Are Salt Marshes Keeping up with Sea Level Rise?

Sentinels of Change – Are Salt Marshes in LIS Keeping Pace with Sea Level Rise?

The northeastern portion of the United States is experiencing enhanced rates of sea level rise. In response to this, salt marshes can either move, or migrate, farther inland or accrete through either the build up of sediment or plant material. In very developed areas where salt marshes are confined and cut off from the rest of the terrestrial landscape, migration is not possible and very little sediment is able to reach the marshes from upland areas. This means that in situ organic production is often a very important process in these marshes. We will be measuring sediment accretion, litter decomposition, and respiration rates as well as the amount of nutrients and other environmental parameters in six marshes around Long Island Sound. We hope to determine how salt marshes in this area are responding to enhanced sea level rise, whether they are keeping up, and what is driving these trends.

Study Sites:

Barn Island, Stonington, CT

Jarvis Creek, Branford, CT

Hunter Island, Bronx, NY

Udalls Cove, Queens, NY

Caumsett Park, Lloyd Harbor, NY

Flax Pond, Old Field, NY

Fresh Pond, Wading River, NY


Funding Source: Long Island Sound Study, Boston University

Boston University Long Island Sound Study



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