Saltmarshes are complex ecosystems that perform vital ecosystem services. The health of these systems is under threat from human activities (such as increased development) and climate change (such as sea level change). In addition, salt marsh communities are displaying novel and poorly- understood dynamics, including die-off events of marsh grasses and outbreaks of marsh consumers. In contrast to the significant progress in physical and geological modeling of estuaries, comparatively little progress has been made in ecological modeling of these systems since the early models of Wiegert explored carbon flow through salt marsh ecosystems. The slow progress on ecological modeling makes it difficult to understand how saltmarsh populations, communities and ecosystems function, and to accurately predict how they will change in the future. This session invites new research on modeling saltmarsh ecosystems and their components, including novel modeling techniques. The session should be of interest to modelers, saltmarsh ecologists and system managers.
Since 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) has been home to a global effort to improve management outcomes for massive deltaic coastal systems like that of the Mississippi River Delta by comparing the ecological, hydrological, geological, and biogeochemical processes of large deltaic systems across the globe. The Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) is developing a science framework for comparing, integrating, and ultimately predicting the effects of key drivers and management practices in these large ecosystems. The DRAGON brings together scientists and managers to model the large river deltas around the world (http://deltas.usgs.gov). Forecast Mekong is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Lower Mekong Initiative, which was launched in 2008 by Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam to enhance U.S. engagement with the Lower Mekong countries in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure. The USGS is using research and data from the Mekong River Delta in Southeast Asia to compare restoration, conservation, and management efforts there with those of the Mississippi River Delta in the USA. The project provides a forum to engage regional partners in the Mekong Basin countries to share data and support local research efforts. Ultimately, Forecast Mekong is intended to support more informed decisions about how to make the Mekong and Mississippi deltas resilient in the face of climate change, economic stresses, and other impacts.
Conveners: Alexander S. Kolker, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, email@example.com; Mead A. Allison, University of Texas Institute of Geophysics, University of Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org; Karen H. Johannesson, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, email@example.com
The complex land-ocean interface of large rivers, which includes fluvial channels, estuaries, deltaic wetlands, and the adjacent continental shelf, has a significant control on the global flux of water, sediments, organic matter, and dissolved ions to the oceans. Relative to smaller systems, their size, long life-span, and geomorphological complexity can engender unique surface and subsurface transport across the land-ocean interface, many of these exchange processes remain poorly studied. Closing these knowledge gaps for both surface fluxes and submarine groundwater discharge is critical to the development of accurate geochemical, hydrological and sediment budgets. Furthermore, these knowledge gaps have important societal implications, as large river-dominated coastal systems have large populations, are home to critical infrastructure, provide valuable ecosystem services, and are threatened by changes in land use, patterns of water utilization, climate and relative sea level. This session will explore land-ocean exchange processes in large rivers and their societal implications. Presentations that build cross-disciplinary connections from both theoretical and empirical perspectives are particularly encouraged.
The future of coastal communities will depend on informed use of fresh and saltwater resources. Groundwater discharge is distinct from other coastal freshwater inputs due to its diffuse nature and in the quantity and composition of nutrients it delivers. Although the detection and quantification of coastal groundwater inputs has advanced considerably, understanding of its ecological role for microbial communities and coastal food webs has not. Groundwater-derived inputs of nutrients and organic matter are mediated by microbial communities in aquifers and sediments and play an important but under- recognized role in coastal water quality. The subsequent effect of groundwater inputs on the ecology of benthic and pelagic microbes such as phytoplankton is also poorly understood, even though it has been linked to phenomena such as harmful algal blooms (HABs). This session will address how within-aquifer microbial processes control the flux of groundwater-derived materials to coastal water bodies as well as the consequences of this flux for microbial and phytoplankton communities. Studies that integrate physical and chemical measurements of groundwater with biological processes are especially encouraged. Groundwater is often out of sight and out of mind, so studies that bring related issues into the public sphere or policy discussions are also encouraged.
Conveners: Jennifer Cherrier, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob Chen, University of Massachusetts Boston, email@example.com; Jaye Cable, University of North Carolina, firstname.lastname@example.org; Christof Meile, University of Georgia, email@example.com
Carbon fluxes at the land-ocean interface are significant, variable, and changing over time. Nearshore coastal regions are both highly productive and highly reactive regions that play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. Tides, seasons, and episodic events all have a large impact on the variability of organic and inorganic carbon fluxes between the land, ocean, and atmosphere in coastal regions. In addition, land use changes, climate change, and direct anthropogenic inputs are all altering carbon fluxes over time in these critical areas. This session invites papers exploring the measurement, modeling, or prediction of carbon fluxes in coastal areas as well as papers describing education and outreach efforts regarding carbon fluxes in coastal zones.
Quantifying carbon fluxes in freshwater aquatic ecosystems provides insights into basin wide ecological and geochemical processes, and is critical to understanding past, present, and projected changes throughout the basin. Inland aquatic systems process carbon rapidly and need to be considered in order to accurately estimate net ecosystem production on large scales. Development of aquatic carbon flux estimates at large spatial scales (catchment, regional and global) is an area of active research in the aquatic biogeochemical community. Greater knowledge of the processes driving carbon fluxes as well as spatial and temporal variability in these estimates has been gained. This session will focus on large-scale carbon flux estimates in inland and coastal aquatic ecosystems. We encourage contributions focusing on carbon in any form (inorganic, organic, dissolved, particulate, gaseous) and which cover spatial scales ranging from catchments to continental scale and beyond.
Conveners: Alan D. Christian, University of Massachusetts Boston, firstname.lastname@example.org; Robyn E. Hannigan, University of Massachusetts Boston, email@example.com; Alonso Ramirez, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, firstname.lastname@example.org; Alex Eisen-Cuadra, University of Massachusetts Boston, email@example.com; Helenmary Hotz, University of Massachusetts Boston, Helenmary.Hotz@umb.edu
Global change can be defined as planetary scale changes of the Earth’s system that includes large-scale changes in human society. Societies need to respond to these changes through the use of science and policy. Furthermore, global change is likely to have impact on national security as these changes influence the distribution and abundance of resources. This session will focus on the effects of global change on stream and lake watersheds in the Caribbean and other climate-sensitive regions in terms of science and food and resource security, and how policy (including education/outreach) are being developed in response to global change.
River basins connect the land to the coastal ocean. They integrate and process signals in their drainage basins and transmit processed signals to the coast. This session invites contributions that advance our understanding of land-derived signals transmitted to the coastal ocean. We especially invite contributions dealing with dynamic features of all scales from a variety of subdisciplines (hydrology, landscale evolution, tectonics, ecology, biogeochemistry) in river basins that are triggered by natural or anthropogenic forcings. Contributions focusing on processes in estuaries and the coast should be presented in companion session #27, whereas contributions dealing with cycling of organic matter should be submitted to companion session # 45.