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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Program: Place-Based Studies

Fiscal Year 2002 Project Summary Sheet

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

Web Sites: http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/brd_global_change/proj_29_florida_mangroves.html and http://time.er.usgs.gov

Location (Subregions & Counties): Southeast coast, Southwest coast; Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier

Funding (Source): USGS/BRD — Global Climate Change Program

Principal Investigator(s): Thomas J. Smith III, Tom_J_Smith@usgs.gov; 727-803-8747 x 3130; Carole C. McIvor, Carole_McIvor@usgs.gov, 727-803-8747 x 3022

Project Personnel: Gordon Anderson, Gordon_Anderson@usgs.gov; Kevin Whelan, Kevin_Whelan@usgs.gov; Christa Walker, christa_walker@usgs.gov

Supporting Organizations: NPS, Fish & Wildlife Service, FDEP

Associated / Linked Projects: Vegetation Dynamics in the Land-Margin Ecosystems — The mangroves of south Florida (Smith); Hydrologic Variation and Ecological Processes in the Mangrove Forests of South Florida — Response to Restoration (Saiers/Smith); TIME — Tides and Inflows to the Mangroves of the Everglades (Schaffranek/Jenter). Landscape models for the mangrove forests of the Everglades (Twilley/Doyle).

Overview & Status: 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.

Needs & Products: This project has established, runs and maintains the mangrove Hydrology Monitoring Network, a series of 17 stations arrayed along upstream downstream gradients in major rivers on the southwest coast of the Park and in the C-111 basin. The sites are also used for sampling vegetation, and soil elevation changes. Additionally the project adds a key research element concerning mangrove fauna, which is not present in related projects dealing with the mangrove dominated coastal zone. The network provides data on water (ground and surface) stage and conductivity that are used by the TIME and other modeling groups. Water year reports have been prepared and data are available via the TIME website or Everglades NP "Data for Ever" database. Open File Reports are being generated which provide historical aerial photographs in digital format. One OFR with the 1927 topographic sheets has just (April 02) been approved for release and another with the 1940 aerial photoset is under review.

Application to Everglades Restoration: The data generated by this project is being used in models (hydrological and ecological) for gauging restoration success. The data are also being used in the formulation of Performance Measures. For example, spatial data on the movement of the mangrove / marsh ecotone (derived from the digital historical aerial photographs) will be used to provide a pre-drainage baseline of the Everglades ecosystem and metrics of success in restoration.

Study Milestones 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Familiarity         xxxx xxxx          
Design         xxxx xxxx xxxx        
Field Work         xxxx xxxx xxxx xxoo oooo    
Data Analysis         xxxx xxxx xxxx xxoo oooo    
Initial Reporting           xxxx xxxx xxoo oooo    
Quality Assurance             xxxx xxoo oooo    
Results Published             xxxx xxoo oooo    
Synthesis                 oooo    
Note: "x" indicates task completed during quarter, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed

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