Eagle Meagan

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  • Article
    Revisiting 228Th as a tool for determining sedimentation and mass accumulation rates
    (Elsevier, 2022-07-12) Tamborski, Joseph ; Cai, Pinghe ; Eagle, Meagan ; Henderson, Paul B. ; Charette, Matthew A.
    The use of 228Th has seen limited application for determining sedimentation and mass accumulation rates in coastal and marine environments. Recent analytical advances have enabled rapid, precise measurements of particle-bound 228Th using a radium delayed coincidence counting system (RaDeCC). Herein we review the 228Th cycle in the marine environment and revisit the historical use of 228Th as a tracer for determining sediment vertical accretion and mass accumulation rates in light of new measurement techniques. Case studies comparing accumulation rates from 228Th and 210Pb are presented for a micro-tidal salt marsh and a marginal sea environment. 228Th and 210Pb have been previously measured in mangrove, deltaic, continental shelf and ocean basin environments, and a literature synthesis reveals that 228Th (measured via alpha or gamma spectrometry) derived accumulation rates are generally equal to or greater than estimates derived from 210Pb, reflecting different integration periods. Use of 228Th is well-suited for shallow (<15 cm) cores over decadal timescales. Application is limited to relatively homogenous sediment profiles with minor variations in grain size and minimal bioturbation. When appropriate conditions are met, complimentary use of 228Th and 210Pb can demonstrate that the upper layers of a core are undisturbed and can improve spatial coverage in mapping accumulation rates due to the higher sample throughput for sediment 228Th.
  • Article
    Soil organic carbon development and turnover in natural and disturbed salt marsh environments
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-12-11) Luk, Sheron Y. ; Todd‐Brown, Katherine ; Eagle, Meagan ; McNichol, Ann P. ; Sanderman, Jonathan ; Gosselin, Kelsey M. ; Spivak, Amanda C.
    Salt marsh survival with sea‐level rise (SLR) increasingly relies on soil organic carbon (SOC) accumulation and preservation. Using a novel combination of geochemical approaches, we characterized fine SOC (≤1 mm) supporting marsh elevation maintenance. Overlaying thermal reactivity, source (δ13C), and age (F14C) information demonstrates several processes contributing to soil development: marsh grass production, redeposition of eroded material, and microbial reworking. Redeposition of old carbon, likely from creekbanks, represented ∼9%–17% of shallow SOC (≤26 cm). Soils stored marsh grass‐derived compounds with a range of reactivities that were reworked over centuries‐to‐millennia. Decomposition decreases SOC thermal reactivity throughout the soil column while the decades‐long disturbance of ponding accelerated this shift in surface horizons. Empirically derived estimates of SOC turnover based on geochemical composition spanned a wide range (640–9,951 years) and have the potential to inform predictions of marsh ecosystem evolution.
  • Article
    Soil carbon consequences of historic hydrologic impairment and recent restoration in coastal wetlands
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2022-08-06) Eagle, Meagan ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; Spivak, Amanda C. ; Wang, Faming ; Tang, Jianwu ; Abdul-Aziz, Omar I. ; Ishtiaq, Khandker S. ; O'Keefe Suttles, Jennifer A. ; Mann, Adrian G.
    Coastal wetlands provide key ecosystem services, including substantial long-term storage of atmospheric CO2 in soil organic carbon pools. This accumulation of soil organic matter is a vital component of elevation gain in coastal wetlands responding to sea-level rise. Anthropogenic activities that alter coastal wetland function through disruption of tidal exchange and wetland water levels are ubiquitous. This study assesses soil vertical accretion and organic carbon accretion across five coastal wetlands that experienced over a century of impounded hydrology, followed by restoration of tidal exchange 5 to 14 years prior to sampling. Nearby marshes that never experienced tidal impoundment served as controls with natural hydrology to assess the impact of impoundment and restoration. Dated soil cores indicate that elevation gain and carbon storage were suppressed 30–70 % during impoundment, accounting for the majority of elevation deficit between impacted and natural sites. Only one site had substantial subsidence, likely due to oxidation of soil organic matter. Vertical and carbon accretion gains were achieved at all restored sites, with carbon burial increasing from 96 ± 33 to 197 ± 64 g C m−2 y−1. The site with subsidence was able to accrete at double the rate (13 ± 5.6 mm y−1) of the natural complement, due predominantly to organic matter accumulation rather than mineral deposition, indicating these ecosystems are capable of large dynamic responses to restoration when conditions are optimized for vegetation growth. Hydrologic restoration enhanced elevation resilience and climate benefits of these coastal wetlands.
  • Article
    Pore water exchange-driven inorganic carbon export from intertidal salt marshes
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2021-03-11) Tamborski, Joseph ; Eagle, Meagan ; Kurylyk, Barret L. ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; Wang, Zhaoihui Aleck ; Henderson, Paul B. ; Charette, Matthew A.
    Respiration in intertidal salt marshes generates dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) that is exported to the coastal ocean by tidal exchange with the marsh platform. Understanding the link between physical drivers of water exchange and chemical flux is a key to constraining coastal wetland contributions to regional carbon budgets. The spatial and temporal (seasonal, annual) variability of marsh pore water exchange and DIC export was assessed from a microtidal salt marsh (Sage Lot Pond, Massachusetts). Spatial variability was constrained from 224Ra : 228Th disequilibria across two hydrologic units within the marsh sediments. Disequilibrium between the more soluble 224Ra and its sediment-bound parent 228Th reveals significant pore water exchange in the upper 5 cm of the marsh surface (0–36 L m−2 d−1) that is most intense in low marsh elevation zones, driven by tidal overtopping. Surficial sediment DIC transport ranges from 0.0 to 0.7 g C m−2 d−1. The sub-surface sediment horizon intersected by mean low tide was disproportionately impacted by tidal pumping (20–80 L m−2 d−1) and supplied a seasonal DIC flux of 1.7–5.4 g C m−2 d−1. Export exceeded 10 g C m−2 d−1 for another marsh unit, demonstrating that fluxes can vary substantially across salt marshes under similar conditions within the same estuary. Seasonal and annual variability in marsh pore water exchange, constrained from tidal time-series of radium isotopes, was driven in part by variability in mean sea level. Rising sea levels will further inundate high marsh elevation zones, which may lead to greater DIC export.
  • Article
    Recent nitrogen storage and accumulation rates in mangrove soils exceed historic rates in the urbanized San Juan Bay Estuary (Puerto Rico, United States)
    (Frontiers Media, 2021-11-12) Wigand, Cathleen ; Oczkowski, Autumn J. ; Branoff, Benjamin L. ; Eagle, Meagan ; Hanson, Alana ; Martin, Rose M. ; Balogh, Stephen ; Miller, Kenneth M. ; Huertas, Evelyn ; Loffredo, Joseph ; Watson, Elizabeth
    Tropical mangrove forests have been described as “coastal kidneys,” promoting sediment deposition and filtering contaminants, including excess nutrients. Coastal areas throughout the world are experiencing increased human activities, resulting in altered geomorphology, hydrology, and nutrient inputs. To effectively manage and sustain coastal mangroves, it is important to understand nitrogen (N) storage and accumulation in systems where human activities are causing rapid changes in N inputs and cycling. We examined N storage and accumulation rates in recent (1970 – 2016) and historic (1930 – 1970) decades in the context of urbanization in the San Juan Bay Estuary (SJBE, Puerto Rico), using mangrove soil cores that were radiometrically dated. Local anthropogenic stressors can alter N storage rates in peri-urban mangrove systems either directly by increasing N soil fertility or indirectly by altering hydrology (e.g., dredging, filling, and canalization). Nitrogen accumulation rates were greater in recent decades than historic decades at Piñones Forest and Martin Peña East. Martin Peña East was characterized by high urbanization, and Piñones, by the least urbanization in the SJBE. The mangrove forest at Martin Peña East fringed a poorly drained canal and often received raw sewage inputs, with N accumulation rates ranging from 17.7 to 37.9 g m–2 y–1 in recent decades. The Piñones Forest was isolated and had low flushing, possibly exacerbated by river damming, with N accumulation rates ranging from 18.6 to 24.2 g m–2 y–1 in recent decades. Nearly all (96.3%) of the estuary-wide mangrove N (9.4 Mg ha–1) was stored in the soils with 7.1 Mg ha–1 sequestered during 1970–2017 (0–18 cm) and 2.3 Mg ha–1 during 1930–1970 (19–28 cm). Estuary-wide mangrove soil N accumulation rates were over twice as great in recent decades (0.18 ± 0.002 Mg ha–1y–1) than historically (0.08 ± 0.001 Mg ha–1y–1). Nitrogen accumulation rates in SJBE mangrove soils in recent times were twofold larger than the rate of human-consumed food N that is exported as wastewater (0.08 Mg ha–1 y–1), suggesting the potential for mangroves to sequester human-derived N. Conservation and effective management of mangrove forests and their surrounding watersheds in the Anthropocene are important for maintaining water quality in coastal communities throughout tropical regions.
  • Article
    Peat decomposition and erosion contribute to pond deepening in a temperate salt marsh
    (American Geophysical Union, 2023-01-30) Luk, Sheron ; Eagle, Meagan J. ; Mariotti, Giulio ; Gosselin, Kelsey ; Sanderman, Jonathan ; Spivak, Amanda C.
    Salt marsh ponds expand and deepen over time, potentially reducing ecosystem carbon storage and resilience. The water filled volumes of ponds represent missing carbon due to prevented soil accumulation and removal by erosion and decomposition. Removal mechanisms have different implications as eroded carbon can be redistributed while decomposition results in loss. We constrained ponding effects on carbon dynamics in a New England marsh and determined whether expansion and deepening impact nearby soils by conducting geochemical characterizations of cores from three ponds and surrounding high marshes and models of wind‐driven erosion. Radioisotope profiles demonstrate that ponds are not depositional environments and that contemporaneous marsh accretion represents prevented accumulation accounting for 32%–42% of the missing carbon. Erosion accounted for 0%–38% and was bracketed using radioisotope inventories and wind‐driven resuspension models. Decomposition, calculated by difference, removes 22%–68%, and when normalized over pond lifespans, produces rates that agree with previous metabolism measurements. Pond surface soils contain new contributions from submerged primary producers and evidence of microbial alteration of underlying peat, as higher levels of detrital biomarkers and thermal stability indices, compared to the marsh. Below pond surface horizons, soil properties and organic matter composition were similar to the marsh, indicating that ponding effects are shallow. Soil bulk density, elemental content, and accretion rates were similar between marsh sites but different from ponds, suggesting that lateral effects are spatially confined. Consequently, ponds negatively impact ecosystem carbon storage but at current densities are not causing pervasive degradation of marshes in this system.
  • Article
    Forecasting sea level rise-driven inundation in diked and tidally restricted coastal lowlands
    (Springer, 2023-05-05) Befus, Kevin M. ; Kurnizki, Alexander P. D. ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; Eagle, Meagan J. ; Smith, Tim P.
    Diked and drained coastal lowlands rely on hydraulic and protective infrastructure that may not function as designed in areas with relative sea-level rise. The slow and incremental loss of the hydraulic conditions required for a well-drained system make it difficult to identify if and when the flow structures no longer discharge enough water, especially in tidal settings where two-way flows occur through the dike. We developed and applied a hydraulic mass-balance model to quantify how water levels in the diked and tidally restricted coastal wetlands and water bodies dynamically respond to sea-level rise, specifically applied to the Herring River Estuary in MA, USA, from 2020 to 2100. Sensitivity testing of the model parameters indicated that primary outcomes were not sensitive to many of the chosen input values, though the terrestrial water input rate to the estuary and the flow coefficient for the hydraulic infrastructure were important. The relative importance of parameters, however, is expected to be site specific. We introduced a drainability metric that quantifies the net water volume drained over every tidal cycle to monitor and forecast how rising water levels on either side of the dike affected the net draining or impounding conditions of the system. Ensembles of model results across parameter and sea-level scenario uncertainties indicated that substantial impoundment of the Herring River Estuary was expected within ~ 20 years with the existing flow structures, a sluice and two flap gates. Simulations with up to three additional gates did not dampen this trend toward impoundment, suggesting that rising impounded water levels are likely even with major construction upgrades. Increasingly impounded diked coastal waterbodies present a hydrologic challenge with socioecological implications due to projected flooding and ecosystem impacts. Solutions to this challenge may be to allow coastal wetland restoration pathways or require substantial and recurring infrastructure improvement projects.
  • Article
    Impoundment increases methane emissions in Phragmites‐invaded coastal wetlands
    (Wiley, 2022-05-26) Sanders-DeMott, Rebecca ; Eagle, Meagan ; Kroeger, Kevin D. ; Wang, Faming ; Brooks, Thomas W. ; O'Keefe Suttles, Jennifer A. ; Nick, Sydney K. ; Mann, Adrian G. ; Tang, Jianwu
    Saline tidal wetlands are important sites of carbon sequestration and produce negligible methane (CH4) emissions due to regular inundation with sulfate-rich seawater. Yet, widespread management of coastal hydrology has restricted tidal exchange in vast areas of coastal wetlands. These ecosystems often undergo impoundment and freshening, which in turn cause vegetation shifts like invasion by Phragmites, that affect ecosystem carbon balance. Understanding controls and scaling of carbon exchange in these understudied ecosystems is critical for informing climate consequences of blue carbon restoration and/or management interventions. Here, we (1) examine how carbon fluxes vary across a salinity gradient (4–25 psu) in impounded and natural, tidally unrestricted Phragmites wetlands using static chambers and (2) probe drivers of carbon fluxes within an impounded coastal wetland using eddy covariance at the Herring River in Wellfleet, MA, United States. Freshening across the salinity gradient led to a 50-fold increase in CH4 emissions, but effects on carbon dioxide (CO2) were less pronounced with uptake generally enhanced in the fresher, impounded sites. The impounded wetland experienced little variation in water-table depth or salinity during the growing season and was a strong CO2 sink of −352 g CO2-C m−2 year−1 offset by CH4 emission of 11.4 g CH4-C m−2 year−1. Growing season CH4 flux was driven primarily by temperature. Methane flux exhibited a diurnal cycle with a night-time minimum that was not reflected in opaque chamber measurements. Therefore, we suggest accounting for the diurnal cycle of CH4 in Phragmites, for example by applying a scaling factor developed here of ~0.6 to mid-day chamber measurements. Taken together, these results suggest that although freshened, impounded wetlands can be strong carbon sinks, enhanced CH4 emission with freshening reduces net radiative balance. Restoration of tidal flow to impounded ecosystems could limit CH4 production and enhance their climate regulating benefits.