Poster 163 – Click on poster below to view presentation from author.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Co-Authors: Jorge Villa
By 2050 around 650,000 acres of wetlands in Louisiana will be lost from anthropogenic and natural events. Losing land area is a concerning issue since coastal wetlands benefit Louisiana cities economically and ecologically. Wetlands only take up 5–8% of the land surface globally but can hold 30% of 1,500 Pg of global soil carbon and can be large carbon sinks holding carbon in their soil for thousands of years. Wetlands also contribute up to 25% of methane for the global methane budget and are the world’s largest natural source (Bastviken et al., 2010). Short-term saltwater intrusion (SWI) events caused by storm surges alter freshwater and brackish wetland plant growth and composition, wetland erosion rates, and the net exchange of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2). Understanding the relationship between time and concentration of increased salinity levels with methane and CO2 is crucial for wetland restoration and carbon offset projects, especially as inland and coastal freshwater wetlands are becoming more susceptible to deterioration from storm surge flooding in coastal areas. Little research in the field has been done to examine how acute SWI events can change methane and CO2 fluxes in freshwater marsh habitats. Using a unique artificial setting, we will assess patch response to simulated acute SWI events on methane and carbon dioxide fluxes in a freshwater wetland environment dominated by Typha domingensis (Southern cattail) and Panicum hemitomon (maidencane), which are two native freshwater plant species characteristic of Louisiana. We aim to provide insight into how acute SWI can change methane and carbon dioxide fluxes at the patch level and how these changes can be correlated with vegetation spectral indices, allowing for remote assessments of SWI vulnerability at larger scales.
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