Project Title: Spatial variability of carbon export from tidal marsh drainage
Principal Investigator(s): Joseph Tamborski
Affiliations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summary: Salt marshes provide significant environmental and economic value by shielding coastal communities against storm-surges and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere, acting as a natural buffer to climate change. Carbon is both buried by marsh plants and exported to the coastal ocean from tidal drainage. However, the spatial variability of carbon export from tidal drainage across a salt marsh platform is largely unknown. Our two main objectives are to  characterize salt marsh hydrology under present and future climate scenarios; and  to determine the spatial and temporal variability of carbon export from tidal marsh drainage. Sediment cores, marsh pore waters and vertical temperature profiles will be sampled across marsh platforms, toward the tidal creek, to help reveal spatial patterns in seasonal exchange fluxes. Hydrogeological models will be used to assess salt marsh resiliency to changing climate scenarios. These tasks aim to reveal how salt marshes impact carbon cycling and biogeochemistry of the Northwest Atlantic and identify the vulnerability of these critical wetlands to changing terrestrial and marine conditions.