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Coastal and wetland ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay watershed: Applying palynology to understand impacts of changing climate, sea level, and land use

July 16, 2015

The mid-Atlantic region and Chesapeake Bay watershed have been influenced by fluctuations in climate and sea level since the Cretaceous, and human alteration of the landscape began ~12,000 years ago, with greatest impacts since colonial times. Efforts to devise sustainable management strategies that maximize ecosystem services are integrating data from a range of scientific disciplines to understand how ecosystems and habitats respond to different climatic and environmental stressors. Palynology has played an important role in improving understanding of the impact of changing climate, sea level, and land use on local and regional vegetation. Additionally, palynological analyses have provided biostratigraphic control for surficial mapping efforts and documented agricultural activities of both Native American populations and European colonists. This field trip focuses on sites where palynological analyses have supported efforts to understand the impacts of changing climate and land use on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.