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Dr. Daniel Ciarletta, Mendenhall Research Geologist, and Geologist Julie Bernier are travelling to Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness at Fire Island, New York to collect sediment cores for their research on sediment dynamics and barrier island evolution.

Mendenhall Research Geologist Dr. Daniel Ciarletta and Geologist Julie Bernier of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center are collecting sand auger cores from Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune Wilderness at Fire Island, New York as part of the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux (CSAF) project. For this research at Fire Island, the team’s goals include reconstructing the evolution of this barrier island over the last several centuries and quantifying changes in sediment input and partitioning through time (i.e., how sand is distributed between the terrestrial portion of the barrier and the beach/shoreface).

Barrier islands are constantly changing and are heavily influenced by the movement and amount of sediment available. By collecting cores from barrier islands, the team will analyze sediment grain size and type, and look for other clues about the past to help tell the story of earlier island environments and how they may have fluctuated over time. Using field data to inform models increases the quality of predictions including how islands might respond in the future to changes in sea level, increased frequency and intensity of extreme storms, changing sediment budgets, and resulting affects to people and habitats.

Scientist holds and analyzes a thin cylinder of sand and mud in front of a sandy vegetated area next to a hole in the ground
Scientists collected sand auger cores from Fire Island to help reconstruct the evolution of the barrier over the last several centuries, with the goal of quantifying changes in sediment input and partitioning through time (e.g. how sand is distributed between the terrestrial portion of the barrier and the beach/shoreface). With this information, it could be possible to predict how the barrier might respond in the future (or even how it is responding presently) to changes in rate of sea-level rise, storminess, and sediment budget. Learn more about the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux project. 
A scientist stands in a vegetated sandy area holding a thin cylinder of sand, next to a tripod.
Scientists collected sand auger cores from Fire Island to help reconstruct the evolution of the barrier over the last several centuries, with the goal of quantifying changes in sediment input and partitioning through time (e.g., how sand is distributed between the terrestrial portion of the barrier and the beach/shoreface). With this information, it could be possible to predict how the barrier might respond in the future (or even how it is responding presently) to changes in rate of sea-level rise, storminess, and sediment budget. Learn more about the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux project. 

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