Impacts of Sea Water Level Rise on Wetlands

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Solar-powered automated pumping and irrigation system using Arduino

Name: Dong Yoon (Daniel) Lee


Project Summary:

More frequent saltwater intrusion and flooding of tidal freshwater wetlands (TFW) are projected to increase worldwide due to sea level rise. Although prior scientific work has documented short-term impacts of these perturbations on marsh and soil microbial ecosystem, we still have a lack of understanding on long-term and collective impacts of sea level rise on TFW ecosystems. Such work is necessary in order to comprehensively identify fundamental changes in rates of carbon and nutrient flux in TFW, and to predict their response to global change. To facilitate this understanding, we initiated an in situ salinity manipulation at a pristine freshwater site in the Pamunkey River (Virginia). A solar-powered automated pumping system dispensed either brackish or fresh river water onto experimental plots at low tide during the growing season to simulate increased salinity and inundation due to sea level rise. Throughout the manipulation, we monitored soil biogeochemistry, microbial communities, process rates, and ecosystem gas exchange. We will investigate the correlation of carbon cycling measurements and genetic expression with seasonal cycles in marsh production, and the relative importance of saltwater and increased inundation in controlling the microbial community and critical biogeochemical reactions.


  • Aruduino Mega
  • Arduino GSM cellular shield
  • Real time clock (Adafruit)
  • 16-channel relay (Sainsmart)
  • Flow meters with circuit board (Atlas Scientific)
  • Float switches
  • Solar panels (12V for lead-acid battery and 5V for Arduino (Voltaic Systems))
  • Ultrasonic distance sensor (Maxbotix)
  • Bilge pump and Peristaltic pump

NOTE: Some/many built/engineered aspects of project were completed at hackrva with varying levels of assistance from members. But this was ultimately a project by Daniel in conjunction with colleagues at VCU etc.

For additional info go to the project facebook page:

HackRVA blog post on project here:

For additional pics go here: