Evaluating feedbacks between vegetation and sediment dynamics in Submersed Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) beds and created marshes of living shorelines in Chesapeake Bay
Bolton, Miles Charles
Palinkas, Cindy M
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Intertidal marshes and subtidal submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) provide similar ecosystem services such as wave attenuation, provision of nursery habitat, water filtration, and sediment and nutrient retention. They are often found together in the coastal zone, especially when marshes have been created for shoreline protection in living shorelines. This study examines sediment dynamics within the created marshes of living shorelines and adjacent nearshore SAV habitat in mesohaline Chesapeake Bay, and within emergent, patchy SAV beds of the Susquehanna Flats. The naturally occurring radioisotopes 7Be (half-life: 53.3 days) and 210Pb (half-life: 22.3 years) were used to calculate seasonal- and decadal-scale sedimentation rates. Mud content, organic content, and nutrient concentrations were analyzed to describe sedimentary characteristics. Coastal habitats in the Chesapeake Bay exert significant influence on local sediment dynamics, further research on feedbacks between coastal vegetation and sediment dynamics can improve our understanding on how coastal ecosystems interact with Bay-wide shifts in sediment dynamics.