Constraints on the adjustment of tidal marshes to accelerating sea level rise

Neil Saintilan, Katya E. Kovalenko, Glenn Guntenspergen, Kerrylee Rogers, James C. Lynch, Donald R. Cahoon, Catherine E. Lovelock, Daniel A. Friess, Erica Ashe, Ken W. Krauss, Nicole Cormier, Tom Spencer, Janine Adams, Jacqueline Raw, Carles Ibanez, Francesco Scarton, Stijn Temmerman, Patrick Meire, Tom Maris, Karen ThorneJohn Brazner, Gail L. Chmura, Tony Bowron, Vishmie P. Gamage, Kimberly Cressman, Charlie Endris, Christina Marconi, Pamela Marcum, Kari St. Laurent, William Reay, Kenneth B. Raposa, Jason A. Garwood, Nicole Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Much uncertainty exists about the vulnerability of valuable tidal marsh ecosystems to relative sea level rise. Previous assessments of resilience to sea level rise, to which marshes can adjust by sediment accretion and elevation gain, revealed contrasting results, depending on contemporary or Holocene geological data. By analyzing globally distributed contemporary data, we found that marsh sediment accretion increases in parity with sea level rise, seemingly confirming previously claimed marsh resilience. However, subsidence of the substrate shows a nonlinear increase with accretion. As a result, marsh elevation gain is constrained in relation to sea level rise, and deficits emerge that are consistent with Holocene observations of tidal marsh vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-527
Number of pages5
Issue number6605
StatePublished - Jul 9 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
NRF/SAEON Elwandle Node; the NRF/DSI Shallow Marine and Coastal Research Infrastructure (SMCRI); the SAEON Elwandle Coastal Biogeochemical Platform: UKRI NERC CBESS (NE/J015423/1); Australian Research Council FS100100024, FT130100532, and the Coasts and Clean Seas Initiative; National Environmental Science Program 2 Coastal and Marine Hub; the DSI/NRF Research Chair in Shallow Water Ecosystems (UID 84375); US Geological Survey Climate Research and Development Program and Ecosystems Mission Area; Research Foundation of Flanders, Belgium (FWO grants G.0600.18N and G.0316.20N); NSF grants OCE-1702587 and OCE-2002437; Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) of Louisiana, 2021, Coastwide Reference Monitoring System-Wetlands Monitoring Data; US Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center; Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti – Provveditorato Interregionale alle OO. PP. del Veneto – Trentino Alto Adige – Friuli Venezia Giulia, through its concessionary Consorzio Venezia Nuova; Catalan Water Agency, Ebro Delta Monitoring Network Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

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