Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Rima Franklin

Second Advisor

Scott Neubauer


Tidal freshwater wetlands (TFW) are at significant risk of loss or alteration due to global climate change, and saltwater intrusion from sea level rise is of particular concern for these habitats due to their proximity to coastal areas. A space-for-time model was used to investigate the effects of saltwater intrusion on soil methanogen communities along naturally occurring salinity gradients on the Waccamaw, James, and Hudson Rivers. Amplification of the methyl coenzyme-M reductase (mcrA) functional gene was used in qPCR, reverse transcription qPCR, and T-RFLP to measure the abundance, activity, and community composition of soil methanogens. Both the abundance and activity of methanogens decreased with increasing salinity, and the both total and active methanogen community composition shifted in response to changes in salinity. This research demonstrates that saltwater intrusion will alter carbon cycling in TFWs, potentially altering their ability to sequester carbon and keep pace with rising sea level.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013

Included in

Biology Commons