Graduate Researcher Studies Marsh Hydrology as Shorelines Change
Julia Guimond is always happy to explain her work—and why she’s covered in mud—to curious visitors and students at the Delaware Reserve. She’s had plenty of opportunities to do so since she received her research fellowship from the reserve and Delaware Sea Grant in 2016. Julia’s research is focused on marsh hydrology, or the movement of water through tidal wetlands. She uses field data and numeric modeling to advance understanding of how this happens in space and time. This involves studying how pore solutes (like nutrients, sulfur, and carbon) move between tidal creeks and the marsh interior and how macropores, created by fiddler crabs and plant stems, affect the way water and solutes move through the marsh. She also makes time to volunteer at education and outreach events, helping to inspire the next generation of scientists (and mud lovers). Julia’s work is particularly important at a time when tidal wetlands are under stress from sea level rise, invasive species and coastal storms. Her research is helping the Delaware reserve better understand current hydrology and movement of solutes at different time scales. It could also provide insight on how marsh hydrology will be impacted by coastal storms and sea level rise. Information like this will help the reserve and other decision makers to identify prime areas for marsh mitigation, as well as inland areas that could be influenced by tidal hydrology in the future.