Category: Duncan FitzGerald
Ducan FitzGerald, Bruce Anderson, Zoe Hughes participate in Boston Research Advisory Group and have their finding featured in Boston Globe
Earth & Environment Professors Duncan FitzGerald and Bruce Anderson and E&E postdoctoral associate Zoe Hughes took part in the writing of a report title Climate Ready Boston that was featured in a news article in the Boston Globe.
The report is the product of work done by the Boston Research Advisory Group that was established in 2015 to develop a consensus on the possible climate changes and sea-level rise that the city of Boston will face during the next century. Anderson, FitzGerald, and Hughes are all part of the advisory group team.
The Boston Globe article “Climate change could be even worse for Boston than previously thought” can be read here.
The full Climate Ready Boston report can be downloaded and read by clicking on this link.
Duncan FitzGerald gives invited talks in Brazil and Netherlands; attends thesis defense in Netherlands
Earth & Environment Professor Duncan FitzGerald was recently in Santa Catarina, Brazil to give an invited talk titled “Future of northern latitude marshes and their effects on barrier island sand reservoirs” at the Universidade Federal of Santa Catarina.
Professor FitzGerald was also in the Netherlands recently where he gave an invited colloquium titled “Diverse styles of coastal evolution along Santa Catarina Brazil” at the University of Utrecht.
While at the University of Utrecht, Prof. FitzGerald also attended a thesis defense as an outside committee member for University of Utrecht Phd Candidate Wim Ridderinkhof. Ridderinkhof’s thesis was titled “Morphodynamics of ebb-tidal deltas.”
To learn more about Prof. FitzGerald’s work, check out his profile page.
Earth & Environment Professor Duncan FitzGerald and his former graduate student, and now Assistant Professor at William and Mary, Chris Hein have published two new papers in the Journal of Coastal Research (JCR) and Sedimentology.
The JCR paper titled “Records of migration and ebb-delta breaching at historic and ancient tidal inlets along a river-fed paraglacial barrier island” is available online at this link.
The Sedimentology paper titled “Complex coastal change in response to autogenic basin infilling: an example from sub-tropical Holocene strandplain” is available online at this link.
To learn more about FitzGerald’s work, check out his profile page.
Each year, Earth & Environment Professor Duncan Fitzgerald and his ES 142 Beaches and Shoreline students take an annual trip to Cape Cod.
This year’s trip took place this past Saturday where students boarded buses at BU at 8:00 am and made the hour-long journey to the Cape. After arriving, students were provided with guidebooks and headed for Humarock Beach in Marshfield where they viewed an eroding drumlin cliff, a boulder retreat platform, and various types of protective engineering structures. This particularly spit system is sediment-starved and severely impacted during winter storms.
The trip included six stops covering dunes, marshes, tidal inlets, beach processes, and glacial landforms. Students learned about the 15 ka evolution of Cape Cod and examined the present-day effects of sea-level rise. The trip ended after climbing the 30-m high parabolic dunes in the Province Lands of the outer Cape (see below).
Earth & Environment Professor Duncan FitzGerald recently traveled to Brazil to study former shoreline processes. The coast of Brazil is an ideal area to study former shoreline processes because sea level has dropped 2.5 to 4 m during the past 6,000 years (far-field effects). FitzGerald and Chris Hein (former BU-PhD, Assistant Professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science) and colleagues Dr. Ioannis Georgiou (University of New Orleans) and Dr. Antonio Klein (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil) are studying Chenier (sand ridges within mud coast) development using instrument deployments at mouth of the Tijucas River and by dating and determining the stratigraphy of the ancient onshore chenier plain through coring, ground-penetrating radar, RTK, and LiDAR surveys. This group is also studying the double Holocene (5.8 ka) and Pleistocene (~ 120 ka) high stand shorelines in the landward section of the Tijucas strandplain. These two sea-level highstands are somewhat unique as they are separated by only 0.4 km but a hundred thousand years.
As early spring uncovers winter’s impact on the Great Marsh in northern Massachusetts, Alyssa Novak and Duncan FitzGerald began monitoring stations throughout Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, and the Merrimack Estuaries measuring marsh edge recession and chronicling the evolution of edge cracks. One of the major and most dramatic processes of marsh edge erosion involves the development and enlargement of edge cracks that eventually generate large slump blocks that calve and rotate downward into adjacent channels (see accompanying photos) where they decompose. The slumping commonly produces a crenelated marsh shoreline. Individual slump blocks range in size from 0.5 to more than 2.0 m in width and 1.0 to > 3.0 m in length. More than 60% of the open marsh shoreline is eroding. Field measurements during the past two years indicate a large range in retreat rates varying from 0 to 4 m/yr.
Earth & Environment PhD candidate Sarah Farron is in Portland, Oregon this week to present a paper at the Coastal & Estuarine Research Federations (CERF) 23rd Biennial Conference.
Farron’s presentation will be on “Quantifying the effects of crab bioturbation on salt marsh sediment erodibility.”
Farron is a PhD candidate in Earth Science working with Professor Duncan FitzGerald.
In their continuing study of the Great Marsh in northern Massachusetts, Alyssa Novak and Duncan FitzGerald are preparing for winter by implementing a number of experiments designed to determine the effects that freeze and thaw, ice wedging, ice loading, and increased wave energy have on marsh degradation. One of these studies involves documenting how marsh cracks are produced and how they evolve into slump blocks, leading to marsh edge retreat. Edge cracks are being measured throughout the Great Marsh (photo 1) and at one site, a camera cantilevered over a crack (photo 2) will record daily changes in crack dimensions, particularly in response to major events including severe northeast storms, cold snaps, ice floes, and spring thaw. Daily images of the creek bank can be seen at http://cesn.org/live/essexbay_dc.php and evolution of the crack can be followed at: http://cesn.org/live/essexbay_ir.php
Earth & Environment Research Assistant Professor Alyssa Novak and Professor Duncan FitzGerald have been involved in a long-term study of how marshes are responding to climate change and their future sustainability as sediment supplies diminish and the rate of sea-level rise accelerates. One aspect of this research is determining how the rate of marsh edge retreat relates to various parameters including the type of vegetation. This work, which is being funded by Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Fund through the Department of Interior and other stakeholder agencies, including the National Fish and Wildlife Federation and Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, is depicted in the accompanying photographs taken earlier this week in Great Marsh of Northern New England. New creek edge monitoring sites are being established in Phragmite stands to investigate how an invasive species of grass, although severely limiting diversity and impacting marsh natural marsh habitats, may be beneficially retarding marsh edge erosion. This research will continue for the next several years.
Earth & Environment Professor Duncan FitzGerald has published two new articles.
FitzGerald is coauthor on the article “Insight into the late Holocene sea-level changes in the NW Atlantic from a paraglacial beach-ridge plain south of Newfoundland” published in Geomorphology.
FitzGerland also first authored (and is the sole author on) the article “Geologic controls on tidal inlets” published in Journal of Shore and Beach.
The article from Geomorphology is available online. Click the article title or click here to access it.