Effects of Hurricane Sally (2020) On Sediment Structure and Infaunal Communities In Coastal Alabama

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Conference Proceeding

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Ocean Science and Engineering


Coastal sediments are important sites for carbon and nutrient cycling, marine infrastructure, and habitats for infauna. Extreme storms can dramatically alter sediment distributions and kill infauna through sediment erosion and redeposition. However, little is known about how infaunal communities are affected by and recover following storms. We investigated changes to sediment grain size and infauna at 5 m, 12 m, and 20 m depths on the Alabama coast following Hurricane Sally (2020). We hypothesized that Sally would alter sediment structure at all sites and that erosion and transport from the shoreface would produce distinct storm beds. Here we present preliminary data from one shallow and one deep site, showing altered sediment structure and decreased infaunal abundance following the storm and recovery by the spring. These results will provide insight on how hurricanes impact sediment and infauna as well as the short- and long-term impacts of community recovery on sediment stability and transport.

Publication Title

Coastal Sediments 2023

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