3.4 The Effects of Chronic Salinity on the Carbon Cycle of Strawberry Swamp, SC

Monday, 11 January 2016: 4:45 PM
Room 342 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Alexandria McCombs, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; and A. L. Hiscox, S. T. Allen, K. W. Krauss, J. Duberstein, and W. H. Conner

Strawberry Swamp is a degraded freshwater swamp located along the South Carolina Coast on Winyah Bay near Georgetown, SC. While partially impounded, the swamp has occasional salinity pulses resulting in a temporally varying but encroaching gradient from mesohaline to fresh conditions. These conditions have affected structure and physiological function, resulting in a gradient from marsh to shrubland to forest in a zone entirely forested during the early 20th century. We expect that these transitions affect carbon dioxide fluxes, both spatially and temporally, that occur within this wetland system. Measurements were taken using an open path infrared gas analyzer / eddy covariance system (Campbell Scientific, EC150/CSAT-3) at 13.2 m above the water surface in the swamp at the transition zone from forest to a wax-myrtle shrubland. These measurements assess the magnitude of change in the carbon dioxide flux as the forest is disturbed by chronic salinity along with fluctuations of water level and salinity, partially influenced by rising sea levels. The measurements seek to quantify the temporal and spatial differences in turbulent exchange in salinity-impacted coastal forested wetland ecosystems.
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