Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Effect of vegetation die-off on tidal marshland tested


  • Colin Schultz


Consisting of densely vegetated platforms raised slightly above sea level, and interwoven by channels of water meandering inland from the coast, tidal marshlands help buffer against strong storm surges, protect against flooding, limit coastal erosion, and provide a valuable habitat for a vast array of coastal species. Continued global climate change, however, has researchers worried about the stability of coastal marshlands in light of rising temperatures and sea levels and a declining ocean pH. Of particular concern over shorter time scales are the potential consequences for marsh dynamics should there be a mass die-off of marshland vegetation. Investigations of the effects of mass vegetative death on marshland behavior have been conducted almost exclusively using computer simulations, but Temmerman et al. sought to bolster this previous research with empirical evidence.