Dynamics of Muddy Coasts and Estuaries: Physics, Biology and their Responses to Anthropogenic Activities

-Seminar series by Professor Xiao Hua Wang at Ocean University of China – September 2023

October 19, 2023, Gang Yang

Human-induced morphological and hydrological changes lead to the alteration of hydrodynamics and therefore of sediment transport, nutrients and pollutants transport, and mixing processes. Biological and chemical processes determine the response of aquatic communities to these perturbations. Ecosystem communities can also be directly perturbed by morphological changes (e.g. losses of salt marshes and mangroves) and by the introduction of new species which can in turn modify sediment dynamics, such as deposition rates, and therefore morphology. Understanding the impact of human activities on coastal physical and ecological environments is thus critical to establish a path for economic development with a healthy and sustainable environment. This seminar series provided a forum in which the latest research addressing the physics, sedimentary processes, biology, chemistry and ecological processes associated with these rapidly changing estuarine and coastal environments. 

Student Experience:
Throughout the seminar series, students at Ocean University of China were actively engaged in data collection, sample analysis, and collaborative research projects. This hands-on approach allowed them to apply their knowledge and develop critical scientific skills. Additionally, interactions with each other provided a broader perspective on the importance of estuaries and coastal regions to both the environment and society.

In conclusion, Professor Xiao Hua Wang provided a transformative learning experience, combining classroom instruction with hands-on fieldwork to foster a deeper appreciation and comprehension of estuarine and coastal environments in Jiaozhou Bay. Students emerged from the course not only with enhanced scientific expertise but also with a heightened sense of responsibility towards preserving these vital ecosystems for future generations.


Figure. Students inspected the remaining tidal flats in Jiaozhou Bay – a rare commodity in the Bay.