Kristy Northrup, Plant and Soil Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, Russell Briggs, One Forestry Dr., SUNY-ESF (College of Environmental Science & Forestry), Syracuse, NY, Charles Daniel Schirmer, SUNY-ESF (College of Environmental Science & Forestry), Syracuse, NY, Susan Demas, MLRA Soil Scientist, USDA NRCS, Hammonton, NJ and Robert Tunstead, Soil Survey Office Leader, USDA NRCS, Hammonton, NJ
Subaqueous soil science is considered one of the new subfields of Pedology. Subaqueous soils are defined as sediments in shallow water environments that undergo soil-forming processes, are capable of supporting rooted plants, and exhibit horizon formation. Subaqueous soil surveys, in a similar fashion to their terrestrial counterparts, may provide insight for management of submerged aquatic vegetation, facilitating restoration and estuarine protection. Following a subaqueous soil survey of Barnegat Bay, NJ, cores were extracted from four series: Cottman, Demas, Figgs, and Indian River. Sample cores were split on the basis of morphology for physical characterization and elemental analyses; subsamples collected from each horizon were analyzed for concentrations of total C and N (CNS analyzer) and extractable P (Bray I extract). Elemental concentrations did not exhibit any pattern with depth; mean concentrations, weighted by horizon thickness, were computed for each core, considered as a sample unit. Mean extractable P (16.6 mg/kg) did not differ among soil series (p = 0.332). Total C and total N differed statistically among series (p= 0.015 and p= 0.002, respectively). Mean N concentration was highest for the Demas series (2.12 g/kg), whereas the Cottman series had highest C concentration (8.69 g/kg). Indian River series had the lowest C (2.59 g/kg) and N (0.13 g/kg) concentrations. Given these results, the Indian River series might be the most challenging for establishment of submerged aquatic vegetation, such as eelgrass.