Using Mangrove Peat to Study Ancient Coastal Environments and Sea-Level Rise

This video describes how scientists study past changes in sea-level and coastal environments by analyzing mangrove peat. Mangrove islands located off the coast of Belize are underlain by deep deposits of peat (organic soil), which retain a record of past sea level, vegetation, and climate. By studying past changes in sea level and how intertidal ecosystems, such as mangroves, have responded to these changes, we can better predict what will happen in the future as sea levels increase. The information generated by such research is critical to geophysical modeling efforts as well as to management and conservation of coastal ecosystems.