Sea Level Rise Modifies Halocarbon Production in Low-Lying Coastal Wetlands in Southeastern U.S.

Dr. Alex Chow, Assistant Professor in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Quality at Clemson University
Event Location: 
Event Date: 
Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 3:00pm
Event Type: 
SCMSS Seminar Series


The relatively flat southeastern US coastal plain, from North Carolina to Texas, is particularly susceptible to sea level rise. As sea level rises, the boundary between the low-lying coastal freshwater forest and high marsh moves upslope.  Highly productive forested wetlands are replaced successively by degraded wetlands and eventually by coastal salt marsh. Not only does saltwater intrusion change vegetation composition, high chloride and bromide levels can interact with the large pool of soil organic matter through halogenation processes that are still poorly understood. Halogens have historically been treated as inert elements in natural humification processes.  However, numerous recent studies have demonstrated that chlorine and bromine are active components in C cycles. Furthermore, these halogenation processes are important to elucidate as they produce volatile halocarbons that act as ozone-depleting compounds in the atmosphere. Halogenation of organic matter may also affect the decomposition rates of organic matter.  The overall goal of this research is to assess novel decomposition process routes of terrestrial organic matter in forested wetlands with high levels of chloride and bromide.

Speaker Information

Dr. Alex Chow is an Associate Professor in Biogeochemistry and Environmental Quality at Clemson University's School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences. He obtained his Ph.D. in Hydrologic Science from the University of California at Davis in 2000.

More information about him and his work can be found here.