This website describes several interdisciplinary projects that aim to quantify and understand estuarine processes through observations and numerical modeling. Both the spatial and temporal scales of these mechanisms are important, and therefore require modern instrumentation and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic models. These projects are led from the U.S. Geological Survey's Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, but are collaborative projects that include participation from other U.S. Geological Survey offices, other federal and state agencies, and academic institutions.
We are developing routines within the COAWST model to represent the coupling between physical, biological, and chemical processes in estuaries. These include routines for marsh vulnerability to waves, benthic biogeochemistry, and feedbacks between vegetation and hydrodynamics.
Changes to the geomorphic structure of estuaries impact hydrodynamics, ecosystem function, and navigation. We are implementing new methods of observing and modeling these changes using innovative field and computational approaches.
Extreme tides and coastal storms transfer high water levels to estuaries through natural and managed entrances. The size of the transfer depends on the event duration and estuarine geomorphology. We use observational data and modeling to understand and spatially map this transfer at our study sites.
Tidal wetlands are an important geomorphic and ecological feature of the coastal zone. Our projects deal with the physical forcings that affect wetland stability over event-to-annual timescales, including wave attack, sediment supply, and sea-level rise.
Nutrient loading to estuaries has altered ecosystem function by encouraging algal growth, inducing swings in dissolved oxygen, and threatening seagrass sustainability. We are measuring and modeling these processes to understand the future trajectory of estuarine ecosystems.
Ocean Sciences 2016 conference presentations by Aretxabaleta, Ganju, and Nowacki:
New Personnel Contribute to USGS Studies on How Estuaries Respond to Storms, Sound Waves, May/June 2014.
Mapping, Measuring, and Modeling to Understand Water-Quality Dynamics in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary, New Jersey, Sound Waves, January/February 2013.
Hurricane Sandy Disrupts USGS Study of the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary in New Jersey, Provides Additional Research Opportunities, Sound Waves, January/February 2013.Recent Publications
Ganju, N.K., Defne, Z., Kirwan, M.L., D’Alpaos, A., Carniello, L., and Fagherazzi, S., 2017. Spatially integrative metrics reveal hidden vulnerability of microtidal salt marshes. Nature Communications, 8, 14156.
Beudin, A., Kalra, T.S., Ganju, N.K. and Warner, J.C., 2017. Development of a coupled wave-flow-vegetation interaction model. Computers & Geosciences, 100, 76–86.
Nowacki, D.J., Beudin, A., and Ganju, N.K., 2017, Spectral wave dissipation by submerged aquatic vegetation in a back-barrier estuary, Limnology & Oceanography, doi:10.1002/lno.10456