publications > report > understanding and predicting global climate change impacts > overview of progress & results
Understanding and predicting global climate change impacts on the vegetation and fauna of mangrove forested ecosystems in Florida (FINAL PROJECT REPORT)
Our project is addressing six key hypotheses related to global change impacts on the fauna, flora, and hydrology of the mangrove forest ecosystems that lie at the downstream end of the greater 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.
H1: Fishery productivity (as inferred from standing stocks) is positively related to flooding duration, negatively related to salinity variability.
H2: Patchy habitat conversion from forest to mudflat enhances fishery productivity (as inferred from standing stocks).
H3: Fires along the mangrove / marsh ecotone promote invasion of mangroves into adjacent marshes.
H4: Shifts in the position of the mangrove / marsh ecotone are linked to the passage of major tropical storms and hurricanes.
H5: There is a unique set of hydrologic conditions that characterize the position of the mangrove - marsh ecotone along the freshwater - marine hydrologic gradient.
H6: The hydrologic conditions that characterize the mangrove - marsh ecotone are sensitive to fluctuations in sea-level and freshwater inflow from upstream areas.
This project allowed us to continue previously funded work in the coastal Everglades pertaining to vegetation and hydrology. We have accumulated over a decade of data pertaining to mangrove forest dynamics and their recovery from large-scale catastrophic disturbance. This type of disturbance, in this case from Hurricane Andrew, is predicted to be more frequent by several climate change scenarios. Data from the hydrology sampling network are providing crucial information from a previously un-sampled region of Everglades National Park. Funding during this cycle of the GCC program allowed us to initiate sampling of estuarine fauna at sites where we have data for hydrology and vegetation.
All of our data are relevant to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). CERP is one of the largest ecosystem restoration programs in the world today. Global climate change will affect the progress of the restoration and climate change has not been considered in the various restoration scenarios for the Everglades. For example, our analyses have indicated that the historic pattern of vegetation, that is being used as a restoration goal, had already undergone change as a result of rising sea-level. Continuing climate change is expected to influence the hydrology, vegetation and fauna of the greater Everglades ecosystem.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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Last updated: 15 January, 2013 @ 12:44 PM (KP)