Syvitski Student Modeler Award 2020


Ian Reeves, recipient of the 2020 Syvitski Student Modeler award
Department of Geological Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Ian was selected for his submission, Impacts of Seagrass Dynamics on the Coupled Long-Term Evolution of Barrier-Marsh-Bay Systems, that explores the impact of seagrass dynamics by incorporating these dynamics into an existing barrier-marsh exploratory model, GEOMBEST++, to examine the coupled interactions of the back-barrier bay with both adjacent (marsh) and non-adjacent (barrier island) subsystems. In the new integrated model, bay depth and distance from the marsh edge determine the location of suitable seagrass habitat, and the presence or absence, size, and shoot density of seagrass meadows alters the bathymetry of the bay and wave power reaching the marsh edge. While seagrass reduces marsh edge erosion rates and increases progradation rates in most model simulations, seagrass surprisingly increases marsh edge erosion rates when sediment export from the back-barrier basin is negligible because the ability of seagrass to reduce the volume of marsh sediment eroded matters little for backbarrier basins in which all sediment is conserved. Ian's work was also appreciated for the excellent software documentation - a hallmark of open source software development best practices. Advisor: Laura Moore, UNC Chapel Hill