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SPCMSC researchers Jennifer Miselis and Daniel Ciarletta and Montclair State University collaborators publish an investigation of historical and modeled landscape changes at Long Beach Island, New Jersey. 

Marsh and sand on a bay beach with buildings in the distant background
The remnants of an eroding marsh sit on a bayside beach behind Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Marsh loss and bayside erosion can be outcomes of both natural landscape evolution and human modification of coastal barrier systems. Scientists are using historical observations and modeling to infer and quantify the drivers of landscape change at Long Beach Island and other coastal barriers around the world.

SPCMSC researchers Jennifer Miselis and Daniel Ciarletta, investigators on the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux project, are working with collaborators at Montclair State University (MSU) to explore the impacts of natural and human-caused processes along barrier coasts. Their latest publication in Frontiers in Marine Science documents the transition of Long Beach Island, New Jersey from a natural barrier system to a landscape increasingly dominated by human impacts. Changes to the island through time were quantified through historical and modeling analyses of coastal system boundaries, including the positions of barrier-island and mainland shorelines, as well as the marsh footprint. The research helps shed light on the interconnectedness of barrier islands with their backing lagoons and mainland environments, and offers insights for managers to balance the effects of barrier island stabilization for human purposes with the ecosystem’s ability to undergo natural changes. The lead authors on this publication, Christopher Tenebruso and Shane Nichols-O’Neill, are graduate student researchers at MSU who are partly funded through a cooperative agreement with the USGS led by SPCMSC Principal Investigator (PI) Jennifer Miselis and MSU PI Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba. Nichols-O’Neill, who performed GIS analyses for the recent publication, will also be presenting the results of ongoing research with SPCMSC collaborators regarding the evolution of Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey, at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Chicago this coming December.

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