Tidal Marsh Model

The Tidal Marsh Model (TMM) is an advanced modeling framework that integrates the physical, biogeochemical, and human components needed to simulate and assess the evolution and persistence of tidal marshes under different sea-level rise scenarios.

One of the strengths of this model is that it uses an unstructured grid for the simulation.  This type of grid allows multiple resolutions over the domain, and higher resolution where fine scales are important.

These figures show progressive enlargements detailing varying resolutions of the grid with sharp transitions.  Marsh areas are resolved at 1 meter cross-shore and 10-20 meters along-shore for fringe marshes.Scale bar represents 5km


This approach will advance the state of the science by building a better foundation to model marsh evolution.  This next generation model will overcome many of the limitations that the current marsh models present, such as scaling problems, the ability to vary the rate of sea-level rise during the simulation, and the exclusion of hardened shoreline structure impacts, which interfere with the natural migration of marshes as a response to sea-level rise.Scale bar represents 100m


Highly resolved outputs will allow coastal planners to more accurately identify the potential future location of marsh habitats where protection and restoration activities and strategies can be focused.


  • Nunez, K., Zhang, Y., Bilkovic, D.M., and C. Hershner (2021). Coastal setting determines tidal marsh sustainability with accelerating sea-level rise. Ocean & Coastal Management, 214, 105898. (link)
  • Nunez, K., Zhang, Y.J., Herman, J., Reay, W., Hershner, C. (2020) A multi-scale approach for simulating tidal marsh evolution. Ocean Dynamics.  (link)
    A Multi-Scale Approach for Simulating Tidal Marsh Evolution - This study presents an innovative Tidal Marsh Model (TMM) that evaluates the impacts of sea-level rise and human stressors on tidal marsh habitats. The TMM generates high-resolution outputs about tidal marsh changes, which can be used by coastal planners to more accurately manage these valuable habitats and their ecological services.