Site: Plum Island Ecosystems LTER

Credit: Sergio Fagherazzi

For marshes where rates of sea level rise exceed about 3 mm/year, external sediment supply is critical to marsh survival. Although riverine sediment inputs to the Great Marsh are low, PIE LTER research has shown that marsh edge erosion during moderate intensity storms currently supplies enough sediment to maintain the marsh platform. However, with accelerating sea level rise, this will not be the case. Landscape scale studies of spatial and temporal changes (rather than relying on point measurements of platform accretion) provide more reliable information and allow better predictions to be made about future changes. Plum Island LTER is developing GIS methods to make more statistically robust comparisons between historical and current maps.