these marshes appear to be quite different in extent and type. We describe five floating habitats and one non-floating, quaking habitat based on differences in buoyancy dynamics (timing and degree of floating), substrate characteristics, and dominant vegetation. All floating marshes have low bulk density, organic substrates. Nearly all are fresh marshes. Panicum hemitomon floating marshes presently occur within the general regions that were reported in the 1940's by O'Neil, but are reduced in extent. Some of the former Panicum hemitomon marshes have been replaced by seasonally or variably floating marshes dominated, or co-dominated by Sagittaria lancifolia or Eleocharis baldwinii. ?? 1996 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

  17. Application of Remote Sensing for Parameterization and Validation of a Coupled Hydrodynamic - Marsh Equilibrium Model for the Coastal Landscapes of the Northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weishampel, J. F.; Alizad, K.; Angelo, J. J.; Bacopoulos, P.; Bilskie, M. V.; Daranpob, A.; Hagen, S. C.; Medeiros, S. C.; Morris, J. T.; Passeri, D.; Smar, D. E.

    2012-12-01

    To simulate the complex spatial patterns of tidal marsh responses to sea level rise requires linking local-scale vegetative growth and associated sediment feedbacks to estuary-wide hydrological processes. The strategy employed by the Ecological Effects of Sea Level Rise in the Northern Gulf of Mexico project (EESLR-NGOM) is to combine a high-resolution process-based model (i.e., Marsh Equilibrium Model) with a broad-scale hydrodynamics model (i.e., ADCIRC). Because of the large spatial extent of these heterogeneous wetland systems in the NGOM, remote sensing is required to initialize the model and to assess its performance. A LiDAR-derived digital elevation model (DEM) constrained by field-based real time kinematic (RTK) measures provide the topography of the marsh platform, adjacent upland berms, and the distribution of tidal creeks which influences the reciprocal dynamic between hydrologic flows and biomass accumulation. Statistical relationships between the aboveground biomass levels of the dominant species (i.e., big cordgrass - Spartina cynosuroides and black needlerush - Juncus roemerianus) and passive (e.g., Landsat and ASTER) and active (e.g., LiDAR and IfSAR) remote sensing provide the initial conditions of the vegetation across the salt marsh landscapes. The remotely-sensed patterns of biomass will also serve as a spatial validation of the coupled model. However, preliminary analyses of the remotely sensed and field data for the estuarine marsh vegetation at Apalachicola Bay revealed significant intra- and inter-annual differences in the biomass relationships. This high degree of spatio-temporal variation suggests that a more qualitative approach (e.g., high, medium, and low biomass levels) may be needed to interpret model accuracy.;

  18. Nonlinear responses in salt marsh functioning to increased nitrogen addition.

    PubMed

    Vivanco, Lucía; Irvine, Irina C; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2015-04-01

    Salt marshes provide storm protection to shorelines, sequester carbon (C), and mitigate coastal eutrophication. These valuable coastal ecosystems are confronted with increasing nitrogen (N) inputs from anthropogenic sources, such as agricultural runoff, wastewater, and atmospheric deposition. To inform predictions of salt marsh functioning and sustainability in the future, we characterized the response of a variety of plant, microbial, and sediment responses to a seven-level gradient of N addition in three Californian salt marshes after 7 and 14 months of N addition. The marshes showed variable responses to the experimental N gradient that can be grouped as neutral (root biomass, sediment respiration, potential carbon mineralization, and potential net nitrification), linear (increasing methane flux, decreasing potential net N mineralization, and increasing sediment inorganic N), and nonlinear (saturating aboveground plant biomass and leaf N content, and exponentially increasing sediment inorganic and organic N). The three salt marshes showed quantitative differences in most ecosystem properties and processes rates; however, the form of the response curves to N addition were generally consistent across the three marshes, indicating that the responses observed may be applicable to other marshes in the region. Only for sediment properties (inorganic and organic N pool) did the shape of the response differ significantly between marshes. Overall, the study suggests salt marshes are limited in their ability to sequester C and N with future increases in N, even without further losses in marsh area. PMID:26230015

  19. Marshes on the Move: Testing effects of seawater intrusion on vegetation communities of the salt marsh-upland ecotone

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Northeastern United States is a hotspot for sea level rise (SLR), subjecting coastal salt marshes to erosive loss, shifts in vegetation communities, and altered biogeochemistry due to seawater intrusion. Salt marsh plant community zonation is driven by tradeoffs in stress to...

  20. DENITRIFICATION IN FRINGING SALT MARSHES OF NARRAGANSETT BAY, RHODE ISLAND, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the past century, loading of terrestrial inorganic nitrogen to coastal receiving waters has increased dramatically. Salt marshes, because of their location between upland regions and coastal waters and their recognized role as nutrient transformers, have the potential to ameli...

  1. Regional assessment of sediment contamination from marshes to the continental shelf: Results of the western component of the US EPA National Coastal Assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The US EPA National Coastal Assessment (NCA) program on the U.S. West Coast was designed as a pilot project to explore assessment of new components of coastal resources not previously incorporated in the NCA. The Western Regional component of the NCA program began with a two yea...

  2. Marshes to mudflats—Effects of sea-level rise on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in the Pacific Northwest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; Dugger, Bruce D.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Freeman, Chase M.; Janousek, Christopher N.; Powelson, Katherine W.; Gutenspergen, Glenn R.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2015-11-17

    In the Pacific Northwest, coastal wetlands support a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries and flood protection. The tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays of coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the effects of sea-level rise on nine tidal marshes in Washington and Oregon between 2012 and 2015, with the goal of providing scientific data to support future coastal planning and conservation. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, vegetation structure, as well as recent and historical sediment accretion rates, to assess and model how sea-level rise may alter these ecosystems in the future. Multiple factors, including initial elevation, marsh productivity, sediment availability, and rates of sea-level rise, affected marsh persistence. Under a low sea-level rise scenario, all marshes remained vegetated with little change in the present configuration of communities of marsh plants or gradually increased proportions of middle-, high-, or transition-elevation zones of marsh vegetation. However, at most sites, mid sea-level rise projections led to loss of habitat of middle and high marshes and a gain of low marshes. Under a high sea-level rise scenario, marshes at most sites eventually converted to intertidal mudflats. Two sites (Grays Harbor and Willapa) seemed to have the most resilience to a high rate of rise in sea-level, persisting as low marsh until at least 2110. Our main model finding is that most tidal marsh study sites are resilient to sea-level rise over the next 50–70 years, but that sea-level rise will eventually outpace marsh accretion and drown most habitats of high and middle marshes by

  3. Ecosystem level methane fluxes from tidal freshwater and brackish marshes of the Mississippi River Delta: Implications for coastal wetland carbon projects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holm, Guerry O.; Perez, Brian C.; McWhorter, David E.; Krauss, Ken W.; Johnson, Darren J.; Raynie, Richard C.; Killebrew, Charles J.

    2016-01-01

    Sulfate from seawater inhibits methane production in tidal wetlands, and by extension, salinity has been used as a general predictor of methane emissions. With the need to reduce methane flux uncertainties from tidal wetlands, eddy covariance (EC) techniques provide an integrated methane budget. The goals of this study were to: 1) establish methane emissions from natural, freshwater and brackish wetlands in Louisiana based on EC; and 2) determine if EC estimates conform to a methane-salinity relationship derived from temperate tidal wetlands with chamber sampling. Annual estimates of methane emissions from this study were 62.3 g CH4/m2/yr and 13.8 g CH4/m2/yr for the freshwater and brackish (8–10 psu) sites, respectively. If it is assumed that long-term, annual soil carbon sequestration rates of natural marshes are ~200 g C/m2/yr (7.3 tCO2e/ha/yr), healthy brackish marshes could be expected to act as a net radiative sink, equivalent to less than one-half the soil carbon accumulation rate after subtracting methane emissions (4.1 tCO2e/ha/yr). Carbon sequestration rates would need case-by-case assessment, but the EC methane emissions estimates in this study conformed well to an existing salinity-methane model that should serve as a basis for establishing emission factors for wetland carbon offset projects.

  4. Vegetation change on a northeast tidal marsh: Interaction of sea-level rise and marsh accretion

    SciTech Connect

    Warren, R.S.; Niering, W.A. )

    1993-01-01

    Increasing rates of relative sea-level rise (RSL) have been linked to coastal wetland losses along the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. Rapidly rising RSL may be affecting New England tidal marshes. Studies of the Wequetequock-Pawcatuck tidal marshes over four decades have documented dramatic changes in vegetation apparently related primarily to differential rates of marsh accretion and sea-level rise though sediment supply and anthropogenic modifications of the system may also be involved. When initially studied in 1947-1948 the high marsh supported a Juncus gerardi-Spartina patens belting pattern typical of many New England salt marshes. On most of the marsh complex the former Juncus belt has now been replaced by forbs, primarily Triglochin maritima, while the former S. patens high marsh is now a complex of vegetation types-stunted Spartina alterniflora, Distichlis spicata, forbs, and relic stands of S. patens. The mean surface elevation of areas where the vegetation has changed is significantly lower than that of areas still supporting the earlier pattern (4.6 vs. 13.9 cm above mean tide level). The differences in surface elevation reflect differences in accretion of marsh peat. Stable areas have been accreting at the rate of local sea-level rise, 2.0-2.5 mm/yr at least since 1938; changed areas have accreted at about one half that rate. Lower surface elevations result in greater frequency and duration of tidal flooding, and thus in increased peat saturation, salinity, and sulfide concentrations, and in decreased redox potential, as directly measured over the growing season at both changed and stable sites. These edaphic changes may have combined to favor establishment of a wetter, more open vegetation type. Similar changes have been observed on other Long Island Sound marshes and may be a model for the potential effects of sea-level rise on New England tidal salt marshes. 39 refs., 4 figs., 1 tab.

  5. Marsh Edge Erosion Effects in Coupled Barrier Island-Marsh Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lauzon, R.; Moore, L. J.; Murray, A. B.; Walters, D.; Fagherazzi, S.; Mariotti, G.

    2014-12-01

    While until recently marsh loss was largely thought to be due to an inability for vertical accretion rates to match rates of sea level rise, marsh edge erosion by wind waves is now thought to be the leading cause of marsh loss worldwide. To better understand the response of coastal ecosystems to future changes in sea level and storm intensity, we further develop the coupled barrier-island marsh evolution model GEOMBEST+. We use the relationship between wave height (and therefore energy) and fetch and wind speed to add marsh edge erosion to the model, as well as to provide a more physical formulation for bay bottom erosion. Previous research addressing marshes in isolation from barrier islands (Mariotti and Fagherazzi, 2013) suggests that the existence of a backbarrier marsh is an unstable state, tending to either grow laterally to completely fill an adjacent basin or to erode away completely. Previous results of GEOMBEST+ experiments (Walters et al., in review) suggest that couplings with an adjacent barrier island can add an additional alternate long-lasting state: a narrow marsh supported by sediment influx from overwash. Here we present the results of new GEOMBEST+ model experiments that address how the addition of lateral erosion by wind waves affects the existence and characteristics of the narrow marsh state. Specifically, we seek to address how the frequency and characteristic time and space scales of the narrow march state are affected. Model experiments also explore more broadly the importance of wind wave effects in understanding the coupled dynamics of marsh-barrier island systems.

  6. Sea-Level Rise Impacts on Hudson River Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooks, A.; Nitsche, F. O.

    2015-12-01

    The response of tidal marshes to increasing sea-level rise is uncertain. Tidal marshes can adapt to rising sea levels through vertical accretion and inland migration. Yet tidal marshes are vulnerable to submergence if the rate of sea-level rise exceeds the rate of accretion and if inland migration is limited by natural features or development. We studied how Piermont and Iona Island Marsh, two tidal marshes on the Hudson River, New York, would be affected by sea-level rise of 0.5m, 1m, and 1.5m by 2100. This study was based on the 2011-2012 Coastal New York LiDAR survey. Using GIS we mapped sea-level rise projections accounting for accretion rates and calculated the submerged area of the marsh. Based on the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve Vegetation 2005 dataset, we studied how elevation zones based on vegetation distributions would change. To evaluate the potential for inland migration, we assessed land cover around each marsh using the National Land Cover Database 2011 Land Cover dataset and examined the slope beyond the marsh boundaries. With an accretion rate of 0.29cm/year and 0.5m of sea-level rise by 2100, Piermont Marsh would be mostly unchanged. With 1.5m of sea-level rise, 86% of Piermont Marsh would be flooded. For Iona Island Marsh with an accretion rate of 0.78cm/year, sea-level rise of 0.5m by 2100 would result in a 4% expansion while 1.5m sea-level rise would cause inundation of 17% of the marsh. The results indicate that Piermont and Iona Island Marsh may be able to survive rates of sea-level rise such as 0.5m by 2100 through vertical accretion. At rates of sea-level rise like 1.5m by 2100, vertical accretion cannot match sea-level rise, submerging parts of the marshes. High elevations and steep slopes limit Piermont and Iona Island Marsh's ability to migrate inland. Understanding the impacts of sea-level rise on Piermont and Iona Island Marsh allows for long-term planning and could motivate marsh conservation programs.

  7. Large methyl halide emissions from south Texas salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhew, R. C.; Whelan, M. E.; Min, D.-H.

    2014-06-01

    Coastal salt marshes are natural sources of methyl chloride (CH3Cl) and methyl bromide (CH3Br) to the atmosphere, but measured emission rates vary widely by geography. Here we report large methyl halide fluxes from subtropical salt marshes of south Texas. Sites with the halophytic plant, Batis maritima, emitted methyl halides at rates that are orders of magnitude greater than sites containing other vascular plants or macroalgae. B. maritima emissions were generally highest at midday; however, diurnal variability was more pronounced for CH3Br than CH3Cl, and surprisingly high nighttime CH3Cl fluxes were observed in July. Seasonal and intra-site variability were large, even taking into account biomass differences. Overall, these subtropical salt marsh sites show much higher emission rates than temperate salt marshes at similar times of the year, supporting the contention that low-latitude salt marshes are significant sources of CH3Cl and CH3Br.

  8. Large methyl halide emissions from south Texas salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhew, R. C.; Whelan, M. E.; Min, D.-H.

    2014-11-01

    Coastal salt marshes are natural sources of methyl chloride (CH3Cl) and methyl bromide (CH3Br) to the atmosphere, but measured emission rates vary widely by geography. Here we report large methyl halide fluxes from subtropical salt marshes of south Texas. Sites with the halophytic plant, Batis maritima, emitted methyl halides at rates that are orders of magnitude greater than sites containing other vascular plants or macroalgae. B. maritima emissions were generally highest at midday; however, diurnal variability was more pronounced for CH3Br than CH3Cl, and surprisingly high nighttime CH3Cl fluxes were observed in July. Seasonal and intra-site variability were large, even taking into account biomass differences. Overall, these subtropical salt marsh sites show much higher emission rates than temperate salt marshes at similar times of the year, supporting the contention that low-latitude salt marshes are significant sources of CH3Cl and CH3Br.

  9. Overestimation of marsh vulnerability to sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Temmerman, Stijn; Skeehan, Emily E.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-03-01

    Coastal marshes are considered to be among the most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems on Earth, where the imminent loss of ecosystem services is a feared consequence of sea level rise. However, we show with a meta-analysis that global measurements of marsh elevation change indicate that marshes are generally building at rates similar to or exceeding historical sea level rise, and that process-based models predict survival under a wide range of future sea level scenarios. We argue that marsh vulnerability tends to be overstated because assessment methods often fail to consider biophysical feedback processes known to accelerate soil building with sea level rise, and the potential for marshes to migrate inland.

  10. Overestimation of marsh vulnerability to sea level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Temmerman, Stijn; Skeehan, Emily E.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Coastal marshes are considered to be among the most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems on Earth, where the imminent loss of ecosystem services is a feared consequence of sea level rise. However, we show with a meta-analysis that global measurements of marsh elevation change indicate that marshes are generally building at rates similar to or exceeding historical sea level rise, and that process-based models predict survival under a wide range of future sea level scenarios. We argue that marsh vulnerability tends to be overstated because assessment methods often fail to consider biophysical feedback processes known to accelerate soil building with sea level rise, and the potential for marshes to migrate inland.

  11. Distribution and abundance of tidal marshes along the coast of maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jacobson, H.A.; Jacobson, G.L.; Kelley, J.T.

    1987-01-01

    Planimetry studies of coastal geology maps prepared by the Maine Geological Survey show that there is more than an order of magnitude more tidal marsh area in the state of Maine than documented in previously published estimates. The highly convoluted coast of Maine, which is approximately 5,970 km long, contains almost 79 km2 of salt marsh, far more than any other New England state, New York, or the Bay of Fundy region. Reasonable estimates for the per-unit primary productivity of salt marshes lead to projections of total marsh productivity on the order of 1010 g dry weight yr-1 for the Maine coast and 1011 g dry weight yr-1 for the Gulf of Maine as a whole. Distribution of tidal marsh area is strongly controlled by coastal geomorphology, which varies considerably along the coast of Maine. The salt marsh area is concentrated in the southwestern coastal region of arcuate bays, where marshes have developed behind sandy beaches. A series of long islands and bedrock peninsulas in the south-central portion of the coast also provides sheltered areas where large marshes occur. Northeast of Penobscot Bay salt marshes become more numerous and smaller in average areal extent. A lack of protection from waves, along with limited sources of glacio-fluvial and glacio-marine sediments, restricts the occurrence of salt marshes in that region to the frignes of coves and tidal rivers. ?? 1987 Estuarine Research Federation.

  12. Freshwater river diversions for marsh restoration in Louisiana: Twenty-six years of changing vegetative cover and marsh area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kearney, Michael S.; Riter, J. C. Alexis; Turner, R. Eugene

    2011-08-01

    The restoration of Louisiana's coastal wetlands will be one of the largest, most costly and longest environmental remediation projects undertaken. We use Landsat data to show that freshwater diversions, a major restoration strategy, have not increased vegetation and marsh coverage in three freshwater diversions operating for ˜19 years. Two analytic methods indicate no significant changes in either relative vegetation or overall marsh area from 1984 to 2005 in zones closest to diversion inlets. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, these zones sustained dramatic and enduring losses in vegetation and overall marsh area, whereas the changes in similar marshes of the adjacent reference sites were relatively moderate and short-lived. We suggest that this vulnerability to storm damage reflects the introduction of nutrients in the freshwater diversions (that add insignificant amounts of additional sediments), which promotes poor rhizome and root growth in marshes where below-ground biomass historically played the dominant role in vertical accretion.

  13. Astronomical Forcing of Salt Marsh Biogeochemical Cascades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, J. T.; Sundberg, K.

    2008-12-01

    Astronomically forced changes in the hydroperiod of a salt marsh affect the rate of marsh primary production leading to a biogeochemical cascade. For example, salt marsh primary production and biogeochemical cycles in coastal salt marshes are sensitive to the 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle, which alters the tidal amplitude by about 5 cm. For marshes that are perched high in the tidal frame, a relatively small increase in tidal amplitude and flooding lowers sediment salinity and stimulates primary production. Porewater sulfide concentrations are positively correlated with tidal amplitude and vary on the same cycle as primary production. Soluble reactive phosphate and ammonium concentrations in pore water also vary on this 18.6- year cycle. Phosphate likely responds to variation in the reaction of sulfide with iron-phosphate compounds, while the production of ammonium in sediments is coupled to the activity of diazotrophs that are carbon- limited and, therefore, are regulated by primary productivity. Ammonium also would accumulate when sulfides block nitrification. These dependencies work as a positive feedback between primary production and nutrient supply and are predictive of the near-term effects of sea-level rise.

  14. Structural classification of marshes with Polarimetric SAR highlighting the temporal mapping of marshes exposed to oil

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey III, Elijah W.; Rangoonwala, Amina; Jones, Cathleen E.

    2015-01-01

    Empirical relationships between field-derived Leaf Area Index (LAI) and Leaf Angle Distribution (LAD) and polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) based biophysical indicators were created and applied to map S. alterniflora marsh canopy structure. PolSAR and field data were collected near concurrently in the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012 in coastal marshes, and PolSAR data alone were acquired in 2009. Regression analyses showed that LAI correspondence with the PolSAR biophysical indicator variables equaled or exceeded those of vegetation water content (VWC) correspondences. In the final six regressor model, the ratio HV/VV explained 49% of the total 77% explained LAI variance, and the HH-VV coherence and phase information accounted for the remainder. HV/HH dominated the two regressor LAD relationship, and spatial heterogeneity and backscatter mechanism followed by coherence information dominated the final three regressor model that explained 74% of the LAD variance. Regression results applied to 2009 through 2012 PolSAR images showed substantial changes in marsh LAI and LAD. Although the direct cause was not substantiated, following a release of freshwater in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the fairly uniform interior marsh structure of 2009 was more vertical and dense shortly after the oil spill cessation. After 2010, marsh structure generally progressed back toward the 2009 uniformity; however, the trend was more disjointed in oil impact marshes.             

  15. Conservation of tidal marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Daiber, F.C.

    1986-01-01

    This book is the first attempt to examine collectively the various uses and the consequences of marsh conservation efforts. Author Franklin Daiber emphasizes tidal marsh conservation from a holistic perspective rather than from the perspective of a single purpose or special economic interest. He addresses a topic receiving increasing attention, namely the concept of open marsh management as a means of controlling mosquito production without harmful effects on other marsh organisms. Topics considered include: water management; dikes, impoundments, ponds and ditches; reclaimed land and impoundments; ditching and ponding for mosquito control; sewage disposal and waste treatment; dredge material for wetland restoration; insecticides; oil pollution; and petroleum hydrocarbon interactions.

  16. Assessing the Effects of Sea Level Rise on Plum Island Estuary Marshes Using a Hydrodynamic-marsh Modeling Tool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Demissie, H. K.; Bilskie, M. V.; Hagen, S. C.; Morris, J. T.; Alizad, K.

    2015-12-01

    Sea level rise (SLR) can significantly impact both human and ecological habitats in coastal and inland regions. Studies show that coastal estuaries and marsh systems are at the risk of losing their productivity under increasing rates of SLR (Donnelly and Bertness, 2001; Warren and Niering, 1993). The integrated hydrodynamic-marsh model (Hagen et al., 2013 & Alizad et al., 2015) uses a set of parameters and conditions to simulate tidal flow through the salt marsh of Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts. The hydrodynamic model computes mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) and is coupled to the zero-dimensional Marsh Equilibrium Model (Morris et al. 2002) to estimate changes in biomass productivity and accretion. The coupled hydrodynamic-marsh model was used to examine the effects of different scenarios of SLR (Parris et al., 2012) on salt marsh productivity for the year 2100 in the Plum Island Estuary. In this particular study, responses of salt marsh production for different scenarios of SLR were compared. The study shows higher productivity of salt marsh under a low SLR scenario and lower productivity under the higher SLR. The study also demonstrates the migration of salt marshes under higher SLR scenarios. References: Alizad, K., S. C. Hagen, Morris, J.T., Bacopoulos, P., Bilskie, M.V., and John, F.W. 2015. A coupled, two-dimensional hydrodynamic-marsh model with biological feedback. Limnology and Oceanography, In review. Donnelly, J.P., and M.D. Bertness. 2001. Rapid shoreward encroachment of salt marsh cordgrass in response to accelerated sea-level rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 98: 14218-14223.Hagen, S.C., J.T. Morris, P. Bacopoulos, and J. Weishampel. 2013. Sea-Level Rise Impact on a Salt Marsh System of the Lower St. Johns River. ASCE Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering, Vol. 139, No. 2, March/April 2013, pp. 118-125.Morris, J.T., P.V. Sundareshwar, C.T. Nietch, B. Kjerfve, and D.R. Cahoon. 2002. Responses

  17. Impacts of Adjacent Land Use and Isolation on Marsh Bird Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Lyndsay A.; Chow-Fraser, Patricia

    2010-05-01

    Over the next half century the human population is expected to grow rapidly, resulting in the conversion of rural areas into cities. Wetlands in these regions are therefore under threat, even though they have important ecosystem services and functions. Many obligate marsh-nesting birds in North America have shown declines over the past 40 years, and it is important to evaluate marsh bird community response to increased urbanization. We surveyed 20 coastal marshes in southern Ontario, Canada, and found that obligate marsh-nesting birds preferred rural over urban wetlands, generalist marsh-nesting birds showed no preference, while synanthropic species showed a trend towards increased richness and abundance in urban marshes. The Index of Marsh Bird Community Integrity (IMBCI) was calculated for each wetland and we found significantly higher scores in rural compared to urban wetlands. The presence of a forested buffer surrounding the marsh was not an important factor in predicting the distribution of generalists, obligates, synanthropic species, or the IMBCI. More isolated marshes had a lower species richness of obligate marsh-nesters and a lower IMBCI than less isolated marshes. Based on our results, we recommend that urban land use is not the dominant land use within 1000 m from any wetland, as it negatively affects the abundance and richness of obligate marsh-nesters, and the overall integrity of the avian community. We also recommend that all existing wetlands be conserved to mitigate against isolation effects and to preserve biodiversity.

  18. Impacts of adjacent land use and isolation on marsh bird communities.

    PubMed

    Smith, Lyndsay A; Chow-Fraser, Patricia

    2010-05-01

    Over the next half century the human population is expected to grow rapidly, resulting in the conversion of rural areas into cities. Wetlands in these regions are therefore under threat, even though they have important ecosystem services and functions. Many obligate marsh-nesting birds in North America have shown declines over the past 40 years, and it is important to evaluate marsh bird community response to increased urbanization. We surveyed 20 coastal marshes in southern Ontario, Canada, and found that obligate marsh-nesting birds preferred rural over urban wetlands, generalist marsh-nesting birds showed no preference, while synanthropic species showed a trend towards increased richness and abundance in urban marshes. The Index of Marsh Bird Community Integrity (IMBCI) was calculated for each wetland and we found significantly higher scores in rural compared to urban wetlands. The presence of a forested buffer surrounding the marsh was not an important factor in predicting the distribution of generalists, obligates, synanthropic species, or the IMBCI. More isolated marshes had a lower species richness of obligate marsh-nesters and a lower IMBCI than less isolated marshes. Based on our results, we recommend that urban land use is not the dominant land use within 1000 m from any wetland, as it negatively affects the abundance and richness of obligate marsh-nesters, and the overall integrity of the avian community. We also recommend that all existing wetlands be conserved to mitigate against isolation effects and to preserve biodiversity.

  19. Freshwater Marsh. Habitat Pac.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of Interior), Washington, DC.

    The materials in this educational packet are designed for use with students in grades 4 through 7. They consist of an overview, three lesson plans and student data sheets, and a poster. The overview describes how the freshwater marsh is an important natural resource for plant, animal, and human populations and how the destruction of marshes causes…

  20. ASSESSING NEW ENGLAND COASTAL WETLANDS USING A SYSTEMATIC REFERENCE-BASED APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    The US Environmental Protection Agency, Atlantic Ecology Division is working collaboratively with Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management to implement landscape and rapid assessments of coastal salt marshes in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Using a 3-tiered approach, the coastal ...

  1. Impact of Mississippi River freshwater reintroduction on enhancing marsh accretionary processes in a Louisiana estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DeLaune, R. D.; Jugsujinda, A.; Peterson, G. W.; Patrick, W. H.

    2003-11-01

    To counteract extensive wetland loss a series of diversion projects have been implemented to introduce freshwater and sediment from the Mississippi River into Louisiana coastal wetlands. To keep pace with increases in water level due to subsidence Louisiana coastal marshes must vertically accrete through the accumulation of both organic matter and mineral sediment. The impact of Mississippi River freshwater diversion on enhancing vertical marsh accretion (mineral and organic matter accumulation) was examined in Breton Sound estuary, a coastal wetland experiencing marsh deterioration as result of subsidence and salt water intrusion. Using 137Cs dating and artificial marker horizons, increases in the rate of vertical marsh accretion were measured at marsh sites along a spatial gradient which has been receiving diverted water from the Mississippi River (Caernarvon diversion) since 1991. Vertical accretion and accumulation of mineral sediment organic matter and nutrients in the marsh soil profile, increased at marsh sites receiving freshwater and sediment input. Iron and manganese content of the marsh surface sediment were shown to be an excellent signature of riverine sediment deposition. Soil extractable phosphorus was higher and extractable sodium was lower at sites nearest freshwater and sediment input. Results demonstrated that freshwater diversion through sediment input and lowering of salinity will enhance marsh accretion and stability, slowing or reversing the rate of wetland loss.

  2. IMPACTS OF NITROGEN LOADING ON SALT MARSH INTEGRITY IN NEW ENGLAND, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marsh habitat integrity is linked with the ability to provide good water quality and high biodiversity. We measured high denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) in ten coastal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (seasonal means ranging from 7,476 - 53,494 kg N-1ha-...

  3. Sea level rise, drought and the decline of Spartina patens in New England marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Already heavily impacted by coastal development, estuarine vegetated habitats (seagrasses, salt marshes, and mangroves) are increasingly affected by climate change via accelerated sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of precipitation and storms, and warmer ocean...

  4. Examining effects of sea level rise and marsh crabs on Spartina patens using mesocosms

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide essential ecosystem services but face increasing threats from habitat loss, eutrophication, changing precipitation patterns, and accelerating rates of sea level rise (SLR). Recent studies have suggested that herbivory and burrowing by native salt mars...

  5. Restoring Ecological Function to a Submerged Salt Marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stagg, C.L.; Mendelssohn, I.A.

    2010-01-01

    Impacts of global climate change, such as sea level rise and severe drought, have altered the hydrology of coastal salt marshes resulting in submergence and subsequent degradation of ecosystem function. A potential method of rehabilitating these systems is the addition of sediment-slurries to increase marsh surface elevation, thus ameliorating effects of excessive inundation. Although this technique is growing in popularity, the restoration of ecological function after sediment addition has received little attention. To determine if sediment subsidized salt marshes are functionally equivalent to natural marshes, we examined above- and belowground primary production in replicated restored marshes receiving four levels of sediment addition (29-42 cm North American Vertical Datum of 1988 [NAVD 88]) and in degraded and natural ambient marshes (4-22 cm NAVD 88). Moderate intensities of sediment-slurry addition, resulting in elevations at the mid to high intertidal zone (29-36 cm NAVD 88), restored ecological function to degraded salt marshes. Sediment additions significantly decreased flood duration and frequency and increased bulk density, resulting in greater soil drainage and redox potential and significantly lower phytotoxic sulfide concentrations. However, ecological function in the restored salt marsh showed a sediment addition threshold that was characterized by a decline in primary productivity in areas of excessive sediment addition and high elevation (>36 cm NAVD 88). Hence, the addition of intermediate levels of sediment to submerging salt marshes increased marsh surface elevation, ameliorated impacts of prolonged inundation, and increased primary productivity. However, too much sediment resulted in diminished ecological function that was equivalent to the submerged or degraded system. ?? 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

  6. Comparative Geomorphology of Salt and Tidal Freshwater Marsh Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pasternack, G. B.

    2002-05-01

    Temperate estuaries include a spectrum of coastal marshes ranging from highly saline near the ocean to fresh in tributaries with substantial watershed drainage. While the hydrologic, sedimentary, and geomorphic dynamics of salt marshes have been thoroughly investigated, those aspects of tidal freshwater marshes have only begun to be addressed. Based on a recent burst in research on tidal freshwater systems in Chesapeake Bay by different universities, an attempt is made here to provide comparative geomorphology. In terms of similarities, both have tidal channels whose hydraulic geometry is primarily controlled by the tidal prism. Both show decreasing sedimentation and increasing organics with elevation and distance from channels. At seasonal to interannual time scales, the morphodynamics of both show similarities in the interplay among hydroperiod, vegetation, and geomorphology. Rather than simply evolving from youth to maturity, both systems exhibit strong evidence for dynamic equilibrium between process and morphology. Despite these similarities, there are key differences that motivate further research of tidal freshwater marshes. First, whereas salt marshes are limited by sediment supply, tidal fresh ones may not be limited depending on upstream basin size. E.g., fringing marshes along Pumunkey River have very low sediment supply, while deltaic marshes in Bush River and Sassafras River are not supply-limited. Instead, the growth of deltaic fresh marshes is transport limited, as winds and tides can only generate low momentum and turbulence for sediment transport. As illustrated in multiple systems, a constant availability of sediment leads to higher sedimentation in fresh marshes. Second, in high latitude salt marshes where the tidal range is large and the climate cold, ice acts as a strong erosional agent. In fresh marshes, ice serves to sequester sediment and buffer the erosional impact of autumnal vegetation dieback. Third, the high spatial variation in plant

  7. Impact of land-use change and hard structures on the evolution of fringing marsh shorelines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mattheus, Christopher R.; Rodriguez, Antonio B.; McKee, Brent A.; Currin, Carolyn A.

    2010-07-01

    Estuarine fringe marshes provide essential ecosystem services to coastal regions, including carbon sequestration and provision of shelter and nursery grounds for aquatic and terrestrial animals. The ability of a marsh to sustain itself by vertical accretion in response to sea-level rise is, in part, limited by inorganic sediment supply. Models attempting to forecast salt-marsh response to future sea-level rise commonly ignore land-use changes, despite the recent coastal population boom and the potential of land-use changes to alter sediment sources and modify established sediment-transport pathways. This study investigates the impacts of landscape modifications, which are typical of coastal areas, on the nearshore sedimentation and edge evolution of two fringing marshes. The sites examined include a marsh fringing the upper bay and a marsh fringing a beach ridge on the estuarine shoreline of a barrier island. Both sites are located in the same estuarine system, have similar hydrologic settings and comparable vegetation densities. Previous work, marsh cores, and a historical record from aerial photos indicate that although the fringe marshes are in different geomorphic locations, prior to anthropogenic modifications they were similar in terms of nearshore-sediment composition, scarp-shoreline morphology, and shoreline trajectory. The upper-bay marsh was impacted by the introduction of tree farming in the watershed of a tributary creek to the upper bay, which increased upland erosion and caused higher sedimentation rates in the estuary. The back-barrier marsh, which received no contribution from the tree farm because it is distal with respect to river input, was modified by the installation of a pier and rock sill. Terrestrial LIDAR, surface elevation tables, and accretion rates obtained from radioisotope analyses show that the deforestation induced high rates of nearshore and marsh accretion at the upper-bay site, which is promoting marsh colonization and expansion

  8. The mapping of marsh vegetation using aircraft multispectral scanner data. [in Louisiana

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Butera, M. K.

    1975-01-01

    A test was conducted to determine if salinity regimes in coastal marshland could be mapped and monitored by the identification and classification of marsh vegetative species from aircraft multispectral scanner data. The data was acquired at 6.1 km (20,000 ft.) on October 2, 1974, over a test area in the coastal marshland of southern Louisiana including fresh, intermediate, brackish, and saline zones. The data was classified by vegetational species using a supervised, spectral pattern recognition procedure. Accuracies of training sites ranged from 67% to 96%. Marsh zones based on free soil water salinity were determined from the species classification to demonstrate a practical use for mapping marsh vegetation.

  9. New model describes toppling of salt marsh banks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-05-01

    Salt marshes are coastal habitats that store important nutrients and serve as shelter for many estuarial species. These habitats are threatened by rising seas and human expansion, so it has become increasingly important to improve models of how these habitats degrade.

  10. Can Oregon marshes keep up with the rising tide? A study of short and long term marsh accretion - CERF 2015

    EPA Science Inventory

    More frequent inundation of Oregon coastal marshlands associated with rising sea level threatens these important and diverse habitats. Accretion rates determined by the marker horizon method and longer term peak Cs137 detection in nine marsh systems from Coquille to Tillamook we...

  11. Can Oregon Marshes Keep Up With The Rising Tide? A Study of Short and Long Term Marsh Accretion.

    EPA Science Inventory

    More frequent inundation of Oregon coastal marshlands associated with rising sea level threatens these important and diverse habitats. Study plot accretion rates determined by the marker horizon method and longer term peak Cs137 detection in eight marsh systems from Coquille to ...

  12. Hurricane Influences on Vegetation Community Change in Coastal Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Steyer, Gregory D.; Cretini, Kari Foster; Piazza, Sarai C.; Sharp, Leigh Anne; Snedden, Gregg A.; Sapkota, Sijan

    2010-01-01

    The impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 on wetland vegetation were investigated in Louisiana coastal marshes. Vegetation cover, pore-water salinity, and nutrients data from 100 marsh sites covering the entire Louisiana coast were sampled for two consecutive growing seasons after the storms. A mixed-model nested ANOVA with Tukey's HSD test for post-ANOVA multiple comparisons was used to analyze the data. Significantly (p<0.05) lower vegetation cover was observed within brackish and fresh marshes in the west as compared to the east and central regions throughout 2006, but considerable increase in vegetation cover was noticed in fall 2007 data. Marshes in the west were stressed by prolonged saltwater logging and increased sulfide content. High salinity levels persisted throughout the study period for all marsh types, especially in the west. The marshes of coastal Louisiana are still recovering after the hurricanes; however, changes in the species composition have increased in these marshes.

  13. Rapid shoreward encroachment of salt marsh cordgrass in response to accelerated sea-level rise

    PubMed Central

    Donnelly, Jeffrey P.; Bertness, Mark D.

    2001-01-01

    The distribution of New England salt marsh communities is intrinsically linked to the magnitude, frequency, and duration of tidal inundation. Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) exclusively inhabits the frequently flooded lower elevations, whereas a mosaic of marsh hay (Spartina patens), spike grass (Distichlis spicata), and black rush (Juncus gerardi) typically dominate higher elevations. Monitoring plant zonal boundaries in two New England salt marshes revealed that low-marsh cordgrass rapidly moved landward at the expense of higher-marsh species between 1995 and 1998. Plant macrofossils from sediment cores across modern plant community boundaries provided a 2,500-year record of marsh community composition and documented the migration of cordgrass into the high marsh. Isotopic dating revealed that the initiation of cordgrass migration occurred in the late 19th century and continued through the 20th century. The timing of the initiation of cordgrass migration is coincident with an acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise recorded by the New York tide gauge. These results suggest that increased flooding associated with accelerating rates of sea-level rise has stressed high-marsh communities and promoted landward migration of cordgrass. If current rates of sea-level rise continue or increase slightly over the next century, New England salt marshes will be dominated by cordgrass. If climate warming causes sea-level rise rates to increase significantly over the next century, these cordgrass-dominated marshes will likely drown, resulting in extensive losses of coastal wetlands. PMID:11724926

  14. Rapid shoreward encroachment of salt marsh cordgrass in response to accelerated sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    Donnelly, J P; Bertness, M D

    2001-12-01

    The distribution of New England salt marsh communities is intrinsically linked to the magnitude, frequency, and duration of tidal inundation. Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) exclusively inhabits the frequently flooded lower elevations, whereas a mosaic of marsh hay (Spartina patens), spike grass (Distichlis spicata), and black rush (Juncus gerardi) typically dominate higher elevations. Monitoring plant zonal boundaries in two New England salt marshes revealed that low-marsh cordgrass rapidly moved landward at the expense of higher-marsh species between 1995 and 1998. Plant macrofossils from sediment cores across modern plant community boundaries provided a 2,500-year record of marsh community composition and documented the migration of cordgrass into the high marsh. Isotopic dating revealed that the initiation of cordgrass migration occurred in the late 19th century and continued through the 20th century. The timing of the initiation of cordgrass migration is coincident with an acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise recorded by the New York tide gauge. These results suggest that increased flooding associated with accelerating rates of sea-level rise has stressed high-marsh communities and promoted landward migration of cordgrass. If current rates of sea-level rise continue or increase slightly over the next century, New England salt marshes will be dominated by cordgrass. If climate warming causes sea-level rise rates to increase significantly over the next century, these cordgrass-dominated marshes will likely drown, resulting in extensive losses of coastal wetlands.

  15. Marine fungal diversity: a comparison of natural and created salt marshes of the north-central Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Walker, Allison K; Campbell, Jinx

    2010-01-01

    Marine fungal communities of created salt marshes of differing ages were compared with those of two reference natural salt marshes. Marine fungi occurring on the lower 30 cm of salt marsh plants Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus were inventoried with morphological and molecular methods (ITS T-RFLP analysis) to determine fungal species richness, relative frequency of occurrence and ascomata density. The resulting profiles revealed similar fungal communities in natural salt marshes and created salt marshes 3 y old and older with a 1.5 y old created marsh showing less fungal colonization. A 26 y old created salt marsh consistently exhibited the highest fungal species richness. Ascomata density of the dominant fungal species on each host was significantly higher in natural marshes than in created marshes at all three sampling dates. This study indicates marine fungal saprotroph communities are present in these manmade coastal salt marshes as early as 1 y after marsh creation. The lower regions of both plant hosts were dominated by a small number of marine ascomycete species consistent with those species previously reported from salt marshes of the East Coast of USA. PMID:20524584

  16. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes.

    PubMed

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans. PMID:26699461

  17. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes

    PubMed Central

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans. PMID:26699461

  18. Marine fungal diversity: a comparison of natural and created salt marshes of the north-central Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Walker, Allison K; Campbell, Jinx

    2010-01-01

    Marine fungal communities of created salt marshes of differing ages were compared with those of two reference natural salt marshes. Marine fungi occurring on the lower 30 cm of salt marsh plants Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus were inventoried with morphological and molecular methods (ITS T-RFLP analysis) to determine fungal species richness, relative frequency of occurrence and ascomata density. The resulting profiles revealed similar fungal communities in natural salt marshes and created salt marshes 3 y old and older with a 1.5 y old created marsh showing less fungal colonization. A 26 y old created salt marsh consistently exhibited the highest fungal species richness. Ascomata density of the dominant fungal species on each host was significantly higher in natural marshes than in created marshes at all three sampling dates. This study indicates marine fungal saprotroph communities are present in these manmade coastal salt marshes as early as 1 y after marsh creation. The lower regions of both plant hosts were dominated by a small number of marine ascomycete species consistent with those species previously reported from salt marshes of the East Coast of USA.

  19. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes.

    PubMed

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans.

  20. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans.

  1. Restoring marsh elevation in a rapidly subsiding salt marsh by thin-layer deposition of dredged material

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ford, M.A.; Cahoon, D.R.; Lynch, J.C.

    1999-01-01

    Thin-layer deposition of dredged material on coastal marsh by means of high-pressure spray dredging (Jet-Spray??2) technology has been proposed as a mechanism to minimize wetland impacts associated with traditional bucket dredging technologies and to restore soil elevations in deteriorated marshes of the Mississippi River delta. The impact of spray dredging on vegetated marsh and adjacent shallow-water habitat (formerly vegetated marsh that deteriorated to open water) was evaluated in a 0.5-ha Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh in coastal Louisiana. The thickness of dredged sediment deposits was determined from artificial soil marker horizons and soil elevation change was determined from sedimentation-erosion tables (SET) established prior to spraying in both sprayed and reference marshes. The vertical accretion and elevation change measurements were made simultaneously to allow for calculation of shallow (~5 m depth) subsidence (accretion minus elevation change). Measurements made immediately following spraying in July 1996 revealed that stems of S. alterniflora were knocked down by the force of the spray and covered with 23 mm of dredged material. Stems of S. alterniflora soon recovered, and by July 1997 the percent cover of S. alterniflora had increased three-fold over pre-project conditions. Thus, the layer of dredged material was thin enough to allow for survival of the S. alterniflora plants, with no subsequent colonization by plant species typical of higher marsh zones. By February 1998, 62 mm of vertical accretion accumulated at this site, and little indication of disturbance was noted. Although not statistically significant, soil elevation change was greater than accretion on average at both the spray and reference marshes, suggesting that subsurface expansion caused by increased root biomass production and/or pore water storage influence elevation in this marsh region. In the adjacent shallow water pond, 129 mm of sediment was deposited in July

  2. Methylmercury production in a Chesapeake Bay salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, Carl P. J.; Gilmour, Cynthia C.

    2008-06-01

    In a detailed study of the biogeochemical factors affecting the methylation of mercury in a Chesapeake Bay salt marsh, we examined relationships between mercury methylation and numerous variables, including sulfate reduction rates, organic carbon mineralization rates, iron and sulfur chemistry, and the character of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Our data show that salt marshes are important sites of de novo methylmercury (MeHg) production in coastal ecosystems. Some of the controls on MeHg production that have been well-described in other ecosystems also impacted MeHg production in this salt marsh, specifically the effect of sulfide accumulation on mercury bioavailability. We observed some novel biogeochemical relationships with Hg(II)-methylation and MeHg accumulation, particularly the positive association of Hg(II)-methylation with zones of microbial iron reduction. On the basis of this relationship, we suggest caution in wetland and groundwater remediation approaches involving iron additions. Aqueous phase Hg complexation appeared to be the dominant control on Hg bioavailability across the marsh sites examined, rather than Hg partitioning behavior. A detailed examination of DOM character in the marsh suggested a strong positive association between Hg(II)-methylation rate constants and increasing DOM molecular weight. Overall, our results indicate that net MeHg production is controlled by a balance between microbial activity and geochemical effects on mercury bioavailability, but that a significant zone of MeHg production can persist in near surface salt marsh soils. Production of MeHg in coastal marshes may negatively impact ecosystems via export to adjacent estuaries or through direct bioaccumulation in birds, fish and amphibians that feed in these highly productive ecosystems.

  3. Common marsh plants of the United States and Canada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hotchkiss, Neil

    1970-01-01

    This is the fourth of a series of publications on field identification of North American marsh and water plants. It describes the emergent and semiemergent plants most likely to be found in inland and coastal marshes. It omits hundreds of uncommon marsh plants and plants less characteristic of marshes than of marsh edges, lake and stream shores, or wet meadows. The first of the series, "Pondweeds and Pondweedlike Plants of Eastern North America," Circular 187, was broadened in scope as Resource Publication 44, "Underwater and Floating-leaved Plants of the United States and Canada," and is superseded by it. The present publication, widens the scope of "Bulrushes and Bulrushlike Plants of Eastern North America," Circular 221, and contains most of the species listed therein. This guide is designed for identification of marsh plants without recourse to technical botanical keys. To use it, read pages 1 to 4 and then look at the drawings. To identify a plant, find the group in which it fits, then find a drawing and description that match it.

  4. Marsh nesting by mallards

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Krapu, G.L.; Talent, L.G.; Dwyer, T.J.

    1979-01-01

    Nest-site selection by mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) hens was studied on a 52-km2, privately owned area in the Missouri Coteau of south-central North Dakota during 1974-77. Sixty-six percent of 53 nests initiated by radio-marked and unmarked hens were in wetlands in dense stands of emergent vegetation and usually within 50 m of the wetland edge. These findings and other sources of information suggest that significant numbers of mallards breeding in the Prairie Pothole Region nest in marsh habitat. Potential factors contributing to mallard use of marsh habitat for nesting purposes are discussed. Management considerations associated with marsh nesting by mallards are described and research needs are identified.

  5. The role of Phragmites australis in mediating inland salt marsh migration in a Mid-Atlantic estuary.

    PubMed

    Smith, Joseph A M

    2013-01-01

    Many sea level rise adaptation plans emphasize the protection of adjacent uplands to allow for inland salt marsh migration, but little empirical information exists on this process. Using aerial photos from 1930 and 2006 of Delaware Estuary coastal habitats in New Jersey, I documented the rate of coastal forest retreat and the rate of inland salt marsh migration across 101.1 km of undeveloped salt marsh and forest ecotone. Over this time, the amount of forest edge at this ecotone nearly doubled. In addition, the average amount of forest retreat was 141.2 m while the amount of salt marsh inland migration was 41.9 m. Variation in forest retreat within the study area was influenced by variation in slope. The lag between the amount of forest retreat and salt marsh migration is accounted for by the presence of Phragmites australis which occupies the forest and salt marsh ecotone. Phragmites expands from this edge into forest dieback areas, and the ability of salt marsh to move inland and displace Phragmites is likely influenced by salinity at both an estuary-wide scale and at the scale of local subwatersheds. Inland movement of salt marsh is lowest at lower salinity areas further away from the mouth of the estuary and closer to local heads of tide. These results allow for better prediction of salt marsh migration in estuarine landscapes and provide guidance for adaptation planners seeking to prioritize those places with the highest likelihood of inland salt marsh migration in the near-term.

  6. Effects of long-term grazing on sediment deposition and salt-marsh accretion rates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elschot, Kelly; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Temmerman, Stijn; Bakker, Jan P.

    2013-11-01

    Many studies have attempted to predict whether coastal marshes will be able to keep up with future acceleration of sea-level rise by estimating marsh accretion rates. However, there are few studies focussing on the long-term effects of herbivores on vegetation structure and subsequent effects on marsh accretion. Deposition of fine-grained, mineral sediment during tidal inundations, together with organic matter accumulation from the local vegetation, positively affects accretion rates of marsh surfaces. Tall vegetation can enhance sediment deposition by reducing current flow and wave action. Herbivores shorten vegetation height and this could potentially reduce sediment deposition. This study estimated the effects of herbivores on 1) vegetation height, 2) sediment deposition and 3) resulting marsh accretion after long-term (at least 16 years) herbivore exclusion of both small (i.e. hare and goose) and large grazers (i.e. cattle) for marshes of different ages. Our results firstly showed that both small and large herbivores can have a major impact on vegetation height. Secondly, grazing processes did not affect sediment deposition. Finally, trampling by large grazers affected marsh accretion rates by compacting the soil. In many European marshes, grazing is used as a tool in nature management as well as for agricultural purposes. Thus, we propose that soil compaction by large grazers should be taken in account when estimating the ability of coastal systems to cope with an accelerating sea-level rise.

  7. Vegetation types in coastal Louisiana in 2013

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sasser, Charles E.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Mouton, Edmond; Linscombe, Jeb; Hartley, Steve B.

    2014-01-01

    During the summer of 2013, the U.S. Geological Survey, Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastal and Nongame Resources Division jointly completed an aerial survey to collect data on 2013 vegetation types in coastal Louisiana. Plant species were listed and their abundance classified. On the basis of species composition and abundance, each marsh sampling station was assigned a marsh type: fresh, intermediate, brackish, or saline (saltwater) marsh. The current map presents the data collected in this effort.

  8. Expansive Tidal Marshes on the North American Eastern Seaboard: Relics of Colonial Deforestation?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, A.; Kirwan, M.

    2013-12-01

    Experiments using a numerical model of tidal marsh ecomorphodynamic evolution suggest that changes in sediment supply (suspended sediment concentrations) reaching tidal marshes can play a role as strong as sea-level-rise rate in determining the extent and elevation of coastal wetlands. Testing a model-generated hypothesis, sediment coring and radiocarbon dating in the Plum Island Estuary marshes, Massachusetts, USA, suggested that marshes prograded rapidly and substantially following colonial deforestation (Kirwan et al., Geology, 2011). This controversial claim has been questioned, in part because historical maps from 1780 and 1830 show that the marsh had already attained most of its modern extent by that time--which is earlier than some of the of the radiocarbon mid-point dates (Priestas et al., Geology Forum, Dec. 2012). However, given the uncertainties in the radiocarbon dates, and in identifying the earliest marsh-derived layers in sediment cores, the maps and the dating are broadly consistent (Kirwan and Murray, Geology Forum, Dec. 2012). In addition, previous studies have shown that considerable land-use change had already occurred in this small coastal watershed by the late 17th Century, with local laws against tree cutting in place by 1660, and evidence for regional deforestation by 1700. Our field evidence, combined with the historical maps, indicates that this early colonial development lead to an expansion of marshes by approximately 50 percent within the studied area. Given the widespread and pervasive nature of subsequent land-use changes on the Eastern Seaboard from colonial through civil war periods, many of the currently expansive marshes on the East Coast may be relict. Numerical modeling suggests that when sediment concentrations fall below the values required to form a marsh, the marsh will be metastable, with vegetation feedbacks able to maintain the relict morphology and ecology, but susceptible to irreversible loss in response to disturbances

  9. Gross nitrous oxide production drives net nitrous oxide fluxes across a salt marsh landscape.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wendy H; Silver, Whendee L

    2016-06-01

    Sea level rise will change inundation regimes in salt marshes, altering redox dynamics that control nitrification - a potential source of the potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2 O) - and denitrification, a major nitrogen (N) loss pathway in coastal ecosystems and both a source and sink of N2 O. Measurements of net N2 O fluxes alone yield little insight into the different effects of redox conditions on N2 O production and consumption. We used in situ measurements of gross N2 O fluxes across a salt marsh elevation gradient to determine how soil N2 O emissions in coastal ecosystems may respond to future sea level rise. Soil redox declined as marsh elevation decreased, with lower soil nitrate and higher ferrous iron in the low marsh compared to the mid and high marshes (P < 0.001 for both). In addition, soil oxygen concentrations were lower in the low and mid-marshes relative to the high marsh (P < 0.001). Net N2 O fluxes differed significantly among marsh zones (P = 0.009), averaging 9.8 ± 5.4 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , -2.2 ± 0.9 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , and 0.67 ± 0.57 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) in the low, mid, and high marshes, respectively. Both net N2 O release and uptake were observed in the low and high marshes, but the mid-marsh was consistently a net N2 O sink. Gross N2 O production was highest in the low marsh and lowest in the mid-marsh (P = 0.02), whereas gross N2 O consumption did not differ among marsh zones. Thus, variability in gross N2 O production rates drove the differences in net N2 O flux among marsh zones. Our results suggest that future studies should focus on elucidating controls on the processes producing, rather than consuming, N2 O in salt marshes to improve our predictions of changes in net N2 O fluxes caused by future sea level rise.

  10. Gross nitrous oxide production drives net nitrous oxide fluxes across a salt marsh landscape.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wendy H; Silver, Whendee L

    2016-06-01

    Sea level rise will change inundation regimes in salt marshes, altering redox dynamics that control nitrification - a potential source of the potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2 O) - and denitrification, a major nitrogen (N) loss pathway in coastal ecosystems and both a source and sink of N2 O. Measurements of net N2 O fluxes alone yield little insight into the different effects of redox conditions on N2 O production and consumption. We used in situ measurements of gross N2 O fluxes across a salt marsh elevation gradient to determine how soil N2 O emissions in coastal ecosystems may respond to future sea level rise. Soil redox declined as marsh elevation decreased, with lower soil nitrate and higher ferrous iron in the low marsh compared to the mid and high marshes (P < 0.001 for both). In addition, soil oxygen concentrations were lower in the low and mid-marshes relative to the high marsh (P < 0.001). Net N2 O fluxes differed significantly among marsh zones (P = 0.009), averaging 9.8 ± 5.4 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , -2.2 ± 0.9 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , and 0.67 ± 0.57 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) in the low, mid, and high marshes, respectively. Both net N2 O release and uptake were observed in the low and high marshes, but the mid-marsh was consistently a net N2 O sink. Gross N2 O production was highest in the low marsh and lowest in the mid-marsh (P = 0.02), whereas gross N2 O consumption did not differ among marsh zones. Thus, variability in gross N2 O production rates drove the differences in net N2 O flux among marsh zones. Our results suggest that future studies should focus on elucidating controls on the processes producing, rather than consuming, N2 O in salt marshes to improve our predictions of changes in net N2 O fluxes caused by future sea level rise. PMID:26718748

  11. Tides and Marshes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Pouler, Chris

    The Maryland Marine Science Education Project has produced a series of mini-units in marine science education for the junior high/middle school classroom. This unit focuses on tides and marshes. Although the unit specifically treats the Chesapeake Bay, it may be adapted for use with similar estuarine systems. In addition, the unit may be…

  12. A global analysis of the seaward salt marsh extent: The importance of tidal range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balke, Thorsten; Stock, Martin; Jensen, Kai; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Kleyer, Michael

    2016-05-01

    Despite the growing interest in ecosystem services provided by intertidal wetlands, we lack sufficient understanding of the processes that determine the seaward extent of salt marsh vegetation on tidal flats. With the present study, we aim to establish a globally valid demarcation between tidal flats and salt marsh vegetation in relation to tidal range. By comparing results from a regional GIS study with a global literature search on the salt marsh-tidal flat border, we are able to define the global critical elevation, above which salt marsh plants can grow in the intertidal zone. Moreover, we calculate inundation characteristics from global tide gauge records to determine inundation duration and frequency at this predicted salt marsh-tidal flat border depending on tidal range. Our study shows that the height difference between the lowest elevation of salt marsh pioneer vegetation and mean high water increases logarithmically with tidal range when including macrotidal salt marshes. Hence, the potentially vegetated section of the tidal frame below mean high water does not proportionally increase with tidal range. The data analysis suggests that inundation frequency rather than duration defines the global lower elevational limit of vascular salt marsh plants on tidal flats. This is critical information to better estimate sea level rise and coastal change effects on lateral marsh development.

  13. Assessing tidal marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise in the Skagit Delta

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hood, W. Gregory; Grossman, Eric; Curt Veldhuisen,

    2016-01-01

    Historical aerial photographs, from 1937 to the present, show Skagit Delta tidal marshes prograding into Skagit Bay for most of the record, but the progradation rates have been steadily declining and the marshes have begun to erode in recent decades despite the large suspended sediment load provided by the Skagit River. In an area of the delta isolated from direct riverine sediment supply by anthropogenic blockage of historical distributaries, 0.5-m tall marsh cliffs along with concave marsh profiles indicate wave erosion is contributing to marsh retreat. This is further supported by a “natural experiment” provided by rocky outcrops that shelter high marsh in their lee, while being bounded by 0.5-m lower eroded marsh to windward and on either side. Coastal wetlands with high sediment supply are thought to be resilient to sea level rise, but the case of the Skagit Delta shows this is not necessarily true. A combination of sea level rise and wave-generated erosion may overwhelm sediment supply. Additionally, anthropogenic obstruction of historical distributaries and levee construction along the remaining distributaries likely increase the jet momentum of river discharge, forcing much suspended sediment to bypass the tidal marshes and be exported from Skagit Bay. Adaptive response to the threat of climate change related sea level rise and increased wave frequency or intensity should consider the efficacy of restoring historical distributaries and managed retreat of constrictive river levees to maximize sediment delivery to delta marshes.

  14. Effects of invasive cordgrass on presence of Marsh Grassbird in an area where it is not native.

    PubMed

    Ma, Zhijun; Gan, Xiaojing; Choi, Chi-Yeung; Li, Bo

    2014-02-01

    The threatened Marsh Grassbird (Locustella pryeri) first appeared in the salt marsh in east China after the salt marsh was invaded by cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), a non-native invasive species. To understand the dependence of non-native Marsh Grassbird on the non-native cordgrass, we quantified habitat use, food source, and reproductive success of the Marsh Grassbird at the Chongming Dongtan (CMDT) salt marsh. In the breeding season, we used point counts and radio-tracking to determine habitat use by Marsh Grassbirds. We analyzed basal food sources of the Marsh Grassbirds by comparing the δ(13) C isotope signatures of feather and fecal samples of birds with those of local plants. We monitored the nests through the breeding season and determined the breeding success of the Marsh Grassbirds at CMDT. Density of Marsh Grassbirds was higher where cordgrass occurred than in areas of native reed (Phragmites australis) monoculture. The breeding territory of the Marsh Grassbird was composed mainly of cordgrass stands, and nests were built exclusively against cordgrass stems. Cordgrass was the major primary producer at the base of the Marsh Grassbird food chain. Breeding success of the Marsh Grassbird at CMDT was similar to breeding success within its native range. Our results suggest non-native cordgrass provides essential habitat and food for breeding Marsh Grassbirds at CMDT and that the increase in Marsh Grassbird abundance may reflect the rapid spread of cordgrass in the coastal regions of east China. Our study provides an example of how a primary invader (i.e., cordgrass) can alter an ecosystem and thus facilitate colonization by a second non-native species.

  15. Interactions between barrier islands and backbarrier marshes affect island system response to sea level rise: Insights from a coupled model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walters, David; Moore, Laura J.; Duran Vinent, Orencio; Fagherazzi, Sergio; Mariotti, Giulio

    2014-09-01

    Interactions between backbarrier marshes and barrier islands will likely play an important role in determining how low-lying coastal systems respond to sea level rise and changes in storminess in the future. To assess the role of couplings between marshes and barrier islands under changing conditions, we develop and apply a coupled barrier island-marsh model (GEOMBEST+) to assess the impact of overwash deposition on backbarrier marsh morphology and of marsh morphology on rates of island migration. Our model results suggest that backbarrier marsh width is in a constant state of change until either the backbarrier basin becomes completely filled or backbarrier marsh deposits have completely eroded away. Results also suggest that overwash deposition is an important source of sediment, which allows existing narrow marshes to be maintained in a long-lasting alternate state (~500 m wide in the Virginia Barrier Islands) within a range of conditions under which they would otherwise disappear. The existence of a narrow marsh state is supported by observations of backbarrier marshes along the eastern shore of Virginia. Additional results suggest that marshes reduce accommodation in the backbarrier bay, which, in turn, decreases island migration rate. As climate change results in sea level rise, and the increased potential for intense hurricanes resulting in overwash, it is likely that these couplings will become increasingly important in determining future system behavior.

  16. Sensitivity of hurricane surge to morphological parameters of coastal wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Loder, N. M.; Irish, J. L.; Cialone, M. A.; Wamsley, T. V.

    2009-10-01

    Given the history and future risk of storm surge in the United States, functional storm protection techniques are needed to protect vital sectors of the economy and coastal communities. It is widely hypothesized that coastal wetlands offer protection from storm surge and wave action, though the extent of this protection is unknown due to the complexities of flow through vegetation. Here we present the sensitivity of storm-surge numerical modeling results to various coastal wetlands characteristics. An idealized grid domain and 400-km 2 marsh feature were used to evaluate the effects of marsh characteristics on hurricane surge, including the effects of bottom friction, elevation, and continuity (the ratio of healthy marsh to open water area within the total wetland area). Through coupled hydrodynamic and wave model simulations, it is confirmed that increased bottom friction reduces storm-surge levels for most storms. However, increases in depth associated with marsh elevation loss generally results in a reduction of surge. As marsh continuity is decreased, coastal surge increases as a result of enhanced surge conveyance into and out of the marsh. Storm surge is parameterized in terms of marsh morphology, namely marsh elevation, frictional characteristics, and degree of segmentation, which will assist in the justification for and optimization of marsh restoration in terms of storm protection.

  17. Effects of climate change on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; MacDonald, Glen M.; Ambrose, Rich F.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Freeman, Chase M.; Janousek, Christopher N.; Brown, Lauren N.; Holmquist, James R.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Powelson, Katherine W.; Barnard, Patrick L.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2016-08-05

    Public SummaryThe coastal region of California supports a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays within coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise (SLR) are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the projected effects of three recent SLR scenarios produced for the West Coast of North America on tidal marshes in California. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, plant composition, and sediment accretion to project how SLR may alter these ecosystems in the future. The goal of our research was to provide results that support coastal management and conservation efforts across California. Under a low SLR scenario, all study sites remained vegetated tidal wetlands, with most sites showing little elevation and vegetation change relative to sea level. At most sites, mid SLR projections led to increases in low marsh habitat at the expense of middle and high marsh habitat. Marshes at Morro Bay and Tijuana River Estuary were the most vulnerable to mid SLR with many areas becoming intertidal mudflat. Under a high SLR scenario, most sites were projected to lose vegetated habitat, eventually converting to intertidal mudflats. Our results suggest that California marshes are vulnerable to major habitat shifts under mid or high rates of SLR, especially in the latter part of the century. Loss of vegetated tidal marshes in California due to SLR is expected to impact ecosystem services that are dependent on coastal wetlands such as wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, improved water quality, and coastal protection from storms.

  18. Effects of climate change on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; MacDonald, Glen M.; Ambrose, Rich F.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Freeman, Chase M.; Janousek, Christopher N.; Brown, Lauren N.; Holmquist, James R.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Powelson, Katherine W.; Barnard, Patrick L.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2016-01-01

    Public SummaryThe coastal region of California supports a wealth of ecosystem services including habitat provision for wildlife and fisheries. Tidal marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays within coastal estuaries link marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats, and provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Climate change effects such as sea-level rise (SLR) are altering these habitats, but we know little about how these areas will change over the next 50–100 years. Our study examined the projected effects of three recent SLR scenarios produced for the West Coast of North America on tidal marshes in California. We compiled physical and biological data, including coastal topography, tidal inundation, plant composition, and sediment accretion to project how SLR may alter these ecosystems in the future. The goal of our research was to provide results that support coastal management and conservation efforts across California. Under a low SLR scenario, all study sites remained vegetated tidal wetlands, with most sites showing little elevation and vegetation change relative to sea level. At most sites, mid SLR projections led to increases in low marsh habitat at the expense of middle and high marsh habitat. Marshes at Morro Bay and Tijuana River Estuary were the most vulnerable to mid SLR with many areas becoming intertidal mudflat. Under a high SLR scenario, most sites were projected to lose vegetated habitat, eventually converting to intertidal mudflats. Our results suggest that California marshes are vulnerable to major habitat shifts under mid or high rates of SLR, especially in the latter part of the century. Loss of vegetated tidal marshes in California due to SLR is expected to impact ecosystem services that are dependent on coastal wetlands such as wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, improved water quality, and coastal protection from storms.

  19. Palatability and chemical defense of Phragmites australis to the marsh periwinkle snail Littoraria irrorata.

    PubMed

    Hendricks, Lindsey G; Mossop, Hannah E; Kicklighter, Cynthia E

    2011-08-01

    Coastal marsh habitats are impacted by many disturbances, including habitat destruction, pollution, and the introduction of invasive species. The common reed, Phragmites australis, has been particularly invasive in the mesohaline regions of the Chesapeake Bay, but few studies have investigated its role in trophic interactions with North American marsh consumers. The marsh periwinkle snail Littoraria irrorata is a common grazer in marshes and grazes on the native grass Spartina alterniflora. Whether this snail grazes on Phragmites has not been addressed. We found Spartina leaves to be tougher than those of Phragmites, but despite this, snails consumed significantly more Spartina than Phragmites. Subsequent experiments demonstrated that Phragmites is chemically deterrent to snails by an unknown, moderately polar, compound. Further studies are required to more fully understand the interactions between Phragmites, herbivores, and Spartina, and how they may impact marsh ecosystems.

  20. Soil Carbon Stocks in a Shifting Ecosystem; Climate Induced Migration of Mangroves into Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, L.; Osborne, T.; Feller, I. C.

    2015-12-01

    Across the globe, coastal wetland vegetation distributions are changing in response to climate change. The increase in global average surface temperature has already caused shifts in the structure and distribution of many ecological communities. In parts of the southeastern United States, increased winter temperatures have resulted in the poleward range expansion of mangroves at the expense of salt marsh habitat. Our work aims to document carbon storage in the salt marsh - mangrove ecotone and any potential changes in this reservoir that may ensue due to the shifting range of this habitat. Differences in SOM and C stocks along a latitudinal gradient on the east coast of Florida will be presented. The gradient studied spans 342 km and includes pure mangrove habitat, the salt marsh - mangrove ecotone, and pure salt marsh habitat.This latitudinal gradient gives us an exceptional opportunity to document and investigate ecosystem soil C modifications as mangroves transgress into salt marsh habitat due to climatic change.

  1. Indirect Human Impacts Reverse Centuries of Carbon Sequestration and Salt Marsh Accretion

    PubMed Central

    Coverdale, Tyler C.; Brisson, Caitlin P.; Young, Eric W.; Yin, Stephanie F.; Donnelly, Jeffrey P.; Bertness, Mark D.

    2014-01-01

    Direct and indirect human impacts on coastal ecosystems have increased over the last several centuries, leading to unprecedented degradation of coastal habitats and loss of ecological services. Here we document a two-century temporal disparity between salt marsh accretion and subsequent loss to indirect human impacts. Field surveys, manipulative experiments and GIS analyses reveal that crab burrowing weakens the marsh peat base and facilitates further burrowing, leading to bank calving, disruption of marsh accretion, and a loss of over two centuries of sequestered carbon from the marsh edge in only three decades. Analogous temporal disparities exist in other systems and are a largely unrecognized obstacle in attaining sustainable ecosystem services in an increasingly human impacted world. In light of the growing threat of indirect impacts worldwide and despite uncertainties in the fate of lost carbon, we suggest that estimates of carbon emissions based only on direct human impacts may significantly underestimate total anthropogenic carbon emissions. PMID:24675669

  2. Neotropical coastal wetlands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.; Batzer, Darold P.; Baldwin, Andrew H.

    2012-01-01

    The Neotropical region, which includes the tropical Americas, is one of the world's eight biogeographic zones. It contains some of the most diverse and unique wetlands in the world, some of which are still relatively undisturbed by humans. This chapter focuses on the northern segment of the Neotropics (south Florida, the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Central America), an area that spans a latitudinal gradient from about 7 N to 29 N and 60 W to 112 W. Examples of coastal wetlands in this realm include the Everglades (Florida, USA), Ten Thousand Islands (Florida, USA), Laguna de Terminos (Mexico), Twin Cays (Belize), and Zapata Swamp (Cuba). Coastal wetlands are dominated by mangroves, which will be emphasized here, but also include freshwater swamps and marshes, saline marshes, and seagrass beds. The aim of this chapter is to provide a broad overview of Neotropical coastal wetlands of the North American continent, with an emphasis on mangroves, since this is the dominant vegetation type and because in-depth coverage of all wetland types is impossible here. Instead, the goal is to describe the environmental settings, plant and animal communities, key ecological controls, and some conservation concerns, with specific examples. Because this book deals with wetlands of North America, this chapter excludes coastal wetlands of South America. However, much of the information is applicable to mangrove, marsh, and seagrass communities of other tropicaI regions.

  3. Regional ontogeny of New England salt marsh die-off.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Bertness, Mark D; Altieri, Andrew H

    2013-10-01

    Coastal areas are among the world's most productive and highly affected ecosystems. Centuries of human activity on coastlines have led to overexploitation of marine predators, which in turn has led to cascading ecosystem-level effects. Human effects and approaches to mediating them, however, differ regionally due to gradients in biotic and abiotic factors. Salt marsh die-off on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (U.S.A.), triggered by a recreational-fishing-induced trophic cascade that has released herbivorous crabs from predator control, has been ongoing since 1976. Similar salt marsh die-offs have been reported in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay (U.S.A.), but the driving mechanism of these die-offs has not been examined. We used field experiments to assess trophic interactions and historical reconstructions of 24 New England marshes to test the hypotheses that recreational fishing and predator depletion are a regional trigger of salt marsh die-off in New England and that die-offs in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay are more recent than those on Cape Cod. Predator depletion was the general trigger of marsh die-off and explained differences in herbivorous crab abundance and the severity of die-off across regions. Die-offs in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay are following a trajectory similar to die-off on Cape Cod, but are approximately 20 years behind those on Cape Cod. As a result, die-off currently affects 31.2% (SE 2.2) of low-marsh areas in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, less than half the severity of die-off on Cape Cod. Our results contribute to the growing evidence that recreational fishing is an increasing threat to coastal ecosystems and that studying the effects of human activity at regional scales can provide insight into local effects and aid in early detection and potential remediation.

  4. Geographic variation in plant community structure of salt marshes: species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives.

    PubMed

    Guo, Hongyu; Chamberlain, Scott A; Elhaik, Eran; Jalli, Inder; Lynes, Alana-Rose; Marczak, Laurie; Sabath, Niv; Vargas, Amy; Więski, Kazimierz; Zelig, Emily M; Pennings, Steven C

    2015-01-01

    In general, community similarity is thought to decay with distance; however, this view may be complicated by the relative roles of different ecological processes at different geographical scales, and by the compositional perspective (e.g. species, functional group and phylogenetic lineage) used. Coastal salt marshes are widely distributed worldwide, but no studies have explicitly examined variation in salt marsh plant community composition across geographical scales, and from species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. Based on studies in other ecosystems, we hypothesized that, in coastal salt marshes, community turnover would be more rapid at local versus larger geographical scales; and that community turnover patterns would diverge among compositional perspectives, with a greater distance decay at the species level than at the functional or phylogenetic levels. We tested these hypotheses in salt marshes of two regions: The southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. We examined the characteristics of plant community composition at each salt marsh site, how community similarity decayed with distance within individual salt marshes versus among sites in each region, and how community similarity differed among regions, using species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. We found that results from the three compositional perspectives generally showed similar patterns: there was strong variation in community composition within individual salt marsh sites across elevation; in contrast, community similarity decayed with distance four to five orders of magnitude more slowly across sites within each region. Overall, community dissimilarity of salt marshes was lowest on the southern Atlantic Coast, intermediate on the Gulf Coast, and highest between the two regions. Our results indicated that local gradients are relatively more important than regional processes in structuring coastal salt marsh communities. Our results also suggested that in

  5. Geographic Variation in Plant Community Structure of Salt Marshes: Species, Functional and Phylogenetic Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Hongyu; Chamberlain, Scott A.; Elhaik, Eran; Jalli, Inder; Lynes, Alana-Rose; Marczak, Laurie; Sabath, Niv; Vargas, Amy; Więski, Kazimierz; Zelig, Emily M.; Pennings, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    In general, community similarity is thought to decay with distance; however, this view may be complicated by the relative roles of different ecological processes at different geographical scales, and by the compositional perspective (e.g. species, functional group and phylogenetic lineage) used. Coastal salt marshes are widely distributed worldwide, but no studies have explicitly examined variation in salt marsh plant community composition across geographical scales, and from species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. Based on studies in other ecosystems, we hypothesized that, in coastal salt marshes, community turnover would be more rapid at local versus larger geographical scales; and that community turnover patterns would diverge among compositional perspectives, with a greater distance decay at the species level than at the functional or phylogenetic levels. We tested these hypotheses in salt marshes of two regions: The southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. We examined the characteristics of plant community composition at each salt marsh site, how community similarity decayed with distance within individual salt marshes versus among sites in each region, and how community similarity differed among regions, using species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. We found that results from the three compositional perspectives generally showed similar patterns: there was strong variation in community composition within individual salt marsh sites across elevation; in contrast, community similarity decayed with distance four to five orders of magnitude more slowly across sites within each region. Overall, community dissimilarity of salt marshes was lowest on the southern Atlantic Coast, intermediate on the Gulf Coast, and highest between the two regions. Our results indicated that local gradients are relatively more important than regional processes in structuring coastal salt marsh communities. Our results also suggested that in

  6. Salt-Marsh Landscapes and the Signatures of Biogeomorphic Feedbacks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, A.; Marani, M.

    2014-12-01

    Salt marshes are coastal ecosystems which play a large role in the bio-geomorphological evolution of intertidal areas. The dense stands of halophytic plants which populate salt-marsh systems largely contribute to govern their dynamics, influencing marsh hydrodynamics and sediment transport through enhanced flow resistance and settling, and direct particle capture by plant stems. In addition, plants are known to increase vertical accretion through direct organic accretion. Looking across the salt-marsh landscape can one see the signatures of feedbacks between landscape and biota? Field evidence and the results of biomorphodynamic models indeed show that the interplay between physical and biological processes generates some striking biological and morphological patterns at different scales. One such pattern, vegetation zonation, consists in a mosaic of vegetation patches, of approximately uniform composition, displaying sharp transitions in the presence of extremely small topographic gradients. Here we extend the model proposed by Marani et al. (2013) to a two-dimensional framework, furthermore including the effect of direct capture of sediment particles by plant stems. This allows us to account for the effect of the drainage density of tidal networks on the observed biogeomorphic patterns and to model the coupled evolution of marsh platforms and channel networks cutting through them. A number of different scenarios have been modelled to analyze the changes induced in bio-geomorphic patterns by plants with different characteristics, within marshes characterized by different drainage densities, or subjected to changing environmental forcing such as rates of relative sea level rise and sediment supply. Model results emphasize that zonation patterns are a signature of bio-geomorphic feedbacks with vegetation acting as a landscape constructor which feeds back on, directly alters, and contributes to shape tidal environments. In addition, model results show that

  7. Final report for sea-level rise response modeling for San Francisco Bay estuary tidal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Takekawa, John Y.; Thorne, Karen M.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Spragens, Kyle A.; Swanson, Kathleen M.; Drexler, Judith Z.; Schoellhamer, David H.; Overton, Cory T.; Casazza, Michael L.

    2013-01-01

    The International Panel on Climate Change has identified coastal ecosystems as areas that will be disproportionally affected by climate change. Current sea-level rise projections range widely with 0.57 to 1.9 meters increase in mea sea level by 2100. The expected accelerated rate of sea-level rise through the 21st century will put many coastal ecosystems at risk, especially those in topographically low-gradient areas. We assessed marsh accretion and plant community state changes through 2100 at 12 tidal salt marshes around San Francisco Bay estuary with a sea-level rise response model. Detailed ground elevation, vegetation, and water level data were collected at all sites between 2008 and 2011 and used as model inputs. Sediment cores (taken by Callaway and others, 2012) at four sites around San Francisco Bay estuary were used to estimate accretion rates. A modification of the Callaway and others (1996) model, the Wetland Accretion Rate Model for Ecosystem Resilience (WARMER), was utilized to run sea-level rise response models for all sites. With a mean sea level rise of 1.24 m by 2100, WARMER projected that the vast majority, 95.8 percent (1,942 hectares), of marsh area in our study will lose marsh plant communities by 2100 and to transition to a relative elevation range consistent with mudflat habitat. Three marshes were projected to maintain marsh vegetation to 2100, but they only composed 4.2 percent (85 hectares) of the total marsh area surveyed.

  8. Salt Marsh Formation in the Lower Hudson River Estuary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Merley, Michael; Peteet, Dorothy; Hansen, James E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Salt marshes are constant depositional environments and as a result contain accurate indicators of past relative sea level rise and salinity. The Hudson River marshes are at least twice as deep when compared to coastal marshes on either side of the mouth of the Hudson. The reason for this difference in sedimentation is unclear. This study uses macrofossil data as well as sediment stratigraphy in order to understand the formation and evolution of these marshes. The composition of seeds, roots, shoots and foraminifera, are used to indicate past sea levels. The four sites involved in this study are, from south to north, the Arthur Kill Marsh in Staten Island (40 36 N, 74 77W), Piermont marsh (N 4100; 73 55W) Croton Point (41 14 N; 73 50W) and Iona Island (41 18N, 73 58W). These are all tidally influenced but with increasing distances from the New York Bight, which gives a good spectrum of tidal influence. AMS-C14 dates on basal macrofossils will document the time of each marsh formation. Basal material from Arthur Kill (8 m) includes freshwater seeds such as Viola, Potomageton and Alnus along with Salix buds. Basal material from Croton Point (10 m) includes fibrous woody material, foraminifera and Zanichellia seeds and other brackish vegetational components. The basal material from Piermont (13.77 m) is lacking any identifiable macrofossils between 150 and 500 microns. The basal material from Iona Island (10 m) has vegetation such as Scirpus and Cyperus seeds, probably implying a brackish environment. The freshwater origin of the Arthur Kill marsh in Staten Island is significant because it predates either sea level rise or the western channel incision. Additional implications for this study include evidence for changes in river channel geomorphology. Reasons for the relatively deeper river marshes include possible basal clay compaction, high production due to river and marine nutrients as well as tectonic activity. This study provides the groundwork for more high

  9. Salt Marsh Formation in the Lower Hudson River Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merley, M. M.; Peteet, D. M.; Peteet, D. M.

    2001-05-01

    Salt marshes are constant depositional environments and as a result contain accurate indicators of past relative sea level rise and salinity. The Hudson River marshes are at least twice as deep when compared to coastal marshes on either side of the mouth of the Hudson. The reason for this difference in sedimentation is unclear. This study uses macrofossil data as well as sediment stratigraphy in order to understand the formation and evolution of these marshes. The composition of seeds, roots, shoots and foraminifera, are used to indicate past sea levels. The four sites involved in this study are, from south to north, the Arthur Kill Marsh in Staten Island ( 40 36 N, 74 77W), Piermont marsh (N 41 00; 73 55W) Croton Point ( 41 14 N; 73 50W) and Iona Island( 41 18N, 73 58W). These are all tidally influenced but with increasing distances from the New York Bight, which gives a good spectrum of tidal influence. AMS-C14 dates on basal macrofossils will document the time of each marsh formation. Basal material from Arthur Kill (8m) includes freshwater seeds such as Viola, Potomageton and Alnus along with Salix buds. Basal material from Croton Point (10m) includes fibrous woody material, foraminifera and Zanichellia seeds and other brackish vegetational components. The basal material from Piermont (13.77m) is lacking any identifyable macrofossils between 150 and 500 microns. The basal material from Iona Island (10m) has vegetation such as Scirpus and Cyperus seeds, probably implying a brackish environment. The freshwater origin of the Arthur Kill marsh in Staten Island is significant because it predates either sea level rise or the western channel incision. Additional implications for this study include evidence for changes in river channel geomorphology. Reasons for the relatively deeper river marshes include possible basal clay compaction, high production due to river and marine nutrients as well as tectonic activity. This study provides the groundwork for more high

  10. Biosphere 2's Marsh Biome

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Molnar, Jennifer; Goodridge, Kelven

    1997-01-01

    The Marsh Biome, which was modeled after the mangroves and marshes of southwest Florida, has an area of 441.2 sq m separated into three hydrologically independent sections: the Freshwater, Oligohaline and Salt Marshes. The divisions are made based on their salinity (approximately 0, 4, and 34 ppt. respectively), but they also contain different biological communities. The Freshwater and Oligohaline Marshes are mostly filled with various grasses and several trees, while the Salt Marsh houses regions of red, black, and white mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, and Languncularia racemosa respectively). Overall, there are an estimated 80 species of plants within the biome. Water in the Salt Marsh follows a meandering stream from the algal turf scrubbers (apparatuses that clean the water of its nutrients and heavy metals while increasing dissolved oxygen levels) which have an outlet in the Salt Marsh section near sites 4 and 5 to the Fringing Red Mangrove section. The sections of the Salt Marsh are separated by walls of concrete with openings to allow the stream to flow through. Throughout this study, conducted through the months of June and July, many conditions within the biome remained fairly constant. The temperature was within a degree or two of 25 C, mostly depending on whether the sample site was in direct sunlight or shaded. The pH throughout the Salt Marsh was 8.0 +/- 0.2, and the lower salinity waters only dropped below this soon after rains. The water rdepth and dissolved oxygen varied, however, between sites.

  11. Mosquitoes associated with ditch-plugged and control tidal salt marshes on the Delmarva Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Leisnham, Paul T; Sandoval-Mohapatra, Sarah

    2011-08-01

    A study was conducted during the summer of 2009 (from July to September) to characterize mosquito communities among different habitats in five historically ditched tidal salt marshes and three adjacent wooded areas in the E.A. Vaughn Wetland Management Area on the Maryland Delmarva Peninsula, USA. Study marshes are characteristic of Atlantic coastal salt marshes that had undergone grid ditching from the 1930s to 1950s. In the autumn of 2008 (October and November) ditches were plugged near their outlets in two ('experimental') marshes with the aim to restore their natural tidal hydrology. The three other marshes were not plugged. Marshes were sampled from July to September in 2009 by using standard dip count method. A total of 2,457 mosquito larvae representing six species were collected on 15.4% (86/557) of all sample occasions and 399 adults representing four mosquito species were collected from landing counts. Aedes sollicitans, Anopheles bradleyi and Culex salinarius were the most common species collected in larval habitats, and Ae. sollicitans was the most common adult collected. Wooded habitats had more total mosquitoes, were also more frequently occupied by mosquitoes and had higher densities of mosquitoes than marsh habitats. Almost all larvae collected from marshes were from one experimental and one control site. The majority of larvae at the control site were Ae. sollicitans in marsh pannes while Cx. salinarius, An. bradleyi, Ae. cantator, and Ae. sollicitans were collected in high numbers from ditches at the experimental site. We found a difference in the proportion of marsh pannes occupied by Ae. sollicitans but not total mosquitoes sampled 4-5 days after spring tide events than on other occasions. Salinity measures of 42 larval habitats showed lower median salinity in mosquito-occupied habitats (11.5 ppt) than unoccupied habitats (20.1 ppt), and in habitats in wooded areas followed by ditches and pannes in marsh areas. The results of this study suggest

  12. Mosquitoes Associated with Ditch-Plugged and Control Tidal Salt Marshes on the Delmarva Peninsula

    PubMed Central

    Leisnham, Paul T.; Sandoval-Mohapatra, Sarah

    2011-01-01

    A study was conducted during the summer of 2009 (from July to September) to characterize mosquito communities among different habitats in five historically ditched tidal salt marshes and three adjacent wooded areas in the E.A. Vaughn Wetland Management Area on the Maryland Delmarva Peninsula, USA. Study marshes are characteristic of Atlantic coastal salt marshes that had undergone grid ditching from the 1930s to 1950s. In the autumn of 2008 (October and November) ditches were plugged near their outlets in two (‘experimental’) marshes with the aim to restore their natural tidal hydrology. The three other marshes were not plugged. Marshes were sampled from July to September in 2009 by using standard dip count method. A total of 2,457 mosquito larvae representing six species were collected on 15.4% (86/557) of all sample occasions and 399 adults representing four mosquito species were collected from landing counts. Aedes sollicitans, Anopheles bradleyi and Culex salinarius were the most common species collected in larval habitats, and Ae. sollicitans was the most common adult collected. Wooded habitats had more total mosquitoes, were also more frequently occupied by mosquitoes and had higher densities of mosquitoes than marsh habitats. Almost all larvae collected from marshes were from one experimental and one control site. The majority of larvae at the control site were Ae. sollicitans in marsh pannes while Cx. salinarius, An. bradleyi, Ae. cantator, and Ae. sollicitans were collected in high numbers from ditches at the experimental site. We found a difference in the proportion of marsh pannes occupied by Ae. sollicitans but not total mosquitoes sampled 4–5 days after spring tide events than on other occasions. Salinity measures of 42 larval habitats showed lower median salinity in mosquito-occupied habitats (11.5 ppt) than unoccupied habitats (20.1 ppt), and in habitats in wooded areas followed by ditches and pannes in marsh areas. The results of this study

  13. Vegetation Influences on Tidal Freshwater Marsh Sedimentation and Accretion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cadol, D. D.; Elmore, A. J.; Engelhardt, K.; Palinkas, C. M.

    2011-12-01

    Continued sea level rise, and the potential for acceleration over the next century, threatens low-lying natural and cultural resources throughout the world. In the national capital region of the United States, for example, the National Park Service manages over 50 km^2 of land along the shores of the tidal Potomac River and its tributaries that may be affected by sea level rise. Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve on the Potomac River south of Washington, DC, is one such resource with a rich history of scientific investigation. It is a candidate for restoration to replace marsh area lost to dredging in the 1960s, yet for restoration to succeed in the long term, accretion must maintain the marsh surface within the tidal range of rising relative sea level. Marsh surface accretion rates tend to increase with depth in the tidal frame until a threshold depth is reached below which marsh vegetation cannot be sustained. Suspended sediment concentration, salinity, tidal range, and vegetation community all influence the relationship between depth and accretion rate. The complex interactions among these factors make sedimentation rates difficult to generalize across sites. Surface elevation tables (SET) and feldspar marker horizons have been monitored at 9 locations in Dyke Marsh for 5 years, providing detailed data on sedimentation, subsidence, and net accretion rates at these locations. We combine these data with spatially rich vegetation surveys, a LiDAR derived 1-m digital elevation model of the marsh, and temperature-derived inundation durations to model accretion rates across the marsh. Temperature loggers suggest a delayed arrival of tidal water within the marsh relative to that predicted by elevation alone, likely due to hydraulic resistance caused by vegetation. Wave driven coastal erosion has contributed to bank retreat rates of ~2.5 m/yr along the Potomac River side of the marsh while depositing a small berm of material inland of the retreating shoreline. Excluding sites

  14. The persistence of endangered Florida Salt Marsh Voles in salt marshes of the central Florida Gulf Coast

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hotaling, A.S.; Percival, H.F.; Kitchens, W.M.; Kasbohm, J.W.

    2010-01-01

    Two endangered Microtus pennsylvanicus dukecampbelli (Florida Salt Marsh Vole) were captured at a new location, in February of 2009, at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Since the species discovery in 1979, only 43 Florida Salt Marsh Voles (hereafter FSM Vole) have been captured. Outside of the type locality, this is only the second documented location for the FSM Vole. Given the difficulty in trapping this species and the lack of information about its life history, its discovery in a new location lends itself to the possibility that it is more widespread in the Central Florida Gulf Coast than previously thought. Although much of the salt marsh in the area is in public ownership, a good deal of it has already been altered by logging or development and is threatened by global climate change. More research is needed to adequately protect and manage the habitat for the FSM Vole. A study of FSM Vole coastal salt marsh habitat could also serve as a valuable monitoring tool for subtle changes in salt marsh habitats as global climate change progresses.

  15. How do salt-marsh ecosystems respond to changes in the environmental forcings?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, A.; Mudd, S. M.; Carniello, L.

    2012-04-01

    How do salt-marsh ecosystems respond to changes in the environmental forcings? This is a question of paramount importance due to the critical role exerted by salt-marsh ecosystems within the tidal landscape. Salt marshes in fact buffer coastlines against, filter nutrients and pollutants from tidal waters, provide nursery areas for coastal biota, and serve as a sink for organic carbon. Observations of marsh degradation worldwide and the acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise highlight the importance of improving our understanding of the chief processes controlling salt-marsh response to current natural climate changes and to the effects of changes in sediment supply. To address this important issue, we have applied a analytical model of biomorphodynamic evolution of salt-marsh ecosystems in the vertical plane, accounting for two-way interactions between ecological and geomorphological processes. Our results show that marshes are more resilient to a step decrease in the rate of relative sea level rise (RRSLR) rather than to a step increase of the same magnitude. However, marshes respond more rapidly to an increase in sediment load or vegetation productivity, rather than to a decrease (of the same amount) in sediment load or vegetation productivity. We also observe that marsh stability is therefore positively correlated with tidal range: marshes with high tidal ranges respond more slowly to changes in the environmental forcings and therefore are less likely to be affected by perturbations. Finally, the model suggests that, in the case of a oscillating RRSLR, marsh stratigraphy will be unable to fully record short-term fluctuations in relative mean sea level, whereas it will be able to capture long-term fluctuations particularly in sediment rich, microtidal settings.

  16. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Salt Marsh Periwinkles (Littoraria irrorata).

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Montague, Clay L; Pennings, Steven C; Powers, Sean P; Steinhoff, Marla; Fricano, Gail; Schlemme, Claire; Zhang, Mengni; Oehrig, Jacob; Nixon, Zachary; Rouhani, Shahrokh; Michel, Jacqueline

    2016-01-19

    Deepwater Horizon was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. waters, oiling large expanses of coastal wetland shorelines. We compared marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata) density and shell length at salt marsh sites with heavy oiling to reference conditions ∼16 months after oiling. We also compared periwinkle density and size among oiled sites with and without shoreline cleanup treatments. Densities of periwinkles were reduced by 80-90% at the oiled marsh edge and by 50% in the oiled marsh interior (∼9 m inland) compared to reference, with greatest numerical losses of periwinkles in the marsh interior, where densities were naturally higher. Shoreline cleanup further reduced adult snail density as well as snail size. Based on the size of adult periwinkles observed coupled with age and growth information, population recovery is projected to take several years once oiling and habitat conditions in affected areas are suitable to support normal periwinkle life-history functions. Where heavily oiled marshes have experienced accelerated erosion as a result of the spill, these habitat impacts would represent additional losses of periwinkles. Losses of marsh periwinkles would likely affect other ecosystem processes and attributes, including organic matter and nutrient cycling, marsh-estuarine food chains, and multiple species that prey on periwinkles.

  17. Effects of salinity variations on pore water flow in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Chengji; Jin, Guangqiu; Xin, Pei; Kong, Jun; Li, Ling

    2015-06-01

    Spatial and temporal salinity variations in surface water and pore water commonly exist in salt marshes under the combined influence of tidal inundation, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and inland freshwater input. Laboratory experiments and numerical simulations were conducted to investigate how density gradients associated with salinity variations affect pore water flow in the salt marsh system. The results showed that upward salinity (density) gradients could lead to flow instability and the formation of salt fingers. These fingers, varying in size with the distance from the creek, modified significantly the pore water flow field, especially in the marsh interior. While the flow instability enhanced local salt transport and mixing considerably, the net effect was small, causing only a slight increase in the overall mass exchange across the marsh surface. In contrast, downward salinity gradients exerted less influence on the pore water flow in the marsh soil and slightly weakened the surface water and groundwater exchange across the marsh surface. Numerical simulations revealed similar density effects on pore water flow at the field scale under realistic conditions. These findings have important implications for studies of marsh soil conditions concerning plant growth as well as nutrient exchange between the marsh and coastal marine system.

  18. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Salt Marsh Periwinkles (Littoraria irrorata).

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Montague, Clay L; Pennings, Steven C; Powers, Sean P; Steinhoff, Marla; Fricano, Gail; Schlemme, Claire; Zhang, Mengni; Oehrig, Jacob; Nixon, Zachary; Rouhani, Shahrokh; Michel, Jacqueline

    2016-01-19

    Deepwater Horizon was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. waters, oiling large expanses of coastal wetland shorelines. We compared marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata) density and shell length at salt marsh sites with heavy oiling to reference conditions ∼16 months after oiling. We also compared periwinkle density and size among oiled sites with and without shoreline cleanup treatments. Densities of periwinkles were reduced by 80-90% at the oiled marsh edge and by 50% in the oiled marsh interior (∼9 m inland) compared to reference, with greatest numerical losses of periwinkles in the marsh interior, where densities were naturally higher. Shoreline cleanup further reduced adult snail density as well as snail size. Based on the size of adult periwinkles observed coupled with age and growth information, population recovery is projected to take several years once oiling and habitat conditions in affected areas are suitable to support normal periwinkle life-history functions. Where heavily oiled marshes have experienced accelerated erosion as a result of the spill, these habitat impacts would represent additional losses of periwinkles. Losses of marsh periwinkles would likely affect other ecosystem processes and attributes, including organic matter and nutrient cycling, marsh-estuarine food chains, and multiple species that prey on periwinkles. PMID:26713547

  19. Coastal Studies in a Comprehensive Summer Field Geology Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cameron, Barry; Jones, Richard J.

    1979-01-01

    Describes a college geology course that incorporates a coastal segment. Field studies are done on Plum Island and include examining beaches, dune fields, and an adjacent marsh and spit. Topics include sedimentation, coastal geomorphology, botanical effects, and coastal studies methodology. (MA)

  20. A Baseline Study of Piermont Marsh as Nekton Habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortega, M.; Bloomfield, F.; Torres, T.; Ward, J.; Sanders, D.; Lobato, A.

    2011-12-01

    Between 2007 and 2011 we have conducted a study of fish populations and water quality in the Piermont Marsh, a brackish tidal wetland about 40 km north of Manhattan. This 5-year period represents the baseline for an ongoing ecological study of the marsh. The marsh, along with similar wetlands between the Federal Dam at Troy and the Battery, is an important refuge for juvenile fish, and it is believed that estuarine wetland dynamics are critical in population recruitment for coastal fisheries. Piermont Marsh has undergone a rapid transition from a primarily Spartina alternaflora and Spartina pattens setting to one dominated by an invasive genotype of common reed Phragmites australis. The impact of this shift on local fish populations, species diversity, and adult recruitment are not well understood. The long term goal of this study is to tease apart factors in by use of the marsh as a nekton habitat. Fish were collected in unbaited minnow gee traps which were deployed at slack tide and left for 24 hours. Samples were preserved in 10% buffered formalin. All organisms were identified to the lowest practical taxonomic level, enumerated, and measured. Gross weight was recorded for each sample set. Water quality measurements such as temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen were collected concurrently with all sampling events. Sample collections were focused on the tidal creeks crossing the marsh, which provide the primary exchange of water and nutrients between the marsh interior and Hudson River estuary. As expected, most minnows captured were Fundulus heteroclitus. However a wide variety of other nekton, including species that are important to commercial and recreational coastal Atlantic fish stocks, was recorded as well. Comparisons are made between habitats such as erosional and depostional banks, rivulets, and exterior and interior marsh settings. Also involved were transient conditions such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen levels, and hydroperiod

  1. Coastal Studies for Primary Grades.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Butler, Venetia R.; Roach, Ellen M.

    1986-01-01

    Describes a set of field trips for participants of the Coastal Environmental Education for Primary Grades program in Georgia. Includes a sample of the activities used by first- and second-grade students. Discusses follow-up activities and the need for more educational programs dealing with sand dunes and saltwater marshes. (TW)

  2. Coastal Adaptation and Ecological Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheong, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    Ecological engineering combines ecology and engineering to sustain coastal environment and facilitate adaptation to climate change. This paper discusses how the cases of mangroves, oyster reefs, and marshes help mainstream climate change with ecosystem conservation. It demonstrates the benefits of combining strategies to combat changing climate given the financial and political constraints.

  3. Tagus estuary and Ria de Aveiro salt marsh dynamics and the impact of sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valentim, J. M.; Vaz, N.; Silva, H.; Duarte, B.; Caçador, I.; Dias, J. M.

    2013-09-01

    Different characteristics of Spartina maritima found in two distinct salt marshes located in different estuaries were analysed through interpretation of their local hydrodynamic patterns, as well as the impact of sea level rise on physical processes and consequently on plant dynamics and salt marshes stability. These salt marshes are situated in two of the most important Portuguese coastal systems, Tagus estuary (Rosário salt marsh) and Ria de Aveiro lagoon (Barra salt marsh), which are dominated by physical processes that induce strong tidal currents. They were monitored during one year and plant and sediment samples of S. maritima were collected quarterly in order to determine the vegetation coverage, above and belowground biomass, organic matter and sediment moisture. Residual circulation, tidal asymmetry and tidal dissipation were determined from numerical modelling results of the MOHID 2D model that was applied to each coastal system, considering the actual sea level and a sea level rise (SLR) scenario. Results suggest that the different characteristics found for Spartina maritima in the Rosário and the Barra salt marshes may be related with the diverse hydrodynamic conditions identified for each salt marsh. Consequently, the exploration of SLR scenario predictions indicates how these salt marshes could evolve in the future, showing that the important changes in these hydrodynamic parameters under climate change context might induce significant modifications in the salt marshes dynamics and stability. SLR scenario could lead to changes in nutrients and sediments patterns around the salt marshes and thus vegetation coverage percentage would be affected. Additionally, as a consequence of flood duration increase, sediment moisture will increase causing a stress condition to plants. Hence, the ratio below/aboveground biomass might increase, becoming critical to plants survival under conditions of accelerated sea level rise. Accordingly, both SLR and expected

  4. Nutrient Cycling in Piermont Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reyes, N.; Gribbin, S.; Newton, R.; Diaz, K.; Laporte, N.; Trivino, G.; Ortega, J.; McKee, K.; Sambrotto, R.

    2011-12-01

    We investigate the cycling of nutrients through a brackish tidal wetland about 40 km north of Manhattan in the Hudson River estuary. As part of a long-term ecological study of Piermont Marsh, a NOAA reference wetland managed by the NY State DEC, we are measuring dissolved inorganic nutrients on the Marsh surface and its drainage channels. The marsh occupies 400 acres along the southwest corner of Haverstraw Bay with approximately 2 km frontage to the estuary. It is supplied with nutrient-rich water and drained primarily along several tidal creeks and the hundreds of rivulets that feed them. During most tidal cycles the silty berm bounding the marsh is not topped. Human influence in the marsh's surrounding area has had profound effects, one of the most fundamental of which has been the shift from native grass species, predominantly Spartina alterniflora, to an invasive genotype of common reed, Phragmites australis. Along with this shift there have been changes in the root bed, the effective marsh interior and berm heights, the hydroperiod and, as a result, the ability of the marsh to be utilized by various types of Hudson estuary fish. The vegetative shift is believed to be anthropogenic, but the connection is not well understood, and it is not known what role biogeochemical perturbations are playing. We present two field seasons of nitrate, phosphate and silicate measurements from Sparkill Creek, a freshwater stream draining the surrounding highlands constitutes the northern boundary, two tidally driven creeks transect the Marsh from West to East: the Crumkill and an unnamed creek we have dubbed the "Tidal", Ludlow Ditch, a no-longer-maintained drainage channel grading gently from the northern part of the marsh to the South terminates in a wide tidal outlet that is its southern boundary. Net tidal cycle fluxes and fluxes resulting from runoff events are presented. Deviations from Redfield ratios and limiting nutrients are analyzed. Piermont Marsh data is compared

  5. Tidal marsh susceptibility to sea-level rise: importance of local-scale models

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; Buffington, Kevin J.; Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2015-01-01

    Increasing concern over sea-level rise impacts to coastal tidal marsh ecosystems has led to modeling efforts to anticipate outcomes for resource management decision making. Few studies on the Pacific coast of North America have modeled sea-level rise marsh susceptibility at a scale relevant to local wildlife populations and plant communities. Here, we use a novel approach in developing an empirical sea-level rise ecological response model that can be applied to key management questions. Calculated elevation change over 13 y for a 324-ha portion of San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California, USA, was used to represent local accretion and subsidence processes. Next, we coupled detailed plant community and elevation surveys with measured rates of inundation frequency to model marsh state changes to 2100. By grouping plant communities into low, mid, and high marsh habitats, we were able to assess wildlife species vulnerability and to better understand outcomes for habitat resiliency. Starting study-site conditions were comprised of 78% (253-ha) high marsh, 7% (30-ha) mid marsh, and 4% (18-ha) low marsh habitats, dominated by pickleweed Sarcocornia pacifica and cordgrass Spartina spp. Only under the low sea-level rise scenario (44 cm by 2100) did our models show persistence of some marsh habitats to 2100, with the area dominated by low marsh habitats. Under mid (93 cm by 2100) and high sea-level rise scenarios (166 cm by 2100), most mid and high marsh habitat was lost by 2070, with only 15% (65 ha) remaining, and a complete loss of these habitats by 2080. Low marsh habitat increased temporarily under all three sea-level rise scenarios, with the peak (286 ha) in 2070, adding habitat for the endemic endangered California Ridgway’s rail Rallus obsoletus obsoletus. Under mid and high sea-level rise scenarios, an almost complete conversion to mudflat occurred, with most of the area below mean sea level. Our modeling assumed no marsh migration upslope due to human

  6. Long-term changes and historical uses of one of the largest French salt-marshes since 1705

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godet, Laurent; Pourinet, Laurent; Decaulne, Armelle

    2014-05-01

    The salt-marshes of the Baie de l'Aiguillon (Western France) are among the largest of Western Europe. Thanks to exceptional historical data, including old maps, manuscripts and aerial photographs, we propose one of the first long-term accurate cartographies of such a large salt-marsh, dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. Like other salt-marshes in Western Europe, including those of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay (France), we found that they are expanding for the three last decades. However, our historical analysis also reveals that the area of these salt-marshes shrinked by two thirds over the last three centuries, due to massive land-reclamations starting from the mid-17th century. As revealed by historical testimonies and archeological remains, we also demonstrated that these salt-marshes were actively mowed as soon as the 1700s. In consequence, the oldest and the non-used parts of such salt-marshes correspond to very restricted patches that may present a high conservation stake. In the context of massive land-use and land-cover changes along the European coastal zones, historical analyses exploring long-term changes and historical uses of coastal habitats may help to identify old and natural patches of coastal habitats. Salt-marshes, that are easy to map and monitor, are good candidates for such investigations.

  7. The Dynamics of Sediment Oxygenation in Marsh Rhizospheres

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koop-Jakobsen, K.

    2014-12-01

    Many marsh grasses are capable of internal oxygen transport from aboveground sources to belowground roots and rhizomes, where oxygen may leak across the rhizodermis and oxygenate the surrounding sediment. In the field, the extent of sediment oxygenation in marshes was assessed in the rhizosphere of the marsh grass; Spartina anglica, inserting 70 optical fiber oxygen sensors into the rhizosphere. Two locations with S. anglica growing in different sediment types were investigated. No oxygen was detected in the rhizospheres indicating that belowground sediment oxygenation in S. anglica has a limited effect on the bulk anoxic sediment and is restricted to sediment in the immediate vicinity of the roots. In the laboratory, the presence of 1.5mm wide and 16mm long oxic root zones was demonstrated around root tips of S. anglica growing in permeable sandy sediment using planar optodes recording 2D-images of the oxygen distribution. Oxic root zones in S. anglica growing in tidal flat deposits were significantly smaller. The size of oxic roots zones was highly dynamic and affected by tidal inundations as well as light availability. Atmospheric air was the primary oxygen source for belowground sediment oxygenation, whereas photosynthetic oxygen production only played a minor role for the size of the oxic root zones during air-exposure of the aboveground biomass. During tidal inundations (1.5 h) completely submerging the aboveground biomass cutting off access to atmospheric oxygen, the size of oxic root zones were reduced significantly in the light and oxic root zones were completely eliminated in darkness. Sediment oxygenation in the rhizospheres of marsh grasses is of significant importance for marshes ability to retain inorganic nitrogen before it reaches the coastal waters. The presence of oxic roots zones promotes coupled nitrification-denitrification at depth in the sediment, which can account for more than 80% of the total denitrification in marshes.

  8. Use of structured decision making to identify monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marsh ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, Hilary A.; Lyons, James E.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Shriver, W. Gregory; Adamowicz, Susan C.

    2015-01-01

    Most salt marshes in the USA have been degraded by human activities, and coastal managers are faced with complex choices among possible actions to restore or enhance ecosystem integrity. We applied structured decision making (SDM) to guide selection of monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marshes within the National Wildlife Refuge System in the northeastern USA. In general, SDM is a systematic process for decomposing a decision into its essential elements. We first engaged stakeholders in clarifying regional salt marsh decision problems, defining objectives and attributes to evaluate whether objectives are achieved, and developing a pool of alternative management actions for achieving objectives. Through this process, we identified salt marsh attributes that were applicable to monitoring National Wildlife Refuges on a regional scale and that targeted management needs. We then analyzed management decisions within three salt marsh units at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, coastal Delaware, as a case example of prioritizing management alternatives. Values for salt marsh attributes were estimated from 2 years of baseline monitoring data and expert opinion. We used linear value modeling to aggregate multiple attributes into a single performance score for each alternative, constrained optimization to identify alternatives that maximized total management benefits subject to refuge-wide cost constraints, and used graphical analysis to identify the optimal set of alternatives for the refuge. SDM offers an efficient, transparent approach for integrating monitoring into management practice and improving the quality of management decisions.

  9. Modern salt-marsh and tidal-flat foraminifera from Sitkinak and Simeonof Islands, southwestern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kemp, Andrew C.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Culver, Stephen J.; Nelson, Alan R.; Briggs, Richard W.; Haeussler, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    We describe the modern distribution of salt-marsh and tidal-flat foraminifera from Sitkinak Island (Trinity Islands) and Simeonof Island (Shumagin Islands), Alaska, to begin development of a dataset for later use in reconstructing relative sea-level changes caused by great earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Dead foraminifera were enumerated from a total of 58 surface-sediment samples collected along three intertidal transects around a coastal lagoon on Sitkinak Island and two intertidal transects on Simeonof Island. Two distinctive assemblages of salt-marsh foraminifera were recognized on Sitkinak Island. Miliammina fusca dominated low-marsh settings and Balticammina pseudomacrescens dominated the high marsh. These two species make up >98% of individuals. On Simeonof Island, 93% of individuals in high-marsh settings above mean high water were B. pseudomacrescens. The tidal flat on Simeonof Island was dominated by Cibicides lobatulus (60% of individuals), but the lower limit of this species is subtidal and was not sampled. These results indicate that uplift or subsidence caused by repeated earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone could be reconstructed in coastal sediments using alternating assemblages of near monospecific B. pseudomacrescens and low-marsh or tidal-flat foraminifera.

  10. Hydrologic modeling as a predictive basis for ecological restoration of salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roman, C.T.; Garvine, R.W.; Portnoy, J.W.

    1995-01-01

    Roads, bridges, causeways, impoundments, and dikes in the coastal zone often restrict tidal flow to salt marsh ecosystems. A dike with tide control structures, located at the mouth of the Herring River salt marsh estuarine system (Wellfleet, Massachusetts) since 1908, has effectively restricted tidal exchange, causing changes in marsh vegetation composition, degraded water quality, and reduced abundance of fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Restoration of this estuary by reintroduction of tidal exchange is a feasible management alternative. However, restoration efforts must proceed with caution as residential dwellings and a golf course are located immediately adjacent to and in places within the tidal wetland. A numerical model was developed to predict tide height levels for numerous alternative openings through the Herring River dike. Given these model predictions and knowledge of elevations of flood-prone areas, it becomes possible to make responsible decisions regarding restoration. Moreover, tidal flooding elevations relative to the wetland surface must be known to predict optimum conditions for ecological recovery. The tide height model has a universal role, as demonstrated by successful application at a nearby salt marsh restoration site in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Salt marsh restoration is a valuable management tool toward maintaining and enhancing coastal zone habitat diversity. The tide height model presented in this paper will enable both scientists and resource professionals to assign a degree of predictability when designing salt marsh restoration programs.

  11. Phosphorus and DOC availability influence the partitioning between bacterioplankton production and respiration in tidal marsh ecosystems.

    PubMed

    del Giorgio, Paul A; Newell, Roger E I

    2012-05-01

    The organic carbon consumed by aquatic bacteria (BCC) is partitioned between bacterial production (BP) and respiration (BR), but the factors that determine BCC and its partition into BP and BR are not well understood. We explored the coupling between BR, BR and BCC, and their links to dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nutrient availability in natural and restored tidal marshes and in the adjoining waters of Delaware Bay estuary. Labile DOC (LDOC) ranged from 3% to 22% of the DOC pool, and explained more of the variance in both BR and BCC than did bulk DOC. Bacterial growth efficiency (BGE) was highly variable (0.09-0.58), and natural Spartina alterniflora marshes had consistently higher BGE than both restoration marshes and tidal floodwaters. BGE was negatively related to the ratio of LDOC to total dissolved phosphorous, which was highest in natural marshes. The enhancement of BP observed in the marshes relative to the estuarine floodwaters had different origins: In natural marshes it was mostly due to increases in BGE, whereas in restored marshes it followed increased BCC. These results highlight the importance of P in regulating microbial metabolism in coastal areas, and the need to understand the pathways that lead to BP in these systems.

  12. Lignocellulose-responsive bacteria in a southern California salt marsh identified by stable isotope probing

    PubMed Central

    Darjany, Lindsay E.; Whitcraft, Christine R.; Dillon, Jesse G.

    2014-01-01

    Carbon cycling by microbes has been recognized as the main mechanism of organic matter decomposition and export in coastal wetlands, yet very little is known about the functional diversity of specific groups of decomposers (e.g., bacteria) in salt marsh benthic trophic structure. Indeed, salt marsh sediment bacteria remain largely in a black box in terms of their diversity and functional roles within salt marsh benthic food web pathways. We used DNA stable isotope probing (SIP) utilizing 13C-labeled lignocellulose as a proxy to evaluate the fate of macrophyte-derived carbon in benthic salt marsh bacterial communities. Overall, 146 bacterial species were detected using SIP, of which only 12 lineages were shared between enriched and non-enriched communities. Abundant groups from the 13C-labeled community included Desulfosarcina, Spirochaeta, and Kangiella. This study is the first to use heavy-labeled lignocellulose to identify bacteria responsible for macrophyte carbon utilization in salt marsh sediments and will allow future studies to target specific lineages to elucidate their role in salt marsh carbon cycling and ultimately aid our understanding of the potential of salt marshes to store carbon. PMID:24917856

  13. Temperature sensitivity of organic-matter decay in tidal marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kirwan, Matthew L.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Langley, J.A.

    2014-01-01

    Approximately half of marine carbon sequestration takes place in coastal wetlands, including tidal marshes, where organic matter contributes to soil elevation and ecosystem persistence in the face of sea-level rise. The long-term viability of marshes and their carbon pools depends, in part, on how the balance between productivity and decay responds to climate change. Here, we report the sensitivity of labile soil organic-matter decay in tidal marshes to seasonal and latitudinal variations in temperature measured over a 3-year period. We find a moderate increase in decay rate at warmer temperatures (3-6% per °C, Q10 = 1.3-1.5). Despite the profound differences between microbial metabolism in wetlands and uplands, our results indicate a strong conservation of temperature sensitivity. Moreover, simple comparisons with organic-matter production suggest that elevated atmospheric CO2 and warmer temperatures will accelerate carbon accumulation in marsh soils, and potentially enhance their ability to survive sea-level rise.

  14. Thresholds in marsh resilience to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    PubMed Central

    Silliman, Brian R.; Dixon, Philip M.; Wobus, Cameron; He, Qiang; Daleo, Pedro; Hughes, Brent B.; Rissing, Matthew; Willis, Jonathan M.; Hester, Mark W.

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem boundary retreat due to human-induced pressure is a generally observed phenomenon. However, studies that document thresholds beyond which internal resistance mechanisms are overwhelmed are uncommon. Following the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, field studies from a few sites suggested that oiling of salt marshes could lead to a biogeomorphic feedback where plant death resulted in increased marsh erosion. We tested for spatial generality of and thresholds in this effect across 103 salt marsh sites spanning ~430 kilometers of shoreline in coastal Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, using data collected as part of the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA). Our analyses revealed a threshold for oil impacts on marsh edge erosion, with higher erosion rates occurring for ~1–2 years after the spill at sites with the highest amounts of plant stem oiling (90–100%). These results provide compelling evidence showing large-scale ecosystem loss following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. More broadly, these findings provide rare empirical evidence identifying a geomorphologic threshold in the resistance of an ecosystem to increasing intensity of human-induced disturbance. PMID:27679956

  15. Effects of environmental changes on marsh vegetation with special reference to salinity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smalley, A. E.; Thien, L. B.

    1976-01-01

    A literature survey primarily concerned with brackish and salt marshes located along the eastern coast of North America and the Gulf Coast was presented. The review concentrated upon the vegetation of the marshes, particularly in regard to distribution, composition, succession, and productivity. Special efforts were made to include major works concerned with the Louisiana and Mississipi coastal marshes. It appears that spring to early summer (weeks 18-34 of the year; April - mid-July) is the best period of time to categorize the communities. It is during this time of the year that the communities appear most stable in regard to species composition. This allows a strong correlation to be drawn between the salinity of the region and the dominant species of the community. As such, this would seem to be best period in which to sample the marsh via air or land for differences in vegetation and salinity.

  16. Inventory and protection of salt marshes from risks of sea-level rise at Acadia National Park, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dudley, Robert W.; Nielsen, Martha G.

    2011-01-01

    Recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) climate studies in the northeastern United States have shown substantial evidence of climate-related changes during the last 100 years, including earlier snowmelt runoff, decreasing occurrence of river ice, and decreasing winter snowpack. These studies related to climate change are being expanded to include investigation of coastal wetlands that might be at risk from sealevel rise. Coastal wetlands, particularly salt marshes, are important ecosystems that provide wildlife nursery and breeding habitat, migratory bird habitat, water quality enhancement, and shoreline erosion control. The USGS is investigating salt marshes in Acadia National Park with the goal of determining which salt marshes may be threatened by sea-level rise and which salt marshes may be able to adapt to sea-level rise by migrating into adjacent low-lying lands.

  17. The Role of Phragmites australis in Mediating Inland Salt Marsh Migration in a Mid-Atlantic Estuary

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Joseph A. M.

    2013-01-01

    Many sea level rise adaptation plans emphasize the protection of adjacent uplands to allow for inland salt marsh migration, but little empirical information exists on this process. Using aerial photos from 1930 and 2006 of Delaware Estuary coastal habitats in New Jersey, I documented the rate of coastal forest retreat and the rate of inland salt marsh migration across 101.1 km of undeveloped salt marsh and forest ecotone. Over this time, the amount of forest edge at this ecotone nearly doubled. In addition, the average amount of forest retreat was 141.2 m while the amount of salt marsh inland migration was 41.9 m. Variation in forest retreat within the study area was influenced by variation in slope. The lag between the amount of forest retreat and salt marsh migration is accounted for by the presence of Phragmites australis which occupies the forest and salt marsh ecotone. Phragmites expands from this edge into forest dieback areas, and the ability of salt marsh to move inland and displace Phragmites is likely influenced by salinity at both an estuary-wide scale and at the scale of local subwatersheds. Inland movement of salt marsh is lowest at lower salinity areas further away from the mouth of the estuary and closer to local heads of tide. These results allow for better prediction of salt marsh migration in estuarine landscapes and provide guidance for adaptation planners seeking to prioritize those places with the highest likelihood of inland salt marsh migration in the near-term. PMID:23705031

  18. A WATERSHED APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES ON STREAMS AND THEIR RECEIVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fresh and saltwater ecosystems have customarily been assessed separately. By taking a watershed approach, we are exploring the linkages between stream conditions, the biotic integrity of coastal salt marshes, and land use. Watersheds provide a pathway for point and nonpoint pollu...

  19. WATER LEVEL AND OXYGEN DELIVERY/UTILIZATION IN POROUS SALT MARSH SEDIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increasing terrestrial nutrient inputs to coastal waters is a global water quality issue worldwide, and salt marshes may provide a valuable nutrient buffer, either by direct removal or by smoothing out pulse inputs between sources and sensitive estuarine habitats. A major challen...

  20. Hydrology in a peaty high marsh: hysteretic flow and biogeochemical implications

    EPA Science Inventory

    Terrestrial nutrient input to coastal waters is a critical water quality problem worldwide, and salt marshes may provide a valuable nutrient buffer (either by removal or by smoothing out pulse inputs) between terrestrial sources and sensitive estuarine habitats. One of the major...

  1. Macrofaunal Succession and Community Structure in Salicornia Marshes of Southern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Talley, T. S.; Levin, L. A.

    1999-11-01

    Lack of basic understanding of ecosystem structure and function forms a major impediment to successful conservation of coastal ecosystems. This paper provides a description of the fauna and examines faunal succession in Salicornia -vegetated sediments of southern California. Environmental attributes (vegetation and sediment properties) and macrofaunal (animals ≥0·3 mm) community structure were examined in sediments of five natural, southern California Salicornia spp. marshes (Tijuana Estuary, San Diego Bay, Mission Bay, Upper Newport Bay and Anaheim Bay) and in created Salicornia marshes 16 months to 10 years in age, located within four of the bays. Oligochaetes and insects were the dominant taxa in both natural (71 to 98% of total fauna) and created (91 to 97%) marshes. In San Diego, Newport and Anaheim Bays, macrofaunal densities were generally higher in the created marshes (88 000 to 290 000 ind m -2) than in their natural counterparts (26 000 to 50 000 ind m -2). In the youngest system, Mission Bay, the reverse was true (natural: 113 000 vs created: 28 000 ind m -2). Similar species numbers were recorded from the created and adjacent natural marshes. Insects, especially chironomids, dolichopodids, and heleids, as well as the naidid oligochaete, Paranais litoralis, characterize early successional stages. Enchytraeid and tubificid oligochaetes reflect later succession evident in natural and older created marshes. Sediment organic matter (both combustible and below-ground plant biomass) was the environmental variable most commonly associated with densities of various macrofaunal taxa. These relationships were generally negative in the natural marshes and positive in the created marshes. Within-bay comparisons of macrofauna from natural Salicornia- vs Spartina -vegetated habitat in San Diego and Mission Bays revealed lower macrofaunal density (San Diego Bay only), proportionally fewer oligochaetes and more insects, and no differences in species richness in the

  2. Marsh loss from 1984 - 2011 in the Breton Sound, Barataria and Terrebonne Basins, Louisiana, U.S.A.: Impacts of hurricanes and excess nutrients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Riter, J. C.; Kearney, M. S.; Turner, R.

    2012-12-01

    Twenty-four Landsat data sets (1984-2011), collected as close to peak vegetation growth as possible, were used to evaluate marsh vegetation health and marsh loss in Terrebonne, Barataria, and Breton Sound Basins. Marsh loss varies spatially and temporally in the basins: freshwater and most intermediate marshes located west of the Mississippi River and more than 40 km from the coast were determined to be more stable than marshes closer to the coast. In most areas of the three basins, vegetation health and marsh area from 1984-1992 were relatively stable with minor inter-annual fluctuations throughout each basin and only a few areas of localized marsh loss. By 1994, shoreline erosion, tidal creek erosion, and erosion of soil banks adjacent to canals had increased in marshes located <40 km from the Gulf of Mexico, although some sites suffered substantially greater erosion than most coastal areas. Wave erosion also increased around the shores of Lakes Salvador, Cataouatche, Levy and other large lakes by 1994. Marsh loss also occurred in marshes immediately west of the Mississippi River, especially in areas close to diversion inlets. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 produced little sustained widespread damage in the basin marshes. However, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Gustav and Ike in 2008 caused extensive erosion of vegetation and the marsh substrate, especially near the inlet to Caernarvon diversion, but also near the Naomi and West Point a La Hache diversions inlets. We attribute the significant marsh damage from hurricanes to greater flooding, and greater wave and storm surge impacts due to diminished marsh soil strength from the effects of excess nutrients causing lower rhizome and root biomass and increased substrate decomposition rates.

  3. Are expansive North American marshes a relict of historical land use change?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirwan, M.; Murray, A. B.; Donnelly, J.

    2009-12-01

    Fluctuations in sea level rise rates are thought to dominate the evolution of coastal wetlands. Indeed, many salt marshes developed during a late-Holocene deceleration in sea level rise, vertical accretion rates commonly mimic rates of sea level rise, and observations of degradation in marshes today are often attributed to high relative sea level rise rates. Here, we consider a contrasting scenario in which land-use related changes in sediment delivery rates drive the formation of expansive marshland, and vegetation feedbacks maintain the morphology of marshes despite recent sediment supply reduction and sea level acceleration. Our stratigraphic analysis suggests that much of the Plum Island Estuary (MA) existed as a shallow subtidal bay with marshes occupying high elevations along its perimeter. Around 1800 AD, salt marshes rapidly prograded across the basin, constricting the bay into a well defined marsh-channel network system. We attribute this marsh expansion to increased rates of sediment delivery associated with regional deforestation associated with European settlement. Expansive marshland exits along the North American coast today despite 20th century sea level acceleration and sediment supply reduction associated with dam construction and reforestation. Numerical modeling suggests that these factors lead to deepening of marsh elevations relative to sea level, but that ecogeomorphic feedbacks that enhance accretion and limit channel erosion allow marshes to persist in a metastable equilibrium even under conditions in which they could not develop. If true, expansive marshland along the North American coast is a relict feature of high 19th century sediment delivery rates, and marshland lost today will not be recovered in the future, even if rates of sea level rise and sediment delivery were to stabilize.

  4. Are expansive North American marshes a relict of historical land use change? (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirwan, M. L.; Murray, A. B.; Donnelly, J. P.; Corbett, D. R.

    2010-12-01

    Fluctuations in sea level rise rates are thought to dominate the evolution of coastal wetlands. Indeed, many salt marshes developed during a late-Holocene deceleration in sea level rise, vertical accretion rates commonly mimic rates of sea level rise, and observations of degradation in marshes today are often attributed to high relative sea level rise rates. Here, we consider a contrasting scenario in which land-use related changes in sediment delivery rates drive the formation of expansive marshland, and vegetation feedbacks maintain the morphology of marshes despite recent sediment supply reduction and sea level acceleration. Our stratigraphic analysis suggests that much of the Plum Island Estuary (MA) existed as a shallow subtidal bay with marshes occupying high elevations along its perimeter. Around 1800 AD, salt marshes rapidly prograded across the basin, constricting the bay into a well defined marsh-channel network system. We attribute this marsh expansion to increased rates of sediment delivery associated with regional deforestation associated with European settlement. Expansive marshland exits along the North American coast today despite 20th century sea level acceleration and sediment supply reduction associated with dam construction and reforestation. Numerical modeling suggests that these factors lead to deepening of marsh elevations relative to sea level, but that ecogeomorphic feedbacks that enhance accretion and limit channel erosion allow marshes to persist in a metastable equilibrium even under conditions in which they could not develop. If true, expansive marshland along the North American coast is a relict feature of high 19th century sediment delivery rates, and marshland lost today will not be recovered in the future, even if rates of sea level rise and sediment delivery were to stabilize.

  5. Monitoring oil spill bioremediation using marsh foraminifera as indicators.

    PubMed

    Sabean, J A R; Scott, D B; Lee, K; Venosa, A D

    2009-01-01

    A controlled experiment was conducted in June 2000 to identify the environmental impacts of weathered crude oil on an Atlantic coastal salt marsh to help evaluate in situ biological remediation techniques for restoring the environment. Foraminifera, marsh microfossils known to be sensitive to a range of environmental stress factors, were used to monitor the effects of the residual oil and the experimental treatments. Results show that the foraminifera responded quickly to the oil and that the oil had a statistically significant, negative impact, as demonstrated by a dramatic increase in deformities in the tests of Miliammina fusca, compared to specimens from the non-oiled control plots. The results clearly show that foraminifera can be excellent indicators of oil pollution using only the percent of deformed tests. The advantages that foraminifera provide are the ease of sampling, processing and examination, with the added benefit that these organisms leave a fossil record.

  6. Salt marsh equilibrium states and transient dynamics in response to changing rates of sea level rise and sediment supply

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, A.; Mudd, S. M.; Carniello, L.

    2012-12-01

    Understanding and predicting the response of salt-marsh bio-geomorphic systems to changes in the rate of sea level rise and sediment supply is an issue of paramount importance due to the crucial role exerted by salt marshes within the tidal landscape. Salt-marsh platforms, in fact, buffer coastlines against storms, filter nutrients and pollutants from tidal waters, provide nursery areas for coastal biota, and serve as a sink for organic carbon. Observations of marsh degradation worldwide and the acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise highlight the importance of improving our understanding of the chief processes which control salt-marsh response to current natural climate changes and to the effects of variations in sediment supply. The results of our analytical model of salt-marsh bio-morphodynamic evolution in the vertical plane, accounting for two-way interactions between ecological and geomorphological processes, show that marshes are more resilient to a step decrease in the rate of relative sea level rise rather than to a step increase of the same magnitude. Interestingly, marshes respond more rapidly to an increase in sediment load or vegetation productivity, rather than to a decrease (of the same amount) in sediment load or vegetation productivity. Model results also suggest that marsh stability is positively correlated with tidal range: marshes with high tidal ranges respond more slowly to changes in the environmental forcings and therefore are less likely to be affected by perturbations than their counterparts in low tidal ranges. Finally, the model suggests that, in the case of a oscillating rate of sea level rise, marsh stratigraphy will be unable to fully record short term fluctuations in relative mean sea level, whereas it will be able to capture long term fluctuations particularly in sediment rich, microtidal settings.

  7. Variability of fresh- and salt-water marshes characteristics on the west coast of France: a spatio-temporal assessment.

    PubMed

    Tortajada, Sébastien; David, Valérie; Brahmia, Amel; Dupuy, Christine; Laniesse, Thomas; Parinet, Bernard; Pouget, Frederic; Rousseau, Frederic; Simon-Bouhet, Benoit; Robin, François-Xavier

    2011-08-01

    The degradation of water quality and the multiple conflicts of interest between users make marsh restoration very important. A Water Quality Evaluation System (WQES) was developed for river systems by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Some form of biologically-based, habitat-specific reference standard seems absolutely essential for wise management and stewardship of marsh ecosystems. The goal of this study was to develop a statistical method to define and to characterize a water body typology for drained marshes of the Charente-Maritime wetlands on the French Atlantic coast, placing particular emphasis on environmental factors as hydraulic functioning, human activities and pedological substratum. The Charente-Maritime marshes represent a good field study because of his high diversity of types of marshes and of anthropogenic activities in a restrictive area thus erasing spatial climatic effect (latitude effect). The statistical method developed here had permitted to define and characterize 12 different water bodies, 7 in freshwater (F1 to F7) and 5 in salt water marshes for the Charente-Maritime area. This typology demonstrated an important link between the size catchment area, nitrate concentrations, and leaching of precipitation from cultured soils. Even though the Charente-Maritime marshes are strongly impacted by humans, they may still retain the ability to remove nitrate. The increasing gradient of water renewal in the freshwater marshes from F1 to F7 explained the decreasing gradient of eutrophication. A better management of the hydrodynamic of the marshes can avoid eutrophication risk on the coastal sea area. Reliance on the WFD parameter set necessarily placed limits on the kinds of interpretations that could be made and on the study's potential contribution to the basic science of marshes. Ecologically-based insights regarding both external flows (links between ecosystems, meta-ecosystem theory) and internal flows (structure of the planktonic

  8. Variability of fresh- and salt-water marshes characteristics on the west coast of France: a spatio-temporal assessment.

    PubMed

    Tortajada, Sébastien; David, Valérie; Brahmia, Amel; Dupuy, Christine; Laniesse, Thomas; Parinet, Bernard; Pouget, Frederic; Rousseau, Frederic; Simon-Bouhet, Benoit; Robin, François-Xavier

    2011-08-01

    The degradation of water quality and the multiple conflicts of interest between users make marsh restoration very important. A Water Quality Evaluation System (WQES) was developed for river systems by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Some form of biologically-based, habitat-specific reference standard seems absolutely essential for wise management and stewardship of marsh ecosystems. The goal of this study was to develop a statistical method to define and to characterize a water body typology for drained marshes of the Charente-Maritime wetlands on the French Atlantic coast, placing particular emphasis on environmental factors as hydraulic functioning, human activities and pedological substratum. The Charente-Maritime marshes represent a good field study because of his high diversity of types of marshes and of anthropogenic activities in a restrictive area thus erasing spatial climatic effect (latitude effect). The statistical method developed here had permitted to define and characterize 12 different water bodies, 7 in freshwater (F1 to F7) and 5 in salt water marshes for the Charente-Maritime area. This typology demonstrated an important link between the size catchment area, nitrate concentrations, and leaching of precipitation from cultured soils. Even though the Charente-Maritime marshes are strongly impacted by humans, they may still retain the ability to remove nitrate. The increasing gradient of water renewal in the freshwater marshes from F1 to F7 explained the decreasing gradient of eutrophication. A better management of the hydrodynamic of the marshes can avoid eutrophication risk on the coastal sea area. Reliance on the WFD parameter set necessarily placed limits on the kinds of interpretations that could be made and on the study's potential contribution to the basic science of marshes. Ecologically-based insights regarding both external flows (links between ecosystems, meta-ecosystem theory) and internal flows (structure of the planktonic

  9. Plant Zonation in a Salt Marsh.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etri, Lawrence R.

    1978-01-01

    The zonation of plants within a salt marsh environment is detailed via illustrations and scientific nomeclature for purposes of encouraging outdoor educators to use the salt marsh environment as a learning laboratory. (JC)

  10. Vegetation Types in Coastal Louisiana in 2007

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sasser, Charles E.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Mouton, Edmond; Linscombe, Jeb; Hartley, Steve B.

    2008-01-01

    During the summer and fall of 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Fur and Refuge Division jointly completed an aerial survey to collect data on 2007 vegetation types in coastal Louisiana. The current map presents the data collected in this effort. The 2007 aerial survey was conducted by using techniques developed over the last thirty years while conducting similar vegetation surveys. Transects flown were oriented in a north-south direction and spaced 1.87 mi (3 km) apart and covered coastal marshes from the Texas State line to the Mississippi State line and from the northern extent of fresh marshes to the southern end of saline (saltwater) marshes on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico or of coastal bays. Navigation along these transects and to each sampling site was accomplished by using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and geographic information system (GIS) software. As the surveyors reached each sampling station, observed areas of marsh were assigned as fresh, intermediate, brackish, or saline (saltwater) types, and dominant plant species were listed and ranked according to abundance. Delineations of marsh boundaries usually followed natural levees, bayous, or other features that impede or restrict water flow.

  11. Effects of nitrogen loading on greenhouse gas emissions in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, J.; Moseman-Valtierra, S.; Kroeger, K. D.; Morkeski, K.; Mora, J.; Chen, X.; Carey, J.

    2014-12-01

    Salt marshes play an important role in global and regional carbon and nitrogen cycling. We tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic nitrogen loading alters greenhouse gas (GHG, including CO2, CH4, and N2O) emissions and carbon sequestration in salt marshes. We measured GHG emissions biweekly for two growing seasons across a nitrogen-loading gradient of four Spartina salt marshes in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts. In addition, we conducted nitrogen addition experiments in a pristine marsh by adding low and high nitrate to triplicate plots bi-weekly during the summer. The GHG flux measurements were made in situ with a state-of-the-art mobile gas measurement system using the cavity ring down technology that consists of a CO2/CH4 analyzer (Picarro) and an N2O/CO analyzer (Los Gatos). We observed strong seasonal variations in greenhouse gas emissions. The differences in gas emissions across the nitrogen gradient were not significant, but strong pulse emissions of N2O were observed after nitrogen was artificially added to the marsh. Our results will facilitate model development to simulate GHG emissions in coastal wetlands and support methodology development to assess carbon credits in preserving and restoring coastal wetlands.

  12. Ambient and potential denitrification rates in marsh soils of Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds, Mount Desert Island, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Huntington, Thomas G.; Culbertson, Charles W.; Duff, John H.

    2012-01-01

    Nutrient enrichment from atmospheric deposition, agricultural activities, wildlife, and domestic sources is a concern at Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine, because of the potential problems of degradation of water quality and eutrophication in estuaries. Degradation of water quality has been observed at Bass Harbor Marsh estuary in the park but only minimally in Northeast Creek estuary. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have estimated nutrient inputs to estuaries from atmospheric deposition and surface-water runoff, and have identified shallow groundwater as an additional potential source of nutrients. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have assumed that a certain fraction of the nitrogen input was removed through microbial denitrification, but rates of denitrification (natural or maximum potential) in marsh soils have not been determined. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Acadia National Park, measured in-place denitrification rates in marsh soils in Northeast Creek and in Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds during summer 2008 and summer 2009. Denitrification was measured under ambient conditions as well as after additions of inorganic nitrogen and glucose. In-place denitrification rates under ambient conditions were similar to those reported for other coastal wetlands, although they were generally lower than those reported for salt marshes having high ambient concentrations of nitrate (NO3). Denitrification rates generally increased by at least an order of magnitude following NO3 additions, with or without glucose (as the carbohydrate) additions, compared with the ambient treatments that received no nutrient additions. The treatment that added both glucose and NO3 resulted in a variety of denitrification responses when compared with the addition of NO3 alone. In most cases, the addition of glucose to a given rate of NO3 addition resulted in higher rates of denitrification. These variable responses indicate that the amount of

  13. Reading the signatures of biologic-geomorphic feedbacks in salt-marsh landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, Andrea; Marani, Marco

    2016-07-01

    important for allowing marshes to compete with increasing rates of RSLR near watershed divides, whereas inorganic sedimentation is more important closer to the channels. Increasing sediment supply to coastal marshes, therefore, might not compensate for rising sea levels, particularly in the inner marsh portions. Model results also emphasize that biodiversity is strongly controlled by environmental forcings and that zonation patterns are a signature of bio-geomorphic feedbacks with vegetation acting as a landscape constructor which feeds back on, directly alters, and contributes to shape tidal environments. Finally, the model generates realistic frequency distributions of vegetation occurrence, which nicely meet observed ones.

  14. Understanding Spatial and Temporal Shifts in Blue Carbon, Piermont Marsh, Lower Hudson Estuary, NY

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peteet, D. M.; Nichols, J. E.; Kenna, T. C.; Corbett, E. J.; Allen, K. A.; Newton, R.; Vincent, S.; Haroon, A.; Shumer, M.

    2015-12-01

    Piermont Marsh is a National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) protected brackish wetland in the lower Hudson Valley. It serves as a nursery for fish, a coastal buffer in storms, a repository of native wetland species unique to the Hudson, and a paleoenvironmental archive. At risk for disappearance due to rising sea level, we assess the present carbon stores and their spatial and temporal variability through time. Determining the depth of peat in transects throughout Piermont Marsh (41°N, 73°55'W), is one step in reconstructing the stores of carbon in the marsh and how they have shifted over millennia. Through the last decade, we have focused field efforts on probing the depths of the marsh through a series of transects and in acquiring sediment cores from which we establish sedimentation rates and carbon storage through time. AMS C-14 dating, XRF fluorescence, pollen analysis, and Cesium-137 provide chronological control for the sedimentation rates, pollution history, and an understanding of the regional and local shifts in vegetation. C-13 and pollen measurements in selected cores indicate major shifts in local vegetation with coastal eutrophication as the marsh has been invaded, first by Typha angustifolia in the nineteenth century and then by Phragmites australis in the twentieth century up to the present. N-15 measurements indicate a large shift in nitrogen as humans have impacted the marsh. We present a comprehensive, three-dimensional view of the effects of climate, vegetation, and human impact on the carbon storage of Piermont Marsh. This project provided a site for a place- and project-based learning through Lamont-Doherty's Secondary School Field Research Program. Many of the field samples were collected by young investigators from schools in New York City and towns near Piermont.

  15. Tidal salt marshes of the southeast Atlantic Coast: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Wiegert, R.G.; Freeman, B.J.

    1990-09-01

    This report is part of a series of community profiles on the ecology of wetland and marine communities. This particular profile considers tidal marshes of the southeastern Atlantic coast, from North Carolina south to northern Florida. Alone among the earth's ecosystems, coastal communities are subjected to a bidirectional flooding sometimes occurring twice each day; this flooding affects successional development, species composition, stability, and productivity. In the tidally influenced salt marsh, salinity ranges from less than 1 ppt to that of seawater. Dominant plant species include cordgrasses (Spartina alterniflora and S. cynosuroides), black needlerush (Juncus romerianus), and salt marsh bulrush (Scirpus robustus). Both terrestrail and aquatic animals occur in salt marshes and include herons, egrets ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), alligators (Alligator Mississippiensis), manatees (Trichecus manatus), oysters, mussels, and fiddler crabs. Currently, the only significant direct commercial use of the tidal salt marshes is by crabbers seeking the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, but the marshes are quite important recreationally, aesthetically, and educationally. 151 refs., 45 figs., 6 tabs.

  16. Testing For Ecological Correlations between Greenhouse Gas Fluxes and their Potential Biotic Drivers in Coastal Wetlands

    EPA Science Inventory

    The role of coastal wetlands in ameliorating the plight of climate change is well documented. Per unit area, coastal wetlands are among the largest natural carbon sinks, taking up abundant carbon dioxide (CO2) and emitting minimal methane (CH4). While the role of coastal marsh ...

  17. Modeling the Effects of Changes to Physical, Hydrological, and Biological Processes on Porewater Salinity Distributions in a Southeastern Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miklesh, D.; Meile, C. D.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, which include carbon and nitrogen sequestration and transformations, the provision of habitats, and the reduction of erosion by the vegetation. Coastal wetlands will be affected by projected climate change and sea level rise and may fail to provide such services, prompting a need to understand the environmental controls on marsh and vegetation distribution. Therefore, as part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research project, an integrated modeling approach is being developed to simulate how changes in salinity and inundation may change marsh ecosystem services, by coupling a hydrodynamic with a soil and a plant model. In coastal marsh ecosystems, porewater salinity strongly determines vegetation distribution and productivity. We will present the development of the soil model, which is based on mass conservation for water and salt and links physical, hydrological, and biological processes that determine porewater salinity, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, salt exchange between surface and subsurface, drainage, groundwater exchange, tidal inundation, and surface runoff, with the lateral exchange controlled by marsh topography. The model is applied to the Duplin River marsh, Sapelo Island, Georgia. Model validation is performed by comparing model-estimated salinities to porewater salinity measurements taken in different vegetation classes and over a range of marsh elevations. Modeled variability in porewater salinities will be presented over spring-neap, seasonal, and annual time scales. To discuss potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise, a sensitivity analysis will be presented that demonstrates the effect precipitation intensity, evapotranspiration, permeability, and marsh elevation have on porewater salinities.

  18. Joint Geophysical and Hydrologic Constraints on Shallow Groundwater Flow Systems in Clastic Salt Marshes of the South Atlantic Bight

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruppel, C.; Fulton, P.; Schultz, G. M.; Castillo, L.; Bartlett, J.; Sibley, S.

    2005-12-01

    Salt marsh systems play a critical role in buffering upland coastal areas from the influence of open saltwater bodies and in filtering contaminants that originate offshore or are flushed from uplands. For these reasons, it is important to understand the salt marsh hydrologic cycle, especially the interaction of groundwater and surface water across low-lying coastal fringes and the changes in physical, chemical, and ecological parameters across salinity gradients extending from upland to tidal creek to open water. For the past 5 years, we have conducted hydrogeophysical surveys (inductive EM and DC resistivity) and collected limited, coincident groundwater hydrologic data in clastic salt marshes throughout the South Atlantic Bight (SAB), stretching from South Carolina on the north to the Georgia-Florida border on the south. All of the marshes are dominated by Spartina and Juncus grasses and are cut by tidally-influenced creeks, but both the lithology and age of the marshes vary widely. For example, one highly homogeneous marsh study site has formed only within the past century, while most sites have existed for thousands of years and have laterally and vertically heterogeneous lithology. Geophysical images of the marsh subsurface and coincident monitoring of groundwater temperature, water level, and/or chemistry consistently show that marshes in the mixed energy environment of the middle part of the SAB (GCE LTER) tend to be dominated by submarsh discharge of freshwater to adjacent tidal creeks. In the South Carolina part of the SAB, we have greater evidence for seepage, particularly through biologically-created macropore networks and permeable sediment bodies that intersect tidal creeks. It is possible though that the South Carolina results are not so much 'universal' as reflective of local lithology. In a very young marsh near the Florida border, geophysical imaging implies a mixture of seepage and submarsh flow, and hydrologic data provide unequivocal proof that

  19. Marsh dieback, loss, and recovery mapped with satellite optical, airborne polarimetric radar, and field data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W.; Rangoonwala, Amina; Chi, Zhaohui; Jones, Cathleen E.; Bannister, Terri

    2014-01-01

    Landsat Thematic Mapper and Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) satellite based optical sensors, NASA Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle synthetic aperture radar (UAVSAR) polarimetric SAR (PolSAR), and field data captured the occurrence and the recovery of an undetected dieback that occurred between the summers of 2010, 2011, and 2012 in the Spartina alterniflora marshes of coastal Louisiana. Field measurements recorded the dramatic biomass decrease from 2010 to 2011 and a biomass recovery in 2012 dominated by a decrease of live biomass, and the loss of marsh as part of the dieback event. Based on an established relationship, the near-infrared/red vegetation index (VI) and site-specific measurements delineated a contiguous expanse of marsh dieback encompassing 6649.9 ha of 18,292.3 ha of S. alterniflora marshes within the study region. PolSAR data were transformed to variables used in biophysical mapping, and of this variable suite, the cross-polarization HV (horizontal send and vertical receive) backscatter was the best single indicator of marsh dieback and recovery. HV backscatter exhibited substantial and significant changes over the dieback and recovery period, tracked measured biomass changes, and significantly correlated with the live/dead biomass ratio. Within the context of regional trends, both HV and VI indicators started higher in pre-dieback marshes and exhibited substantially and statistically higher variability from year to year than that exhibited in the non-dieback marshes. That distinct difference allowed the capturing of the S. alterniflora marsh dieback and recovery; however, these changes were incorporated in a regional trend exhibiting similar but more subtle biomass composition changes.

  20. Connecting the historic 2011 Mississippi River flood to marsh sedimentation on the Delta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lutken, C.; D'Emidio, M.; Falcini, F.; Horton, B. P.; Jerolmack, D. J.; Khan, N. S.; Li, C.; Macelloni, L.; McKee, K. L.

    2011-12-01

    The 2011 Mississippi River flood was arguably the largest in history. Although the massive inundation resulting from the flood was devastating for residents on the Delta, sediment carried to sea by the swollen river had the potential to combat wetland loss in some areas. There is currently much debate regarding how, and to what degree, sediment from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers contributes to maintaining and building fragile coastal marshes. This historic flood presented a rare and time-sensitive opportunity to determine the impact of a geologically-significant flood event on coastal sedimentation patterns and rates. We present a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional effort to use the 2011 Mississippi flood to connect the dots between river dynamics, coastal dynamics, and marsh maintenance. We performed a coupled satellite analysis, boat survey and surface sediment sampling approach to characterize if and how sediments from this historic flood contributed to deposition and maintenance of Mississippi Delta coastal marshes. Sea surface temperature, height and color from satellite data have been used to track mixing and transport of river plume sediments; the boat survey measured the currents and sediment concentrations of the Mississippi plume in-situ during the peak of the flood; and a helicopter survey sampled marsh sediments after the flood subsided, allowing determination of flood-induced deposition rates and also sediment provenance. Preliminary results show that the Mississippi River injected sediment into the Gulf and did not contribute greatly to wetland development because of its narrow, focused jet. The Atchafalaya River plume spread diffusely across the landscape, and sediments reaching the sea were trapped within the coastal zone because the weak jet was incapable of penetrating the coastal current. Significant sedimentation occurred around the Atchafalaya, demonstrating that the flood contributed to wetland maintenance.

  1. Synecology of a Virginia salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kerwin, J.A.; Pedigo, R.

    1971-01-01

    In the spring and summer of 1964 a salt marsh in Gloucester County, Virginia, was analyzed using random quadrat sampling. Synthetic treatments were employed to evaluate data and were correlated with observed differences in elevation. Floristic data indicate the Virginia salt marshes show closer similarity to marshes north of Chesapeake Bay than those south of Chesapeake Bay. Correlation of floristic data with observed differences in elevation indicates that zonation in the marsh is dependent upon differences in elevation or some environmental factor correlated with elevation differences. Observations of sedimentation and erosion in localized areas indicate that the marsh is in a constant state of change, with extensive areas undergoing both succession and regression.

  2. Seasonal variability of denitrification efficiency in northern salt marshes: an example from the St. Lawrence Estuary.

    PubMed

    Poulin, Patrick; Pelletier, Emilien; Saint-Louis, Richard

    2007-06-01

    In coastal ecosystems, denitrification is a key process in removing excess dissolved nitrogen oxides and participating in the control of eutrophication process. Little is known about the role of salt marshes on nitrogen budgets in cold weather coastal areas. Although coastal salt marshes are important sites for organic matter degradation and nutrient regeneration, bacterial-mediated nitrogen cycling processes, such as denitrification, remain unknown in northern and sub-arctic regions, especially under winter conditions. Using labelled nitrogen (15N), denitrification rates were measured in an eastern Canadian salt marsh in August, October and December 2005. Freshly sampled undisturbed sediment cores were incubated over 8h and maintained at their sampling temperatures to evaluate the influence of low temperatures on the denitrification rate. From 2 to 12 degrees C, average denitrification rate and dissolved oxygen consumption increased from 9.6 to 25.5 micromol N2 m-2 h-1 and from 1.3 to 1.8 mmol O2 m-2 h-1, respectively, with no statistical dependence of temperature (p>0.05). Nitrification has been identified as the major nitrate source for denitrification, supplying more than 80% of the nitrate demand. Because no more than 31% of the nitrate removed by sediment is estimated to be denitrified, the presence of a major nitrate sink in sediment is suspected. Among possible nitrate consumption mechanisms, dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to ammonium, metal and organic matter oxidation processes are discussed. Providing the first measurements of denitrification rate in a St. Lawrence Estuary salt marsh, this study evidences the necessity of preserving and restoring marshes. They constitute an efficient geochemical filter against an excess of nitrate dispersion to coastal waters even under cold northern conditions. PMID:17276505

  3. Physical Stress, Not Biotic Interactions, Preclude an Invasive Grass from Establishing in Forb-Dominated Salt Marshes

    PubMed Central

    He, Qiang; Cui, Baoshan; An, Yuan

    2012-01-01

    Background Biological invasions have become the focus of considerable concern and ecological research, yet the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors in controlling the invasibility of habitats to exotic species is not well understood. Spartina species are highly invasive plants in coastal wetlands; however, studies on the factors that control the success or failure of Spartina invasions across multiple habitat types are rare and inconclusive. Methodology and Principal Findings We examined the roles of physical stress and plant interactions in mediating the establishment of the smooth cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, in a variety of coastal habitats in northern China. Field transplant experiments showed that cordgrass can invade mudflats and low estuarine marshes with low salinity and frequent flooding, but cannot survive in salt marshes and high estuarine marshes with hypersaline soils and infrequent flooding. The dominant native plant Suaeda salsa had neither competitive nor facilitative effects on cordgrass. A common garden experiment revealed that cordgrass performed significantly better when flooded every other day than when flooded weekly. These results suggest that physical stress rather than plant interactions limits cordgrass invasions in northern China. Conclusions and Significance We conclude that Spartina invasions are likely to be constrained to tidal flats and low estuarine marshes in the Yellow River Delta. Due to harsh physical conditions, salt marshes and high estuarine marshes are unlikely to be invaded. These findings have implications for understanding Spartina invasions in northern China and on other coasts with similar biotic and abiotic environments. PMID:22432003

  4. The Great Newbury Marsh Hike.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Blais, Heidi; And Others

    Designed to acquaint students at Triton Regional High School (Massachusetts) with the importance of the salt marshes and marine environment around Triton, this outdoor education curriculum guide includes three sections emphasizing an interdisciplinary approach to physics, ecology, and history. The unit is designed for 50 students and 5 teachers…

  5. Literature review of organic matter transport from marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dow, D. D.

    1982-01-01

    A conceptual model for estimating a transport coefficient for the movement of nonliving organic matter from wetlands to the adjacent embayments was developed in a manner that makes it compatible with the Earth Resources Laboratory's Productive Capacity Model. The model, which envisages detritus movement from wetland pixels to the nearest land-water boundary followed by movement within the water column from tidal creeks to the adjacent embayment, can be transposed to deal with only the interaction between tidal water and the marsh or to estimate the transport from embayments to the adjacent coastal waters. The outwelling hypothesis postulated wetlands as supporting coastal fisheries either by exporting nutrients, such as inorganic nitrogen, which stimulated the plankton-based grazing food chain in the water column, or through the export of dissolved and particulate organic carbon which provided a benthic, detritus-based food web which provides the food source for the grazing food chain in a more indirect fashion.

  6. Living Shorelines: Coastal Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Jenny L.; Currin, Carolyn A.; O’Brien, Colleen; Raffenburg, Craig; Davis, Amanda

    2015-01-01

    Living shorelines are a type of estuarine shoreline erosion control that incorporates native vegetation and preserves native habitats. Because they provide the ecosystem services associated with natural coastal wetlands while also increasing shoreline resilience, living shorelines are part of the natural and hybrid infrastructure approach to coastal resiliency. Marshes created as living shorelines are typically narrow (< 30 m) fringing marshes with sandy substrates that are well flushed by tides. These characteristics distinguish living shorelines from the larger meadow marshes in which most of the current knowledge about created marshes was developed. The value of living shorelines for providing both erosion control and habitat for estuarine organisms has been documented but their capacity for carbon sequestration has not. We measured carbon sequestration rates in living shorelines and sandy transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes in the Newport River Estuary, North Carolina. The marshes sampled here range in age from 12 to 38 years and represent a continuum of soil development. Carbon sequestration rates ranged from 58 to 283 g C m-2 yr-1 and decreased with marsh age. The pattern of lower sequestration rates in older marshes is hypothesized to be the result of a relative enrichment of labile organic matter in younger sites and illustrates the importance of choosing mature marshes for determination of long-term carbon sequestration potential. The data presented here are within the range of published carbon sequestration rates for S. alterniflora marshes and suggest that wide-scale use of the living shoreline approach to shoreline management may come with a substantial carbon benefit. PMID:26569503

  7. Living Shorelines: Coastal Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit.

    PubMed

    Davis, Jenny L; Currin, Carolyn A; O'Brien, Colleen; Raffenburg, Craig; Davis, Amanda

    2015-01-01

    Living shorelines are a type of estuarine shoreline erosion control that incorporates native vegetation and preserves native habitats. Because they provide the ecosystem services associated with natural coastal wetlands while also increasing shoreline resilience, living shorelines are part of the natural and hybrid infrastructure approach to coastal resiliency. Marshes created as living shorelines are typically narrow (< 30 m) fringing marshes with sandy substrates that are well flushed by tides. These characteristics distinguish living shorelines from the larger meadow marshes in which most of the current knowledge about created marshes was developed. The value of living shorelines for providing both erosion control and habitat for estuarine organisms has been documented but their capacity for carbon sequestration has not. We measured carbon sequestration rates in living shorelines and sandy transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes in the Newport River Estuary, North Carolina. The marshes sampled here range in age from 12 to 38 years and represent a continuum of soil development. Carbon sequestration rates ranged from 58 to 283 g C m-2 yr-1 and decreased with marsh age. The pattern of lower sequestration rates in older marshes is hypothesized to be the result of a relative enrichment of labile organic matter in younger sites and illustrates the importance of choosing mature marshes for determination of long-term carbon sequestration potential. The data presented here are within the range of published carbon sequestration rates for S. alterniflora marshes and suggest that wide-scale use of the living shoreline approach to shoreline management may come with a substantial carbon benefit.

  8. Living Shorelines: Coastal Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit.

    PubMed

    Davis, Jenny L; Currin, Carolyn A; O'Brien, Colleen; Raffenburg, Craig; Davis, Amanda

    2015-01-01

    Living shorelines are a type of estuarine shoreline erosion control that incorporates native vegetation and preserves native habitats. Because they provide the ecosystem services associated with natural coastal wetlands while also increasing shoreline resilience, living shorelines are part of the natural and hybrid infrastructure approach to coastal resiliency. Marshes created as living shorelines are typically narrow (< 30 m) fringing marshes with sandy substrates that are well flushed by tides. These characteristics distinguish living shorelines from the larger meadow marshes in which most of the current knowledge about created marshes was developed. The value of living shorelines for providing both erosion control and habitat for estuarine organisms has been documented but their capacity for carbon sequestration has not. We measured carbon sequestration rates in living shorelines and sandy transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes in the Newport River Estuary, North Carolina. The marshes sampled here range in age from 12 to 38 years and represent a continuum of soil development. Carbon sequestration rates ranged from 58 to 283 g C m-2 yr-1 and decreased with marsh age. The pattern of lower sequestration rates in older marshes is hypothesized to be the result of a relative enrichment of labile organic matter in younger sites and illustrates the importance of choosing mature marshes for determination of long-term carbon sequestration potential. The data presented here are within the range of published carbon sequestration rates for S. alterniflora marshes and suggest that wide-scale use of the living shoreline approach to shoreline management may come with a substantial carbon benefit. PMID:26569503

  9. Evaluating ecological equivalence of created marshes: comparing structural indicators with stable isotope indicators of blue crab trophic support

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Llewellyn, Chris; LaPeyre, Megan K.

    2010-01-01

    This study sought to examine ecological equivalence of created marshes of different ages using traditional structural measures of equivalence, and tested a relatively novel approach using stable isotopes as a measure of functional equivalence. We compared soil properties, vegetation, nekton communities, and δ13C and δ15N isotope values of blue crab muscle and hepatopancreas tissue and primary producers at created (5-24 years old) and paired reference marshes in SW Louisiana. Paired contrasts indicated that created and reference marshes supported equivalent plant and nekton communities, but differed in soil characteristics. Stable isotope indicators examining blue crab food web support found that the older marshes (8 years+) were characterized by comparable trophic diversity and breadth compared to their reference marshes. Interpretation of results for the youngest site was confounded by the fact that the paired reference, which represented the desired end goal of restoration, contained a greater diversity of basal resources. Stable isotope techniques may give coastal managers an additional tool to assess functional equivalency of created marshes, as measured by trophic support, but may be limited to comparisons of marshes with similar vegetative communities and basal resources, or require the development of robust standardization techniques.

  10. The mutual influence of biotic and abiotic components on the long-term ecomorphodynamic evolution of salt-marsh ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, Andrea

    2011-03-01

    Salt marshes are coastal ecosystems characterized by high biodiversity and rates of primary productivity, providing fundamental ecosystem services. Salt-marsh ecosystems are important indicators of environmental change as the dynamics are governed by interacting physical and biological processes, whose intertwined feedbacks critically affect the evolution. Settling deposition of inorganic sediment allows the platform to reach a threshold elevation for vegetation encroachment; the presence of vegetation then intensifies rates of accretion, thus, enhancing the resilience of marshes to increasing rates of sea level rise (SLR). The results from a two-dimensional numerical model, accounting for biotic and geomorphic processes, show that different morphological evolutionary regimes are followed depending on marsh biological processes. The average marsh elevation within the tidal frame decreases with increasing rates of SLR, decreasing availability of sediment, and decreasing productivity of vegetation. The spatial variability in platform elevations increases with increasing rates of SLR, increasing availability of sediment, and decreasing productivity of vegetation. Supply-limited settings tend to develop uniform marsh surface elevations, whereas supply-rich settings tend to develop patterns of sedimentation where large heterogeneities in marsh surface elevations occur. The complexity observed in tidal geomorphological patterns is deemed to arise from the mutual influence of biotic and abiotic components. The fate of tidal landforms and their possible geomorphological restoration should, thus, be addressed through approaches which explicitly incorporate bio-morphodynamic processes.

  11. Measuring the Role of Ecological Shift and Environmental Change on Organic Carbon Stocks in Salt Marshes and Mangrove Dominated Wetlands from the Texas Gulf Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norwood, M. J.; Louchouarn, P.; Armitage, A. R.; HighField, W.; Brody, S.; White, N.

    2014-12-01

    Texas coastal wetlands are dynamic marsh-mangrove ecotones that play an important role in fishery recruitment, storm buffering, and carbon storage. Historically, C4 salt marsh plants, such as Spartina alterniflora, have dominated the Texas Gulf Coast. For the past 2-3 decades, some of these ecosystems have experienced community shifts with woody tropical plants (Avicennia germinans) competing for resources. This study presents new results on the carbon sequestration potential following such ecological shifts as well as coastal development and wetland loss along the coast of Texas. The recorded change from native grass-dominated C4 salt marshes to wood-dominated C3 mangroves over the last 20 years (1990-2010: 4,660 km2) leads to a non-significant loss in aboveground organic carbon (OC) stocks (-6.5.106 g OC). The most substantial loss of aboveground OC in Texas coastal salt marshes is due to the transformation of these wetlands into tidal flats and open water (-7.53.108 g OC). Similarly, the largest losses in aboveground OC stocks from mangrove ecosystems (-1.57.107 g OC) are due to replacement by open water. Along with the decrease in aboveground OC stocks, we identified a significant decrease in sedimentary OC inventories due to the loss of salt marsh and mangrove coverage (-3.69.109 g OC and 5.71.107 g OC, respectively). In contrast, mangrove expansion into mudflat and salt marsh environments led to a positive addition in aboveground OC stocks (2.78.108 g OC) and increased OC sedimentary inventories (2.32.109 g OC). Mangrove expansion offsets only 70% of the total calculated OC loss (-4.51.109 g OC) in coastal wetlands along the Texas gulf coast over the 20-year study period. This deficit loss is primarily attributed to environmental pressures on coastal salt marshes (i.e., sea level rise, urban and coastal development, erosion).

  12. Cable bacteria associated with long-distance electron transport in New England salt marsh sediment.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Steffen; Nielsen, Lars Peter; Schramm, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    Filamentous Desulfobulbaceae have been proposed as 'cable bacteria', which electrically couple sulfide oxidation and oxygen reduction in marine sediment and thereby create a centimetre-deep suboxic zone. We incubated New England salt marsh sediment and found long-distance electron transport across 6 mm and 16S rRNA genes identical to those of previously observed cable bacteria in Aarhus Bay sediment incubations. Cable bacteria density in sediment cores was quantified by fluorescence in situ hybridization. In contrast to the coastal, subtidal sediments with short-termed blooms of cable bacteria based on rapidly depleted iron sulfide pools, the salt marsh cable community was based on ongoing sulfate reduction and therefore probably more persistent. Previously observed seasonal correlation between Desulfobulbaceae dominance and extensive reduced sulfur oxidation in salt marshes suggest that cable bacteria at times may have an important role in situ.

  13. Using multiple-polarization L-band radar to monitor marsh burn recovery

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W., III; Nelson, G.A.; Sapkota, S.K.; Laine, S.C.; Verdi, J.; Rrasznay, S.

    1999-01-01

    Aircraft L-band VV-, HH-, and VH-polarizations were examined as tools for monitoring burn recovery in a coastal marsh. Significant relationships were observed between time-since-burn (difference between burn and image collection dates; 550-900 days after burn) and returns related to all polarizations. As marsh burn recovery progressed, VV returns decreased while HH and VH returns increased. Radar returns extracted from control sites adjacent to each burn-simulated nonburn marsh and were not individually or in combination significantly related to the timesince-burn. Normalized by the control data, VH-polarization explained up to 83% of the total variations. Overall, the L-band multipolarization radars estimated time-since-burn within ??59 to ??92 days. ?? 1999 IEEE.

  14. Impact and Recovery Pattern of a Spring Fire on a Pacific Coast Marsh - Observations and Implications for Endangered Species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, L. N.; Willis, K. S.; Ambrose, R. F.; MacDonald, G. M.

    2015-12-01

    The flammability of California coastal marsh vegetation is highest in winter and spring when dominant high marsh plants such as Sarcocornia pacifica are dormant. With climate change the number of cool-season fires are increasing in the state, and marsh systems are becoming more vulnerable to fire disturbance. Very little information exists in peer-reviewed or grey literature on the presence of fire in Pacific Coast tidal marshes. In 1993, the Green Meadows fire in Ventura County, California burned a small portion of tidally influenced Sarcocornia­-dominated marsh at Point Mugu. After the May 2013 Springs Fire burned a similar portion of the salt marsh vegetation, we conducted a two-year vegetation recovery survey using transects of surface vegetation plots and MODIS derived NDVI remote sensing monitoring. Recovery during the first year was limited. Sixteen months into the recovery period, percent plant coverage reached an average of approximately 60% for all plots in the burned area, as opposed to an average of 100% in control plots, and remained at that level for the duration of the study. NDVI did not approach near pre-fire conditions until 19 months after the fire. While recovery may have been influenced by California's current extreme drought conditions, the recurrence of fire and rate of recovery raise many important questions as to the role of fire in Pacific coast tidal marshes. For example, the lack of Salicornia cover over more than an entire breeding season would be detrimental to protected species such as Rallus obsoletus. Fire adds new vulnerabilities on critical tidal marsh habitat already taxed by the threat of sea-level rise, coastal squeeze and invasive species.

  15. Influences of Salinity Variations on Pore-water Flow in Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, C.; Jin, G.; Xin, P.; Li, L.

    2013-12-01

    Salt marshes are important wetlands at the ocean-land interface with various ecological functions, serving as essential habitats for intertidal fauna, affecting the productivity of coastal waters through nutrient exchange, moderating the greenhouse gas emission and global warming. They are influenced by various physical and biogeochemical processes, among which the pore-water flow and associated solute transport processes play an important role in determining the material exchange between marsh soils and coastal water. Previous studies have examined such processes under the solo or combined effects of tidal fluctuation, evapotranspiration, stratigraphy, inland freshwater input, and topography. However, these investigations have neglected the spatial and temporal salinity variations in surface water and pore-water, which commonly exist in salt marshes due to the impacts of tidal inundation, precipitation and evapotranspiration. The density contrast between the surface water and pore-water may lead to significant modifications of the pore-water flow. Based on results from laboratory experiments and numerical simulations, we will demonstrate that: (1) under upward salinity gradients, flow instabilities in the form of fingers occur once the salinity contrast reaches a certain level, whereas under downward salinity gradients the system is stable; (2) because of the strong tidally-induced advective process occurring near the creek, both the number and size of fingers change gradually from the near-creek zone to the marsh interior; and (3) both upward and downward salinity gradients enhance the exchange between the surface water and pore-water in the marsh sediments. Keywords: Salt marshes; density effect; salinity gradient; pore-water flow; fingers. Instabilities under upward salinity gradient Stable system under downward salinity gradient

  16. Delineation of marsh types of the Texas coast from Corpus Christi Bay to the Sabine River in 2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Enwright, Nicholas M.; Hartley, Stephen B.; Brasher, Michael G.; Visser, Jenneke M.; Mitchell, Michael K.; Ballard, Bart M.; Parr, Mark W.; Couvillion, Brady R.; Wilson, Barry C.

    2014-01-01

    Coastal zone managers and researchers often require detailed information regarding emergent marsh vegetation types for modeling habitat capacities and needs of marsh-reliant wildlife (such as waterfowl and alligator). Detailed information on the extent and distribution of marsh vegetation zones throughout the Texas coast has been historically unavailable. In response, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation and collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via the Gulf Coast Joint Venture, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and Ducks Unlimited, Inc., has produced a classification of marsh vegetation types along the middle and upper Texas coast from Corpus Christi Bay to the Sabine River. This study incorporates approximately 1,000 ground reference locations collected via helicopter surveys in coastal marsh areas and about 2,000 supplemental locations from fresh marsh, water, and “other” (that is, nonmarsh) areas. About two-thirds of these data were used for training, and about one-third were used for assessing accuracy. Decision-tree analyses using Rulequest See5 were used to classify emergent marsh vegetation types by using these data, multitemporal satellite-based multispectral imagery from 2009 to 2011, a bare-earth digital elevation model (DEM) based on airborne light detection and ranging (lidar), alternative contemporary land cover classifications, and other spatially explicit variables believed to be important for delineating the extent and distribution of marsh vegetation communities. Image objects were generated from segmentation of high-resolution airborne imagery acquired in 2010 and were used to refine the classification. The classification is dated 2010 because the year is both the midpoint of the multitemporal satellite-based imagery (2009–11) classified and the date of the high-resolution airborne imagery that was used to develop image objects. Overall accuracy corrected for bias (accuracy

  17. Impacts of Soil Organic Stability on Carbon Storage in Coastal Wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, E. K.; Rosenheim, B. E.

    2015-12-01

    Coastal wetlands store vast amounts of organic carbon, globally, and are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of anthropogenic sea level rise. Recently, we used ramped pyrolysis/oxidation decomposition characteristics as proxies for soil organic carbon (SOC) stability to understand the fate of carbon storage in coastal wetlands (fresh, brackish, and salt marshes) comprising the Mississippi River deltaic plain, undergoing rapid rates of local sea level rise. At equivalent soil depths, we observed that fresh marsh SOC was more thermochemically stable than brackish and salt marsh SOC. The differences in stability imply stronger carbon sequestration potential of fresh marsh soil carbon, compared to that of salt and brackish marshes. Here, we expand upon these results of differential organic carbon stability/reactivity and model how projected changes in salinity due to sea-level rise and other environmental changes will impact carbon storage in this region with implications globally.

  18. Native plant restoration combats environmental change: development of carbon and nitrogen sequestration capacity using small cordgrass in European salt marshes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Restoration of salt marshes is critical in the context of climate change and eutrophication of coastal waters, because their vegetation and sediments may act as carbon and nitrogen sinks. Our primary objectives were to quantify carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stocks and sequestration rates in restored m...

  19. Nutrient uptake by marshes and seagrasses: Ecosystem functions and spatial variability in the provision of this ecosystem servoce

    EPA Science Inventory

    Nitrogen entering coastal wetlands undergoes several important transformations involving oxidation and reduction; some ends up in the atmosphere, while much of it remains in the sediments of healthy marshes and seagrass beds – the rest passes into receiving waters. Variability i...

  20. Effect of fertilization on Soil Respiration and Belowground Macro-organic Matter in Spartina alternatflora Marsh Soils

    EPA Science Inventory

    Human activities and rising populations increase watershed nutrient loads, which may alter the structure and function of coastal wetlands. In a long-term fertilization experiment in the North Inlet-Winyah Bay Reserve (NI-WB, NERR) (SC) Spartina marsh system, we used a 2 X 2 facto...

  1. Soil Respiration and Belowground Carbon Stores Among Salt Marshes Subjected to Increasing Watershed Nitrogen Loadings in Southern New England

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are ecosystems located between the uplands and sea, and because of their location are subject to increasing watershed nutrient loadings and rising sea levels. Residential development along the coast is intense, and there is a significant relationship between...

  2. Tidal Marshes across a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary Are Not Keeping up with Sea-Level Rise.

    PubMed

    Beckett, Leah H; Baldwin, Andrew H; Kearney, Michael S

    2016-01-01

    Sea-level rise is a major factor in wetland loss worldwide, and in much of Chesapeake Bay (USA) the rate of sea-level rise is higher than the current global rate of 3.2 mm yr-1 due to regional subsidence. Marshes along estuarine salinity gradients differ in vegetation composition, productivity, decomposition pathways, and sediment dynamics, and may exhibit different responses to sea-level rise. Coastal marshes persist by building vertically at rates at or exceeding regional sea-level rise. In one of the first studies to examine elevation dynamics across an estuarine salinity gradient, we installed 15 surface elevation tables (SET) and accretion marker-horizon plots (MH) in tidal freshwater, oligohaline, and brackish marshes across a Chesapeake Bay subestuary. Over the course of four years, wetlands across the subestuary decreased 1.8 ± 2.7 mm yr-1 in elevation on average, at least 5 mm yr-1 below that needed to keep pace with global sea-level rise. Elevation change rates did not significantly differ among the marshes studied, and ranged from -9.8 ± 6.9 to 4.5 ± 4.3 mm yr-1. Surface accretion of deposited mineral and organic matter was uniformly high across the estuary (~9-15 mm yr-1), indicating that elevation loss was not due to lack of accretionary input. Position in the estuary and associated salinity regime were not related to elevation change or surface matter accretion. Previous studies have focused on surface elevation change in marshes of uniform salinity (e.g., salt marshes); however, our findings highlight the need for elevation studies in marshes of all salinity regimes and different geomorphic positions, and warn that brackish, oligohaline, and freshwater tidal wetlands may be at similarly high risk of submergence in some estuaries.

  3. Exchanges and photo-biogeochemical transformation of dissolved organic compounds in Eastern US tidal marsh ecosystems.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tzortziou, Maria; Neale, Patrick; Megonigal, Patrick; Butterworth, Megan; Jaffe, Rudolf

    2010-05-01

    The role of tidal marshes as sources, sinks and/or transformers of biologically important nutrients, carbon and pollutants has been studied in various marsh-estuarine environments and geomorphological settings. Although there is no consensus on the magnitude and direction of marsh-estuary net (particulate and dissolved) organic fluxes, most previous studies suggest that salt marshes export dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the surrounding estuarine waters. There has been less attention, however, to the influence of transformations on marsh-exported organic carbon composition or "quality". Yet, carbon composition affects a wide variety of estuarine processes, including microbial respiration and photochemistry. Our objectives in this study were to quantify the photo-reactivity and bio-availability of dissolved organic carbon compounds exported from tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay and determine their effects on the optical properties of colored organic matter (CDOM). We quantified DOC bioavailability with two assays of microbial mineralization: the traditional batch incubation approach in which a suspension of DOM and microbial cells (1 µm filtrate) was incubated in bottles for 7 d, and a continuous-flow bioreactor approach in which DOC (0.2 µm filtrate) was passed through a microbial community that had been pre-established on glass beads from the same source water. Photochemical degradation was measured after a 10h exposure to filtered xenon irradiance simulating midday surface exposure. We measured decreases in CDOM absorption and fluorescence spectra, DOC concentrations, changes in molecular weight distribution, and increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and CO2. Results provide important insights on the transformation, fate and cycling of marsh-exported organic compounds, and the role of tidal marsh systems as major regulators of short-scale biological, optical and biogeochemical variability in highly dynamic coastal margins and catchment areas.

  4. Effects of soil stratigraphy on pore-water flow in a creek-marsh system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xin, Pei; Kong, Jun; Li, Ling; Barry, D. A.

    2012-12-01

    SummaryIn coastal marshes, low-permeability mud is often found overlying high permeability sandy deposits. A recently developed 3D creek-marsh model was used to investigate the effects of soil stratigraphy (a mud layer overlying a sandy-loam layer) on pore-water flow in the marsh. Simulation results showed significant modifications of tide-induced pore-water flow due to the layered soil. The presence of the lower sandy-loam layer with a relatively high hydraulic conductivity not only increased the pore-water flow speed but also changed the flow direction, particularly in the upper mud layer where enhanced vertical flow dominated. Particle tracking revealed large changes in the overall pore-water circulation pattern, and associated particle travel path and time due to the influence of the soil stratigraphy. While the amount of water exchange between the marsh soil and tidal water increased, the residence time of particles in both soil layers was reduced. Sensitivity analysis showed the importance of soil compressibility, capillary rise and hydraulic conductivity contrast between the soil layers in modulating the effect of soil stratigraphy. In particular, the total net influx and efflux across the marsh surface (including the creek/channel bank and bed) increased proportionally with the square root of the lower layer's hydraulic conductivity. These results demonstrated the interplay of tides, marsh topography and soil stratigraphy in controlling the pore-water flow characteristics, which underpin solute transport and transformation as well as the aeration condition in the marsh soil.

  5. Tidal marsh plant responses to elevated CO2 , nitrogen fertilization, and sea level rise.

    PubMed

    Adam Langley, J; Mozdzer, Thomas J; Shepard, Katherine A; Hagerty, Shannon B; Patrick Megonigal, J

    2013-05-01

    Elevated CO2 and nitrogen (N) addition directly affect plant productivity and the mechanisms that allow tidal marshes to maintain a constant elevation relative to sea level, but it remains unknown how these global change drivers modify marsh plant response to sea level rise. Here we manipulated factorial combinations of CO2 concentration (two levels), N availability (two levels) and relative sea level (six levels) using in situ mesocosms containing a tidal marsh community composed of a sedge, Schoenoplectus americanus, and a grass, Spartina patens. Our objective is to determine, if elevated CO2 and N alter the growth and persistence of these plants in coastal ecosystems facing rising sea levels. After two growing seasons, we found that N addition enhanced plant growth particularly at sea levels where plants were most stressed by flooding (114% stimulation in the + 10 cm treatment), and N effects were generally larger in combination with elevated CO2 (288% stimulation). N fertilization shifted the optimal productivity of S. patens to a higher sea level, but did not confer S. patens an enhanced ability to tolerate sea level rise. S. americanus responded strongly to N only in the higher sea level treatments that excluded S. patens. Interestingly, addition of N, which has been suggested to accelerate marsh loss, may afford some marsh plants, such as the widespread sedge, S. americanus, the enhanced ability to tolerate inundation. However, if chronic N pollution reduces the availability of propagules of S. americanus or other flood-tolerant species on the landscape scale, this shift in species dominance could render tidal marshes more susceptible to marsh collapse. PMID:23504873

  6. Tidal Marshes across a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary Are Not Keeping up with Sea-Level Rise

    PubMed Central

    Beckett, Leah H.; Baldwin, Andrew H.; Kearney, Michael S.

    2016-01-01

    Sea-level rise is a major factor in wetland loss worldwide, and in much of Chesapeake Bay (USA) the rate of sea-level rise is higher than the current global rate of 3.2 mm yr-1 due to regional subsidence. Marshes along estuarine salinity gradients differ in vegetation composition, productivity, decomposition pathways, and sediment dynamics, and may exhibit different responses to sea-level rise. Coastal marshes persist by building vertically at rates at or exceeding regional sea-level rise. In one of the first studies to examine elevation dynamics across an estuarine salinity gradient, we installed 15 surface elevation tables (SET) and accretion marker-horizon plots (MH) in tidal freshwater, oligohaline, and brackish marshes across a Chesapeake Bay subestuary. Over the course of four years, wetlands across the subestuary decreased 1.8 ± 2.7 mm yr-1 in elevation on average, at least 5 mm yr-1 below that needed to keep pace with global sea-level rise. Elevation change rates did not significantly differ among the marshes studied, and ranged from -9.8 ± 6.9 to 4.5 ± 4.3 mm yr-1. Surface accretion of deposited mineral and organic matter was uniformly high across the estuary (~9–15 mm yr-1), indicating that elevation loss was not due to lack of accretionary input. Position in the estuary and associated salinity regime were not related to elevation change or surface matter accretion. Previous studies have focused on surface elevation change in marshes of uniform salinity (e.g., salt marshes); however, our findings highlight the need for elevation studies in marshes of all salinity regimes and different geomorphic positions, and warn that brackish, oligohaline, and freshwater tidal wetlands may be at similarly high risk of submergence in some estuaries. PMID:27467784

  7. Tidal Marshes across a Chesapeake Bay Subestuary Are Not Keeping up with Sea-Level Rise.

    PubMed

    Beckett, Leah H; Baldwin, Andrew H; Kearney, Michael S

    2016-01-01

    Sea-level rise is a major factor in wetland loss worldwide, and in much of Chesapeake Bay (USA) the rate of sea-level rise is higher than the current global rate of 3.2 mm yr-1 due to regional subsidence. Marshes along estuarine salinity gradients differ in vegetation composition, productivity, decomposition pathways, and sediment dynamics, and may exhibit different responses to sea-level rise. Coastal marshes persist by building vertically at rates at or exceeding regional sea-level rise. In one of the first studies to examine elevation dynamics across an estuarine salinity gradient, we installed 15 surface elevation tables (SET) and accretion marker-horizon plots (MH) in tidal freshwater, oligohaline, and brackish marshes across a Chesapeake Bay subestuary. Over the course of four years, wetlands across the subestuary decreased 1.8 ± 2.7 mm yr-1 in elevation on average, at least 5 mm yr-1 below that needed to keep pace with global sea-level rise. Elevation change rates did not significantly differ among the marshes studied, and ranged from -9.8 ± 6.9 to 4.5 ± 4.3 mm yr-1. Surface accretion of deposited mineral and organic matter was uniformly high across the estuary (~9-15 mm yr-1), indicating that elevation loss was not due to lack of accretionary input. Position in the estuary and associated salinity regime were not related to elevation change or surface matter accretion. Previous studies have focused on surface elevation change in marshes of uniform salinity (e.g., salt marshes); however, our findings highlight the need for elevation studies in marshes of all salinity regimes and different geomorphic positions, and warn that brackish, oligohaline, and freshwater tidal wetlands may be at similarly high risk of submergence in some estuaries. PMID:27467784

  8. Tidal marsh plant responses to elevated CO2 , nitrogen fertilization, and sea level rise.

    PubMed

    Adam Langley, J; Mozdzer, Thomas J; Shepard, Katherine A; Hagerty, Shannon B; Patrick Megonigal, J

    2013-05-01

    Elevated CO2 and nitrogen (N) addition directly affect plant productivity and the mechanisms that allow tidal marshes to maintain a constant elevation relative to sea level, but it remains unknown how these global change drivers modify marsh plant response to sea level rise. Here we manipulated factorial combinations of CO2 concentration (two levels), N availability (two levels) and relative sea level (six levels) using in situ mesocosms containing a tidal marsh community composed of a sedge, Schoenoplectus americanus, and a grass, Spartina patens. Our objective is to determine, if elevated CO2 and N alter the growth and persistence of these plants in coastal ecosystems facing rising sea levels. After two growing seasons, we found that N addition enhanced plant growth particularly at sea levels where plants were most stressed by flooding (114% stimulation in the + 10 cm treatment), and N effects were generally larger in combination with elevated CO2 (288% stimulation). N fertilization shifted the optimal productivity of S. patens to a higher sea level, but did not confer S. patens an enhanced ability to tolerate sea level rise. S. americanus responded strongly to N only in the higher sea level treatments that excluded S. patens. Interestingly, addition of N, which has been suggested to accelerate marsh loss, may afford some marsh plants, such as the widespread sedge, S. americanus, the enhanced ability to tolerate inundation. However, if chronic N pollution reduces the availability of propagules of S. americanus or other flood-tolerant species on the landscape scale, this shift in species dominance could render tidal marshes more susceptible to marsh collapse.

  9. Effect of dominant Spartina species on salt marsh detritus production in SW Atlantic estuaries

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montemayor, Diana I.; Addino, Mariana; Fanjul, Eugenia; Escapa, Mauricio; Alvarez, M. Fernanda; Botto, Florencia; Iribarne, Oscar O.

    2011-08-01

    Two cordgrass species of the genus Spartina cohabit in SW Atlantic (southern Brazil 31º48' S to Argentinean Patagonia, 43º20' S) salt marshes. Some salt marshes are dominated by the dense-flowered cordgrass Spartina densiflora (which inhabits the upper intertidal level) and others by the smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora (which inhabits the lower intertidal level). We investigated how the different species dominance affects the detritus dynamics in the Bahia Blanca estuary (38º47' S, 62º20' W Argentina). Field measurements of annual detritus production using destructive methods show that both plants are similar. However, detritus of S. alterniflora shows higher decomposition rates than that of S. densiflora. This difference may be due to a larger N content, lower lignocellulose content and lower C/N ratio of S. alternifora when compared with S. densiflora. Moreover, field sampling shows that S. alterniflora has a larger amount of trapped litter that, according to the litterbag method, has higher decomposition rates. Therefore it is highly likely that S. alterniflora salt marshes contribute towards more profitable detritus for estuarine food webs than marshes dominated by S. densiflora. These results illustrate that the composition of the coastal plant community can determine the quality and profitability of the detritus that support estuarine food webs. They also illustrate that salt marshes belonging to a same biogeographic group and even coexisting in great proximity can have very different ecosystemic roles.

  10. Effects of hydrologic connectivity on aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in different marsh types

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kang, Sung-Ryong; King, Sammy L.

    2013-01-01

    Hydrologic connectivity can be an important driver of aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Its effects on aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in coastal marshes, however, are relatively poorly studied. We evaluated the effects of lateral hydrologic connectivity (permanently connected ponds: PCPs; temporary connected ponds: TCPs), and other environmental variables on aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages and functional feeding groups (FFGs) in freshwater, brackish, and saline marshes in Louisiana, USA. We hypothesized that (1) aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages in PCPs would have higher assemblage metric values (density, biomass, Shannon-Wiener diversity) than TCPs and (2) the density and proportional abundance of certain FFGs (i.e. scrapers, shredders, and collectors) would be greater in freshwater marsh than brackish and saline marshes. The data in our study only partially supported our first hypothesis: while freshwater marsh PCPs had higher density and biomass than TCPs, assemblage metric values in saline TCPs were greater than saline PCPs. In freshwater TCPs, long duration of isolation limited access of macroinvertebrates from adjacent water bodies, which may have reduced assemblage metric values. However, the relatively short duration of isolation in saline TCPs provided more stable or similar habitat conditions, facilitating higher assemblage metric values. As predicted by our second hypothesis, freshwater PCPs and TCPs supported a greater density of scrapers, shredders, and collectors than brackish and saline ponds. Aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages seem to be structured by individual taxa responses to salinity as well as pond habitat attributes.

  11. Heavily Oiled Salt Marsh following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Ecological Comparisons of Shoreline Cleanup Treatments and Recovery.

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Bernik, Brittany M; Rutherford, Nicolle; Nixon, Zachary; Michel, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected hundreds of kilometers of coastal wetland shorelines, including salt marshes with persistent heavy oiling that required intensive shoreline "cleanup" treatment. Oiled marsh treatment involves a delicate balance among: removing oil, speeding the degradation of remaining oil, protecting wildlife, fostering habitat recovery, and not causing further ecological damage with treatment. To examine the effectiveness and ecological effects of treatment during the emergency response, oiling characteristics and ecological parameters were compared over two years among heavily oiled test plots subject to: manual treatment, mechanical treatment, natural recovery (no treatment, oiled control), as well as adjacent reference conditions. An additional experiment compared areas with and without vegetation planting following treatment. Negative effects of persistent heavy oiling on marsh vegetation, intertidal invertebrates, and shoreline erosion were observed. In areas without treatment, oiling conditions and negative effects for most marsh parameters did not considerably improve over two years. Both manual and mechanical treatment were effective at improving oiling conditions and vegetation characteristics, beginning the recovery process, though recovery was not complete by two years. Mechanical treatment had additional negative effects of mixing oil into the marsh soils and further accelerating erosion. Manual treatment appeared to strike the right balance between improving oiling and habitat conditions while not causing additional detrimental effects. However, even with these improvements, marsh periwinkle snails showed minimal signs of recovery through two years, suggesting that some ecosystem components may lag vegetation recovery. Planting following treatment quickened vegetation recovery and reduced shoreline erosion. Faced with comparable marsh oiling in the future, we would recommend manual treatment followed by planting. We caution

  12. Heavily Oiled Salt Marsh following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Ecological Comparisons of Shoreline Cleanup Treatments and Recovery.

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Bernik, Brittany M; Rutherford, Nicolle; Nixon, Zachary; Michel, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected hundreds of kilometers of coastal wetland shorelines, including salt marshes with persistent heavy oiling that required intensive shoreline "cleanup" treatment. Oiled marsh treatment involves a delicate balance among: removing oil, speeding the degradation of remaining oil, protecting wildlife, fostering habitat recovery, and not causing further ecological damage with treatment. To examine the effectiveness and ecological effects of treatment during the emergency response, oiling characteristics and ecological parameters were compared over two years among heavily oiled test plots subject to: manual treatment, mechanical treatment, natural recovery (no treatment, oiled control), as well as adjacent reference conditions. An additional experiment compared areas with and without vegetation planting following treatment. Negative effects of persistent heavy oiling on marsh vegetation, intertidal invertebrates, and shoreline erosion were observed. In areas without treatment, oiling conditions and negative effects for most marsh parameters did not considerably improve over two years. Both manual and mechanical treatment were effective at improving oiling conditions and vegetation characteristics, beginning the recovery process, though recovery was not complete by two years. Mechanical treatment had additional negative effects of mixing oil into the marsh soils and further accelerating erosion. Manual treatment appeared to strike the right balance between improving oiling and habitat conditions while not causing additional detrimental effects. However, even with these improvements, marsh periwinkle snails showed minimal signs of recovery through two years, suggesting that some ecosystem components may lag vegetation recovery. Planting following treatment quickened vegetation recovery and reduced shoreline erosion. Faced with comparable marsh oiling in the future, we would recommend manual treatment followed by planting. We caution

  13. Heavily Oiled Salt Marsh following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Ecological Comparisons of Shoreline Cleanup Treatments and Recovery

    PubMed Central

    Zengel, Scott; Bernik, Brittany M.; Rutherford, Nicolle; Nixon, Zachary; Michel, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected hundreds of kilometers of coastal wetland shorelines, including salt marshes with persistent heavy oiling that required intensive shoreline “cleanup” treatment. Oiled marsh treatment involves a delicate balance among: removing oil, speeding the degradation of remaining oil, protecting wildlife, fostering habitat recovery, and not causing further ecological damage with treatment. To examine the effectiveness and ecological effects of treatment during the emergency response, oiling characteristics and ecological parameters were compared over two years among heavily oiled test plots subject to: manual treatment, mechanical treatment, natural recovery (no treatment, oiled control), as well as adjacent reference conditions. An additional experiment compared areas with and without vegetation planting following treatment. Negative effects of persistent heavy oiling on marsh vegetation, intertidal invertebrates, and shoreline erosion were observed. In areas without treatment, oiling conditions and negative effects for most marsh parameters did not considerably improve over two years. Both manual and mechanical treatment were effective at improving oiling conditions and vegetation characteristics, beginning the recovery process, though recovery was not complete by two years. Mechanical treatment had additional negative effects of mixing oil into the marsh soils and further accelerating erosion. Manual treatment appeared to strike the right balance between improving oiling and habitat conditions while not causing additional detrimental effects. However, even with these improvements, marsh periwinkle snails showed minimal signs of recovery through two years, suggesting that some ecosystem components may lag vegetation recovery. Planting following treatment quickened vegetation recovery and reduced shoreline erosion. Faced with comparable marsh oiling in the future, we would recommend manual treatment followed by planting. We

  14. Below the disappearing marshes of an urban estuary: historic nitrogen trends and soil structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wigand, Cathleen; Roman, Charles T.; Davey, Earl; Stolt, Mark; Johnson, Roxanne; Hanson, Alana; Watson, Elizabeth B.; Moran, S. Bradley; Cahoon, Donald R.; Lynch, James C.; Rafferty, Patricia

    2014-01-01

    larger diameter rhizomes and swelling (dilation) of waterlogged peat. JoCo Marsh kept pace with sea-level rise through surface accretion and soil organic matter accumulation. Understanding the effects of multiple stressors, including nutrient enrichment, on soil structure, organic matter accumulation, and elevation change will better inform management decisions aimed at maintaining and restoring coastal marshes.

  15. Below the disappearing marshes of an urban estuary: historic nitrogen trends and soil structure.

    PubMed

    Wigand, Cathleen; Roman, Charles T; Davey, Earl; Stolt, Mark; Johnson, Roxanne; Hanson, Alana; Watson, Elizabeth B; Moran, S Bradley; Cahoon, Donald R; Lynch, James C; Rafferty, Patricia

    2014-06-01

    larger diameter rhizomes and swelling (dilation) of waterlogged peat. JoCo Marsh kept pace with sea-level rise through surface accretion and soil organic matter accumulation. Understanding the effects of multiple stressors, including nutrient enrichment, on soil structure, organic matter accumulation, and elevation change will better inform management decisions aimed at maintaining and restoring coastal marshes.

  16. Below the disappearing marshes of an urban estuary: historic nitrogen trends and soil structure.

    PubMed

    Wigand, Cathleen; Roman, Charles T; Davey, Earl; Stolt, Mark; Johnson, Roxanne; Hanson, Alana; Watson, Elizabeth B; Moran, S Bradley; Cahoon, Donald R; Lynch, James C; Rafferty, Patricia

    2014-06-01

    larger diameter rhizomes and swelling (dilation) of waterlogged peat. JoCo Marsh kept pace with sea-level rise through surface accretion and soil organic matter accumulation. Understanding the effects of multiple stressors, including nutrient enrichment, on soil structure, organic matter accumulation, and elevation change will better inform management decisions aimed at maintaining and restoring coastal marshes. PMID:24988765

  17. How do how internal and external processes affect the behaviors of coupled marsh mudflat systems; infill, stabilize, retreat, or drown?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, J. A.; Mariotti, G.; Wiberg, P.; Fagherazzi, S.; McGlathery, K.

    2013-12-01

    Intertidal coastal environments are prone to changes induced by sea level rise, increases in storminess, and anthropogenic disturbances. It is unclear how changes in external drivers may affect the dynamics of low energy coastal environments because their response is non-linear, and characterized by many thresholds and discontinuities. As such, process-based modeling of the ecogeomorphic processes underlying the dynamics of these ecosystems is useful, not only to predict their change through time, but also to generate new hypotheses and research questions. Here, a three-point dynamic model was developed to investigate how internal and external processes affect the behavior of coupled marsh mudflat systems. The model directly incorporates ecogeomorphological feedbacks between wind waves, salt marsh vegetation, allochthonous sediment loading, tidal flat vegetation and sea level rise. The model was applied to examine potential trajectories of salt marshes on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, including those in the Plum Island Ecosystems (PIE), Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems (GCE) long term ecological research (LTER) sites. While these sites are undergoing similar rates of relative sea level rise (RSLR), they have distinct differences in site specific environmental drivers including tides, wind waves, allochthonous sediment supply and the presence or absence of seagrass. These differences lead to the emergence of altered behaviors in the coupled salt marsh-tidal flat system. For marsh systems without seagrass or significant riverine sediment supply, conditions similar to those at PIE, results indicated that horizontal and vertical marsh evolution respond in opposing ways to wave induced processes. Marsh horizontal retreat is triggered by large mudflats and strong winds, whereas small mudflats and weak winds reduce the sediment supply to the salt marsh, decreasing its capability to keep pace with sea level rise. Marsh expansion and

  18. Plant-plant interactions in a subtropical mangrove-to-marsh transition zone: effects of environmental drivers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Howard, Rebecca J.; Krauss, Ken W.; Cormier, Nicole; Day, Richard H.; Biagas, Janelda M.; Allain, Larry K.

    2015-01-01

    Questions Does the presence of herbaceous vegetation affect the establishment success of mangrove tree species in the transition zone between subtropical coastal mangrove forests and marshes? How do plant–plant interactions in this transition zone respond to variation in two primary coastal environmental drivers? Location Subtropical coastal region of the southern United States. Methods We conducted a greenhouse study to better understand how abiotic factors affect plant species interactions in the mangrove-to-marsh transition zone, or ecotone. We manipulated salinity (fresh, brackish or salt water) and hydrologic conditions (continuously saturated or 20-cm tidal range) to simulate ecotonal environments. Propagules of the mangroves Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa were introduced to mesocosms containing an established marsh community. Both mangrove species were also introduced to containers lacking other vegetation. We monitored mangrove establishment success and survival over 22 mo. Mangrove growth was measured as stem height and above-ground biomass. Stem height, stem density and above-ground biomass of the dominant marsh species were documented. Results Establishment success of A. germinans was reduced under saturated saltwater conditions, but establishment of L. racemosa was not affected by experimental treatments. There was complete mortality of A. germinans in mesocosms under freshwater conditions, and very low survival of L. racemosa. In contrast, survival of both species in monoculture under freshwater conditions exceeded 62%. The marsh species Distichlis spicata and Eleocharis cellulosa suppressed growth of both mangroves throughout the experiment, whereas the mangroves did not affect herbaceous species growth. The magnitude of growth suppression by marsh species varied with environmental conditions; suppression was often higher in saturated compared to tidal conditions, and higher in fresh and salt water compared to

  19. Effect of root metabolism on the post-depositional mobilization of mercury in salt marsh soils

    SciTech Connect

    Marins, R.V. |; Lacerda, L.D.; Goncalves, G.O.; Paiva, E.C. de

    1997-05-01

    Salt marsh soils are an efficient sink for trace metals associated with particulate material in tidal waters and have been proposed as monitors for trace metal contamination in coastal areas, on the basis that vertical profiles provide a record of loading rates. However, the complex nature of the biogeochemical processes occurring in these soils, may prevent this use, since post-depositional mobilization of some trace metals may occur, resulting in their release to pore water, vertical movement through the soil column and exchange with overlying waters. This paper presents and compares the vertical profiles of mercury in soil cores taken under a Spartina altermilflora marsh and in adjacent mod flats without plant cover to characterize the role played by this plant on the post-depositional movement of mercury through the soil and on the possibility of using such profiles as indicators of mercury loading rates in coastal areas. 19 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  20. The discharge of nitrate-contaminated groundwater from developed shoreline to marsh-fringed estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Portnoy, J.W.; Nowicki, B.L.; Roman, C.T.; Urish, D.W.

    1998-01-01

    As residential development, onsite wastewater disposal and groundwater contamination increase in the coastal zone, assessment of nutrient removal by soil and sedimentary processes becomes increasingly important. Nitrogen removal efficiency depends largely upon the specific flow paths taken by groundwater as it discharges into nitrogen-limited estuarine waters. Shoreline salinity surveys, hydraulic studies and thermal infrared imagery indicated that groundwater discharge into the Nauset Marsh estuary (Eastham, MA) occurred in high-velocity seeps immediately seaward of the upland-fringing salt marsh. Discharge was highly variable spatially and occurred through permeable, sandy sediments during low tide. Seepage chamber monitoring showed that dissolved inorganic nitrogen (principally nitrate) traversed nearly conservatively from the aquifer through shallow estuarine sediments to coastal waters at flux rates of 13 mmoles m2 h1. A significant relationship found between porewater NO3N concentrations and NO3N flux rates may provide a rapid method of estimating nitrogen loading from groundwater to the water column.

  1. Carbon cycling in salt marsh dominated estuaries along the US Atlantic coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbrich, Inke; Nahrawi, Hafsah B.; Wang, Shiyu; Leclerc, Monique; Hopkinson, Charles S.; Giblin, Anne E.; Alber, Merryl; Cai, Wei-Jun

    2016-04-01

    Salt marshes are effective carbon sinks, because they rely on vertical accretion of organic and inorganic matter to keep their relative position to sea level. They are also described as 'carbon pumps' that fix atmospheric carbon but deliver organic and inorganic carbon to estuarine and coastal waters. These fluxes are still highly uncertain due to their temporal and spatial variability. Here, we present observations on atmospheric CO2 exchange and lateral DIC exchange measured at two salt marsh dominated estuaries along the US Atlantic coast. Atmospheric exchange was measured with the eddy covariance method supplemented by measurements of DIC concentrations and discharge in tidal creeks during selected tidal cycles. Together with estimates of long-term carbon burial, this allows us to constrain their export potential. Since the Plum Island Ecosystems LTER and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER are located along a temperature gradient, we will use the data to assess the temperature effect on ecosystem productivity and respiration.

  2. EFFECTS OF PHOTOCHEMICAL, MICROBIAL AND SORPTION PROCESSES ON THE OPTICAL PROPERTIES AND DEGRADATION OF DISSOLVED ORGANIC MATTER FROM COASTAL WETLANDS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The dissolved organic matter (DOM) exported from rivers and intertidal marshes to coastal oceans is rich in light-absorbing, fluorescent constituents, including humic substances and other polyphenolic moieties. Interactions between microbial and photochemical processes have impor...

  3. A Review of Tidal Salt Marsh Morphodynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedrichs, C. T.; Perry, J. E.

    2001-05-01

    We now understand that, morphologically, natural tidal marshes are generally near or progressing rapidly toward dynamic equilibrium with sediment supply, vegetative growth and relative sea level, rather than far out of equilibrium on a slow evolution toward geologic maturity. The last fifteen years have been marked by major advances in the observation of sedimentation and accretion patterns in tidal salt marshes which reinforce the above interpretation. This paper reviews and synthesizes advances since the late 1980s in our understanding of tidal salt marsh morphodynamics. Recent work has shown that allochthonous deposition patterns on the marsh are controlled primarily by source concentration, distance from that source, and duration of inundation (in turn determined by marsh elevation). Because deposition is proportional to inundation period, inorganic accretion tends to increase or decrease with accelerated or decelerated sea level rise, allowing the accretion rate to similarly fluctuate. Feedback between proximity to sediment source and duration of inundation causes relatively uniform accretion to be characterized by highest marsh elevations adjacent to tidal creeks. Since physical stress on vegetation increases with inundation, plant density and accretion of organic matter is reduced as inundation period increases, a pattern opposite to allochthonous deposition. Among systems dominated by allochthonous sediment, microtidal marshes are more reliant on storm and flood sedimentation and horizontally expand and retreat more quickly than macrotidal marshes, while the latter are more likely to persist during periods of accelerated sea level rise. The density, width and depth of salt marsh creeks all increase with increased tidal prism. Along barrier coastlines, greater tidal range is associated with more frequent inlet spacing, shallower channels, flood-dominance, and higher marsh elevation at equilibrium. Smaller tidal range results in greater inlet spacing, deeper

  4. Changes in Marsh Vegetation, Stability and Dissolved Organic Carbon in Barataria Bay Marshes Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holloway, J. M.; Aiken, G.; Kokaly, R. F.; Heckman, D.; Butler, K.; Mills, C. T.; Hoefen, T. M.; Piazza, S.

    2010-12-01

    Coastal wetlands in Southern Louisiana were contaminated by the release of record volumes of oil between April and July 2010. Barataria Bay was extensively impacted, resulting in the oiling and dieback of marsh grasses along a discontinuous margin up to 30m into the marshes. Shoreline stability and biogeochemistry have been monitored over three site visits between between July 10 and August 25, 2010. Initial observations in early July were that grasses, dominantly shape Spartina alterniflora and shape Juncus roemerianus, were bent over under the weight of a thick oil coating. The bent-over grasses were broken off along some reaches, leaving a stubbled shoreline more susceptible to erosion. Repeated site visits in mid and late August found visible erosion along some of the effected shorelines. Water samples were collected from the shoreline marsh remnants and from visibly unaffected marshes to characterize dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN). In spite of visible oil sheens in unfiltered water from contaminated shorelines and no visible sign of impact on vegetation in the “control” sites with no visible oil on vegetation, DOC concentrations were similar in impacted and visibly unimpacted sites in Barataria Bay. Subsequent samples in mid- and late-August had increased DOC concentrations relative to previous sample events regardless of whether the site was visibly impacted. There was a general increase in specific UV absorbance (SUVA), an index of aromaticity, with increasing DOC concentrations, either due to seasonal effects or continued dissolution of petroleum compounds. Further chemical characterization using fluorescence and gas chromatography will be used to confirm the presence of petroleum compounds. The ratio of DOC to TDN also increased over time, which may have implications for vegetation regrowth and plant community structure, including the shift of grass species dominating effected marshes. These initial findings suggest

  5. DEVELOPING INDICATORS OF SALT MARSH HEALTH

    EPA Science Inventory

    We relate plant zonation in salt marshes to key ecosystem services such as erosion control and wildlife habitat. Ten salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, with similar geological bedrock and sea exchange, were identified to examine plant zonation. Sub-watersheds adjacent to the salt ...

  6. Estuaries and Tidal Marshes. Habitat Pac.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of Interior), Washington, DC.

    This educational packet consists of an overview, three lesson plans, student data sheets, and a poster. The overview examines estuaries and tidal or salt marshes by discussing the plants and animals in these habitats, marsh productivity, benefits and management of the habitats, historical aspects, and development and pollution. A glossary and list…

  7. The Influence of Coastal Wetland Zonation on Surface Sediment and Porewater Mercury Speciation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marvin-DiPasquale, M. C.; Windham-Myers, L.; Wilson, A. M.; Buck, T.; Smith, E.

    2014-12-01

    An investigation of mercury (Hg) speciation in saltmarsh surface sediment (top 0-2 cm) and porewater (integrated 0-50 cm) was conducted along two monitoring well transects established within North Inlet Estuary (S. Carolina, USA) as part of the NOAA sponsored National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) network. Transects were perpendicular to the shoreline, from the forested uplands to the edge of the tidal channel, and traversed a range of vegetated zones from the high marsh (pickleweed, rush, and salt panne-dominated) to the low marsh (cordgrass dominated), as mediated by elevation and tidal inundation. Sediment grain size and organic content explained 95% of the variability in the distribution of total Hg (THg) in surface sediment. Tin-reducible 'reactive' mercury (HgR) concentration was 10X greater in the high marsh, compared to the low marsh, and increased sharply with decreasing sediment pH values below pH=6. The percentage of THg as HgR decreased as sediment redox conditions became more reducing. There were no significant differences in surface sediment methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations between high and low marsh zones. In contrast, porewater MeHg concentrations were 5X greater in the high marsh compared to the low marsh. As a percentage of THg, mean porewater %MeHg was 23% in the low marsh and 51% in the high marsh, reaching levels of 73-89% in a number of high marsh sites. Calculations of partitioning between porewater and the solid phase suggest stronger binding to particles in the low marsh and a shift towards the dissolved phase in the high marsh for both THg and MeHg. These results are consistent with a conceptual model for coastal wetlands where the less frequently inundated high marsh zone may be important in terms of MeHg production and enhanced subsurface mobilization, partially due to the subsurface mixing of saline estuarine water and freshwater draining in from the uplands area.

  8. Methane fluxes along a salinity gradient on a restored salt marsh, Harpswell, ME

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gunn, Cailene; Johnson, Beverly, ,, Dr.; Dostie, Phil; Bohlen, Curtis; Craig, Matthew

    2016-04-01

    This study functions as a pilot project to understand the relationship between salinity and methane emissions on a recently restored salt marsh in Casco Bay, Maine. Salt marshes are dynamic and highly productive ecosystems that provide a multitude of ecosystem services including nutrient filtration, storm-water buffering and carbon sequestration. These ecosystems are highly susceptible to anthropogenic alteration. The emplacement of causeways and narrow culverts, restricts tidal flow and leads to loss of healthy salinity gradients. Consequently, numerous salt marshes have experienced increases in freshwater vegetation growth as a result of coastal population expansion. Recent restoration efforts on Long Marsh, Harpswell, ME replaced a severely undersized culvert with a larger one in February, 2014. The salinity gradient has since been restored along much of the marsh, and freshwater vegetation that encroached on the marsh platform has died back. Vegetation and salinity are key indicators and drivers of CH4 emissions on salt marshes. Using static gas chambers, we quantified CH4 fluxes along two transects at five diverse sites ranging from healthy marsh (salinity of 27 to 31 psu) with Spartina vegetation, to regions invaded by Typha and other freshwater vegetation (salinity of 0 to 4 psu). Sampling was executed in the months of July, August and October. CH4 concentrations were determined using a gas chromatograph with a flame-ionization detector. Preliminary findings suggest reintroduction of healthy tidal flows into the marsh inhibits CH4 production, where the lowest fluxes with least variability were observed at the most saline sites with Spartina vegetation. The largest range of CH4 fluxes exhibited emissions from 0.75 μmol CH4/m2/hr to 518.4 μmol CH4/m2/hr at the Typha dominated sites from July to October. Fluxes at the saltwater and brackish regions were far less variable with ranges from 0.94 μmol CH4/m2/hr to 8.2 μmol CH4/m2/hr and 2.6 to 9.5 μmol CH4/m2

  9. Development of a reproducible method for determining quantity of water and its configuration in a marsh landscape

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Suir, Glenn M.; Evers, D. Elaine; Steyer, Gregory D.; Sasser, Charles E.

    2013-01-01

    Coastal Louisiana is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. From 1956 to 2010, over 3,734 km2 of Louisiana's coastal wetlands have been lost due to a combination of natural and human-induced activities. The resulting landscape constitutes a mosaic of conditions from highly deteriorated to relatively stable with intact landmasses. Understanding how and why coastal landscapes change over time is critical to restoration and rehabilitation efforts. Historically, changes in marsh pattern (i.e., size and spatial distribution of marsh landmasses and water bodies) have been distinguished using visual identification by individual researchers. Difficulties associated with this approach include subjective interpretation, uncertain reproducibility, and laborious techniques. In order to minimize these limitations, this study aims to expand existing tools and techniques via a computer-based method, which uses geospatial technologies for determining shifts in landscape patterns. Our method is based on a raster framework and uses landscape statistics to develop conditions and thresholds for a marsh classification scheme. The classification scheme incorporates land and water classified imagery and a two-part classification system: (1) ratio of water to land, and (2) configuration and connectivity of water within wetland landscapes to evaluate changes in marsh patterns. This analysis system can also be used to trace trajectories in landscape patterns through space and time. Overall, our method provides a more automated means of quantifying landscape patterns and may serve as a reliable landscape evaluation tool for future investigations of wetland ecosystem processes in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

  10. Derivation of Ground Surface and Vegetation in a Coastal Florida Wetland with Airborne Laser Technology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Raabe, Ellen A.; Harris, Melanie S.; Shrestha, Ramesh L.; Carter, William E.

    2008-01-01

    The geomorphology and vegetation of marsh-dominated coastal lowlands were mapped from airborne laser data points collected on the Gulf Coast of Florida near Cedar Key. Surface models were developed using low- and high-point filters to separate ground-surface and vegetation-canopy intercepts. In a non-automated process, the landscape was partitioned into functional landscape units to manage the modeling of key landscape features in discrete processing steps. The final digital ground surface-elevation model offers a faithful representation of topographic relief beneath canopies of tidal marsh and coastal forest. Bare-earth models approximate field-surveyed heights by + 0.17 m in the open marsh and + 0.22 m under thick marsh or forest canopy. The laser-derived digital surface models effectively delineate surface features of relatively inaccessible coastal habitats with a geographic coverage and vertical detail previously unavailable. Coastal topographic details include tidal-creek tributaries, levees, modest topographic undulations in the intertidal zone, karst features, silviculture, and relict sand dunes under coastal-forest canopy. A combination of laser-derived ground-surface and canopy-height models and intensity values provided additional mapping capabilities to differentiate between tidal-marsh zones and forest types such as mesic flatwood, hydric hammock, and oak scrub. Additional derived products include fine-scale shoreline and topographic profiles. The derived products demonstrate the capability to identify areas of concern to resource managers and unique components of the coastal system from laser altimetry. Because the very nature of a wetland system presents difficulties for access and data collection, airborne coverage from remote sensors has become an accepted alternative for monitoring wetland regions. Data acquisition with airborne laser represents a viable option for mapping coastal topography and for evaluating habitats and coastal change on marsh

  11. Estimating shallow subsidence in microtidal salt marshes of the southeastern United States: Kaye and Barghoorn revisited

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cahoon, D.R.; Reed, D.J.; Day, J.W., Jr.

    1995-01-01

    Simultaneous measurements of vertical accretion and change in surface elevation relative to a shallow (3-5 m) subsurface datum were made in selected coastal salt marshes of Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina to quantitatively test Kaye and Barghoorn's contention that vertical accretion is not a good surrogate for surface elevation change because of autocompaction of the substrate. Rates of subsidence of the upper 3-5 m of marsh substrate were calculated for each marsh as the difference between vertical accretion and elevation change measured with feldspar marker horizons and a sedimentation-erosion table. Surface elevation change was significantly lower than vertical accretion at each site after 2 years, indicating a significant amount of shallow subsidence had occurred, ranging from 0.45 to 4.90 cm. The highest rate of shallow subsidence occurred in the Mississippi delta. Results confirm Kaye and Barghoorn's contention that vertical accretion is not generally a good surrogate for elevation change because of processes occurring in the upper few meters of the substrate, including not only compaction but also apparently shrink-swell from water storage and/or plant production--decomposition at some sites. Indeed, surface elevation change was completely decoupled from vertical accretion at the Florida site. The assumption of a 1:1 relationship between accretionary and substrate processes. Consequently, the potential for coastal marsh submergence should be expressed as an elevation deficit based on direct measures of surface elevation change rather than accretion deficits. These findings also indicate the need for greater understanding of the influence of subsurface and small-scale hydrologic processes on marsh surface elevation.

  12. Salt marsh monitoring from remote sensing: vegetation and morphology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belluco, E.; Camuffo, M.; D`Alpaos, A.; Silvestri, S.; Marani, A.; Marani, M.

    2003-04-01

    Lagoons are very sensitive components of coastal areas with high environmental value and a key buffer role between land and sea. In the present work we use remote sensing to study and monitor the Lagoon of Venice (Italy), an environment of great historical, environmental and socio-economic importance. The current state of the lagoon is the result of invasive human interventions during at least four centuries and many of the most recent interventions (e.g. artificial channel dredging and the construction/extensions of jetties at the lagoon mouths) showed the sensitivity and the importance of salt marshes as indicators of the trends of the entire tidal environment. Salt marshes, vegetated surfaces periodically flooded by the tide, were in fact deeply affected by such changes, and have virtually disappeared in some areas of the lagoon. We show that remote sensing is the ideal instrument for the monitoring, over large scales and with high resolutions, of these areas of difficult accessibility. We study vegetation and morphological changes of salt marshes at different spatial and temporal scales using accurately georeferenced field observations coupled to aerial (ROSIS, MIVIS, CASI, and LiDar) and satellite (IKONOS and QuickBird) remotely sensed data. We then analyze the spatial distribution and variability of some vegetation indicators (e.g. NDVI) and the typical patterns of vegetation clusters obtained through classification and unmixing techniques. Finally, we study the relationships between vegetation species and organisation and various topographic/geomorphic parameters (e.g. soil elevation, proximity to the channel network, etc.).

  13. Estimates of future inundation of salt marshes in response to sea-level rise in and around Acadia National Park, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nielsen, Martha G.; Dudley, Robert W.

    2013-01-01

    Salt marshes are ecosystems that provide many important ecological functions in the Gulf of Maine. The U.S. Geological Survey investigated salt marshes in and around Acadia National Park from Penobscot Bay to the Schoodic Peninsula to map the potential for landward migration of marshes using a static inundation model of a sea-level rise scenario of 60 centimeters (cm; 2 feet). The resulting inundation contours can be used by resource managers to proactively adapt to sea-level rise by identifying and targeting low-lying coastal areas adjacent to salt marshes for conservation or further investigation, and to identify risks to infrastructure in the coastal zone. For this study, the mapping of static inundation was based on digital elevation models derived from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) topographic data collected in October 2010. Land-surveyed control points were used to evaluate the accuracy of the LiDAR data in the study area, yielding a root mean square error of 11.3 cm. An independent accuracy assessment of the LiDAR data specific to salt-marsh land surfaces indicated a root mean square error of 13.3 cm and 95-percent confidence interval of ± 26.0 cm. LiDAR-derived digital elevation models and digital color aerial photography, taken during low tide conditions in 2008, with a pixel resolution of 0.5 meters, were used to identify the highest elevation of the land surface at each salt marsh in the study area. Inundation contours for 60-cm of sea-level rise were delineated above the highest marsh elevation for each marsh. Confidence interval contours (95-percent,± 26.0 cm) were delineated above and below the 60-cm inundation contours, and artificial structures, such as roads and bridges, that may present barriers to salt-marsh migration were mapped. This study delineated 114 salt marshes totaling 340 hectares (ha), ranging in size from 0.11 ha (marshes less than 0.2 ha were mapped only if they were on Acadia National Park property) to 52 ha, with a median

  14. The Resilience and Recovery of Salt Marshes to Landfalling Storms and Sea-Level Rise, New Jersey, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horton, B.; Nikitina, D.; Kemp, A.; Vane, C. H.; Engelhart, S. E.; Khan, N. S.

    2014-12-01

    Instrumental and observational records are too short to adequately describe the history of land-falling storms or sea-level rise, especially for extreme and rare events such as Hurricane Sandy. However, the sediment preserved beneath coastal wetlands is an archive of when storms impacted the coast and past changes in sea level, and how long it takes for wetlands recovery from such events. Here, we describe late Holocene sediments beneath the Sea Breeze salt marsh on the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay from more than 200 gouge cores positioned along seven transects. The stratigraphic record documents at least seven depositional sequences consisting of salt-marsh peat and mud couplets that represent dramatic changes in sedimentation regime. There are number of processes that could cause this salt-marsh erosion including lateral migration of tidal creeks, rapid relative sea-level rise, tsunamis, formation and expansion of salt pans, and storms. The abrupt contacts between the salt-marsh peat and overlying intertidal mud suggest that erosion of the peat was followed by rapid infilling of accommodation space. Correlation of erosional surfaces across 2.5 km suggests a common mechanism and we propose that the erosion was caused by hurricanes and/or large winter storms. Further, the changes in salt-marsh sedimentation documented at several sites on the north shore of Delaware Bay were synchronous and broadly correlate with storm over-wash deposits and historical record of hurricane landfalls in New Jersey. We estimated wetland recovery time from hurricane-induced erosion using radiocarbon dates that bracket the erosive event in the sedimentary record. Following erosion and lowering of the marsh surface into the tidal frame a low-marsh ecosystem recolonizes the site, followed by recovery to a high salt-marsh environment. We estimate that this ecological and sedimentary succession can take up to 200 years.

  15. Salt marsh mapping based on a short-time interval NDVI time-series from HJ-1 CCD imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    SUN, C.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes are regard as one of the most dynamic and valuable ecosystems in coastal zone. It is crucial to obtain accurate information on the species composition and spatial distribution of salt marshes in time since they are experiencing tremendous replacement and disappearance. However, discriminating various types of salt marshes is a rather difficult task because of the strong spectral similarities. In previous studies, salt marsh mappings were mainly focused on high-spatial and hyperspectral resolution imageries combined with auxiliary information but this method can hardly extend to a large region. With high temporal and moderate spatial resolutions, Chinese HJ-1 CCD imagery would not only allow monitoring phenological changes of salt marsh vegetation in short-time intervals, but also cover large areas of salt marshes. Taking the middle coast of Jiangsu (east China) as an example, our study first constructed a monthly NDVI time-series to classify various types of salt marshes. Then, we tested the idea of compressed time-series continuously to broaden the applicability and portability of this particular approach. The results showed that (1) the overall accuracy of salt marsh mapping based on the monthly NDVI time-series reached 90.3%, which increased approximately 16.0% in contrast with a single-phase classification strategy; (2) a compressed time-series, including NDVI from six key months (April, June to September, and November) demonstrated very little decline (2.3%) in overall accuracy but led to obvious improvements in unstable regions; (3) Spartina alterniflora identification could be achieved with only a scene NDVI image from November, which could provide an effective way to regularly monitor its distribution. Besides, by comparing the calibrated performance between HJ-1 CCD and other sensors (i.e., Landsat TM/ETM+, OLI), we certified the reliability of HJ-1 CCD imagery, which is expected to pave the way for laws expansibility from this imagery.

  16. Composition of Fish Communities in a European Macrotidal Salt Marsh (the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laffaille, P.; Feunteun, E.; Lefeuvre, J.-C.

    2000-10-01

    At least 100 fish species are known to be present in the intertidal areas (estuaries, mudflats and salt marshes) of Mont Saint-Michel Bay. These and other comparable shallow marine coastal waters, such as estuaries and lagoons, play a nursery role for many fish species. However, in Europe little attention has been paid to the value of tidal salt marshes for fishes. Between March 1996 and April 1999, 120 tides were sampled in a tidal creek. A total of 31 species were caught. This community was largely dominated by mullets ( Liza ramada represent 87% of the total biomass) and sand gobies ( Pomatoschistus minutus and P. lozanoi represent 82% of the total numbers). These species and also Gasterosteus aculeatus , Syngnathus rostellatus, Dicentrarchus labrax, Mugil spp., Liza aurata and Sprattus sprattus were the most frequent species (>50% of monthly frequency of occurrence). In Europe, salt marshes and their creeks are flooded only during high spring tides. So, fishes only invade this environment during short immersion periods, and no species can be considered as marsh resident. But, the salt marsh was colonized by fish every time the tide reached the creek, and during the short time of flood, dominant fishes fed actively and exploited the high productivity. Nevertheless, this study shows that there is little interannual variation in the fish community and there are three ' seasons ' in the fish fauna of the marsh. Marine straggler and marine estuarine dependent species colonize marshes between spring (recruitment period in the bay) and autumn before returning into deeper adjacent waters. Estuarine fishes are present all year round with maximum abundances in the end of summer. The presence of fishes confirms that this kind of wetland plays an important trophic and nursery role for these species. Differences in densities and stages distribution of these species into Mont Saint-Michel systems (tidal mudflats, estuaries and tidal salt marshes) can reduce the trophic

  17. Seasonal Variation in the Quality of Dissolved and Particulate Organic Matter Exchanged Between a Salt Marsh and Its Adjacent Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osburn, C. L.; Mikan, M.; Etheridge, J. R.; Burchell, M. R.; Birgand, F.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes are transitional ecosystems between terrestrial and marine environments. Along with mangroves and other vegetated coastal habitats, salt marshes rank among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, with critical global importance for the planet's carbon cycle. Fluorescence was used to examine the quality of dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) exchanging between a tidal creek in a created salt marsh and its adjacent estuary in eastern North Carolina, USA. Samples from the creek were collected hourly over four tidal cycles in May, July, August, and October of 2011. Absorbance and fluorescence of chromophoric DOM (CDOM) and of base-extracted POM (BEPOM) served as the tracers for organic matter quality while dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and base-extracted particulate organic carbon (BEPOC) were used to compute fluxes. Fluorescence was modeled using parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) and principle components analysis (PCA) of the PARAFAC results. Of nine PARAFAC components modeled, we used multiple linear regression to identify tracers for recalcitrant DOM; labile soil-derived source DOM; detrital POM; and planktonic POM. Based on mass balance, recalcitrant DOC export was 86 g C m-2 yr-1 and labile DOC export was 49 g C m-2 yr-1. The marsh also exported 41 g C m-2 yr-1 of detrital terrestrial POC, which likely originated from lands adjacent to the North River estuary. Planktonic POC export from the marsh was 6 g C m-2 yr-1. Using the DOM and POM quality results obtained via fluorescence measurements and scaling up to global salt marsh area, we estimated that the potential release of CO2 from the respiration of salt marsh DOC and POC transported to estuaries could be 11 Tg C yr-1, roughly 4% of the recently estimated CO2 release for marshes and estuaries globally.

  18. Limitations and potential of satellite imagery to monitor environmental response to coastal flooding

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W.; Werle, Dirk; Suzuoki, Yukihiro; Rangoonwala, Amina; Lu, Zhong

    2012-01-01

    Storm-surge flooding and marsh response throughout the coastal wetlands of Louisiana were mapped using several types of remote sensing data collected before and after Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. These included synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data obtained from the (1) C-band advance SAR (ASAR) aboard the Environmental Satellite, (2) phased-array type L-band SAR (PALSAR) aboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite, and (3) optical data obtained from Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor aboard the Land Satellite (Landsat). In estuarine marshes, L-band SAR and C-band ASAR provided accurate flood extent information when depths averaged at least 80 cm, but only L-band SAR provided consistent subcanopy detection when depths averaged 50 cm or less. Low performance of inundation mapping based on C-band ASAR was attributed to an apparent inundation detection limit (>30 cm deep) in tall Spartina alterniflora marshes, a possible canopy collapse of shoreline fresh marsh exposed to repeated storm-surge inundations, wind-roughened water surfaces where water levels reached marsh canopy heights, and relatively high backscatter in the near-range portion of the SAR imagery. A TM-based vegetation index of live biomass indicated that the severity of marsh dieback was linked to differences in dominant species. The severest impacts were not necessarily caused by longer inundation but rather could be caused by repeated exposure of the palustrine marsh to elevated salinity floodwaters. Differential impacts occurred in estuarine marshes. The more brackish marshes on average suffered higher impacts than the more saline marshes, particularly the nearshore coastal marshes occupied by S. alterniflora.

  19. Acetate concentrations and oxidation in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    Acetate concentrations and rates of acetate oxidation and sulfate reduction were measured in S. alterniflora sediments in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Pore water extracted from cores by squeezing or centrifugation contained in greater than 0.1 mM acetate and, in some instances, greater than 1.0 mM. Pore water sampled nondestructively contained much less acetate, often less than 0.01 mM. Acetate was associated with roots, and concentrations varied with changes in plant physiology. Acetate turnover was very low whether whole core or slurry incubations were used. Radiotracers injected directly into soils yielded rates of sulfate reduction and acetate oxidation not significantly different from core incubation techniques. Regardless of incubation method, acetate oxidation did not account for a substantial percentage of sulfate reduction. These results differ markedly from data for unvegetated coastal sediments where acetate levels are low, oxidation rate constants are high, and acetate oxication rates greatly exceed rates of sulfate reduction. The discrepancy between rates of acetate oxidation and sulfate reduction in these marsh soils may be due either to the utilization of substrates other than acetate by sulfate reducers or artifacts associated with measurements of organic utilization by rhizosphere bacteria. Care must be taken when interpreting data from salt marsh sediments since the release of material from roots during coring may affect the concentrations of certain compounds as well as influencing results obtained when sediment incubations are employed.

  20. Spatial patch occupancy patterns of the Lower Keys marsh rabbit

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eaton, Mitchell J.; Hughes, Phillip T.; Nichols, James D.; Morkill, Anne; Anderson, Chad

    2011-01-01

    Reliable estimates of presence or absence of a species can provide substantial information on management questions related to distribution and habitat use but should incorporate the probability of detection to reduce bias. We surveyed for the endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) in habitat patches on 5 Florida Key islands, USA, to estimate occupancy and detection probabilities. We derived detection probabilities using spatial replication of plots and evaluated hypotheses that patch location (coastal or interior) and patch size influence occupancy and detection. Results demonstrate that detection probability, given rabbits were present, was <0.5 and suggest that naïve estimates (i.e., estimates without consideration of imperfect detection) of patch occupancy are negatively biased. We found that patch size and location influenced probability of occupancy but not detection. Our findings will be used by Refuge managers to evaluate population trends of Lower Keys marsh rabbits from historical data and to guide management decisions for species recovery. The sampling and analytical methods we used may be useful for researchers and managers of other endangered lagomorphs and cryptic or fossorial animals occupying diverse habitats.

  1. Biogeochemical drivers of phosphatase activity in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freitas, Joana; Duarte, Bernardo; Caçador, Isabel

    2014-10-01

    Although nitrogen has become a major concern for wetlands scientists dealing with eutrophication problems, phosphorous represents another key element, and consequently its biogeochemical cycling has a crucial role in eutrophication processes. Microbial communities are a central component in trophic dynamics and biogeochemical processes on coastal systems, since most of the processes in sediments are microbial-mediated due to enzymatic action, including the mineralization of organic phosphorus carried out by acid phosphatase activity. In the present work, the authors investigate the biogeochemical sediment drivers that control phosphatase activities. Authors also aim to assess biogeochemical factors' influence on the enzyme-mediated phosphorous cycling processes in salt marshes. Plant rhizosediments and bare sediments were collected and biogeochemical features, including phosphatase activities, inorganic and organic phosphorus contents, humic acids content and pH, were assessed. Acid phosphatase was found to give the highest contribution for total phosphatase activity among the three pH-isoforms present in salt marsh sediments, favored by acid pH in colonized sediments. Humic acids also appear to have an important role inhibiting phosphatase activity. A clear relation of phosphatase activity and inorganic phosphorous was also found. The data presented reinforces the role of phosphatase in phosphorous cycling.

  2. Nitrogen assimilation from amorphous detritus by two coastal consumers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Avanzo, Charlene; Alber, Merryl; Valiela, Ivan

    1991-08-01

    The food value of recognizable pieces of dead vegetation, morphous detritus, has been the focus of many studies in coastal systems. In contrast, the nutritional quality and formation process of amorphous detritus, aggregates of dissolved organic matter (DOM), is poorly studied. We created 15N-labelled aggregates from the leachate of four macrophytes, a marsh grass and three macroalgae common in New England coastal waters. We fed the labelled aggregates to two coastal consumers, the grass shrimp Palaemonetes pugio and the sheepshead minnow Cyprinodon variegatus. Fish and shrimp fed each of the labelled aggregates became labelled with 15N. This study provides direct evidence for nitrogen assimilation from amorphous detritus by marine consumers. In addition, fish fed amorphous marsh grass detritus assimilated 10-40 times more nitrogen from this detritus than from morphous grass detritus. Therefore, amorphous aggregates may be higher-quality food than morphous detrital fragments for coastal consumers.

  3. Effects of petroleum pollution on epiphytic salt marsh N{sub 2}-fixing communities

    SciTech Connect

    Piehler, M.; Swistak, J.; Pinckney, J.; Paerl, H.

    1995-12-31

    Increasing human activity in and around coastal waters of the US had led to elevations in both acute and chronic petroleum pollution. Petroleum inputs may have significant effects on Spartina altemiflora marshes, which are widespread on the east coast of the US and play an integral role in coastal nutrient cycling and trophodynamics. Because productivity and decomposition are often N limited in these systems, N{sub 2}-fixation may be an important source of erogenous N. Epiphytic N{sub 2}-fixing cyanobacterial communities occur on Spartina stems throughout coastal salt marshes. Short-term (3 hour) incubations of standing dead Spartina stems in creek water amended with weathered diesel fuel led to a reduction in N{sub 2}-fixation rates relative to natural rates. Lower level diesel fuel additions (between 0.33% and 0.0167% v/v) had either no significant effect or led to increases in acetylene reduction rates. Reduction of epiphytic N{sub 2}-fixation on Spartina stems by acute petroleum pollution could have several implications for salt marsh functioning including, reduction in prey for resident macrofauna and magnification of N limitation in the system. The fact that N{sub 2}-fixation is not completely inhibited, even at high levels of petroleum pollution, should be considered when formulating remedial strategies for petroleum spills in salt marshes. Removal of Spartina by burning or cutting may be counter-productive in that it eliminates an important functional component of the microbial community that may facilitate pollution assimilation. Efforts are currently underway to assess the effect of chronic petroleum pollution on this N{sub 2}-fixing community.

  4. Standardized North American marsh bird monitoring protocol

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Conway, Courtney J.

    2011-01-01

    Little is known about the population status of many marsh-dependent birds in North America but recent efforts have focused on collecting more reliable information and estimates of population trends. As part of that effort, a standardized survey protocol was developed in 1999 that provided guidance for conducting marsh bird surveys throughout North America such that data would be consistent among locations. The original survey protocol has been revised to provide greater clarification on many issues as the number of individuals using the protocol has grown. The Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Protocol instructs surveyors to conduct an initial 5-minute passive point-count survey followed by a series of 1-minute segments during which marsh bird calls are broadcast into the marsh following a standardized approach. Surveyors are instructed to record each individual bird from the suite of 26 focal species that are present in their local area on separate lines of a datasheet and estimate the distance to each bird. Also, surveyors are required to record whether each individual bird was detected within each 1-minute subsegment of the survey. These data allow analysts to use several different approaches for estimating detection probability. The Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Protocol provides detailed instructions that explain the field methods used to monitor marsh birds in North America.

  5. Annual net ecosystem exchanges of carbon dioxide and methane from a temperate brackish marsh: should the focus of marsh restoration be on brackish environments?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Windham-Myers, L.; Anderson, F. E.; Bergamaschi, B. A.; Ferner, M. C.; Schile, L. M.; Spinelli, G.

    2015-12-01

    The exchange and transport of carbon in tidally driven, saline marsh ecosystems provide habitat and trophic support for coastal wildlife and fisheries, while potentially accumulating and storing carbon at some of the highest rates compared to other ecosystems. However, due to the predicted rise in sea level over the next century, the preservation and restoration of estuarine habitats is necessary to compensate for their expected decline. In addition, restoration of these marsh systems can also reduce the impacts of global climate change as they assimilate as much carbon as their freshwater counterparts, while emitting less methane due to the higher concentrations of sulfate in seawater. Unfortunately, in brackish marshes, with salinity concentrations less than 18 parts per thousand (ppt), simple relationships between methane production, salinity and sulfate concentrations are not well known. Here we present the net ecosystem exchange (NEE) of carbon dioxide and methane, as calculated by the eddy covariance method, from a brackish marsh ecosystem in the San Francisco Estuary where salinity ranges from oligohaline (0.5-5 ppt) to mesohaline (5-18 ppt) conditions. Daily rates of carbon dioxide and methane NEE ranged from approximately 10 gC-CO2 m-2 d-1 and 0 mgC-CH4 m-2 d-1, during the winter to -15 gC-CO2 m-2 d-1 and 30 mgC-CH4 m-2 d-1, in the summer growing season. A comparison between similar measurements made from freshwater wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta found that the daily rates of carbon dioxide NEE were similar, but daily rates of methane NEE were just a small fraction (0-15%). Our research also shows that the daily fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane at the brackish marsh were highly variable and may be influenced by the tidal exchanges of seawater. Furthermore, the observed decline in methane production from summer to fall may have resulted from a rise in salinity and/or a seasonal decline in water and air temperatures. Our research goals are

  6. Surface elevation dynamics in vegetated Spartina marshes versus unvegetated tidal ponds along the mid-Atlantic coast, USA, with implications to waterbirds

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Erwin, R. Michael; Cahoon, Donald R.; Prosser, Diann J.; Sanders, Geoffrey; Hensel, Philippe

    2006-01-01

    Mid Atlantic coastal salt marshes contain a matrix of vegetation diversified by tidal pools, pannes, and creeks, providing habitats of varying importance to many species of breeding, migrating, and wintering waterbirds. We hypothesized that changes in marsh elevation were not sufficient to keep pace with those of sea level in both vegetated and unvegetated Spartina alterniflora sites at a number of mid lagoon marsh areas along the Atlantic coast. We also predicted that northern areas would suffer less of a deficit than would southern sites. Beginning in August 1998, we installed surface elevation tables at study sites on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, southern New Jersey, and two locations along Virginia's eastern shore. We compared these elevation changes over the 4-4.5 yr record with the long-term (> 50 yr) tidal records for each locale. We also collected data on waterbird use of these sites during all seasons of the year, based on ground surveys and replicated surveys from observation platforms. Three patterns of marsh elevation change were found. At Nauset Marsh, Cape Cod, the Spartina marsh surface tracked the pond surface, both keeping pace with regional sea-level rise rates. In New Jersey, the ponds are becoming deeper while marsh surface elevation remains unchanged from the initial reading. This may result in a submergence of the marsh in the future, assuming sea-level rise continues at current rates. Ponds at both Virginia sites are filling in, while marsh surface elevation rates do not seem to be keeping pace with local sea-level rise. An additional finding at all sites was that subsidence in the vegetated marsh surfaces was less than in unvegetated areas, reflecting the importance of the root mat in stabilizing sediments. The implications to migratory waterbirds are significant. Submergence of much of the lagoonal marsh area in Virginia and New Jersey over the next century could have major negative (i.e., flooding) effects on nesting populations of marsh

  7. Building a Probabilistic Denitrification Model for an Oregon Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moon, J. B.; Stecher, H. A.; DeWitt, T.; Nahlik, A.; Regutti, R.; Michael, L.; Fennessy, M. S.; Brown, L.; Mckane, R.; Naithani, K. J.

    2015-12-01

    Despite abundant work starting in the 1950s on the drivers of denitrification (DeN), mechanistic complexity and methodological challenges of direct DeN measurements have resulted in a lack of reliable rate estimates across landscapes, and a lack of operationally valid, robust models. Measuring and modeling DeN are particularly challenging in tidal systems, which play a vital role in buffering adjacent coastal waters from nitrogen inputs. These systems are hydrologically and biogeochemically complex, varying on fine temporal and spatial scales. We assessed the spatial and temporal variability of soil nitrate (NO3-) levels and O2 availability, two primary drivers of DeN, in surface soils of Winant salt marsh located in Yaquina estuary, OR during the summers of 2013 and 2014. We found low temporal variability in soil NO3- concentrations across years, tide series, and tide cycles, but high spatial variability linked to elevation gradients (i.e., habitat types); spatial variability within the high marsh habitat (0 - 68 μg N g-1 dry soil) was correlated with distance to major tide creek channels and connectivity to upslope N-fixing red alder. Soil O2 measurements collected at 5 cm below ground across three locations on two spring tide series showed that O2 drawdown rates were also spatially variable. Depending on the marsh location, O2 draw down ranged from sub-optimal for DeN (> 80 % O2 saturation) across an entire tide series (i.e., across days) to optimum (i.e., ~ 0 % O2 saturation) within one overtopping tide event (i.e., within hours). We are using these results, along with empirical relationships created between DeN and soil NO3- concentrations for Winant to improve on a pre-existing tidal DeN model. We will develop the first version of a fully probabilistic hierarchical Bayesian tidal DeN model to quantify parameter and prediction uncertainties, which are as important as determining mean predictions in order to distinguish measurable differences across the marsh.

  8. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the salt marsh vegetation of Louisiana.

    PubMed

    Hester, Mark W; Willis, Jonathan M; Rouhani, Shahrokh; Steinhoff, Marla A; Baker, Mary C

    2016-09-01

    The coastal wetland vegetation component of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment documented significant injury to the plant production and health of Louisiana salt marshes exposed to oiling. Specifically, marsh sites experiencing trace or greater vertical oiling of plant tissues displayed reductions in cover and peak standing crop relative to reference (no oiling), particularly in the marsh edge zone, for the majority of this four year study. Similarly, elevated chlorosis of plant tissue, as estimated by a vegetation health index, was detected for marsh sites with trace or greater vertical oiling in the first two years of the study. Key environmental factors, such as hydrologic regime, elevation, and soil characteristics, were generally similar across plant oiling classes (including reference), indicating that the observed injury to plant production and health was the result of plant oiling and not potential differences in environmental setting. Although fewer significant impacts to plant production and health were detected in the latter years of the study, this is due in part to decreased sample size occurring as a result of erosion (shoreline retreat) and resultant loss of plots, and should not be misconstrued as indicating full recovery of the ecosystem. PMID:27299994

  9. Geratology and decomposition of Spartina versicolor in a brackish Mediterranean marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menéndez, Margarita; Sanmartí, Neus

    2007-08-01

    Most studies on plant decomposition in salt marshes have been carried out in Spartina-dominated marshes in North America. In contrast, few have focused on marshes in Mediterranean systems. Moreover, research into litter decay in estuarine systems has been conducted with plant material collected before natural senescence and death. Here we followed the growth, senescence, leaf fall, and nutrient dynamics of Spartina versicolor to examine litter decay in a Mediterranean coastal system. We studied the dynamics of fungi, meiofauna and algae associated with detached S. versicolor litter, and the effect of the microenvironment (above and underneath wracks of dead Spartina) on decomposition. The exponential decay coefficient rate ( k, day -1) was higher for leaves attached to standing plants (0.0019) than after leaf abscission (0.0002-0.001). The decomposition rate of detached leaves was highly variable and depended on the position of the litter. The large differences in decomposition rates between the two experimental conditions indicate that the microenvironment affected the associated litter community during the initial phase of decay. Water availability and high temperatures over the sediment surface increased the density of meiofauna and epiphyton and decreased fungal biomass during the first 20 days of the experiment. Fungal biomass was at the lower end of reported values, probably as a result of the drier conditions and high salinity in the Mediterranean marsh. Spartina versicolor detritus acted as a nutrient sink by immobilizing large amounts of N and P for at least one year.

  10. Suspended Solids Flux Between Salt Marsh and Adjacent Bay: A Long-term Continuous Measurement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suk, N. S.; Guo, Q.; Psuty, N. P.

    1999-07-01

    The beneficial roles of coastal salt marshes have been well identified as a storm surge protector, a nursery for young fish and a natural filter for pollutants. However, the vectors of nutrients and suspended solids exchanges between the salt marsh and the adjacent bay are not completely known. In this study, suspended solids flux between a salt marsh at Tuckerton, New Jersey, U.S.A. and Great Bay was continuously measured for an extended period of time by an improved monitoring methodology. A field infrared nephelometric turbidimeter was deployed to measure turbidity continuously at the mouth of the tidal creek, and the measured turbidity data were used to derive suspended solids concentrations. Current velocity and water surface elevation were measured concurrently at the same location. During the monitoring period from March to October 1996, suspended solids were found to be imported into the salt marsh from the adjacent bay. The small net import appeared to be inadequate for wetlands areal viability when compared to the relative sea-level rise rates. Results of this study suggested that a minimum of five water sample sets were needed to establish a reasonably good overall TSS-turbidity regression relationship in terms of flux quantification.

  11. Adaptations to tidal marshes in breeding populations of the swamp sparrow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Greenberg, R.; Droege, S.

    1990-01-01

    The Coastal Plain Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana nigrescens) was originally described from a small number of specimens from the tidal marshes of the Nanticoke River in southeastern Maryland. Based on our quantitative analysis of a larger series of specimens, we found that Swamp Sparrows collected during the breeding season from the Chesapeak and Delaware bays (and tributaries) and near the mouth of the Hudson River are generally less rusty, have more black in the crown and nape, and have larger bills than other Swamp Sparrows. Contrary to earlier accounts, we found M. g. nigrescens to be migratory, arriving after the spring migration and departing before the fall migration of the inland subspecies through the tidal marshes. The location of the wintering groups of M. g. nigrescens is unknown. We argue that the morphological and life history differences characterizing M. g. nigrescens reflect adaptation to tidal marshes. We base this hypothesis on the nature of the morphological differences, which are convergent with other tidal marsh breeding sparrows and other terrestrial vertebrates.

  12. Hurricane Katrina sediment slowed elevation loss in subsiding brackish marshes of the Mississippi River delta

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, K.L.; Cherry, J.A.

    2009-01-01

    Although hurricanes can damage or destroy coastal wetlands, they may play a beneficial role in reinvigorating marshes by delivering sediments that raise soil elevations and stimulate organic matter production. Hurricane Katrina altered elevation dynamics of two subsiding brackish marshes in the Mississippi River deltaic plain by adding 3 to 8 cm of sediment to the soil surface in August 2005. Soil elevations at both sites subsequently declined due to continued subsidence, but net elevation gain was still positive at both Pearl River (+1.7 cm) and Big Branch (+0.7 cm) marshes two years after the hurricane. At Big Branch where storm sediments had higher organic matter and water contents, post-storm elevation loss was more rapid due to initial compaction of the storm layer in combination with root-zone collapse. In contrast, elevation loss was slower at Pearl River where the storm deposit (high sand content) did not compact and the root zone did not collapse. Vegetation at both sites fully recovered within one year, and accumulation of root matter at Big Branch increased 10-fold from 2005 to 2006, suggesting that the hurricane stimulated belowground productivity. Results of this study imply that hurricane sediment may benefit subsiding marshes by slowing elevation loss. However, long-term effects of hurricane sediment on elevation dynamics will depend not only on the amount of sediment deposited, but on sediment texture and resistance to compaction as well as on changes in organic matter accumulation in the years following the hurricane.

  13. The Field Approach to Coastal Ecology, Fall Unit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Taylor, Beth

    This publication is designed for use as part of a curriculum series developed by the Regional Marine Science Project. Coastal environments are utilized to demonstrate basic principles of ecology to tenth grade students with emphasis placed on salt marshes in this first unit for the fall season. (Unit 2 is for spring season.) Material presented in…

  14. TOWARDS DEVELOPING INDICATORS OF SALT MARSH CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Five ecosystem services: water quality maintenance, erosion and flood control, recreation and cultural use, wildlife habitat, and food production were identified from the literature as key services to characterize salt marshes of high integrity. We describe a systems approach to ...

  15. Oregon Salt Marshes: How Blue are They?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two important ecosystem services of wetlands are carbon sequestration and filtration of nutrients and particulates. We quantified the carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates in salt marshes at 135 plots distributed across eight estuaries located in Oregon, USA. Net carbon and ...

  16. Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities following BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    McCall, Brittany D; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-01-01

    Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration activities that historically have impacted intertidal habitats such as salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the terrestrial arthropod community and marine invertebrates found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes. Sampling occurred in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails were unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods had largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy. PMID:22412916

  17. Disturbance and Recovery of Salt Marsh Arthropod Communities following BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    McCall, Brittany D.; Pennings, Steven C.

    2012-01-01

    Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration activities that historically have impacted intertidal habitats such as salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the terrestrial arthropod community and marine invertebrates found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes. Sampling occurred in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails were unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods had largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy. PMID:22412916

  18. Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities following BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    McCall, Brittany D; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-01-01

    Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration activities that historically have impacted intertidal habitats such as salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the terrestrial arthropod community and marine invertebrates found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes. Sampling occurred in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails were unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods had largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy.

  19. Growth of common brackish marsh macrophytes under altered hydrology and salinity regimes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Howard, Rebecca J.; Biagas, Janelda M.; Allain, Larry K.

    2016-01-01

    Coastal marsh plants are increasingly subject to physicochemical stressors under rising sea levels, and the maintenance of marsh ecological functions can depend on the ability of individual species and communities to tolerate or adapt to altered conditions. We conducted a greenhouse experiment to identify hydrology and salinity effects on growth of three common brackish marsh macrophytes of coastal Florida, USA: Distichlis spicata, Juncus roemerianus, and Spartina bakeri. The species were potted as monocultures and exposed to three salinities (0, 15, or 28 psu) and two hydrologic conditions (saturated, tidal) over 22 months. Final stem density of J. roemerianus and S. bakeri did not differ among treatments. In D. spicata, however, stem density was lowest at 28 psu and lower in tidal compared to saturated conditions. Mean stem height of all species was lowest at 28 psu. Aboveground biomass of J. roemerianus was not affected by the treatments, but in D. spicata andS. bakeri it was lowest at 28 psu. Results indicated that J. roemerianus was the most adaptable species and may, therefore, be more resilient to climate-change driven stressors. However, plant-plant interactions such as interspecific competition and facilitation can alter the response of individual species to environmental factors.

  20. Multiple baseline radar interferometry applied to coastal land cover classification and change analyses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ramsey, Elijah W.; Lu, Zhiming; Rangoonwala, A.; Rykhus, Russ

    2006-01-01

    ERS-1 and ERS-2 SAR data were collected in tandem over a four-month period and used to generate interferometric coherence, phase, and intensity products that we compared to a classified land cover coastal map of Big Bend, Florida. Forests displayed the highest intensity, and marshes the lowest. The intensity for fresh marsh and forests progressively shifted while saline marsh intensity variance distribution changed with the season. Intensity variability suggested instability between temporal comparisons. Forests, especially hardwoods, displayed lower coherences and marshes higher. Only marshes retained coherence after 70 days. Coherence was more responsive to land cover class than intensity and provided discrimination in winter. Phase distributions helped reveal variation in vegetation structure, identify broad land cover classes and unique within-class variations, and estimate water-level changes. Copyright ?? 2006 by V. H. Winston & Son, Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. Sedimentary Biogeochemical Indicators for Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Blowout on Coastal Wetlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNeal, K. S.; Guthrie, C. L.; Mishra, D.

    2013-05-01

    The impact of the Deepwater Horizon blowout on coastal wetlands can be understood through investigating carbon loading and microbial activity in salt marsh sediments. Carbon influx causes porewater sulfide to increase in wetland sediment, making it toxic and inhospitable to marsh vegetation. High sulfide levels due to increased microbial activity can lead to plant browning and mortality. Preliminary analyses at Marsh Point, MS indicated that sulfate reducing bacteria are more active in contaminated grass, producing sulfide concentrations 100x higher than in non-contaminated grass. Sediment electrode profiles, hydrocarbon contamination, and microbial community profiles were measured at three additional locations to capture the spatial sedimentary geochemical processes impacting salt marsh dieback. Findings indicate that response to contamination is variable due to physical and biogeochemical processes specific to each marsh. Temporal evaluation indicates that there is a lag in maximum response to contamination due to seasonal effects on microbial activity.

  2. Modern coastal back-barrier environment: analog for coal basin or for carbonaceous black shale

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, J.R.; Cameron, B.

    1988-04-01

    Coastal back-barrier salt-marsh environments are evaluated as possible modern analogs for some coal-forming basins. Analysis of the amount of organic matter in Holocene salt-marsh peats from 158 core samples at Plum Island, Massachusetts, indicates that the organic matter content is too low to ultimately produce coal. C-14 dates indicate depositional rates of 1 mm/yr. Both the high and low salt-marsh peat facies would probably diagenetically alter to a carbonaceous shale. A review of the organic content reported from other nondeltaic back-barrier and coastal salt-marsh environments indicates that they commonly have too much detrital material to classify as coal precursors. Barrier-island systems, being affected by sea-level changes and subject to landward migrations, also lack long-term stability needed for coal formation. These data suggest that modern back-barrier environments are not good analogs for coal-forming basins.

  3. Unsupervised classification and areal measurement of land and water coastal features on the Texas coast

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flores, L. M.; Reeves, C. A.; Hixon, S. B.; Paris, J. F.

    1973-01-01

    Multispectral scanner (MSS) digital data from ERTS-1 was used to delineate coastal land, vegetative, and water features in two portions of the Texas Coastal Zone. Data (Scene ID's 1037-16244 and 1037-16251) acquired on August 29, 1972, were analyzed on NASA Johnson Space Center systems through the use of two clustering algorithms. Seventeen to 30 spectrally homogeneous classes were so defined. Many classes were identified as being pure features such as water masses, salt marsh, beaches, pine, hardwoods, and exposed soil or construction materials. Most classes were identified to be mixtures of the pure class types. Using an objective technique for measuring the percentage of wetland along salt marsh boundaries, an analysis was made of the accuracy of areal measurement of salt marshes. Accuracies ranged from 89 to 99 percent. Aircraft photography was used as the basis for determining the true areal size of salt marshes in the study sites.

  4. Marsh Sediment and Species Composition in Hudson River Tidal Marshes: Change over the Last Millennium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peteet, D. M.; Pederson, D. C.; Kurdyla, D.; Guilderson, T.; Kleinstein, D.; Higgiston, P.

    2004-05-01

    Understanding the signature of the Hudson River watershed to changes in the hydrological cycle is possible using marsh archives downriver. A suite of lower Hudson River tidal marshes is examined to identify changes in organic vs. inorganic content in the context of environmental change. Complex vegetational changes in the various marshes, identified by pollen and macrofossil studies, demonstrate the response to natural climate variability as well as human-induced changes of the last four centuries. While Piermont Marsh shows high inorganic content related to drought during the Medieval Warm Period, the subsequent Little Ice Age that followed shows a drop in this input. However, the nineteenth century of landscape disturbance reveals an increase again in upland watershed inorganics, followed by decline in the twentieth century. Jamaica Bay and Staten Island marshes to date show reduced inorganic input to these wetlands from the watershed up to the twentieth century. Jamaica Bay, NY marsh cores indicate increases in organic content in the twentieth century which may be related to dramatic land use changes in the surrounding New York area. An increase in the sand-sized fraction of organics may be attributed to the changes in local marsh plant production, but multiple hypotheses are being tested. Comparisons with adjacent Hackensack Meadowlands marshes demonstrate that local marsh plant production can dramatically alter the organic content and thus the carbon sequestration in the marshes. Species compositional changes in most of the marshes in the twentieth century resulted in a loss of biodiversity with the invasive increase of Typha (cattail) and Phragmites. This loss is linked to eutrophication of the estuary.

  5. Ecogeomorphological feedbacks in a tidal freshwater marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palinkas, C. M.; Engelhardt, K.

    2013-12-01

    Tidal freshwater marshes are critical components of fluvial and estuarine ecosystems. However, ecogeomorphological feedbacks (i.e., feedbacks between sediment dynamics and the vegetation community) in freshwater marshes have not received as much attention as within their saltwater counterparts. This study evaluates the role of these feedbacks in stabilizing marsh-surface elevation, relative to sea-level rise, in Dyke Marsh Preserve (Potomac River, USA). Specifically, we relate the composition of the vegetation community to current and historical patterns of sedimentation that occur on bimonthly to decadal time scales. Along with a ~3-year time series of bimonthly and seasonal-scale observations, 210Pb (half-life 22.3 y) profiles are used to identify sites with relatively steady sediment accumulation (i.e., stable sediments) and those with numerous deposition/erosion events (i.e., unstable sediments). Differences in the vegetation community (e.g., composition, stem density) and sediment character (e.g., organic content, grain size) among sites in each of these stability categories are examined with statistical techniques and compared to observations of marsh-surface elevation change. The resulting insights are placed into a geomorphological context to assess the potential response of this marsh to rapid global environmental change.

  6. Effects of warming and altered precipitation on plant and nutrient dynamics of a New England salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Charles, Heather; Dukes, Jeffrey S

    2009-10-01

    Salt marsh structure and function, and consequently ability to support a range of species and to provide ecosystem services, may be affected by climate change. To better understand how salt marshes will respond to warming and associated shifts in precipitation, we conducted a manipulative experiment in a tidal salt marsh in Massachusetts, USA. We exposed two plant communities (one dominated by Spartina patens-Distichlis spicata and one dominated by short form Spartina alternifora) to five climate manipulations: warming via passive open-topped chambers, doubled precipitation, warming and doubled precipitation, extreme drought via rainout shelter, and ambient conditions. Modest daytime warming increased total aboveground biomass of the S. alterniflora community (24%), but not the S. patens-D. spicata community. Warming also increased maximum stem heights of S. alterniflora (8%), S. patens (8%), and D. spicata (15%). Decomposition was marginally accelerated by warming in the S. alternifora community. Drought markedly increased total biomass of the S. alterniflora community (53%) and live S. patens (69%), perhaps by alleviating waterlogging of sediments. Decomposition was accelerated by increased precipitation and slowed by drought, particularly in the S. patens-D. spicata community. Flowering phenology responded minimally to the treatments, and pore water salinity, sulfide, ammonium, and phosphate concentrations showed no treatment effects in either plant community. Our results suggest that these salt marsh communities may be resilient to modest amounts of warming and large changes in precipitation. If production increases under climate change, marshes will have a greater ability to keep pace with sea-level rise, although an increase in decomposition could offset this. As long as marshes are not inundated by flooding due to sea-level rise, increases in aboveground biomass and stem heights suggest that marshes may continue to export carbon and nutrients to coastal

  7. Component greenhouse gas fluxes and radiative balance from two deltaic marshes in Louisiana: Pairing chamber techniques and eddy covariance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krauss, Ken W.; Holm, Guerry O.; Perez, Brian C.; McWhorter, David E.; Cormier, Nicole; Moss, Rebecca F.; Johnson, Darren J.; Neubauer, Scott C.; Raynie, Richard C.

    2016-06-01

    Coastal marshes take up atmospheric CO2 while emitting CO2, CH4, and N2O. This ability to sequester carbon (C) is much greater for wetlands on a per area basis than from most ecosystems, facilitating scientific, political, and economic interest in their value as greenhouse gas sinks. However, the greenhouse gas balance of Gulf of Mexico wetlands is particularly understudied. We describe the net ecosystem exchange (NEEc) of CO2 and CH4 using eddy covariance (EC) in comparison with fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O using chambers from brackish and freshwater marshes in Louisiana, USA. From EC, we found that 182 g C m-2 yr-1 was lost through NEEc from the brackish marsh. Of this, 11 g C m-2 yr-1 resulted from net CH4 emissions and the remaining 171 g C m-2 yr-1 resulted from net CO2 emissions. In contrast, -290 g C m2 yr-1 was taken up through NEEc by the freshwater marsh, with 47 g C m-2 yr-1 emitted as CH4 and -337 g C m-2 yr-1 taken up as CO2. From chambers, we discovered that neither site had large fluxes of N2O. Sustained-flux greenhouse gas accounting metrics indicated that both marshes had a positive (warming) radiative balance, with the brackish marsh having a substantially greater warming effect than the freshwater marsh. That net respiratory emissions of CO2 and CH4 as estimated through chamber techniques were 2-4 times different from emissions estimated through EC requires additional understanding of the artifacts created by different spatial and temporal sampling footprints between techniques.

  8. Flax pond ecosystem study: exchanges of CO/sub 2/ between a salt marsh and the atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Houghton, R.A.; Woodwell, G.M.

    1980-12-01

    Profiles of CO/sub 2/ concentration, windspeed, and temperature were used in the aerodynamic flux technique to calculate the CO/sub 2/ exchange between a Long Island salt marsh and the atmosphere. Uptake of CO/sub 2/ by the marsh during hours of sunlight and release during the night occurred during all times of the year. The rates of CO/sub 2/ exchange were highest during midsummer, 2.3 g CO/sub 2/.m/sup -2/.h/sup -1/ averaged over the daylight hours of July, and 1.3 g CO/sub 2/.m/sup -2/.h/sup -1/ for both uptake and release. The net 24-h exchange rates followed Spartina growth and senescence during the summer and fall, and photosynthesis of benthic algae during late winter and spring. There was a net uptake of Co/sub 2/ over 24 h by the marsh during all seasons except autumn. The net annual flow of carbon was from the atmosphere to Flax Pond (approx. = 300 g C.m/sup -2/.yr/sup -1/ averaged over the entire marsh ecosystem). This flux was larger than the net exchange of carbon between the marsh and either uplands, sediments, or coastal waters. The net uptake of CO/sub 2/ during summer was less than the net productivity of the vascular plants, indicating that some of the CO/sub 2/ assimilated by the plants came from heterotrophic respiration within the marsh. Nevertheless, respiration by the plants was by far the largest source of CO/sub 2/ from the marsh surface. Nighttime respiration of the ecosystem released a total of approx. = 510 g C.m/sup -2/.yr/sup -1/ to the atmosphere.

  9. Can Thin-lipped Mullet Directly Exploit the Primary and Detritic Production of European Macrotidal Salt Marshes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laffaille, P.; Feunteun, E.; Lefebvre, C.; Radureau, A.; Sagan, G.; Lefeuvre, J.-C.

    2002-04-01

    Juveniles and adults (>100 mm) of Liza ramada colonize macrotidal salt marsh creeks of Mont Saint-Michel bay (France) between March and November, during spring tide floods (43% of the tides) and return to coastal waters during the ebb. This fish species actively feeds during its short stay in the creek (from 1 to 2 h). On average, each fish swallows sediment including living and inert organic matter, which amounts to 8% of its fresh body weight. Their diet is dominated by small benthic items (especially diatoms and salt marsh plant detritus), that correspond to the primary and detritic production of this macrotidal salt marsh creek. Despite very short submersion periods, mullets filter and ingest large quantities of sediment and concentrated organic matter (on average organic matter in stomach content is 31%) produced by these coastal wetlands. European salt marshes are thus shown to act as trophic areas for mullets, which are well adapted to this constraining habitat which is only flooded for short periods during spring tides.

  10. The effect of long-term and decadal climate and hydrology variations on estuarine marsh dynamics: An identifying case study from the Río de la Plata

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerch, M.; Scholten, J.; Carretero, S.; García-Rodríguez, F.; Kumbier, K.; Baechtiger, M.; Liebetrau, V.

    2016-09-01

    The vertical growth of coastal wetlands is known to primarily be controlled by local tidal range and sediment availability as well as the occurrence of storm events. In estuaries, sediment availability additionally depends on riverine sediment input, the effect of which may be more pronounced in some parts of the estuary, thereby introducing a distinct spatial pattern that depends on the estuary's shape as well as the riverine sediment input and the hydro-meteorological regime. In the present study, we investigate how estuarine marshes along the whole Río de la Plata (RdlP) are affected by decadal and long-term variations in river discharge and storm activity. The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), in this context, appears to introduce a pronounced decadal variability on sediment loads brought into the RdlP. Based on 15 sediment cores, recovered along the RdlP and adjacent Atlantic coast, vertical marsh growth rates were studied using radionuclide dating (210Pb and 137Cs) and grain size distributions. By comparing these sedimentological records with historic river discharge and storm surge data, we spatially interpret the relative importance of temporal variations in river discharge and storm activity on estuarine marsh growth. By delivering the first estimates for vertical growth rates of the RdlP marshes, we conclude that with average vertical marsh growth rates between 0.4 and 2.6 cm year- 1, the RdlP marshes are highly resilient against drowning under present and future sea-level rise (SLR) conditions. Furthermore, our results confirm a large spatial variability of the drivers for vertical marsh growth; extreme storm surges appear to play a role in the development of the outer RdlP marshes whereas the temporal variations in river discharge seem to be hierarchically more important for the marshes in the inner estuary.

  11. TYPES OF SALT MARSH EDGE AND EXPORT OF TROPHIC ENERGY FROM MARSHES TO DEEPER HABITATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We quantified nekton and estimated trophic export at salt marshes with both erosional and depositional edges at the Goodwin Islands (York River, Virginia, USA). At depositional-edge marshes, we examined trophic flows through quantitative sampling with 1.75 m2 drop rings, and thro...

  12. Dynamics and fate of SOC in tidal marshes along a salinity gradient (Scheldt estuary, Belgium)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Van de Broek, Marijn; Temmermann, Stijn; Merckx, Roel; Wang, Zhengang; Govers, Gerard

    2016-04-01

    Coastal ecosystems have been attributed the potential to store large amounts of organic carbon (OC), often referred to as blue carbon, of which a considerable amount is stored in tidal marsh soils. Large uncertainties still exist with respect to the amount and controlling factors of soil organic carbon (SOC) stored in these ecosystems. Moreover, most research has focused on SOC dynamics of saltmarshes, while brackish and freshwater marshes are often even more productive and thus receive even larger organic carbon inputs. Therefore, in this study the OC dynamics of tidal marsh soils along an estuarine gradient are studied in order to contribute to our knowledge of 1) the stocks, 2) the controlling factors and 3) the fate of SOC in tidal marshes with different environmental characteristics. This research thus contributes to a better understanding of the potential of coastal environments to store organic carbon under future climatic changes. Soil and vegetation samples are collected in tidal salt-, brackish- and freshwater marshes in the Scheldt estuary (Belgium - The Netherlands). At each tidal marsh, three replicate soil cores up to 1.5m depth in 0.03m increments are collected at locations with both a low and a high elevation. These cores are analyzed for OC, stable C and N isotopes, bulk density and texture. Incubation experiments of topsoil samples were conducted and both aboveground and belowground biomass were collected. The results show that SOC stocks (range: 13,5 - 35,4 kg OC m-2), standing biomass (range: 2000 - 7930 g DW m-2) and potential soil respiration of CO2 (range: 0,03 - 0,12 % per unit OC per day) decrease with increasing salinity. This shows that both the amount of OC from local macrophytes and the quality of the organic matter are important factors controlling the SOC stocks. In addition, based on the analysis of stable C and N isotopes, it appears that when a significant fraction of SOC is derived from local macrophytes, higher SOC stocks are

  13. Late Holocene coastal wetlands change, Mississippi Sound, Alabama: Short-term vs. long-term patterns and processes

    SciTech Connect

    Davies, D.J.; Smith, W.E. . Environmental Geology Div.)

    1994-03-01

    Wetlands occupy much of the low-lying mainland coast in Mississippi Sound, Alabama, grading from Spartina salt marsh (48.8 km[sup 2]) to fresh water marshes (13.5 km[sup 2]) to forested wetlands (123.4 km[sup 2]) (Rathbun et al, 1987). These wetlands are undergoing rapid short-term (years to decades) net acreage loss due to headland shoreline erosion. In contrast, long-term (centuries to millennia) change in marsh area is largely due to submergence from Holocene transgression and local subsidence. The Sound overlies drowned Pleistocene-Holocene coastal sediments; existing salt marshes likely developed after inundation of paleomarshes cored at a MHW depth of [minus]3 to [minus]7 m in the mid-Sound (C[sup 14] dates of 4--7,000 Y.B.P.). Geomorphic evidence indicates the primary cause of short-term loss of salt marsh is localized erosion of its seaward edge, rather than submergence. A low (< 1 m) intertidal scarp and narrow sandy beach on open Sound shorelines indicate episodic storm erosion. Linear open Sound shorelines formed by wave modification, in contrast to typically less modified protected shores; nearshore Sound bathymetry shows a gently seaward sloping possible wave-cut terrace. Marsh erosion rates are due to several processes including water energy (background as well as seasonal storms); cohesiveness of marsh sediments; and health of marsh flora. Orientation of the shoreline relative to southerly wind-forced waves during passage of winter cold fronts may be the primary factor. While today's short-term rates of overall vertical coastal inundation are relatively low, the development of new marsh acreage is also negligible. As sediment influx from coastal streams is low, it may be difficult to sustain present marsh acreage should sea level rise accelerate.

  14. Chasing boundaries and cascade effects in a coupled barrier - marshes - lagoon system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenzo Trueba, J.; Mariotti, G.

    2015-12-01

    Low-lying coasts are often characterized by barriers islands, shore-parallel stretches of sand separated from the mainland by marshes and lagoons. We built an exploratory numerical model to examine the morphological feedbacks within an idealized barrier - marshes -lagoon system and predict its evolution under projected rates of sea level rise and sediment supply to the backbarrier environment. Our starting point is a recently developed morphodynamic model, which couples shoreface evolution and overwash processes in a dynamic framework. As such, the model is able to capture dynamics not reproduced by morphokinematic models, which advect geometries without specific concern to processes. These dynamics include periodic barrier retreat due to time lags in the shoreface response to barrier overwash, height drowning due to insufficient overwash fluxes as sea level rises, and width drowning, which occurs when the shoreface response rate is insufficient to maintain the barrier geometry during overwash-driven landward migration. We extended the model by coupling the barrier model with a model for the evolution of the marsh platform and the boundary between the marsh and the adjacent lagoon. The coupled model explicitly describes marsh edge processes and accounts for the modification of the wave regime associated with lagoon width (fetch). Model results demonstrate that changes in factors that are not typically associated with the dynamics of coastal barriers, such as the lagoon width and the rate of export/import of sediments from and to the lagoon, can lead to previously unidentified complex responses of the coupled system. In particular, a wider lagoon in the backbarrier, and/or a reduction in the supply of muddy sediments to the backbarrier, can increase barrier retreat rates and even trigger barrier drowning. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of incorporating backbarrier dynamics in models that aim at predicting the response of barrier systems.

  15. Response of salt marsh and mangrove wetlands to changes in atmospheric CO2, climate, and sea-level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mckee, Karen L.; Rogers, Kerrylee; Saintilan, Neil; Middleton, Beth A.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marsh and mangrove ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and associated climate and climate-induced changes. We provide a review of the literature detailing theoretical predictions and observed responses of coastal wetlands to a range of climate change stressors, including CO2, temperature, rainfall, and sea-level rise. This review incorporates a discussion of key processes controlling responses in different settings and thresholds of resilience derived from experimental and observational studies. We specifically consider the potential and observed effects on salt marsh and mangrove vegetation of changes in (1) elevated [CO2] on physiology, growth, and distribution; (2) temperature on distribution and diversity; (3) rainfall and salinity regimes on growth and competitive interactions; and (4) sea level on geomorphological, hydrological, and biological processes.

  16. Combined influence of sedimentation and vegetation on the soil carbon stocks of a coastal wetland in the Changjiang estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Tianyu; Chen, Huaipu; Cao, Haobing; Ge, Zhenming; Zhang, Liquan

    2016-08-01

    Coastal wetlands play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Large quantities of sediment deposited in the Changjiang (Yangtze) estuary by the Changjiang River promote the propagation of coastal wetlands, the expansion of saltmarsh vegetation, and carbon sequestration. In this study, using the Chongming Dongtan Wetland in the Changjiang estuary as the study area, the spatial and temporal distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and the influences of sedimentation and vegetation on the SOC stocks of the coastal wetland were examined in 2013. There was sediment accretion in the northern and middle areas of the wetland and in the Phragmites australis marsh in the southern area, and sediment erosion in the Scirpus mariqueter marsh and the bare mudflat in the southern area. More SOC accumulated in sediments of the vegetated marsh than in the bare mudflat. The total organic carbon (TOC) stocks increased in the above-ground biomass from spring to autumn and decreased in winter; in the below-ground biomass, they gradually increased from spring to winter. The TOC stocks were higher in the below-ground biomass than in the above-ground biomass in the P. australis and Spartina alterniflora marshes, but were lower in the below-ground biomass in S. mariqueter marsh. Stocks of SOC showed temporal variation and increased gradually in all transects from spring to winter. The SOC stocks tended to decrease from the high marsh down to the bare mudflat along the three transects in the order: P. australis marsh > S. alterniflora marsh > S. mariqueter marsh > bare mudflat. The SOC stocks of the same vegetation type were higher in the northern and middle transects than in the southern transect. These results suggest that interactions between sedimentation and vegetation regulate the SOC stocks in the coastal wetland in the Changjiang estuary.

  17. Effects of livestock species and stocking density on accretion rates in grazed salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolte, Stefanie; Esselink, Peter; Bakker, Jan P.; Smit, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes, are threatened by accelerated sea-level rise (SLR). Salt marshes deliver valuable ecosystem services such as coastal protection and the provision of habitat for a unique flora and fauna. Whether salt marshes in the Wadden Sea area are able to survive accelerated SLR depends on sufficient deposition of sediments which add to vertical marsh accretion. Accretion rate is influenced by a number of factors, and livestock grazing was recently included. Livestock grazing is assumed to reduce accretion rates in two ways: (a) directly by increasing soil compaction through trampling, and (b) indirectly by affecting the vegetation structure, which may lower the sediment deposition. For four years, we studied the impact of two livestock species (horse and cattle) at two stocking densities (0.5 and 1.0 animal ha-1) on accretion in a large-scale grazing experiment using sedimentation plates. We found lower cumulative accretion rates in high stocking densities, probably because more animals cause more compaction and create a lower canopy. Furthermore, a trend towards lower accretion rates in horse-compared to cattle-grazed treatments was found, most likely because (1) horses are more active and thus cause more compaction, and (2) herbage intake by horses is higher than by cattle, which causes a higher biomass removal and shorter canopy. During summer periods, negative accretion rates were found. When the grazing and non-grazing seasons were separated, the impact of grazing differed among years. In summer, we only found an effect of different treatments if soil moisture (precipitation) was relatively low. In winter, a sufficiently high inundation frequency was necessary to create differences between grazing treatments. We conclude that stocking densities, and to a certain extent also livestock species, affect accretion rates in salt marshes. Both stocking densities and livestock species should thus be taken into account in management

  18. Dielectric properties of marsh vegetation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kochetkova, Tatiana D.; Suslyaev, Valentin I.; Shcheglova, Anna S.

    2015-10-01

    The present work is devoted to the measurement of the dielectric properties of mosses and lichens in the frequency range from 500 MHz to 18 GHz. Subjects of this research were three species of march vegetation - moss (Dicranum polysetum Michx), groundcedar (Diphasiastrum complanatum (L.) Holub) and lichen (Cladonia stellaris). Samples of vegetation were collected in Tomsk region, Western Siberia, Russia. Complex dielectric permittivity was measured in coaxial section by Agilent Technologies vector network analyzer E8363B. Green samples was measured for some moisture contents from 100% to 3-5 % during a natural drying. The measurements were performed at room temperature, which remained within 21 ÷ 23 ° C. The frequency dependence of the dielectric constant for the three species of marsh vegetation differ markedly. Different parts of the complex permittivity dependency on moisture were fitted by line for all frequency points. Two break point were observed corresponding to the transition of water in the vegetation in various phase states. The complex permittivity spectra of water in the vegetation allow determining the most likely corresponding dielectric model of water in the vegetation by the method of hypothesis testing. It is the Debye's model. Parameters of Debye's model were obtained by numerical methods for all of three states of water. This enables to calculate the dielectric constant of water at any frequency range from 500 MHz to 18 GHz and to find the parameters of the dielectric model of the vegetation.

  19. Coastal Impacts Due to Sea-Level Rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fitzgerald, Duncan M.; Fenster, Michael S.; Argow, Britt A.; Buynevich, Ilya V.

    2008-05-01

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) recently estimated that global sea level will rise from 0.18 to 0.59 m by the end of this century. Rising sea level not only inundates low-lying coastal regions but also contributes to the redistribution of sediment along sandy coasts. Over the long term, sea-level rise (SLR) causes barrier islands to migrate landward while conserving mass through offshore and onshore sediment transport. Under these conditions, coastal systems adjust to SLR dynamically while maintaining a characteristic geometry that is unique to a particular coast. Coastal marshes are susceptible to accelerated SLR because their vertical accretion rates are limited and they may drown. As marshes convert to open water, tidal exchange through inlets increases, which leads to sand sequestration in tidal deltas and erosion of adjacent barrier shorelines.

  20. Remote sensing as an aid for marsh management

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ragan, J. G.; Green, J. H.

    1973-01-01

    NASA aerial photography, primarily color infrared and color positive transparencies, is used in a study of marsh management practices and in comparing managed and unmanaged marsh areas. Weir locations for tidal control are recommended.

  1. Application of remote sensors in coastal zone observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Caillat, J. M.; Elachi, C.; Brown, W. E., Jr.

    1975-01-01

    A review of processes taking place along coastlines and their biological consideration led to the determination of the elements which are required in the study of coastal structures and which are needed for better utilization of the resources from the oceans. The processes considered include waves, currents, and their influence on the erosion of coastal structures. Biological considerations include coastal fisheries, estuaries, and tidal marshes. Various remote sensors were analyzed for the information which they can provide and sites were proposed where a general ocean-observation plan could be tested.

  2. Remote sensing techniques for support of coastal zone resource management.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Piland, R. O.

    1973-01-01

    Description of remote sensing studies carried out for the purpose of developing and/or demonstrating techniques which can be employed for land use inventory, marsh vegetation classification, and water characteristics surveys. Attention is given to results obtained with (1) photo interpretation techniques and procedures for the development of land use information from high-altitude aircraft and satellite imagery, (2) computer based pattern recognition techniques utilizing multispectral scanner data for marsh vegetation classification, and (3) infrared and microwave techniques for the monitoring and surveying of coastal water temperature and salinity characteristics.

  3. Laboratory and field investigations of marsh edge erosion

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This chapter presents the laboratory experiments and field observations of marsh edge erosion. The marsh retreat rate in a field study site in Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana, was measured using GPS systems and aerial photographs. The wave environment was also measured in order to correlate the marsh edge...

  4. VALUING AN INTERVENTION: MARSH MIGRATION AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

    EPA Science Inventory

    There is growing interest in valuing ecosystem services provided by marsh systems. Ecosystem services represent a flow of benefits to society from the existence or functioning of the marsh. Therefore, to “put a value on” the marsh itself, or estimate a value of the na...

  5. Tidal Marshes: The Boundary between Land and Ocean.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gosselink, James

    An overview of the ecology of the tidal marshes along the gulf coast of the United States is presented. The following topics are included: (1) the human impact on tidal marshes; (2) the geologic origins of tidal marshes; (3) a description of the physical characteristics and ecosystem of the marshlands; (4) a description of the marshland food chain…

  6. Recent Trends in Bird Abundance on Rhode Island Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marsh habitat is under pressure from development on the landward side, and sea level rise from the seaward side. The resulting loss of habitat is potentially disastrous for salt marsh dependent species. To assess the population status of three species of salt marsh dependent...

  7. Coastal Prairie

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    The coastal prairie, located along the coastal plain of southwestern Louisiana and southcentral Texas, is the southernmost tip of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem so prevalent in the Midwest. The coastal prairie ecosystem once covered as much as 3.8 million ha (9 million acres); today, more than 99% of this land has been lost to agriculture, range improvement, and urbanization. The remainder is highly fragmented and severely threatened by invasions of exotic species and urban sprawl. In Louisiana, the former 1 million ha of coastal prairie have now been reduced to about 100 ha. In Texas, only about 100,000 ha of coastal prairie remain intact.

  8. Spatial variation of salt-marsh organic and inorganic deposition and organic carbon accumulation: Inferences from the Venice lagoon, Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roner, M.; D'Alpaos, A.; Ghinassi, M.; Marani, M.; Silvestri, S.; Franceschinis, E.; Realdon, N.

    2016-07-01

    inorganic soil content near the edge is due to the preferential deposition of inorganic sediment from the adjacent creek, and to the rapid decomposition of the relatively large biomass production. The higher organic matter content in the inner part of the marsh results from the small amounts of suspended sediment that makes it to the inner marsh, and to the low decomposition rate which more than compensates for the lower biomass productivity in the low-lying inner zones. Finally, the average soil organic carbon density from the LOI measurements is estimated to be 0.044 g C cm-3. The corresponding average carbon accumulation rate for the San Felice and Rigà salt marshes, 132 g C m-2 yr-1, highlights the considerable carbon stock and sequestration rate associated with coastal salt marshes.

  9. Water and organic carbon fluxes from an irregularly flooded brackish marsh on the upper Texas coast, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borey, R. B.; Harcombe, P. A.; Fisher, F. M.

    1983-04-01

    Water flows, concentrations of total (TOC), dissolved (DOC), and particulate (POC) organic carbon and seston were monitored for 52 diel periods in the single creek draining a 270-ha Spartina patens-Distichlis spicata marsh on the upper Texas coast. Rainfall, creek water flows, and water levels in the creek and on the marsh were measured by recording instruments. Rainfall accounted for most marsh flooding, and water outflow was significantly correlated with both rainfall and marsh water level. Creek flows were predominantly outward because microtopographic features and dense vegetation restricted overmarsh water flows and thereby reduced tidal flooding while extending the time of precipitation runoff. Concentrations of organic carbon in water leaving the marsh were highest in spring and summer and averaged 25·62, 21·41 and 3·35 mg l -1 of TOC, DOC and POC, respectively. These were 9·34, 9·93 and 0·04 mg l -1, respectively, higher than bay water. Most POC was 0·3-28 μm in diameter. Seston > 28μ leaving the marsh was 95% amorphous material; the rest was plankton, grass particles and fecal pellets. Loss of organic carbon was directly correlated with net water flux, and thus rainfall accounted for most carbon loss. Net carbon loss averaged 196 kg TOC, 150 kg DOC and 32 kg POC per day. Net annual loss was 2·4-5·5% of net aerial primary productivity (NAPP), or 21·55-30·09 g TOC m -2 year -1. Export from this marsh falls within the range found for other marshes and the data collectively indicate that coastal marshes are not losing as much organic carbon as has been suggested by indirect measurements. The discrepancy between potential and realized export is explained by the fact that export is not a simple removal of excess detritus by tidal action but is a more complicated process mediated by the interaction of additional factors such as rainfall, vegetation structure, microtopographic variation and decomposition, which can serve to reduce the amount and

  10. Evaluation of Operations Scenarios for Managing the Big Creek Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Ian; Rahman, Masihur; Wychreschuk, Jeremy; Lebedyk, Dan; Bolisetti, Tirupati

    2013-04-01

    Wetland management in changing climate is important for maintaining sustainable ecosystem as well as for reducing the impact of climate change on the environment as wetlands act as natural carbon sinks. The Big Creek Marsh within the Essex County is a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) in Ontario, Canada. The marsh is approximately 900 hectares in area and is primarily fed by streamflow from the Big Creek Watershed. The water level of this wetland has been managed by the stakeholders using a system of pumps, dykes and a controlled outlet to the Lake Erie. In order to adequately manage the Big Creek Marsh and conserve diverse aquatic plant species, Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), Ontario has embarked on developing an Operations Plan to maintain desire water depths during different marsh phases, viz., Open water, Hemi and Overgrown marsh phases. The objective of the study is to evaluate the alternatives for managing water level of the Big Creek Marsh in different marsh phases. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a continuous simulation model was used to simulate streamflow entering into the marsh from the Big Creek watershed. A Water Budget (WB) model was developed for the Big Creek Marsh to facilitate in operational management of the marsh. The WB model was applied to simulate the marsh level based on operations schedules, and available weather and hydrologic data aiming to attain the target water depths for the marsh phases. This paper presents the results of simulated and target water levels, streamflow entering into the marsh, water releasing from the marsh, and water pumping into and out of the marsh under different hydrologic conditions.

  11. Interannual recruitment dynamics for resident and transient marsh species: evidence for a lack of impact by the Macondo oil spill.

    PubMed

    Moody, Ryan M; Cebrian, Just; Heck, Kenneth L

    2013-01-01

    The emulsification of oil at the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well head relegated a large proportion of resultant hydrocarbon plumes to the deep sea, facilitated the incorporation of oil droplets into microbial and planktonic food web, and limited the severity of direct, wetland oiling to coastal Louisiana. Nevertheless, many transient fish and invertebrate species rely on offshore surface waters for egg and larval transport before settling in coastal habitats, thereby potentially impacting the recruitment of transient species to coastal nursery habitats quite distant from the well site. We compared the utilization of salt-marsh habitats by transient and resident nekton before and after the DWH accident using data obtained from an oyster reef restoration project in coastal Alabama. Our sampling activities began in the summer preceding the DWH spill and continued almost two years following the accident. Overall, we did not find significant differences in the recruitment of marsh-associated resident and transient nekton in coastal Alabama following the DWH accident. Our results, therefore, provide little evidence for severe acute or persistent oil-induced impacts on organisms that complete their life cycle within the estuary and those that spent portions of their life history in potentially contaminated offshore surface waters prior to their recruitment to nearshore habitats. Our negative findings are consistent with other assessments of nekton in coastal vegetated habitats and bolster the notion that, despite the presence of localized hydrocarbon enrichments in coastal habitats outside of Louisiana the most severe oil impacts were relegated to coastal Louisiana and the deep sea. Analyzing all the information learned from this accident will undoubtedly provide a synthesis of what has or has not been affected in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which when put in context with oil spill studies elsewhere should improve our ability to avert and manage the negative consequences of

  12. Interannual Recruitment Dynamics for Resident and Transient Marsh Species: Evidence for a Lack of Impact by the Macondo Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    Moody, Ryan M.; Cebrian, Just; Heck, Kenneth L.

    2013-01-01

    The emulsification of oil at the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well head relegated a large proportion of resultant hydrocarbon plumes to the deep sea, facilitated the incorporation of oil droplets into microbial and planktonic food web, and limited the severity of direct, wetland oiling to coastal Louisiana. Nevertheless, many transient fish and invertebrate species rely on offshore surface waters for egg and larval transport before settling in coastal habitats, thereby potentially impacting the recruitment of transient species to coastal nursery habitats quite distant from the well site. We compared the utilization of salt-marsh habitats by transient and resident nekton before and after the DWH accident using data obtained from an oyster reef restoration project in coastal Alabama. Our sampling activities began in the summer preceding the DWH spill and continued almost two years following the accident. Overall, we did not find significant differences in the recruitment of marsh-associated resident and transient nekton in coastal Alabama following the DWH accident. Our results, therefore, provide little evidence for severe acute or persistent oil-induced impacts on organisms that complete their life cycle within the estuary and those that spent portions of their life history in potentially contaminated offshore surface waters prior to their recruitment to nearshore habitats. Our negative findings are consistent with other assessments of nekton in coastal vegetated habitats and bolster the notion that, despite the presence of localized hydrocarbon enrichments in coastal habitats outside of Louisiana the most severe oil impacts were relegated to coastal Louisiana and the deep sea. Analyzing all the information learned from this accident will undoubtedly provide a synthesis of what has or has not been affected in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which when put in context with oil spill studies elsewhere should improve our ability to avert and manage the negative consequences of

  13. Interannual recruitment dynamics for resident and transient marsh species: evidence for a lack of impact by the Macondo oil spill.

    PubMed

    Moody, Ryan M; Cebrian, Just; Heck, Kenneth L

    2013-01-01

    The emulsification of oil at the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) well head relegated a large proportion of resultant hydrocarbon plumes to the deep sea, facilitated the incorporation of oil droplets into microbial and planktonic food web, and limited the severity of direct, wetland oiling to coastal Louisiana. Nevertheless, many transient fish and invertebrate species rely on offshore surface waters for egg and larval transport before settling in coastal habitats, thereby potentially impacting the recruitment of transient species to coastal nursery habitats quite distant from the well site. We compared the utilization of salt-marsh habitats by transient and resident nekton before and after the DWH accident using data obtained from an oyster reef restoration project in coastal Alabama. Our sampling activities began in the summer preceding the DWH spill and continued almost two years following the accident. Overall, we did not find significant differences in the recruitment of marsh-associated resident and transient nekton in coastal Alabama following the DWH accident. Our results, therefore, provide little evidence for severe acute or persistent oil-induced impacts on organisms that complete their life cycle within the estuary and those that spent portions of their life history in potentially contaminated offshore surface waters prior to their recruitment to nearshore habitats. Our negative findings are consistent with other assessments of nekton in coastal vegetated habitats and bolster the notion that, despite the presence of localized hydrocarbon enrichments in coastal habitats outside of Louisiana the most severe oil impacts were relegated to coastal Louisiana and the deep sea. Analyzing all the information learned from this accident will undoubtedly provide a synthesis of what has or has not been affected in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, which when put in context with oil spill studies elsewhere should improve our ability to avert and manage the negative consequences of

  14. A one-dimensional diffusion analogy model for estimation of tide heights in selected tidal marshes in Connecticut

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bjerklie, David M.; O’Brien, Kevin; Rozsa, Ron

    2013-01-01

    A one-dimensional diffusion analogy model for estimating tide heights in coastal marshes was developed and calibrated by using data from previous tidal-marsh studies. The method is simpler to use than other one- and two-dimensional hydrodynamic models because it does not require marsh depth and tidal prism information; however, the one-dimensional diffusion analogy model cannot be used to estimate tide heights, flow velocities, and tide arrival times for tide conditions other than the highest tide for which it is calibrated. Limited validation of the method indicates that it has an accuracy within 0.3 feet. The method can be applied with limited calibration information that is based entirely on remote sensing or geographic information system data layers. The method can be used to estimate high-tide heights in tidal wetlands drained by tide gates where tide levels cannot be observed directly by opening the gates without risk of flooding properties and structures. A geographic information system application of the method is demonstrated for Sybil Creek marsh in Branford, Connecticut. The tidal flux into this marsh is controlled by two tide gates that prevent full tidal inundation of the marsh. The method application shows reasonable tide heights for the gates-closed condition (the normal condition) and the one-gate-open condition on the basis of comparison with observed heights. The condition with all tide gates open (two gates) was simulated with the model; results indicate where several structures would be flooded if the gates were removed as part of restoration efforts or if the tide gates were to fail.

  15. Biogeochemical response of organic-rich freshwater marshes in the Louisiana delta plain to chronic river water influx

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Swarzenski, C.M.; Doyle, T.W.; Fry, B.; Hargis, T.G.

    2008-01-01

    To help evaluate effects of Mississippi River inputs to sustainability of coastal Louisiana ecosystems, we compared porewater and substrate quality of organic-rich Panicum hemitomon freshwater marshes inundated by river water annually for more than 30 years (Penchant basin, PB) or not during the same time (Barataria basin, BB). In the marshes receiving river water the soil environment was more reduced, the organic substrate was more decomposed and accumulated more sulfur. The porewater dissolved ammonium and orthophosphate concentrations were an order of magnitude higher and sulfide and alkalinity concentrations were more than twice as high in PB compared with BB marshes. The pH was higher and dissolved iron concentrations were more than an order of magnitude lower in PB marshes than in BB marshes. The influx of nutrient-rich river water did not enhance end-of-year above-ground standing biomass or vertical accretion rates of the shallow substrate. The differences in porewater chemistry and substrate quality are reasonably linked to the long-term influx of river water through biogeochemical processes and transformations involving alkalinity, nitrate and sulfate. The key factor is the continual replenishment of alkalinity, nitrate and sulfate via overland flow during high river stage each year for several weeks to more than 6 months. This leads to a reducing soil environment, pooling of the phytotoxin sulfide and inorganic nutrients in porewater, and internally generated alkalinity. Organic matter decomposition is enhanced under these conditions and root mats degraded. The more decomposed root mat makes these marshes more susceptible to erosion during infrequent high-energy events (for example hurricanes) and regular low-energy events, such as tides and the passage of weather fronts. Our findings were unexpected and, if generally applicable, suggest that river diversions may not be the beneficial mitigating agent of wetland restoration and conservation that they are

  16. Stochastic description of salt-marsh inundation from mixed astronomical-wind driven tides, with implications for macrophyte growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S. M.; Furbish, D. J.; Morris, J. T.

    2009-12-01

    Sea-level rise and sedimentation interact to control productivity on coastal salt marshes since the mean sea level influences flood frequency. Irregularly flooded marshes are inundated during spring and storm tides and during extended periods of north-easterly winds. The weak and irregular inundation in marshes may effect rates of decomposition, organic matter accumulation, and the vertical distribution of marsh vegetation. Whereas astronomical tides are predictable, wind driven tides depend on the strength and direction of the wind. Because these systems are stochastic, a non-hydrodynamic approach is used to describe the tides and determine the distribution of water depths. Here we present a description of salt-marsh inundation from mixed astronomical-wind driven tides that removes the astronomical forcing from water level records to determine the role of wind, storms, and forecasting of stochastic platform wetting. Using a 3 year record of water level and wind from sites in Carteret County, North Carolina, we calculate the mean high water (MHW) level and the ratio of inundation for a given elevation and corresponding macrophyte. The frequency of inundation or marsh platform wetting will vary from the frequency of MHW level, yet it is this stochastic wetting process that determines productivity and plant distribution since infrequent flooding may cause stress or hypersaline conditions. An ARIMA model is used to describe this higher order structure of the inundation signal. Wind can be described as an AR1 and a transfer function model is used to determine the dynamic response of the effect of noise and sustained winds on water levels. Harmonic analysis is also performed for comparison of predicted water levels using various tidal constituents to determine the phases and amplitudes and to explore model simplification.

  17. Shifting paradigms in coastal restoration: Six decades' lessons from China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Zezheng; Cui, Baoshan; He, Qiang

    2016-10-01

    With accelerating degradation of coastal environment worldwide, restoration has been elevated as a global strategy to enhance the functioning and social services of coastal ecosystems. While many developing countries suffer from intense coastal degradation, current understanding of the science and practice of their coastal restorations is extremely limited. Based on analysis of >1000 restoration projects, we provide the first synthesis of China's coastal restorations. We show that China's coastal restoration has recently entered a rapidly developing stage, with an increasing number of restoration projects carried out in multiple types of coastal ecosystems. While long-term, national-level restorations enforced by the government appear promising for some coastal ecosystems, especially mangroves, restorations of many other coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes, seagrasses and coral reefs, have been much less implemented, likely due to under-appreciation of their ecosystem services values. Furthermore, the planning, techniques, research/assessment, and participation models underlying current restorations remain largely inadequate for restoration to effectively halt rapid coastal degradation. To promote success, we propose a framework where paradigms in current restorations from planning to implementation and assessment are transformed in multiple ways. Our study has broad implications for coastal environmental management policies and practices, and should inform sustainable development of coupled human-ocean systems in many countries. PMID:27220097

  18. Shifting paradigms in coastal restoration: Six decades' lessons from China.

    PubMed

    Liu, Zezheng; Cui, Baoshan; He, Qiang

    2016-10-01

    With accelerating degradation of coastal environment worldwide, restoration has been elevated as a global strategy to enhance the functioning and social services of coastal ecosystems. While many developing countries suffer from intense coastal degradation, current understanding of the science and practice of their coastal restorations is extremely limited. Based on analysis of >1000 restoration projects, we provide the first synthesis of China's coastal restorations. We show that China's coastal restoration has recently entered a rapidly developing stage, with an increasing number of restoration projects carried out in multiple types of coastal ecosystems. While long-term, national-level restorations enforced by the government appear promising for some coastal ecosystems, especially mangroves, restorations of many other coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes, seagrasses and coral reefs, have been much less implemented, likely due to under-appreciation of their ecosystem services values. Furthermore, the planning, techniques, research/assessment, and participation models underlying current restorations remain largely inadequate for restoration to effectively halt rapid coastal degradation. To promote success, we propose a framework where paradigms in current restorations from planning to implementation and assessment are transformed in multiple ways. Our study has broad implications for coastal environmental management policies and practices, and should inform sustainable development of coupled human-ocean systems in many countries.

  19. Hydrology of two tidal marshes in North Carolina where open-marsh water management modifications have been implemented

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pope, B.F.

    1993-01-01

    In 1988 and 1989, open-marsh water management modifications were implemented at tidal marshes near West Onslow Beach and Hobucken, North Carolina, as part of a pilot program to evaluate the effectiveness of ditching techniques as a mosquito-control method in open marshes. In 1984, before implementation of the modifications, a study was initiated to allow definition of the effects of those modifications on the hydrology of the marshes. Water levels in canals near the West Onslow Beach study marsh are controlled by periodic, gravitational tides. Daily maximum tides exceeded the elevation of the upper marsh surface 30% of the time before and 18% of the time after open-marsh water management. Daily maximum tides at this marsh exceeded the upper marsh surface 34% of the time before and 24% of the time after open-marsh water management. Variation in tidal conditions resulted in varying numbers and duration of floods at the study marshes. Duration analyses indicated relations between tide levels and marsh surface-water levels were unchanged after modifications. Groundwater movement through the marshes varies seasonally and is primarily vertical. Withdrawals are by evapotranspiration and recharge is by infiltration. During nongrowing months saturated conditions prevail. Groundwater flow to the marsh interior from the surrounding tidal canals was not detected during these declines. Changes in the natural variation in withdrawals from and recharge to groundwater were not indicated by the data collected during this study. Water levels in canals adjacent to the Hobucken study marsh are primarily controlled by wind-driven tides.

  20. Coordinating across scales: Building a regional marsh bird monitoring program from national and state Initiatives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Shriver, G.W.; Sauer, J.R.

    2008-01-01

    Salt marsh breeding bird populations (rails, bitterns, sparrows, etc.) in eastern North America are high conservation priorities in need of site specific and regional monitoring designed to detect population changes over time. The present status and trends of these species are unknown but anecdotal evidence of declines in many of the species has raised conservation concerns. Most of these species are listed as conservation priorities on comprehensive wildlife plans throughout the eastern U.S. National Wildlife Refuges, National Park Service units, and other wildlife conservation areas provide important salt marsh habitat. To meet management needs for these areas, and to assist regional conservation planning, survey designs are being developed to estimate abundance and population trends for these breeding bird species. The primary purpose of this project is to develop a hierarchical sampling frame for salt marsh birds in Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 30 that will provide the ability to estimate species population abundances on 1) specific sites (i.e. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges), 2) within states or regions, and 3) within BCR 30. The entire breeding range of Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed and Coastal Plain Swamp sparrows are within BCR 30, providing an opportunity to detect population trends within the entire breeding ranges of two priority species.

  1. Elevated CO2, nitrogen availability and marsh tolerance for sea-level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Langley, J. A.; Cahoon, D. R.; Megonigal, J. P.

    2008-12-01

    Tidal wetlands experiencing increased rates of sea-level rise must increase rates of soil elevation gain to avoid permanent conversion to open water. The maximal rate of sea-level rise that these ecosystems can tolerate depends partly on mineral sediment deposition, but the accumulation of organic matter is equally important for many wetlands. Plant productivity drives organic matter dynamics and is sensitive to global change factors such as elevated atmospheric CO2 and nitrogen eutrophication. It remains unknown how global change will influence organic mechanisms that determine future tidal wetland viability. We manipulated atmospheric CO2 concentration and nitrogen availability (2 x 2 factorial) in a highly organic tidal marsh. Elevated CO2 (ambient + 340 ppm) accelerated soil elevation gain by 3.9 mm yr-1, an effect caused primarily by stimulating belowground plant productivity. Nitrogen additions, despite increasing aboveground productivity, tended to reverse elevation gains, perhaps by reducing root productivity and stimulating soil decomposition. Therefore, increases in the greenhouse gas, CO2, may paradoxically aid some coastal wetlands in counterbalancing rising seas, but nitrogen pollution may negate this effect regionally. These effects on the organic mechanisms of marsh elevation gain may help explain patterns marsh formation and disappearance worldwide.

  2. Effects of open marsh water management on numbers of larval salt marsh mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Ginsberg, Howard S; Erwin, R Michael; Taylor, Janith

    2009-11-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) is a commonly used approach to manage salt marsh mosquitoes than can obviate the need for pesticide application and at the same time, partially restore natural functions of grid-ditched marshes. OMWM includes a variety of hydrologic manipulations, often tailored to the specific conditions on individual marshes, so the overall effectiveness of this approach is difficult to assess. Here, we report the results of controlled field trials to assess the effects of two approaches to OMWM on larval mosquito production at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). A traditional OMWM approach, using pond construction and radial ditches was used at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, and a ditch-plugging approach was used at Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. Mosquito larvae were sampled from randomly placed stations on paired treatment and control marshes at each refuge. The proportion of sampling stations that were wet declined after OMWM at the Forsythe site, but not at the Parker River site. The proportion of samples with larvae present and mean larval densities, declined significantly at the treatment sites on both refuges relative to the control marshes. Percentage of control for the 2 yr posttreatment, compared with the 2 yr pretreatment, was >90% at both treatment sites. PMID:19960686

  3. Effects of open marsh water management on numbers of larval salt marsh mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Ginsberg, Howard S; Erwin, R Michael; Taylor, Janith

    2009-11-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) is a commonly used approach to manage salt marsh mosquitoes than can obviate the need for pesticide application and at the same time, partially restore natural functions of grid-ditched marshes. OMWM includes a variety of hydrologic manipulations, often tailored to the specific conditions on individual marshes, so the overall effectiveness of this approach is difficult to assess. Here, we report the results of controlled field trials to assess the effects of two approaches to OMWM on larval mosquito production at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). A traditional OMWM approach, using pond construction and radial ditches was used at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, and a ditch-plugging approach was used at Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. Mosquito larvae were sampled from randomly placed stations on paired treatment and control marshes at each refuge. The proportion of sampling stations that were wet declined after OMWM at the Forsythe site, but not at the Parker River site. The proportion of samples with larvae present and mean larval densities, declined significantly at the treatment sites on both refuges relative to the control marshes. Percentage of control for the 2 yr posttreatment, compared with the 2 yr pretreatment, was >90% at both treatment sites.

  4. Effects of open marsh water management on numbers of larval salt marsh mosquitoes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Erwin, R. Michael; Taylor, Janith

    2009-01-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) is a commonly used approach to manage salt marsh mosquitoes than can obviate the need for pesticide application and at the same time, partially restore natural functions of grid-ditched marshes. OMWM includes a variety of hydrologic manipulations, often tailored to the specific conditions on individual marshes, so the overall effectiveness of this approach is difficult to assess. Here, we report the results of controlled field trials to assess the effects of two approaches to OMWM on larval mosquito production at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). A traditional OMWM approach, using pond construction and radial ditches was used at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, and a ditch-plugging approach was used at Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. Mosquito larvae were sampled from randomly placed stations on paired treatment and control marshes at each refuge. The proportion of sampling stations that were wet declined after OMWM at the Forsythe site, but not at the Parker River site. The proportion of samples with larvae present and mean larval densities, declined significantly at the treatment sites on both refuges relative to the control marshes. Percentage of control for the 2 yr posttreatment, compared with the 2 yr pretreatment, was >90% at both treatment sites.

  5. Mercury bioaccumulation in Hayward Marsh, California

    SciTech Connect

    Ohlendorf, H.; Byron, E.; Taylor, L.; Cortes, R.

    1995-12-31

    Hayward Marsh was created in 1988 to provide wildlife habitat using treated wastewater from Union Sanitary District, which is located in the San Francisco Bay area. Mercury has been identified as one of the major contaminants of concern for San Francisco Bay sediment and biota. This study was conducted to determine whether mercury bioaccumulation in the Marsh occurred at ecologically significant levels. Sediment, benthic and free-swimming aquatic invertebrates, fish, bird eggs, and muskrat livers were analyzed. Mercury concentrations in the various media were compared to regional background levels and potential adverse effect levels. The findings indicated that mercury concentrations were generally similar to background levels and that there was a low probability of adverse effects to wildlife feeding in the Marsh. An important aspect of the study was inclusion of three bird species, along with their potential food organisms, in the sampling, one of the species had elevated mercury levels in its eggs but those birds probably were exposed outside the Marsh because the two other species and common food-chain organisms did not show elevated mercury levels.

  6. An Imaginary Trip Through the Marsh.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sullivan, N. A.

    This autoinstructional lesson deals with lessons in marine biology. A student will have experiences with both animal and plant life living in a salt water marsh environment. The student guide states the objectives to be attained and general directions for using the equipment and materials as well as a script. Approximately 30 minutes, including…

  7. Interpreter's Guide to Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Environmental Studies Center, Pensacola, FL.<