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Coastal Marshes and Rising Sea Levels

Twenty years of VCR research has revealed how the response of marshes to sea-level rise varies depending on vegetation type, landscape position, and sensitivity to disturbance. Understanding this variation is critical to predicting how sea-level rise will affect the diversity of waterbirds, marine invertebrates, and fin fishes that depend on marshland habitats.

Christian, R. R., L. Stasavich, C. Thomas, and M. M. Brinson. 2000. Reference is a moving target in sea-level controlled wetlands. pp. 805-825. In: Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology, M. P. Weinstein and D. A. Kreeger (eds.). The Netherlands: Kluwer Press.
Day, J. W., R. R. Christian, D. M. Boesch, A. Yáñez-Arancibia, J. T. Morris, R. R. Twilley, L. Naylor, L. Schaffner, and C. Stevenson. 2008. Consequences of climate change on the ecogeomorphology of coastal wetlands. Estuaries and Coasts 31: 477-491.
Erwin, R. M., D. R. Cahoon, D. J. Prosser, G. M. Sanders, and P. Hensel. 2006. Surface elevation dynamics in vegetated Spartina marshes versus unvegetated tidal ponds along the mid-Atlantic coast, USA, with implications to waterbirds. Estuaries and Coasts 29: 96-106.
Dr. Linda J. Blum
A tidal marsh within the VCR LTER site
L. Cole
Mainland marsh surface elevation changes in the VCR LTER site. Each of the three zones (low, mid, and high marsh) is associated with a distinct, characteristic plant community. Rates of elevation increase in the three zones are similar to or greater than the rate of local sea level rise, and are adequate to maintain the relative relationship of the marsh surface to changing sea level.
L. J. Blum, 2011.

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