THE DEVELOPMENT OF A HIGH RESOLUTION SEA-LEVEL RECORD FOR THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE
Modern transects spanning from the upland to the intertidal zone will be used to determine the distribution of modern foraminifera relative to the duration and frequency of tidal inundation (elevation). The modern dataset will be used to quantitatively estimate former elevations of fossil foraminiferal assemblages found in the long peat core and basal peats sections to reconstruct past relative sea level. Foraminiferal assemblages and radiocarbon dated in situ plant macrofossils within the salt marsh peats will be used to identify the timing and magnitude of changes in the rates of relative sea level over the past 5000 years. Geochemical data (C and N) will be used to corroborate the paleo-environment over the same time span of the relative sea-level record.
This region suffers from a paucity of valid sea-level index points, discrepancies between existing sea-level records, and temporal and spatial gaps in the existing records. Mid to late Holocene rates of relative sea-level rise of 0.6 mm/yr accelerate in the later Holocene to over 2 mm/yr. This foraminiferal-based sea-level reconstruction will alleviate prior discrepancies and data gaps and provide a solid mid through late Holocene sea-level record for the Florida Panhandle region.