Southeastern Section - 68th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 22-2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


HANNIDES, Angelos K., Department of Marine Science, Coastal Carolina University, P.O. Box 261954, Conway, SC 29528-6054 and ELKO, Nicole, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), 5460 Beaujolais Lane, Fort Myers, FL 33919-2704

High-energy sandy beaches are sites of significant exchange of matter and energy between water and sediment. This enhanced exchange is attributed to the high permeability of sandy deposits and is one of the key ingredients in understanding how a given beach will respond to a nourishment event as a habitat for many important organisms. The response is driven by fundamental abiotic and biotically-mediated chemical reactions that are profoundly affected by the ability of chemicals to accumulate or to be flushed out of the sandy columns. So, while attention has correctly been paid to the impacts of nourishment projects on infaunal communities and the upper levels of the food web, the chemical reactions connecting physics and geology on the one hand and ecology on the other are treated as a black box. We synthesize existing findings on biogeochemical processes at source areas and renourished beaches before, during and after nourishment activities, and identify gaps in knowledge. Among other processes, we highlight how the exposure of reduced sediment to an oxic water column can initially increase oxygen demand, fuel microbial primary productivity, and drive the mobilization of potentially harmful contaminants. Restoration of oxic conditions in surficial sands can proceed rapidly through enhanced exchange between sand and the oxygenated water column under the influence of physical forces, such as waves and currents, and high sand permeability. Based on our findings, we recommend foci for research, outreach, and broader impacts in this field as well as discuss coastal management needs for policy makers, planners, contractors, and the public to encourage information sharing.