Evidence of salt accumulation in beach intertidal zone due to evaporation.
ABSTRACT: In coastal environments, evaporation is an important driver of subsurface salinity gradients in marsh systems. However, it has not been addressed in the intertidal zone of sandy beaches. Here, we used field data on an estuarine beach foreshore with numerical simulations to show that evaporation causes upper intertidal zone pore-water salinity to be double that of seawater. We found the increase in pore-water salinity mainly depends on air temperature and relative humidity, and tide and wave actions dilute a fraction of the high salinity plume, resulting in a complex process. This is in contrast to previous studies that consider seawater as the most saline source to a coastal aquifer system, thereby concluding that seawater infiltration always increases pore-water salinity by seawater-groundwater mixing dynamics. Our results demonstrate the combined effects of evaporation and tide and waves on subsurface salinity distribution on a beach face. We anticipate our quantitative investigation will shed light on the studies of salt-affected biological activities in the intertidal zone. It also impacts our understanding of the impact of global warming; in particular, the increase in temperature does not only shift the saltwater landward, but creates a different salinity distribution that would have implications on intertidal biological zonation.
Project description:Deciphering ecological effects of major catastrophic events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, storms and fires, requires rapid interdisciplinary efforts often hampered by a lack of pre-event data. Using results of intertidal surveys conducted shortly before and immediately after Chile's 2010 M(w) 8.8 earthquake along the entire rupture zone (ca. 34-38°S), we provide the first quantification of earthquake and tsunami effects on sandy beach ecosystems. Our study incorporated anthropogenic coastal development as a key design factor. Ecological responses of beach ecosystems were strongly affected by the magnitude of land-level change. Subsidence along the northern rupture segment combined with tsunami-associated disturbance and drowned beaches. In contrast, along the co-seismically uplifted southern rupture, beaches widened and flattened increasing habitat availability. Post-event changes in abundance and distribution of mobile intertidal invertebrates were not uniform, varying with land-level change, tsunami height and coastal development. On beaches where subsidence occurred, intertidal zones and their associated species disappeared. On some beaches, uplift of rocky sub-tidal substrate eliminated low intertidal sand beach habitat for ecologically important species. On others, unexpected interactions of uplift with man-made coastal armouring included restoration of upper and mid-intertidal habitat seaward of armouring followed by rapid colonization of mobile crustaceans typical of these zones formerly excluded by constraints imposed by the armouring structures. Responses of coastal ecosystems to major earthquakes appear to vary strongly with land-level change, the mobility of the biota and shore type. Our results show that interactions of extreme events with human-altered shorelines can produce surprising ecological outcomes, and suggest these complex responses to landscape alteration can leave lasting footprints in coastal ecosystems.
Project description:Forced by tides and waves, large volumes of seawater are flushed through the beach daily. Organic material and nutrients in seawater are remineralized and cycled as they pass through the beach. Microorganisms are responsible for most of the biogeochemical cycling in the beach; however, few studies have characterized their diversity in intertidal sands, and little work has characterized the extent to which microbes are transported between different compartments of the beach. The present study uses next-generation massively parallel sequencing to characterize the microbial community present at 49 beaches along the coast of California. In addition, we characterize the transport of microorganisms within intertidal sands using laboratory column experiments. We identified extensive diversity in the beach sands. Nearly 1,000 unique taxa were identified in sands from 10 or more unique beaches, suggesting the existence of a group of "cosmopolitan" sand microorganisms. A biogeographical analysis identified a taxon-distance relationship among the beaches. In addition, sands with similar grain size, organic carbon content, exposed to a similar wave climate, and having the same degree of anthropogenic influence tended to have similar microbial communities. Column experiments identified microbes readily mobilized by seawater infiltrating through unsaturated intertidal sands. The ease with which microbes were mobilized suggests that intertidal sands may represent a reservoir of bacteria that seed the beach aquifer where they may partake in biogeochemical cycling.
Project description:In estuaries and coastal areas, salinity regimes vary with river discharge, seawater evaporation, morphology of the coastal waterways, and dynamics of marine water mixing. Therefore, microalgae have to respond to salinity variations at various time scales, from daily to annual cycling. They might also adapt to physical alteration that might induce loss of connectivity and enclosure of water bodies. Here we integrate physiological-based assays, morphological plasticity with functional genomics approach to examine the regulatory change that occur during the acclimation to salinity in an estuary diatom, Thalassiosira weissflogii. We found that this diatom respond to salinity (i.e. 21, 28 and 35 psu) with minute adjustments of its physiology (i.e., carbon and silicon metabolisms, pigments concentration and photosynthetic parameters). In contrast after short- (~ 5 generations) or long-term (~ 700 generations) culture at the different salinity we found a large transcriptome reprogramming. With most of the genes being down-regulated in long-term, and only a few genes in common between short and long term experiments. Overall design: Comparison of transcriptome of Thalassiosira Weissflogii in 3 salinity concentrations with adapted and non-adapted strains
Project description:Recreational water quality, as measured by culturable fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), may be influenced by persistent populations of these bacteria in local sands or wrack, in addition to varied fecal inputs from human and/or animal sources. In this study, pyrosequencing was used to generate short sequence tags of the 16S hypervariable region ribosomal DNA from shallow water samples and from sand samples collected at the high tide line and at the intertidal water line at sites with and without FIB exceedance events. These data were used to examine the sand and water bacterial communities to assess the similarity between samples, and to determine the impact of water quality exceedance events on the community composition. Sequences belonging to a group of bacteria previously identified as alternative fecal indicators were also analyzed in relationship to water quality violation events. We found that sand and water samples hosted distinctly different overall bacterial communities, and there was greater similarity in the community composition between coastal water samples from two distant sites. The dissimilarity between high tide and intertidal sand bacterial communities, although more similar to each other than to water, corresponded to greater tidal range between the samples. Within the group of alternative fecal indicators greater similarity was observed within sand and water from the same site, likely reflecting the anthropogenic contribution at each beach. This study supports the growing evidence that community-based molecular tools can be leveraged to identify the sources and potential impact of fecal pollution in the environment, and furthermore suggests that a more diverse bacterial community in beach sand and water may reflect a less contaminated site and better water quality.
Project description:Most monitoring studies of marine anthropogenic debris have focused on sandy beaches, so little is known about litter on rocky shorelines. We surveyed litter trapped on a rocky intertidal shore in False Bay, South Africa, between May 2015 and March 2018. An exceptional upwelling of seabed litter occurred in November 2017 (70 items?m-1). Excluding this event, monthly clean-ups at spring low tide collected 2 (1.3-3.1) items?m-1?month-1 and 31 (19.4-49.4) g?m-1?month-1 of which 74% was plastic (31% by mass). Litter loads peaked in autumn when seasonal rains washed litter into False Bay, suggesting that most litter comes from local land-based sources. Litter composition differed from that on a nearby sandy beach, with more glass and other dense items on the rocky shore, but 60% of plastic items floated in water. Sand inundation and biotic interactions helped to trap buoyant plastics in the intertidal zone.
Project description:Seaweeds in the upper intertidal zone experience extreme desiccation during low tide, followed by rapid rehydration during high tide. Porphyra sensu lato are typical upper intertidal seaweeds. Thus, it is valuable to investigate the adaptive conditions and mechanisms of seaweed to desiccation-rehydration stress.
Project description:Tides have been recognized as a major driving forcing affecting coastal aquifer system, and deterministic modeling has been very effective in elucidating mechanisms caused by tides. However, such modeling does not lend itself to capture embedded information in the signal, and rather focuses on the primary processes. Here, using yearlong data sets measured at beaches in Alaska Prince William Sound, we performed spectral and correlation analyses to identify temporal behavior of pore-water pressure, temperature and salinity. We found that the response of the beach system was characterized by fluctuations of embedded diurnal, semidiurnal, terdiurnal and quarterdiurnal tidal components. Hydrodynamic dispersion of salinity and temperature, and the thermal conductivity greatly affected pore water signals. Spectral analyses revealed a faster dissipation of the semi-diurnal component with respect to the diurnal components. Correlation functions showed that salinity had a relatively short memory of the tidal signal when inland freshwater recharge was large. In contrast, the signature of the tidal signal on pore-water temperature persisted for longer times, up to a week. We also found that heterogeneity greatly affected beach response. The response varied from a simple linear mapping in the frequency domain to complete modulation and masking of the input frequencies.
Project description:In coastal marsh ecosystems, porewater salinity strongly affects vegetation distribution and productivity. To simulate marsh porewater salinity, an integrated, spatially explicit model was developed, accounting for tidal inundation, evaporation, and precipitation, as well as lateral and vertical exchanges in both surface waters and the subsurface. It was applied to the Duplin River marsh, Sapelo Island, USA, over a 3-year period, which covered both drought and wet conditions. Simulated porewater salinity in the low and high marsh correlated with Duplin River salinity, with evapotranspiration and precipitation leading to substantial variations in porewater salinities across seasons, in particular in the high marsh. The model revealed substantial interannual variability in marsh soil conditions, and-due to its process-based approach linked to external forcings-can be used to explore effects of sea level rise and changes in hydrological forcings on marsh soil conditions.
Project description:Rising sea levels threaten coastal safety by increasing the risk of flooding. Coastal dunes provide a natural form of coastal protection. Understanding drivers that constrain early development of dunes is necessary to assess whether dune development may keep pace with sea-level rise. In this study, we explored to what extent salt stress experienced by dune building plant species constrains their spatial distribution at the Dutch sandy coast. We conducted a field transplantation experiment and a glasshouse experiment with two dune building grasses Ammophila arenaria and Elytrigia juncea. In the field, we measured salinity and monitored growth of transplanted grasses in four vegetation zones: (I) nonvegetated beach, (II) E. juncea occurring, (III) both species co-occurring, and (IV) A. arenaria dominant. In the glasshouse, we subjected the two species to six soil salinity treatments, with and without salt spray. We monitored biomass, photosynthesis, leaf sodium, and nutrient concentrations over a growing season. The vegetation zones were weakly associated with summer soil salinity; zone I and II were significantly more saline than zones III and IV. Ammophila arenaria performed equally (zone II) or better (zones III, IV) than E. juncea, suggesting soil salinity did not limit species performance. Both species showed severe winter mortality. In the glasshouse, A. arenaria biomass decreased linearly with soil salinity, presumably as a result of osmotic stress. Elytrigia juncea showed a nonlinear response to soil salinity with an optimum at 0.75% soil salinity. Our findings suggest that soil salinity stress either takes place in winter, or that development of vegetated dunes is less sensitive to soil salinity than hitherto expected.
Project description:The diversity of microorganisms active within sedimentary rocks provides important controls on the geochemistry of many subsurface environments. In particular, biodegradation of organic matter in sedimentary rocks contributes to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and other elements and strongly impacts the recovery and quality of fossil fuel resources. In this study, archaeal diversity was investigated along a salinity gradient spanning 8 to 3,490 mM Cl(-) in a subsurface shale rich in CH(4) derived from biodegradation of sedimentary hydrocarbons. Shale pore waters collected from wells in the main CH(4)-producing zone lacked electron acceptors such as O(2), NO(3)(-), Fe(3+), or SO(4)(2-). Acetate was detected only in high-salinity waters, suggesting that acetoclastic methanogenesis is inhibited at Cl(-) concentrations above approximately 1,000 mM. Most-probable-number series revealed differences in methanogen substrate utilization (acetate, trimethylamine, or H(2)/CO(2)) associated with chlorinity. The greatest methane production in enrichment cultures was observed for incubations with salinity at or close to the native pore water salinity of the inoculum. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses of archaeal 16S rRNA genes from seven wells indicated that there were links between archaeal communities and pore water salinity. Archaeal clone libraries constructed from sequences from 16S rRNA genes isolated from two wells revealed phylotypes similar to a halophilic methylotrophic Methanohalophilus species and a hydrogenotrophic Methanoplanus species at high salinity and a single phylotype closely related to Methanocorpusculum bavaricum at low salinity. These results show that several distinct communities of methanogens persist in this subsurface, CH(4)-producing environment and that each community is adapted to particular conditions of salinity and preferential substrate use and each community induces distinct geochemical signatures in shale formation waters.