Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More insight into radioactive salt marshes

Date:
December 16, 2009
Source:
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research)
Summary:
A researcher has analyzed gamma radiation in salt marshes. The development of salt marshes, vegetated areas periodically flooded by the sea, occurs differently than was previously thought. Knowledge of salt marshes is essential for the development of dynamic but safe coastal zone management.

Salt marsh at Schiermonnikoog. The development of salt marshes, vegetated areas periodically flooded by the sea, occurs differently than was previously thought.
Credit: Image courtesy of NWO

The development of salt marshes, vegetated areas periodically flooded by the sea, occurs differently than was previously thought. This is apparent from measurements conducted by Dutch researcher Alma de Groot. She analysed the gamma radiation produced by the soil in the salt marsh. Knowledge of salt marshes is essential for the development of dynamic but safe coastal zone management.

Related Articles


Salt marshes, also known as tidal marshes, are coastal areas rich in sediment that are periodically flooded by the sea and where plants have started to grow. Sediments are deposited onto the surface of the marsh by the sea, which gradually raises the bed level. Salt marshes are found on barrier islands, estuaries and sheltered coasts along the North Sea. De Groot studied the salt marshes on the island of Schiermonnikoog. Salt marshes are not only important for biodiversity -- many rare species of plants and birds can be found there -- but also play an important role in coastal defence.

Radioactive salt marshes

The biologist used a novel method for studying the salt marshes: she analysed the gamma radiation naturally present in the sand and the clay of the salt marsh. Most sediments contain small amounts of radioactive elements that emit low levels of gamma radiation. This enabled her to determine the composition of the soil in the salt marshes. She combined the new radiometric method with measurements using a soil corer. She discovered that heavy storms deposit sand on the salt marshes about once every decade, which is far more frequent than was thought until now. The contribution of this sand to the total increase in soil elevation of the salt marsh appears to be small however, meaning that 'normal' sedimentation is by far the most important factor for the growth of the salt marshes.

De Groot's method offers many possibilities for further research. In addition, she shows that commonly used small-scale measurements are insufficient for making reliable predictions about the development of the salt marshes, with respect to rising sea levels for example. This is evident from the complicated sedimentation patterns she discovered in the salt marshes. Her discoveries can be used to improve the set-up of sedimentation measurements.

Dynamic coastal zone management

The possibilities for 'dynamic coastal zone management' are of increasing interest in the Netherlands. Therefore, in certain areas the coast is being left to develop naturally. But this can only be done safely if we understand how our coastline develops. De Groot's research makes a major contribution to such insights.

Alma de Groot's research is part of the NWO programme Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ). This programme will be concluded by a symposium on 24 November 2009.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "More insight into radioactive salt marshes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215155952.htm>.
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). (2009, December 16). More insight into radioactive salt marshes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215155952.htm
NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "More insight into radioactive salt marshes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215155952.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins