Estuarine Oceanography at Brown

Coastal watersheds and estuaries are complex, highly interlinked, dynamic ecosystems. The great temporal and spatial variability of the processes in these systems makes them ideal for field studies designed to explore the patterns and causes of natural environmental change.

This variability also complicates the identification and quantification of societal impacts on these systems. Time scales can vary: tidal flushing (hourly), storm events (hours to weeks), spring/neap tidal responses (weeks to months), seasonal and interannual responses. Remote sensing and hydrologic studies of the watersheds and estuaries can be coordinated to build an integrated understanding of estuarine systems. Research is also underway to use sediment cores from coastal marshes and inland lakes to delineate hurricane overwash deposits and forest damage in southern New England during the last 350 years. Pollen and sedimentary evidence are being used to help identify hurricanes in prehistoric times. Increased tidal flooding which occurred between 100-150 years ago indicates an acceleration of the rate of sea level rise in southeastern New England during that period.

See here for a full description of environmental research at Brown.

Check here for a description of recent work by the Insomniacs investigating environmental dynamics of the Narragansett Bay.

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