[Eoas-seminar] Seminar Orencio Duran March 2 at 12pm

eoas-seminar at lists.fsu.edu eoas-seminar at lists.fsu.edu
Tue Feb 24 15:27:04 EST 2015

MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences
faculty candidate in the CMRU will give a seminar on
Back to the roots: the role of vegetation in coastal vulnerability to storms and barrier island stability

Coastal dunes support a rich ecosystem and provide protection from coastal flooding and storm-induced overwash. In contrast to dry desert dunes, coastal dunes arise from interactions between biological and physical processes. While dune dynamics has been traditionally understood in terms of physical processes, there is increasing evidence that vegetation dynamics, with its complex bio-geomorphic feedbacks, plays a central role in coastal response to external drivers, notably shoreline change, storm erosion and sea level rise. A combination of numerical simulations, analytical models and field data suggest this response is characterized by at least three control parameters: (1) the ‘mobility index’ quantifying the competition between vegetation growth and sand erosion/accretion that triggers a transition from mobile to stable dunes and thus exerts a primary control on the stability of the coastal dune ecosystem; (2) the ‘vegetation limit’, a length quantifying the interaction between ‘dune-building’ grasses and the shoreline that controls the maximum size of coastal dunes, and thus has direct implications for coastal vulnerability to storms; and (3) the ‘vulnerability index’ quantifying the competition between vegetation recovery, storm erosion and sea level rise that induces a bistable response of barriers islands, where dunes may not recover after an overwash and islands can be trapped in a perpetual state of vulnerability. These findings contribute to the growing body of research demonstrating the importance of biophysical feedbacks in leading to state changes that affects not only the ecosystem that inhabits the landscape, but the morphology of the landscape itself. 
Dr. Vincent J.M. Salters
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
Phone: 850-644-1934, Skype: vsalters

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