Paper No. 120-8
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
OYSTER REEF AND MARSH ACCRETION RATES IN CORRESPONDENCE TO SEA-LEVEL RISE
Marshes are a ubiquitous feature along the Atlantic Coast and are heralded as a prominent carbon sink. However, these systems are under threat from erosion and drowning due to accelerated sea-level rise and anthropogenic changes to our coasts. Oyster reefs that grow adjacent to marshes may help stabilize marsh shorelines and enhance vertical accretion. As oyster reefs naturally appear in various morphologies around marsh shorelines (e.g., fringing, groin, or detached), it is unclear how these morphologies will impact adjacent marshes. Three different oyster reef morphologies and their adjacent marshes were cored, subsampled and dated using Lead-210 gamma geochronology. With these dates, it is possible to obtain a growth record of both the marsh and the oyster reef. These accretion rates can then be compared to see if oyster reefs actually enhance adjacent marsh accretion and alleviate the threat from accelerated sea-level rise. These results will be beneficial for future oyster reef restoration efforts in determining the best morphology to attempt to create when encouraging new growth.