Salt marshes provide valuable ecosystem functions in coastal regions, including primary productivity, carbon storage, habitat, and nutrient cycling. Preserving these functions depends on how resilient marshes are to climate change; namely, their ability to maintain their elevation relative to sea level and/or migrate laterally.
Effect of Marsh Age on Ecosystem Function
In a study comparing ecosystem functions and processes between newly formed marsh and centuries old marsh, we found functions depended more on elevation and landscape position than marsh age. Read more here.
A New Vertical Accretion Model
We developed a new, easily-parameterized, landscape-scale vertical accretion model that calculates accretion rates based on elevation, landscape position, and biomass from multiple plant species. Read more here.
Elevation Capital in Sediment-deficient Marshes
Modeling vertical accretion in marshes in the Plum Island Estuary, MA, revealed that high elevation capital will allow them to survive for decades to centuries despite not keeping pace with sea-level rise. Read more here.
Marsh Vulnerability Beyond 2100
Modeling vertical accretion in a GA marsh revealed that elevation capital kept the marsh from drowning despite high sediment inputs and room to migrate landward. However, once elevation capital is depleted, the marsh will rapidly lose area.