GEOL Thesis Qualifying/Comprehensive Exam - Meghan ShanahanTuesday, August 22, 2017 - 10:00am
Impact of coastal development and marsh width variability on groundwater quality in estuarine tidal creeks
Coastal upland development has been shown to negatively impact surface water quality in tidal creeks located in the southeastern US. The goal of this project is to assess the impact of coastal upland development on the quality of groundwater in these tidal creeks. Groundwater sampling will occur in two parts. First, samples collected in the upland will be used to compare salinity, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations of groundwater in forested, suburban and urban watersheds. Second, samples collected along the marsh will be used to study the influence of marsh width variability on the same groundwater quality parameters within each tidal creek.
Results from this project will provide an assessment in the southeastern US of the composition of groundwater originating in the upland that discharges to estuarine tidal creeks, as well as provide an evaluation of the influence of marsh width variability on groundwater quality. This project will expand understanding of the groundwater conditions and ecosystems of tidal creeks, and provide pertinent information for best management practices for tidal creek systems. We hypothesize that groundwater in developed watersheds will have higher concentrations of nutrients than groundwater in undeveloped watersheds, and that marsh width variability will positively correlate with salinity and nutrient concentrations.