delware environmental institute

WDDE: UD scientists present the latest research on Delaware's coastal issues

This week, young coastal scientists from all over North America flocked to University of Delaware to present the latest research in their field. Alina Pieterse, a PhD student at UD, has been studying tidal marshes, or wetlands. They play a critical role in acting as barriers to incoming waves, reducing the impact of floodwaters on coastal areas. Pieterse finds Delaware’s tidal marshes interesting partly because they cover more of the state than its beaches, unlike in her native Netherlands.

By looking at the flow of sediments in tidal marshes and how they’re affected by storms, Pieterse can better understand the marshes' role and why so many have become degraded over the years.

“With sea level rise, these marshes might disappear and that might be a bad thing for land and our coastal protection. Personally, I am more interested in how we can understand the processes taking place, which has an effect on people and animal life," said Pieterse.