Community dynamics in restored salt marshes

Salt marshes are important coastal ecosystems that provide many services. Due to their high soil fertility, they have a long history of being converted to farmland. There is now growing interest in restoring salt marshes to protect against coastal erosion, mitigate sea level rise, and provide increased habitat for birds, fish, etc. Ducks Unlimited Canada and partners initiated a large salt marsh restoration project in 2009-2010 in Aulac, NB, Canada, and are planning new restoration initiatives, with goals of reverting farmland and freshwater impoundments to salt marsh, and assessing effectiveness of restoration methods. The intern will quantify patterns and rates of restoration of biological communities, at a critical point in the restoration process when the foundational plant species has spread throughout the restoration sites, other halophytic plants are starting to colonize the sites, and the old protective dike has eroded, leaving the young marshes to face stronger erosional forces. This process needs to be fully understood for our region where winter disturbance is substantial, because dike removal and associated shoreline management are becoming more common in Maritime Canada, largely due to the high costs associated with dike maintenance. The project’s information will help determine best management

Gregory Norris
Faculty Supervisor: 
Myriam Barbeau
New Brunswick
Partner University: