Stable carbon isotope and C/N geochemistry of coastal wetland sediments as a sea-level indicator

Publication Type:

Book Chapter


Handbook of Sea-Level Research, John WIley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, p.295-311 (2015)

Other Number:

Online ISBN: 9781118452547



decomposition, freshwater marsh, mangrove, marsh sedimentation, microbial degradation, Microfossils, organic matter accumulation, photosynthesis, Salt marsh, Tidal flat


Stable carbon isotopes (δ13C) and the ratio of organic carbon to total nitrogen (C/N) are able to differentiate sources of organic matter that accumulate in coastal depositional sequences, which makes them useful to reconstruct former sea levels. This chapter describes the factors that influence δ13C and C/N geochemistry of coastal wetland sediments, outlines basic methods for its use in relative sea-level reconstruction, and draws attention to several case studies.