Cape Cod's salt marshes are as iconic as they are important. These beautiful, low-lying wetlands are some of the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth. They play an outsized role in nitrogen cycling, act as carbon sinks, protect coastal development from storm surge, and provide critical habitats and nurseries for many fish, shellfish and coastal birds.

And, according to new research from scientists at the University of Chicago-[affiliated] Marine Biological Laboratory, more than 90% of the world's salt marshes are likely to be underwater by the end of the century.

The U.S. National Science Foundation-supported findings come from a 50-year study of Great Sippewissett Marsh in Falmouth, Massachusetts. The results are published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

"Salt marshes shape our coastlines and create an ecological foundation for coastal economies both directly and indirectly," says Francisco (Paco) Moore, a program director in NSF's Division of Environmental Biology. "The direct impacts of saltmarsh loss would be staggering; the indirect effects may be larger still. These marshes are fundamental to coastal commercial and recreational fisheries and are a living buffer stabilizing our coastlines." Read rest of the article here.

Source: Most of world's salt marshes likely to be underwater by 2100 | NSF - National Science Foundation