Miselis Jennifer L.
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ArticlePredictions of barrier island berm evolution in a time-varying storm climatology(John Wiley & Sons, 2014-02-19) Plant, Nathaniel G. ; Flocks, James ; Stockdon, Hilary F. ; Long, Joseph W. ; Guy, Kristy ; Thompson, David M. ; Cormier, Jamie M. ; Smith, Christopher G. ; Miselis, Jennifer L. ; Dalyander, P. SoupyLow-lying barrier islands are ubiquitous features of the world's coastlines, and the processes responsible for their formation, maintenance, and destruction are related to the evolution of smaller, superimposed features including sand dunes, beach berms, and sandbars. The barrier island and its superimposed features interact with oceanographic forces (e.g., overwash) and exchange sediment with each other and other parts of the barrier island system. These interactions are modulated by changes in storminess. An opportunity to study these interactions resulted from the placement and subsequent evolution of a 2 m high sand berm constructed along the northern Chandeleur Islands, LA. We show that observed berm length evolution is well predicted by a model that was fit to the observations by estimating two parameters describing the rate of berm length change. The model evaluates the probability and duration of berm overwash to predict episodic berm erosion. A constant berm length change rate is also predicted that persists even when there is no overwash. The analysis is extended to a 16 year time series that includes both intraannual and interannual variability of overwash events. This analysis predicts that as many as 10 or as few as 1 day of overwash conditions would be expected each year. And an increase in berm elevation from 2 m to 3.5 m above mean sea level would reduce the expected frequency of overwash events from 4 to just 0.5 event-days per year. This approach can be applied to understanding barrier island and berm evolution at other locations using past and future storm climatologies.
ArticleQuantification of storm-induced bathymetric change in a back-barrier estuary(Springer, 2016-07-26) Ganju, Neil K. ; Suttles, Steven E. ; Beudin, Alexis ; Nowacki, Daniel J. ; Miselis, Jennifer L. ; Andrews, Brian D.Geomorphology is a fundamental control on ecological and economic function of estuaries. However, relative to open coasts, there has been little quantification of storm-induced bathymetric change in back-barrier estuaries. Vessel-based and airborne bathymetric mapping can cover large areas quickly, but change detection is difficult because measurement errors can be larger than the actual changes over the storm timescale. We quantified storm-induced bathymetric changes at several locations in Chincoteague Bay, Maryland/Virginia, over the August 2014 to July 2015 period using fixed, downward-looking altimeters and numerical modeling. At sand-dominated shoal sites, measurements showed storm-induced changes on the order of 5 cm, with variability related to stress magnitude and wind direction. Numerical modeling indicates that the predominantly northeasterly wind direction in the fall and winter promotes southwest-directed sediment transport, causing erosion of the northern face of sandy shoals; southwesterly winds in the spring and summer lead to the opposite trend. Our results suggest that storm-induced estuarine bathymetric change magnitudes are often smaller than those detectable with methods such as LiDAR. More precise fixed-sensor methods have the ability to elucidate the geomorphic processes responsible for modulating estuarine bathymetry on the event and seasonal timescale, but are limited spatially. Numerical modeling enables interpretation of broad-scale geomorphic processes and can be used to infer the long-term trajectory of estuarine bathymetric change due to episodic events, when informed by fixed-sensor methods.
ArticlePhysical and biogeochemical controls on light attenuation in a eutrophic, back-barrier estuary(Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union, 2014-12-17) Ganju, Neil K. ; Miselis, Jennifer L. ; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.Light attenuation is a critical parameter governing the ecological function of shallow estuaries. In these systems primary production is often dominated by benthic macroalgae and seagrass; thus light penetration to the bed is of primary importance. We quantified light attenuation in three seagrass meadows in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, a shallow eutrophic back-barrier estuary; two of the sites were located within designated Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs). We sequentially deployed instrumentation measuring photosynthetically active radiation, chlorophyll a (chl a) fluorescence, dissolved organic matter fluorescence (fDOM; a proxy for colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) absorbance), turbidity, pressure, and water velocity at 10 min intervals over 3-week periods at each site. At the southernmost site, where sediment availability was highest, light attenuation was highest and dominated by turbidity and to a lesser extent chl a and CDOM. At the central site, chl a dominated followed by turbidity and CDOM, and at the northernmost site turbidity and CDOM contributed equally to light attenuation. At a given site, the temporal variability of light attenuation exceeded the difference in median light attenuation between the three sites. Vessel wakes, anecdotally implicated in increasing sediment resuspension, did not contribute to local resuspension within the seagrass beds, though frequent vessel wakes were observed in the channels. With regards to light attenuation and water clarity, physical and biogeochemical variables appear to outweigh any regulation of boat traffic within the ESAs.
ArticleEvolution of Mid-Atlantic coastal and back-barrier estuary environments in response to a hurricane : implications for barrier-estuary connectivity(Springer, 2015-12-29) Miselis, Jennifer L. ; Andrews, Brian D. ; Nicholson, Robert S. ; Defne, Zafer ; Ganju, Neil K. ; Navoy, AnthonyAssessments of coupled barrier island-estuary storm response are rare. Hurricane Sandy made landfall during an investigation in Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor estuary that included water quality monitoring, geomorphologic characterization, and numerical modeling; this provided an opportunity to characterize the storm response of the barrier island-estuary system. Barrier island morphologic response was characterized by significant changes in shoreline position, dune elevation, and beach volume; morphologic changes within the estuary were less dramatic with a net gain of only 200,000 m3 of sediment. When observed, estuarine deposition was adjacent to the back-barrier shoreline or collocated with maximum estuary depths. Estuarine sedimentologic changes correlated well with bed shear stresses derived from numerically simulated storm conditions, suggesting that change is linked to winnowing from elevated storm-related wave-current interactions rather than deposition. Rapid storm-related changes in estuarine water level, turbidity, and salinity were coincident with minima in island and estuarine widths, which may have influenced the location of two barrier island breaches. Barrier-estuary connectivity, or the transport of sediment from barrier island to estuary, was influenced by barrier island land use and width. Coupled assessments like this one provide critical information about storm-related coastal and estuarine sediment transport that may not be evident from investigations that consider only one component of the coastal system.