An investigation into saltmarsh area fluctuation and dieback in Pagham Harbour West Sussex

Primmer, Ros (2010) An investigation into saltmarsh area fluctuation and dieback in Pagham Harbour West Sussex. MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This study investigates and suggests reasons for the fluctuation in saltmarsh area seen in Pagham Harbour, West Sussex. The harbour itself is recognised as an internationally important Ramsar site for its flora and fauna and as such is recognised as one of the most stable and healthy saltmarshes in the Solent region of the southern United Kingdom. The study uses a variety of methodologies both in the field, the laboratory and the use of GIS software to assess reasons for this fluctuation. Sediment cores have been taken at a variety of locations across the harbour to conduct investigation differences in soil pH, fine sediment size and loss on ignition analysis. These investigations found differences between areas of healthy marsh and areas of “dieback” marginal although not without significance and as such has opened up new avenues of research.

    In addition GIS software has been used to analyse fluctuation in saltmarsh habitat in differing sections of Pagham Harbour in the period 1947‐2001. Analysis has revealed synergy between saltmarsh area and the fluctuation in location and size of the harbour inlet with the area of marsh becoming increasingly stable following stabilisation of the inlet itself in 1963. Marsh has actually slightly accreted since 1965 which has significance in the context of adaption to climate change induced sea level rise and increased sea storm severity.

    The study is of use to those interested in the dynamics of saltmarsh development as a sustainable form of coastal defence through strategies such as managed realignment. Pagham harbour itself was reclaimed and used for agriculture in the period 1846‐1910 and as such can be used as an example for modern managed realignment strategies such as the adjacent multi million pound Medmerry

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Department of Geography
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2011 09:31
    Last Modified: 24 Jul 2015 10:11

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