Video: Visiting the Sprague Marsh to measure sea level change

How will future changes in sea level affect salt marshes?

Hold on. Before tackling that question, we need to measure the changes.

On April 22, faculty and geology students traveled to the Sprague Marsh, part of the Bates–Morse Mountain Conservation Area, to place rods deep in the marsh as benchmarks to measure future changes in sea level.

The students are part of the Short Term course Coastal Hazards.+ GEO s36. Coastal Hazards/Lab Humans have always lived along the world’s coastlines. Constantly changing coastal landscapes, combined with increases in coastal populations, present a unique and challenging set of pressures for people living at the boundary between land and sea. In this course, students visit and study sites in Maine, Massachusetts and Canada to explore coastal processes (e.g., erosion, sea level rise, storm events) and coastal features (e.g., beaches, salt marshes, and barrier islands) in a variety of geological settings. taught by Professor of Geology Beverly Johnson, who was joined by estuarine ecologist David Burdick of the University of New Hampshire.

Afterward, they all adjourned for lunch hosted by Laura Sewall, director of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area.

Photographer Sarah Crosby followed along and prepared this audio slide show.

2 Responses to “Video: Visiting the Sprague Marsh to measure sea level change”

  1. Judy Marden says:

    Love that place, know that cart! So glad to hear that permanent markers are being set, and ongoing research is being conducted, year-to-year, about the changes the marsh experiences! No better place to do it–Sprague River Salt Marsh is protected from the direct influence of ocean impact by a barrier dune forest, so measurements should be more accurate than those in places that bear the brunt of incidental storm fury. This is a seminal research site.
    Just one more reason why the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area, and its unique characteristics, are so important to significant current climate studies–and to Bates, by association!
    Judy Marden ’66, former Director, Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area

    • David Campbell says:

      Thanks to Judy and all associated with the Sprague Marsh research for hosting us as part of the 2014 reunion activities. It makes us feel more connected with research and study at Bates. I was in Dr. Chute’s ecology class in what I believe was the first year of this then-new discipline. Doing winter research in the frozen pond at his house was our first field assignment. All I recall is measuring turbidity and temperature gradients.

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