projects > understanding and predicting global climate change impacts on the vegetation and fauna of mangrove forested wetlands in florida
Understanding and Predicting Global Climate Change Impacts on the Vegetation and Fauna of Mangrove Forested Wetlands in Florida
Mangrove forests dominate the intertidal zone of the world's tropical and subtropical low energy coastlines. Mangroves provide a variety of "ecosystem services" such as shoreline protection, food and fuel, and trophic support for commercial and recreational fisheries. In Florida and elsewhere, mangrove forests have been subjected to a variety of natural and anthropogenic stresses. As the greater Everglades ecosystem undergoes one of the most daring restoration projects ever undertaken, knowledge of the system's response to upstream water management and how this interacts with global change events such as rising sea level is entirely lacking. Sea level in south Florida is rising at measurable and unprecedented rates.
This project is addressing several key hypothesis related to global change impacts on the flora and fauna of the mangrove forested ecosystems which occur at the downstream end of the greater Everglades: 1) Mangroves in a geomorphic setting with relatively more edge (open-water/mangrove interface) support greater fishery productivity as measured by density and biomass/area than comparable mangroves with relatively little edge; 2) fishery productivity along upstream ecotones is positively related to net primary productivity of both mangrove and marsh ecosystems and to flooding duration, and inversely related to temporal variability in water-column salinity; 3) fires along the mangrove-marsh ecotone promote invasion of mangroves into adjacent marshes; and, 4) shifts in the position of the mangrove-marsh ecotone are linked to the passage of major tropical storms and hurricanes.
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