SanteeAGES - Anthropogenic, geological and ecological imprints in the Santee Delta, SC


The Santee Delta Project: Past and modern environmental interactions of the anthropogenic, geological, ecological systems

The main goal of this long-term project in the Santee Delta is to quantify the coupling of forcing mechanisms and reciprocal feedbacks between the past and current human activity (pre-historic, deforestation, rice plantations, damming, river redirection, wetland management, agriculture, contamination), the geological landscape and sub-surface architecture (coastal dynamics, river discharge, sea level, natural hazards), and the living resources (shellfish, oysters, fish, fowl, vegetation).

The vision of this project is to exploit the higher order benefit from a tight collaboration across the participating disciplines. This project will take best possible advantage of the synergistic effects of in-parallel applied geophysical, geological, sedimentological, geochemical, biogeochemical, isotopic, ecological, micro-paleontological, palynological, historical, anthropological, geographical, socio-political approaches, as well as of visualization and modelling. These different scientific perspectives will significantly expand the relevance of the findings.

The overall strategy is to investigate the processes along defined time segments on geological, historical and sub-modern time scales. The overarching product of such a ‘holistic’, i.e., system-wide understanding of the process dynamics is the construction a coherent and as complete as possible picture of how the deltaic system has changed in four dimensions in terms of habitat and resilience/adaptation to natural and anthropogenic stress factors. This information will set the stage for comparison between past variability and future scenarios on local scales and allow for quantitative hypothesis testing.