Kate Wade (PhD Blog) Inter-tidal ecosystem health and resilience through salt marsh regeneration

For more information read Kate’s non-technical PhD summary. 

April 2014

It has been a busy few months for me with lots of meetings, lab work and field work!

Irv using the Cohesian Strengh Meter to measure sediment stability in the Eden Estuary

Irv using the Cohesian Strength Meter to measure sediment stability in the Eden Estuary

I have been spending a lot of time promoting my survey about coastal flood defences, speaking with local residents, managers and landowners in the area and local councillors. The feedback I have received about both the topic of coastal flood defences and the survey itself has been really positive! The survey is currently only online but I hope to start surveying in local town centres and parks within the next month.

At the end of last month I also completed the final field sampling for my PhD in the Eden estuary. I took a wide range of in situ measurements and samples to bring back to the lab for analysis from the natural saltmarshes and mudflats and the transplanted saltmarsh sites. The in situ measurements included sediment stability so that I can see how difficult it is for the sediment to be eroded, and the height and density of the saltmarsh plants which will tell me how good each site is at dissipating wave energy. These are important factors in understanding how saltmarshes protect the coast from flooding and erosion.

Photos showing the different height and density of saltmarsh plants from newly transplanted sites to the natural site.

Photos showing the different height and density of saltmarsh plants from newly transplanted sites to the natural site.

The samples I collected included cores of sediment so that I can looks at all of the small invertebrates that live in the mud. These cores are sieved through sieves of less than 1mm and the animals that live in the mud are then sorted and identified using microscopes. Over the coming months I will be spending a lot of time in the lab processing all of these samples and analysing the results.