Marginal-marine and sublittoral depositional environments capture some of the most valuable short-term ecological signals yielding (presumably) high-resolution sea-level, storm, and pollution records. Study of taphonomy and bioturbation inherently leads to skepticism about the potential resolution of these microfossil-derived signals. As a coastal geologist working the salt marshes along the southeastern Atlantic coast, I've slowly found my research opportunities hindered or even diminished by my awareness of this stratigraphic destruction. After quantifying mixing rates from fiddler crabs via artificial tracer studies in the marshes near Charleston, South Carolina, colleagues and I nearly abandoned projects designed to measure late-Holocene hurricane frequency or...

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