Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sarah Kruse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Charles Connor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Stewart, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Peter Swarzenski, Ph.D.


marine electromagnetic methods, marine resistivity methods, wetland hydrology, mangrove soil salinization, submarine groundwater discharge


The feasibility of predicting porewater salinity based on calibrated surface electromagnetic methods is discussed in a coastal wetland on the southern banks of Tampa Bay in West-Central Florida. This study utilizes a new method to float commercial land based electromagnetic (EM) instruments in shallow marine waters of less than 1.5 meters. The floating EM-31 (Geonics, Ltd.) effectively sensed the magnitude and lateral extent of high and low salinity porewaters within mangrove lined ditches and ponds. Resistivity and EM geophysical methods are merged with direct sampling data to calibrate layers in electromagnetic models to infer shallow (<30m) groundwater salinity patterns. Initial marine resistivity surveys are necessary to discriminate between equivalent EM model solutions for seafloor conductivities beneath shallow (0.1-1.5m) marine (~30 ppt) waters. Using formation factors computed from nearby resistivity surveys, porewater conductivity predictions based on surface EM-31 and EM-34 measurements are successful at distinguishing overall porewater salinity trends.

At the Tampa Bay study site, the most distinctive terrain conductivity anomalies are associated with mangroves bordering marine waters. Highly elevated porewater conductivities are found within 5m of the mangrove trunks, falling sharply off within 10m, presumably due to saltwater exclusion by mangrove roots.

Modeling indicates the shallow water EM-31 measurements probably lack the resolution necessary to image more subtle porewater conductivity variations, such as those expected in association with diffuse submarine groundwater discharge. However, the technique has potential application for locating high contrast zones of freshwater discharge and other salinity anomalies in shallow and nearshore areas not accessible to conventional marine resistivity or land-based arrays, and hence may be useful for interdisciplinary studies of coastal wetland ecosystems.