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  1. Porewater nutrient concentrations were measured as a component of a long-term project seeking to understand how salt marsh primary production and sediment chemistry respond to anthropogenic (e.g. eutrophication) and natural (e.g. sea-level rise) environmental change. Feedbacks between plants, sediments, nutrients and flooding were investigated with particular attention to mechanisms that keep marshes in equilibrium with sea level. Other data collected as part of the project include aboveground macrophyte biomass, plant density, marsh surface elevation and annual above ground primary productivity. These data have been used to develop the Marsh Equilibrium Model, an important tool for coastal resource managers. Sampling occurred at Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh sites in North Inlet, a relatively pristine estuary near Georgetown, SC on the SE coast of the United States. North Inlet is a tidally-dominated, bar-built estuary, with a semi-diurnal mixed tide and a tidal range of 1.4m. The 25-km2 estuary is comprised of about 20.5 km2 of intertidal salt marsh and mudflats, and 4.5 km2 of open water. Sampling began at two locations in December 1993, and at three additional locations in January 1994. Sampling occurred approximately monthly at these 5 locations through 2023. Sampling occurred at a sixth location from 2006 to 2010. The site was a dieback site that had recovered by 2010. At the other sites, the study is on-going. Porewater was collected at multiple depths from diffusion samplers and was analyzed for sulfide, salinity, ammonium, phosphate, and iron concentrations. There are five sampling locations at three sites. Two locations are in the low marsh; three locations are in the high marsh. One high marsh location had control sampling plots in addition to plots fertilized with nitrogen and phosphorus. 
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  2. Abstract

    A network of 15 Surface Elevation Tables (SETs) at North Inlet estuary, South Carolina, has been monitored on annual or monthly time scales beginning from 1990 to 1996 and continuing through 2022. Of 73 time series in control plots, 12 had elevation gains equal to or exceeding the local rate of sea-level rise (SLR, 0.34 cm/year). Rising marsh elevation in North Inlet is dominated by organic production and, we hypothesize, is proportional to net ecosystem production. The rate of elevation gain was 0.47 cm/year in plots experimentally fertilized for 10 years with N&P compared to nearby control plots that have gained 0.1 cm/year in 26 years. The excess gains and losses of elevation in fertilized plots were accounted for by changes in belowground biomass and turnover. This is supported by bioassay experiments in marsh organs where at age 2 the belowground biomass of fertilizedS. alternifloraplants was increasing by 1,994 g m−2 year−1, which added a growth premium of 2.4 cm/year to elevation gain. This was contrasted with the net belowground growth of 746 g m−2 year−1in controls, which can add 0.89 cm/year to elevation. Root biomass density was greater in the fertilized bioassay treatments than in controls, plateauing at about 1,374 g m−2and 472 g m−2, respectively. Growth of belowground biomass was dominated by rhizomes, which grew to 3,648 g m−2in the fertilized treatments after 3 years and 1,439 g m−2in the control treatments after 5 years. Depositional wetlands are limited by an exogenous supply of mineral sediment, whereas marshes like North Inlet could be classified as autonomous because they depend on in situ organic production to maintain elevation. Autonomous wetlands are more vulnerable to SLR because their elevation gains are constrained ultimately by photosynthetic efficiency.

     
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  3. Aboveground biomass and plant density were measured non-destructively as a component of a long-term project seeking to understand how salt marsh primary production and sediment chemistry respond to anthropogenic (e.g. eutrophication) and natural (e.g. sea-level rise) environmental change. Feedbacks between plants, sediments, nutrients and flooding were investigated with particular attention to mechanisms that keep marshes in equilibrium with sea level. Biomass was calculated from plant height measurements using allometric equations. Annual productivity was calculated from approximately-monthly biomass estimates. In addition to plant height measurements, observations of snails in sample plots were recorded. Other data collected as part of the project include marsh surface elevation and porewater nutrient concentrations. These data have been used to develop the Marsh Equilibrium Model, an important tool for coastal resource managers. Sampling occurred at Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh sites in North Inlet, a relatively pristine estuary near Georgetown, SC on the SE coast of the United States. North Inlet is a tidally-dominated, bar-built estuary, with a semi-diurnal mixed tide and a tidal range of 1.4m. The 25-km2 estuary is comprised of about 20.5 km2 of intertidal salt marsh and mudflats, and 4.5 km2 of open water. Sampling began at one location in 1984, and at three additional locations in 1986. Sampling occurred approximately monthly through 2022. The study is on-going. There are four sampling locations at two sites. Two locations are in the low marsh; two locations are in the high marsh. One high marsh location had control sampling plots in addition to plots fertilized with nitrogen and phosphorus. 
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  4. Marsh elevation was measured with a Surface Elevation Table (SET) as a component of a long-term project seeking to understand how salt marsh primary production and sediment chemistry respond to anthropogenic (e.g. eutrophication) and natural (e.g. sea-level rise) environmental change. Feedbacks between plants, sediments, nutrients and flooding were investigated with particular attention to mechanisms that keep marshes in equilibrium with sea level. Other data collected as part of the project include aboveground annual primary productivity, plant biomass, plant density and porewater nutrient concentrations. These data have been used to develop the Marsh Equilibrium Model, an important tool for coastal resource managers. Sampling occurred at 7 Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh sites in North Inlet, a relatively pristine estuary near Georgetown, SC on the SE coast of the United States. North Inlet is a tidally-dominated, bar-built estuary, with a semi-diurnal mixed tide and a tidal range of 1.4m. The 25-km2 estuary is comprised of about 20.5 km2 of intertidal salt marsh and mudflats, and 4.5 km2 of open water. Marsh elevation sampling began in 1990, 1991, 1996 or 2000, depending on the site. Sampling occurred approximately monthly or approximately annually through 2022. The study is on-going. Additionally, some plots were fertilized with nitrogen and phosphorus. 
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