Garden Club Scholarship
Assistant Professor, Geosciences
106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481
Office: Science Center, L205
Britt Argow was raised in coastal Virginia, and has always had an interest in natural processes. She earned her BA at the College of William and Mary and a MS at Stanford University before joining the faculty at a community college for three years. Britt has also worked for the USGS, NPS, and as a geological consultant. She loves teaching and science outreach, but missed an active program of research and decided to return to graduate school. Britt is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University, working on salt marsh processes in a regime of rising sea level. She is particularly interested in the role that winter processes may play in the evolution of New England marshes, and factors influencing sedimentation on several time scales. Her most recent work is aimed at understanding the effects of vegetation on tidal deposition of suspended sediment.
Investigating the in-situ relationship between vegetation, hydrodynamics, sedimentation,
and surface morphology across a northern salt marsh, Wells, ME, USA
During the summer of 2005, Argow's project has progressed on several fronts. The long-term study of tidally deposited sediment has continued, with new emphasis on changes in vegetation observed at multiple sites on each of three New England marshes. In addition, tidal flow over these sites has been estimated using timed observations and a concurrent deployment of tide sticks, which record the maximum depth of inundation at each site over a tidal cycle. While the tide sticks were deployed, Argow also collected short-term sedimentation data using sediment pads, and conducted a comparison study of long-term and short-term sediment pad methodology. This study will be used to improve our ability to compare data from different researchers and between marshes.
These new data will be added to a growing model of sedimentation across the marsh, which will ultimately help us to predict how the surface of the marsh may change as sea level rises over the next century. This is important because the future survival of salt marshes is tied to long-term changes in the shape of coastlines due to larger-scale changes in erosion locations and rates. Salt marshes also act as important shoreline buffers, absorbing storm energy and protecting inland areas. Almost 50% of America's population lives in or near the coastal zone, and could be affected by future coastal evolution. Argow hopes that her research will help society to better prepare for the coming changes through more informed coastal and land-use management plans.