Presentation on theme: "Salinity Gradient of Plants in the Hudson River Estuary, and their Application to Paleoclimate Investigating Salt Marshes NASA Goddard Institute for Space."— Presentation transcript:
Salinity Gradient of Plants in the Hudson River Estuary, and their Application to Paleoclimate Investigating Salt Marshes NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Student: Carimaxy Benitez, Max Lerner Mentors: Elsa Moralda, Miriam Jones, and Dee Pederson Scientist: Dorothy Peteet
Research Question How do modern plants in a salinity gradient help us understand past climate change, specifically drought?
What are the characteristics of a Tidal Salt Marsh? A low coastal wetland influenced by tides Plants that grow in salt marshes are tolerant of two conditions: salt and water Highly Productive Ecosystem, breeding ground for many species (ie. fishes and birds) Protection against floods and storms: highly effective against soil erosion Cleans and filters water: salt marshes clean water by filtering sediments, heavy metals, and other toxins from upstream runoff.
What is Salinity? Salinity is the amount of dissolved salt per unit volume of sea water. It influences the types of organisms that live in a body of water and on the land fed by that water. The Hudson River is saline from the Hudson River Estuary to Newburgh, after which it is fresh water. Pollution slightly influences salinity.
Iona Marsh Located within the Bear Mountain Sate Park on the West shore of the Hudson River. This brackish, slightly salt river marsh 50 miles from the ocean receives its freshwater inflow from Doodletown Brook and the Hudson River. Dominated by Typha angustifolia, and Phragmites australis. Fresh to brackish-about 2 ppt
Piermont Marsh A brackish tidal marsh that is dominated by the common reed Phragmites australis, Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, Spartina alterniflora, Scirpus americanus, and Scirpus robustos. Very sensitive to surface water salinity. Brackish-about 6 ppt
Jamaica Bay Lies on the southwestern tip of Long Island in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, New York City. Saline to brackish, eutrophic (nutrient-rich) estuary. Low marsh is colonized by Spartina alterniflora while the high marsh is dominated by Spartina patens. Salt marsh- about 22 ppt
Percent data for Piermont Marsh pollen and spores Data from Dorothy M. Peteet. and Dee Pederson.
Conclusions By studying plant distributions along the Hudson River Estuary, we observed trends in salinity and water depth tolerances: less salt tolerant plants are upstream and more salt tolerant plants are found towards the mouth of the river. Changes in the pollen and seeds over time in Piermont marsh indicate times of drought with higher salinity. Understanding the magnitude and duration of droughts in the past is important for predicting future New York water limitations.