Quantification and comparison of morphological changes over the last ~300 y in Oregon salt marshes provide valuable insights into the tectonic, hydroclimatic, and anthropogenic processes shaping this important intertidal zone. Understanding of the rates and drivers of salt marsh change contextualizes intertidal habitats within the sediment routing system (i.e., source to sink); informs models of local and global biogeochemical cycles, important for global climate predictions; and guides ecosystem service protection and restoration efforts.

The estimation of rates and drivers of sediment accumulation is made possible by analysis of sediment archives, and though complex, comparison of histories of sediment accumulation between systems with spatiotemporally variable drivers reveals relationships, feedbacks, and thresholds. In particular, the Oregon margin provides an opportunity to compare a number of important drivers of centennial salt marsh morphologic change, including relative sea level rise, suspended sediment supply, basin area, bay morphology, and coseismic subsidence related to Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquakes, all of which are discussed in this dissertation.

Erin Peck
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226 pages
Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon