Estuaries

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 357–367 | Cite as

Effects of sea level induced disturbances on high salt marsh metabolism

Article

Abstract

Salt marshes, which provide a transition between the marine and terrestrial environments around much of the temperature world, will be the first ecosystem to feel the effects of an increased rate of sea level rise. This study examined the metabolic responses of a high salt marsh to increased inundation and wrack deposition associated with sea level rise. We measured changes in ecosystem and soil photosynthesis and respiration by analyzing carbon dioxide fluxes in the light and dark. Data from seasonal flux measurements were combined with continuously measured light and temperature data to develop a model that estimated annual production and respiration. Results suggested that increased inundation will reduce respiration rates to a greater extent than production, yielding a moderate net loss of organic carbon from the high marsh. The model also predicted a substantial loss of organic carbon from wrack-affected areas. This decreased organic carbon input may play an important role in the ability of the marsh to maintain elevation relative to sea level rise.

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Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. D. Miller
    • 1
  • S. C. Neubauer
    • 2
  • I. C. Anderson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburg
  2. 2.School of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine ScienceCollege of William and MaryGloucester Point

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