Hard-Bottom Habitats

The focus of this study is the shoreface and inner shelf of the Grand Strand region, located offshore of northeastern South Carolina in Long Bay. The Grand Strand is centered on a 54 kilometer-long arcuate strand that has few significant tidal inlets and with little fluvial input of “new sediment” to the coastal system.  In order to understand the complex interactions between the geophysical environment and habitat structuring of sessile invertebrate communities on marine hard bottoms, a multi-disciplinary approach consisting of in-situ measurements and observations was undertaken. This was accomplished through long-term direct measurements and 1-D modeling of sediment transport, deposition, and erosion on the hard-bottom habitats coupled with (1) geophysical surveys examining rates of change in the amount of hard-bottom habitat, (2) examination of the sessile invertebrate community structure on the natural hard-bottom habitats and (3) recruitment of invertebrates at various proximities to the seafloor using stacked arrays of artificial recruitment substrates to examine the linkages between sediment movement and recruitment dynamics as a function of distance from the seafloor.