Wetland Sedimentation and Change
In more protected shoreline areas, vegetation can thrive along the shoreline; in temperate zones this includes salt marshes and swamp forests, while in the tropics, mangroves are found, This ecologically productive zone provides a key food source for estuarine and ocean food webs. With human development and climate- variations, wetlands are being affected, and this may have cascading influences on marine systems. We are studying wetlands in North Carolina and elsewhere around the world to help understand and manage these changes.
Lagomasino, D., D.R. Corbett, J.P. Walsh. 2013. Influence of Wind-Driven Inundation and Coastal Geomorphology on Sedimentation in Two Microtidal Marshes, Pamlico River Estuary, NC. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science. 36 (6) 1165-1180; DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9625-0.
Shearman, P., Bryan, J., and J.P. Walsh. 2013. Evidence for extensive losses in large deltaic systems of the Asia-Pacific region. Journal of Coastal Research, 29: 1169-1183.
Kemp, A., B.P. Horton, C.H. Vane, C.E. Bernhardt, D.R. Corbett, S.E. Englehart, S.C. Anisfeld, A.C. Parnell and N. Cahill. Sea-level change during the last 2500 years in New Jersey, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews. 81, 90-104.
Featured Project: Mapping estuarine shoreline change in North Carolina
Coastlines are constantly changing due to both natural and anthropogenic forces. Climate change and associated sea level rise will undoubtedly reshape our coasts. No longer are oceanfronts the only concern of short-term shoreline change. Shoreline dynamics along more sheltered estuaries have gained attention and are needed to better understand and protect coastal resources. Recognizing and understanding the complex causes and dynamic processes involved in shoreline erosion and shorezone alteration, including the ensuing ecological change in state and function is necessary to minimize the erosion impacts and managing our shoreline resources and economic investments.
Over 97% of the North Carolina shoreline is non-oceanfront (i.e., estuarine), and it is changing in response to storm waves, water levels and human activities. At present, we have a limited understanding of how coastal areas and habitats are evolving. Our research is focused on measuring the rate of shoreline change and the ecological effects of sea-level rise on the shorezone. Analysis of estuarine shoreline change and the influencing parameters in these complex systems offers insight on future changes and information useful for management practices.