‘Salted Earth’ sheds light on coastal threat

UD environmental research highlighted in documentary

From UDaily: Article by Tracey Bryant

Scientists call them “ghost forests,” the acres of once-lush trees now reduced to leafless sentinels along the coast. They are among the visible casualties of seawater intrusion, the movement of saltwater inland to freshwater areas, due to sea-level rise.

It’s a process that “causes salt marshes to move into spaces where forests used to be,” according to Holly Michael, University of Delaware professor and director of the Delaware Environmental Institute.

In the documentary “Salted Earth,” Michael and her colleagues shed light on the seawater intrusion occurring along the Mid-Atlantic coast. They show what’s at stake through the eyes of local residents including Lenape Indian Tribe Chief Dennis Coker and provide insight into their team’s research to mitigate the effects.

Michael, the Unidel Fraser Russell Career Development Chair for the Environment at UD, currently leads a National Science Foundation project to investigate this serious coastal challenge with regional colleagues from the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZNet), including researchers from the University of Delaware, University of Maryland, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, George Washington University and Boston University.

UDaily asked Michael about the film, her research and the future of coastal areas under threat from sea-level rise.
(interview in link)

For questions and information, contact DGS at
delgeosurvey@udel.edu, 302-831-2833