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Webinar: A Brief History of Marsh Equilibrium Theory, the Coastal Wetland Equilibrium Model, and Applications

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Wednesday, 29 September 2021, 2:00

Wednesday, September 29, 2021. 2:00 PM. Webinar: A Brief History of Marsh Equilibrium Theory, the Coastal Wetland Equilibrium Model, and Applications. James T. Morris, University of South Carolina. Sponsored by NOAA. Register here (Requires Adobe Connect).

Abstract: The Coastal Wetland Equilibrium Model is a customizable software tool used to forecast the effects of rising sea level on coastal wetlands. It solves a system of differential
equations to calculate when and under what conditions a marsh or mangrove ecosystem is stable or unstable. It incorporates feedbacks among relative elevation, plant growth, suspended sediment concentration, flooding and vertical sediment accretion to answers important basic questions, such as at what rate of sea-level rise will a tidal wetland drown and on what time scale? It addresses important dependencies such as tidal range, vertical growth profile, relative elevation, root distribution and turnover, and organic matter decay. It can forecast responses to thin layer placement of sediment, and the model can solve for different scenarios to find the most efficient strategy for thin layer placement in terms of maximizing survival and carbon sequestration. A brief history of the theory will be discussed as well as the model's required inputs, sensitivities, and results.

Bio(s): Dr. Morris is currently is a Research Professor at the University of South Carolina and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a distinguished professor emeritus of Biological and Marine Sciences, former Director of the Baruch Institute for Marine & Coastal Sciences, and Program Officer at the National Science Foundation. Honors include the U of SC Research Foundation Award (2011), and the Society of Wetlands Science Merit Award (2012). He holds degrees in environmental sciences (BA, UVA), biology (MA, Yale) and forestry and environmental studies (PhD, Yale), followed by a postdoctoral position at the MBL, Woods Hole. Morris has authored >130 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of the Conservation International/UNESCO Blue Carbon Working Group. Dr. Morris has along history of NSF-funded research at North Inlet, SC on the effects of changing sea-level on coastal wetlands. His discovery of a stabilizing feedback between marsh primary production, vertical marsh accretion, and sea-level rise has had a significant impact on the fields of marsh biogeomorphology and ecology.
He is funded by NSF and is an Effects of Sea Level Rise (ESLR) principal investigator.

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