Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Carl H. Hershner
Ecosystem services in tidal shoreline systems in the Chesapeake Bay experienced an increase in environmental pressure during the last decades mainly due to population growth, land development, and increasing sea levels. These changes jeopardized the potential capacity of shoreline ecosystems to provide habitat and water quality services which are vital for coastal resources, the economy and the coastal population's welfare.;This dissertation's main goal was to develop a local scale methodology capable of determining potential capacity of tidal shorelines to provide habitat and water quality services by 2050 based on the effects of sea level rise and management practices in Mathews County and the City of Hampton, VA. In this study, the potential capacity of tidal shorelines to provide water quality and habitat services was determined by the conditions of shoreline components. A primary emphasis was placed on the conditions of vegetation cover and vegetation composition present within the system. Chapter 1 generated a practical methodology consisting of two categorical models used to determine the potential capacity of tidal shorelines to provide habitat and water quality services during historic and current times. The methods applied allowed a spatially explicit identification of a decline in capacity through time. For Chapter 2, an empirical analysis including three different approaches was developed to identify the most important physical and natural predictors of shoreline change and to determine the response of different shoreline types (i.e. marshes, beaches and managed shorelines) to shoreline change and land inundation. The multiple models generated for each approach showed high variability by shoreline features and by locality in predictors and in the strength of their effects. Marshes showed the lowest erosion rate and were identified as the most efficient shoreline feature at attenuating land inundation. Chapter 3 includes scenarios for the potential capacity to provide habitat and water quality services by 2050 based on two accelerated scenarios for sea level rise and alternative management practices. Based on the scenarios, potential capacity will be highly compromised by 2050 due to land inundation. However, living shoreline methods could provide a potential solution to help mitigate the effects from sea level rise and maintain ecosystems.
© The Author
Rodriguez-Calderon, Cielomar, "Ecosystem Service Potential Capacity Scenarios: Effects from Sea Level Rise and Management Practices, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia." (2014). Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. Paper 1539616829.