Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2015)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM


BARBER, Nicholas1, JAWORSKI, Anna S.1 and LACOVARA, Kenneth J.2, (1)Department of Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Science, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut St, Papadakis Room #504, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (2)Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104,

Estuarine barrier islands in the Delaware Bay provide critical habitat for a variety of organisms, including nesting piping plovers and breeding horseshoe crabs. They also act as natural buffers for fragile salt-marsh ecosystems, diminishing physical energy from waves and currents. However, relatively little is known about their specific response to local relative sea level rise, which threatens to overtake these islands. Sea level rise will reduce available habitat and expose delicate salt marshes to heavy wave action. Our aim is to better understand the geological processes driving erosion and migration along these unique landforms. Our study site consists of several bayside barrier islands in the Delaware Bay off the coast of southern New Jersey. We took surface sediment samples at regular intervals along the islands in order to analyze cross-shore and longshore sediment transport. These sediment samples were analyzed using a Cam-Sizer particle analysis tool to generate cumulative distribution curves of grain sizes. The curves were analyzed according to standard granulometric parameters to understand sediment transport. This information will be integrated with further geological and historical analyses of the Delaware Bay to form a geomorphic response model. This model will provide a planning tool for future generations of researchers and coastal engineers.