We know in general terms that in the UK salt marshes occur between the elevation that corresponds to high water of neap tides and high water of spring tides. However, on the complex coastlines where salt marshes occur the elevation that a high water reaches varies over quite short distances. As a result, we do not understand with any precision the relationship between vertical elevation, numbers of tidal inundations per year and the occurrence of particular salt marsh species and communities. The uncertainties in where particular salt marsh communities and species occur are at the upper end of the range in predicted rise in global mean sea level over the next century (11 and 70 cm).
We will use small depth recording dataloggers to measure tidal inundation patterns at large numbers of locations on the North Norfolk Coast and in the Blackwater Estuary in Essex. This will be combined with precise measurements of elevation obtained using a differential global positioning system (GPS). We will then determine the relationship between inundation patterns and vegetation patterns