Madeleine Meadows-McDonnell

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Connecticut

Conference Travel Grant Type 2

How does the texture of added sediment affect carbon sequestration of restored coastal salt marshes?

“Salt marshes and their capacity to sequester carbon are threatened by coastal development and accelerated sea level rise (SLR); these threats are particularly acute in the northeastern US where coastlines are heavily populated and SLR is 3-4 times the global mean, effectively “squeezing” salt marshes. To abate the salt marsh squeeze, adding sediment to the surface of marshes is an increasingly prescribed restoration technique that aims to increase coastal resiliency by reducing the frequency of inundation, but it is unclear how sediment texture affects greenhouse gas (GHG; CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions and net primary productivity (NPP). Using a full-factorial blocked field experiment established in early 2021 (3 sites, 2 habitats (low, high marsh), and 3 sediment texture treatments (control, silt-loam dredge, sandy cobble)), we investigated how NPP and GHG emissions respond to different textures of added sediment across a tidal range gradient in coastal Connecticut. The sediment treatments represent textures available to managers in southern New England. Together, our research furthers scientific understanding of how sediment addition alters vegetation recovery and carbon sequestration and helps inform restoration decisions for New England salt marshes.