Date of Award

8-6-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S.

Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Department

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Reed, Denise

Second Advisor

Georgiou, Ioannis

Third Advisor

O' Connell, Martin

Abstract

This research investigated the response of the dominant salt marsh macrophyte Spartina alterniflora var. Loisel to sedimentation from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. A range of sedimentation was used to track the above and belowground plant response, as well as the volume of mineral and organic matter, in the upper reaches of the marsh soil from September 2008 to April 2009. Where storm sedimentation was greatest (~3.5 cm), there were significant increases in live aboveground biomass. Although live belowground biomass did not change significantly over time, the volumetric contribution of both mineral and soil organic matter in the shallow marsh soil increased. These results indicate that hurricane sedimentation may benefit subsiding coastal marshes by stimulating aboveground vegetation mass as well as soil organic matter volume. However, these results imply that there may be a sediment thickness threshold that must be met before such positive effects are expressed.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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