Members of our lab group have been working in the Amazon for decades, tracking sediment as it travels from source to sink along the Amazon River: the biggest supplier of freshwater and sediment to the world ocean. For our newest project in South America, we travelled a few hundred kilometers farther south to trudge through the muddy mangrove forests of the Ajuruteaua Peninsula.
Mangrove forests are globally important coastal ecosystems because they buffer coastlines from erosion, harbor marine nurseries, and store significant amounts of carbon. The pristine Amazonian coastline is an ideal site to study natural mechanisms that work to build and sustain the foundation of mangrove forests. Along the Amazonian coast, they have been left largely untouched so the natural processes aren’t entangled and complicated by human interference. Conclusions from this study will provide foundational concepts to the field of mangrove sediment dynamics by characterizing how hydrodynamics and morphology interact to control sediment accumulation within mangrove forests.
People: Andrea Ogston, Chuck Nittrourer, Robin McLachlan, Aaron Fricke