Environmental scientist Linda Blum uses CT scan facilities at the UVA Health System to examine salt marsh core samples. (Photo by Tom Cogill)

This article was originally published on UVA Today


“Coastal marshes are wonderful ecosystems, serving as a buffer to protect the land from storm surges, and they slow the flow of freshwater coming onto the coasts, and they purify water by removing excess nitrogen,” Blum said. “These aesthetically pleasing habitats, with their biodiversity, provide great ecological services, so we should value and protect them.”

Marshes provide habitat for economically important aquatic and marine species from fish to crabs, clams and oysters. They also serve as cover and nesting sites for many species of birds and mammals. Salt marshes also capture carbon from the air and store it, helping to slow the rate of climate change.

Marsh grasses provide for much of their own growth through seasonal death and renewal, contributing organic matter to the soil on which successive generations can further grow and expand. Because they can grow under shallow, salty water and send up emergent stems, they play a crucial role in expanding and building up inner coastlands over time, by converting forests into rich marsh grasslands…”

Read on at: UVA Today.