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Walter and Lalita Janke Innovations in Sustainability Science Research Fund

The effect of increased salinity in peat soils from the Everglades: Implications for biogenic gas production and release under a sea level rise scenario

  • Matthew Sirianni PI: Matthew Sirianni 
  • Adviser: Xavier Comas, Ph.D. 
  • Department: Geosciences 
  • Award: $5,000 

Project Summary: In the proposed project, we intend to investigate the effects that increasing salinity may have on the C dynamics and hydraulic properties of peat soils in the Everglades. With sea levels expected to rise between 12 and 60 cm over the next 50 years, low-lying freshwater peatlands, like the southern Everglades, may become increasingly exposed to saline waters which may create many unrealized consequences on hydrologic regimes, biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem productivity. As proposed by other studies in northern peatlands, properties such as effective porosity and hydraulic conductivity are sensitive to fluid conductivity (increasing salinity), but there is lack of published work examining these relationships as well as salinity’s effect on C dynamics in subtropical peatlands such as the Everglades. In order to gain a better understanding of these relationships and potential consequences, we will us an array of geophysical, hydrological and ecological techniques including ground penetrating radar (GPR), timelapse photography, gas chromatography and constant head permeameter tests. With the acquired datasets from the proposed research, we will pursue further external support from Federal agencies as well as incorporate the data into a peer-reviewed manuscript.

 Last Modified 11/8/16