Effects of Sea-Level Rise on Coastal Wetlands in the Mississippi Delta
This video describes research being conducted by Dr. Karen McKee, USGS Research Ecologist, and her university partner, Dr. Julia Cherry. Their goal is to better understand the effects of sea-level rise and other global change factors on coastal wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta. This region contains over 40% of the U.S. wetlands in the lower 48 states These wetlands support commercial fisheries, provide habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, and act as storm buffers, protecting several important ports and cities such as New Orleans McKee and Cherry are conducting field and greenhouse experiments to quantify how plant productivity contributes organic matter to vertical soil building, which helps to counterbalance sea-level rise. They are also investigating how elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may stimulate plant production and help marshes build vertically and avoid submergence. Their research is contributing to a better understanding of how coastal wetlands persist in the face of changing sea levels and how they may respond in the future.