Coastal environments, such as mangrove forests, provide an unparalleled amount of ecosystem services, from water purification and flood prevention to the mitigation of climate change. In the Nepf Lab, I will investigate the critical conditions for erosion and deposition within black mangrove’s pneumatophores, which are also known as pencil roots because of their vertical and pencil-like shape. Pencil roots have an influence on sediment transport. They can both generate turbulence that can promote erosion and slow the currents near the bed that can promote deposition. If we know these critical conditions, then we can better understand the sediment fate and transport as well as how much carbon is stored in mangrove forests.
To determine these critical conditions, I am combining field work conducted in Port Fourchon, LA with laboratory methods. I will then use my observational field data and laboratory results to construct sub-grid scale models for erosion and deposition, which will be incorporated into a coastal-scale model to explore the role of channels in optimizing sediment retention within mangrove forests.