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Understanding and Predicting Global Climate Change Impacts on the Vegetation and Fauna of Mangrove Forested Wetlands in Florida

photo of a channel through mangroves
Project Investigators: Thomas J. Smith III, Carole C. McIvor

Project Personnel: Noah Silverman, Katie Kuss, Christa Walker, Kevin Whelan, Fara Ilami, Suzanne Chwala, Ann M. Foster, Gordon Anderson

Project Start Date: 1998 End Date: 2003


The objective of the project is to address 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.

Please note - this is a completed project.

For more information, please visit the USGS Global Change Research in Biology and TIME websites, and the Tides and Inflows in the Mangrove Ecotone (TIME) Model Development Project Webpage.

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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Script last updated: 23 October 2018 @ 12:03 PM by THF. Record creator: BJM. Record last updated by: LJT.