Merryl Alber, University of Georgia, NSF Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER Site
Intertidal marshes—lands between the tides—are ever-changing ecosystems. They’ve kept pace with changes in sea level over millennia, but today’s rate of sea-level rise and increasingly common droughts and storms pose new challenges. An influx of saltwater, for example, has the potential to change how coastal marshes function—and may even threaten their existence. Experiments at the NSF Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER Site, and comparisons with other NSF long-term research sites, are providing insights into the environmental and human factors that increase or decrease the effects of flooding from severe storms and sea-level rise. Can salt marshes stay resilient in the face of such changes?