Sea Level Rise and the Dynamics of the Marsh-Upland Boundary Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2019 Fagherazzi, Anisfeld, Blum, Long, Feagin, Fernandes, Kearney and Williams. During sea level rise, salt marshes transgress inland invading low-lying forests, agricultural fields, and suburban areas. This transgression is a complex process regulated by infrequent storms that flood upland ecosystems increasing soil salinity. As a result upland vegetation is replaced by halophyte marsh plants. Here we present a review of the main processes and feedbacks regulating the transition from upland ecosystems to salt marshes. The goal is to provide a process-based framework that enables the development of quantitative models for the dynamics of the marsh-upland boundary. Particular emphasis is given to the concept of ecological ratchet, combining the press disturbance of sea level rise with the pulse disturbance of storms.

altmetric score

  • 2.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Fagherazzi, S., Anisfeld, S. C., Blum, L. K., Long, E. V., Feagin, R. A., Fernandes, A., Kearney, W. S., & Williams, K.

citation count

  • 35

publication date

  • February 2019