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Webinar: Understanding Climate Change and Wetlands

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Friday, 17 April 2020, 2:00

Friday, April 17, 2020. 2:00 PM. Understanding Climate Change and Wetlands. Judith Weis, Rutgers University-Newark. More information here

Salt marshes are intertidal habitats that are alternatively flooded and exposed by tidal waters. They are key coastal ecosystems that provide habitat for many invertebrates, fish (including some commercial species that use marshes as nursery habitats), mammals and birds. They also provide ecosystem services to humans such as protection from storm surge and wind, attenuating flooding, and sequestering pollutants (e.g. “blue carbon.”)

Key threats to salt marshes include land reclamation, coastal development, dredging, sea level rise (SLR), and eutrophication. SLR is by far the largest climate-related threat. Marshes can accrete by trapping sediments and building organic matter from plant roots and leaves, but they may not be able to increase in elevation as fast as sea level rises. This is particularly true in areas where sediment supply is limited. Marshes may be able to migrate inland, if there is open space landward of the marsh, which is scarce in urban areas. Dr. Weis’s talk will focus on these threats and possible ways to combat them.

About Dr. Judith S. Weis: Dr. Judith S. Weis is Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, Newark. Her research is on estuarine ecology and ecotoxicology. She has published over 200 refereed scientific papers, as well as books for the general public on salt marshes, fish, crabs, and marine pollution, and technical books on marine pollution and on biological invasions and animal behavior. She is interested in stresses in estuaries and their effects on organisms, populations and communities. She is on the editorial board for BioScience, is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was a Fulbright Fellow in Indonesia. She served on advisory committees for EPA, NOAA and NAS, serves on the Waterfront Management Advisory Board, and chairs the Science Advisory Board of NJ DEP. She chaired the Biology Section of AAAS and was president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). She received the Merit Award from the Society of Wetland Scientists.

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