Date of Award

Summer 8-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Earth and Environmental Sciences


Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Reed, Denise

Second Advisor

Kulp, Mark

Third Advisor

Hester, Mark


This research investigated patterns in elevation change in newly built wetlands in the Atchafalaya delta, and newly restored wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta. RSETs were used to measure small changes in elevation, and soil cores were processed to examine mineral and organic contributions.

Elevation change was highly variable, responding to influences from water level, river discharge, storms and vegetation. Mineral matter consistently added more to the marsh soil through volumetric and gravimetric contributions. Organic contributions were not significantly different across sites, suggesting the type of emergent vegetation at a site may not be the most important factor.

Sites with the lowest elevations had the highest rates of positive elevation change. Higher elevation sites were more exposed and had negative rates of elevation change. The findings suggest ideal sites for marsh building are in areas that receive sediment input, are protected from high-energy events, and can support emergent vegetation.


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