Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Student Research Presentations

Geochronological analysis of sediments in tidal freshwater marsh in the Patuxent River

Year: 

2015

Authors: 

Castro, S. M.* and C. Palinkas

Source: 

ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Granada, Spain

Abstract: 

Freshwater marshes are threatened by multiple factors like anthropogenic activities and Sea level rise. To determine if marshes are able to keep up with this thread, low and high-marsh peat cores were analyzed to determine their grain size, organic content, and Pb210 activities to determine their accumulation rates. The organic content, as well as grain size, increased with distance from the river edge because the low marsh is more influenced by the river. Sand and organic content of the high marsh suggests that sediment is derived from organic decomposition of plant material. The accumulation rates of sediment at this site were found to be greater than the sea level rise, but have been decreasing in both the high and low marsh over the past decades, without showing trends of increase or stabilization. This relationship between sea level rise and accumulation rate is crucial to understand to help maintain freshwater marshes.

Award: 

Outstanding Student Presentation Award

Mentors: 

Cindy Palinkas, Ph.D.

Students: 

Stella Castro, Universidad Metropolitana

 
The REU students are indicated with an asterisk (*).