IGN 22-3 - Saltwater intrusion and ecosystem change: The leading edge of climate change on the Carolina coast

Friday, August 11, 2017
C123, Oregon Convention Center
Emily Bernhardt, Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC

Coastal plain freshwater ecosystems are already experiencing significant influxes of marine salts. Droughts and water extraction are leading to both gradual and seasonal salinization of inland waters through saltwater intrusion. The scale of this problem is exacerbated by extensive ditch and canal networks and groundwater extraction characteristic of the region. Freshwater ecosystems on the coastal plain are being altered by sea salt enrichment, with the proliferation of ghost forests, shifts in dominant vegetation and shifts in the direction and magnitude of nutrient subsidies between inland waters and the coastal ocean.