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Tipping Points

PIE scientists have discovered marshes have "tipping points" beyond which sediment accumulation fails to keep up with rising sea level and the marshes drown. These tipping points vary regionally and are influenced by human activities such as dam building and land clearing that affect sediment transport from the watershed.

Morris, J.T. 2005. Effects of changes in sea level and productivity on the stability of intertidal marshes. In: Lasserre P:, Viaroli P., Campostrini P. (eds) Lagoons and coastal wetlands in the global change context: Impacts and management issues Proceedings of the International Conference, Venice, 26-28 April 2004. ICAM Dossier No3, UNESCO, pp. 121-127.
Kirwan, M.L., G.R. Guntenspergen, and J.T. Morris. 2009. Latitudinal trends in Spartina alterniflora productivity and the response of coastal marshes to global change. Global Change Biology 15:1982-1989.
Mudd, S.M., S. Howell, and J.T. Morris. 2009. Impact of the dynamic feedback between sedimentation, sea level rise, and biomass production on near surface marsh stratigraphy and carbon accumulation. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 82:377-389.
James Morris
Results of bioassay experiments showing the end-of-season standing biomass of S. alterniflora vs relative elevation at Plum Island.
James Morris
Annual aboveground marsh production (Spartina alterniflora) vs mean high water level at Plum Island.
Morris (unpublished)

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