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Project Summary Sheet

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Science Initiative (Place-Based Studies)

Fiscal Year 2003 Project Summary Report

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

Project Start Date: 1 October 1998 Project End Date: 30 September 2003

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

Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier, Everglades NP, Big Cypress NP, 10,000 Islands NWR

Funding Source: USGS - BRD Global Climate Change Program

Principal Investigator(s): T.J. Smith III & C.C. McIvor

Project Personnel: Kevin R.T. Whelan (USGS), Diana Orocho (USGS), Christa Walker (CSC), Fara Ilami (CSC), Katie Kuss (ETI), Noah Silverman (ETI)

Supporting Organizations: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida DEP.

Associated / Linked Projects:

Overview & Objective(s): This project is addressing several key hypotheses related to global change impacts on the fauna and flora of the mangrove-forested ecosystems that lie at the downstream end of the greater Everglades. In particular we are testing the following hypotheses: 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 less edge; 2) hurricane-induced conversion of mangrove forests to intertidal mudflats has fisheries implications; 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. Additionally the mangrove hydrology component of the study maintains a network of 17 surface- and ground-water sampling stations in the southwest coastal Everglades. We are conducting studies along upstream-downstream gradients on three tidal rivers that drain the Everglades. Furthermore, at many of our sites, other investigators are also conducting research. This co-location of work provides for more valuable sets of data for the entire ecosystem.

Status: FY03 is the last year for this project. BRD-GCC funds are considered "cyclical" and thus are re-competed every five years within BRD. The PI's have put together a cross-disciplinary team and are preparing a proposal for the re-competition.

Recent & Planned Products: The following abstracts all appeared in: Best, G.R. 2003. U.S. Geological Survey Greater Everglades Science Program: 2002 Biennial Report. USGS Open-File Report 03-54.

  1. Anderson, G.H. & T.J. Smith III. Longterm data from the USGS/BRD mangrove hydrology sampling network in Everglades National Park. Pp 20-22.
  2. Briere, P.R., T.J. Smith III, A.M. Foster, A.W. Coffin, K. Rutchey, J.W. Jones, C. Van Arsdall, & W.B. Perry. Development of digital Aerial photography archives for the greater Everglades of south Florida. Pp. 225-226
  3. Cahoon, D.R., J.C. Lynch, T.J. Smith III, K.R.T. Whelan, G.H. Anderson & C. Walker. Do surface water and ground water fluctuations influence sediment surface elevation in coastal Everglades wetlands? Pp. 27-28.
  4. Coffin, A.W., H. Henkel, H. Mounts, P.R. Briere, A.M. Foster, T.J. Smith III & R.R. Wertz. Creation of a geodatabase of the digital photography archives for the Greater Everglades of south Florida and the Southern and Inland Coastal System. Pp. 227-228.
  5. DeWitt, N.T., B.J. Reynolds, T.J. Smith III & G.H. Anderson. Data in the key of ZZZ: Development of a network to establish vertical reference datum for research studies in the southwest coastal Everglades. Pp. 229-230.
  6. Foster, A.M. & T.J. Smith III. Shifts in the position of the marsh / mangrove ecotone in the western Florida Everglades. Pp. 147-148.
  7. Hart, K.M., C.C. McIvor & G.L. Hill. Distribution, abundance, and population structure of a broadly-distributed indicator species, the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), in the mangrove-dominated Big Sable Creek complex of Southwest Florida, Everglades National Park. Pp. 244-245.
  8. Jenter, H.L., R.W. Schaffranek & T.J. Smith III. Thermally driven vertical mixing in the Everglades. Pp. 93-95.
  9. Smith, T.J., III, L. Fahrig, P.W. Carlson, T.V. Armentano, and G.M. Peery. Mangrove dieoff in Florida Bay: A recurring natural event? Pp. 196-197.
  10. Smith, T.J., III, K.R.T. Whelan, G.H. Anderson, C.L. Walker, J.S. Dismukes & T.W. Doyle. A decade of mangrove forest change following Hurricane Andrew. Pp. 198-200.
  11. Walker, C.L., T.J. Smith III & K.R.T. Whelan. Short-term dynamics of vegetation change across a mangrove - marsh ecotone in the southwest coastal Everglades: Storms, sea-level, fire and freeze. Pp. 209-210.
  12. Whelan, K.R.T. & T.J. Smith III. Characteristics of lightning gaps in the mangrove forests of Everglades National Park. Pp. 211-212.
  13. McIvor, C.C., N. Silverman & G.L. Hill. Fish assemblages of tidally flooded mangrove forested habitat along a salinity gradient in Shark River. Pp 173-174.
  14. McIvor, C.C. & N. Silverman. Assessing the consequence of hurricane-induced conversion of mangroves to mudflats on fish and decapod crustacean assemblages in the Big Sable Creek complex of southwest Florida, Pp. 175-176.

Additional publications / products / presentations:

  1. Anderson, G.H. & T.J. Smith III. 2002. Hydraulic conductivity of riparian mangrove forest peat adjacent to the Harney River, Everglades National Park: A comparative field study of field saturated and saturated hydraulic conductivity methods. Eos Transactions, AGU, 83(19) Spring Mtg. Suppl., Abstract H31A-02.
  2. Smith, T.J., III & D.R. Cahoon. 2002. Sediment surface elevation changes in relation to groundwater hydrologic variation in the coastal Florida Everglades. Eos Transactions, AGU, 83(19) Spring Mtg. Suppl., Abstract H31A-04.
  3. Fry, B. & T.J. Smith III. 2002. Stable isotope studies of red mangroves and filter feeders from the Shark River estuary, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science, 70: 871-890.
  4. Smith, T.J. III, A.M. Foster, P.R. Briere, J.W. Jones & C. Van Arsdall. 2002. Conversion of historical topographic sheets (T-sheets) to digital form: Florida Everglades and vicinity. USGS, Open-File Report 02-204. CD-ROM
  5. Smith, T.J., III, A.M. Foster, P.R. Briere, A.W. Coffin, J.W. Jones & C. Van Arsdall. 2003. Historical aerial photography for the Greater Everglades of south Florida: The 1940, 1:40,000 photoset. U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 02-327. DVD.
  6. Smith, T.J., III & D.R. Cahoon. 2003. Wetland sediment elevation in the Florida Everglades: Response to surface water stage variation. Coastal Sediments 2003: The 5th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering & Science of Coastal Sediment Processes. CD-ROM.
  7. McIvor, C.C. Goals and challenges of Everglades restoration: An overview. Annual Meeting of the Interagency Ecology Panel on San Francisco Bay and the Delta. Asilomar, CA, February 25, 2003.

Relevance to Greater Everglades Restoration Information Needs: 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. Hydrologic data generated by this project has been used to assess the initial success of the C-111 berm removal, assisting in the design for the C-111 spreader canal, and analysis of water diversions for the Cable Sable Seaside Sparrow. The extensive Mangrove Permanent Plot Network will provide data for landscape modeling efforts (DOI Science Plan, Chapter 6).

Key Findings:

  • Both fire (manageable) and freezes (not manageable) appear to be important factors in controlling the position of the mangrove marsh ecotone. The role of freshwater inflow is unclear at present.
  • The large coastal islands of the southwest Everglades (e.g. between the Shark and Harney Rivers) appear to be hydrologically "disconnected" from the upstream Everglades.
  • The mangrove fish, Rivulus marmoratus, a state "Species of Special Concern," is actually quite abundant in the Shark River mangrove estuary.
  • The frillfin goby, Bathygobius soporator, is abundant at downstream higher salinity sites. Increased freshwater inflow could decrease its abundance

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