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Research Seminar: Charlie Deaton
March 6, 2017 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
A research seminar presented by UNC-CH Department of Marine Sciences graduate student, Charlie Deaton.
Title: Geomorphic and ecological response to land-use change and sedimentation in coastal watersheds along an urban-rural gradient
Abstract: Physical changes across Earth’s landscape eventually cause changes along the coast, where rivers deliver terrestrial matter to our estuaries and oceans. Large river systems are responsible for draining the majority of land area, but empty out into a relatively small portion of the coast. Conversely, small rivers and tidal creeks drain relatively little area, and while their watersheds area individually small, they are numerous and drain most coastal-estuarine land area, and they provide nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally important fishes. We are investigating how land-use change affects sedimentation in small coastal watersheds along an urban-rural gradient in eastern North Carolina and assessing the impacts of sedimentation on valuable habitats in tidal creeks. We have collected sediment cores in the creekbeds and salt marshes of 12 creeks from Davis to Wilmington, NC, which we are dating via 210Pb to determine changes in sediment accretion rates over ~100 years. We are working to relate changes in sedimentation to changes in land use and external environmental forcing (e.g. water-level fluctuation, changing salinity). These relationships will be valuable for understanding how coastal watersheds can be managed to maximize the health and productivity of tidal creek ecosystems under future social and environmental changes.