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Dynamic Coastal Landscapes

By tracking long-term shifts in land cover on undeveloped coastal barrier ecosystems, VCR scientists have learned how sea-level rise and storms interact to create a highly dynamic landscape. While the locations of lagoons, marshes, and barrier islands have changed over time, they have not experienced significant net reductions in the area they cover.

Oertel, G. F., J. C. Kraft, M. S. Kearney, and H. J. Woo. 1992. A rational theory for barrier-lagoon development. Quaternary Coasts of the United States: Marine and Lacustrine Systems, SEPM Special Publication No. 48. Pp. 77- 87.
Oertel, G. F. and H. J. Woo. 1994. Landscape classification and terminology for marsh in deficit lagoons. Journal of Coastal Research 10: 919-932.
Oertel, G. F., J. H. Porter, and D. L. Richardson. 1996. The effects of hypsometry on lagoon dynamics and ecosystems. Natural Resource Values and Vulnerabilities: Proceedings Second Virginia Eastern Shore Natural Resources Symposium, Flint, R. W. (ed.). Pp. 55-57.
Dr. John Porter
LANDSAT 7 TM image of the Delmarva Peninsula on the U.S. East Coast, 2009. The Virginia Coast Reserve LTER site includes the barrier islands, marshes, lagoons and mainland watersheds on the Atlantic (right) side of the peninsula.
Change in land cover between 1973 and 2001 on Hog Island and surrounding marshes in the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER site. While barrier islands (uplands), marshes, and lagoons (water) have been redistributed within the coastal landscape, these land cover types have experienced little net change in areal coverage over time. See (.pdf) for more details.
Modified from Porter, J. H. and M. Brinson. 2006. Results of a Preliminary Change Analysis for the VCR/LTER. VCR LTER website. Available: (.pdf) .



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