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projects > sea level rise and climate: impacts on the greater everglades ecosystem and restoration

Sea Level Rise and Climate: Impacts on the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and Restoration

photo of a coastal salt marsh
Project Investigator: G. Lynn Wingard

Project Personnel: Christopher Bernhardt, Thomas M. Cronin, Marci Marot, Bethany Stackhouse, James Murray, Thomas Sheehan, Anna Wachnicka, Terrence McCloskey

Project Start Date: 2009 End Date: 2015

Recent Funding: (FY14) USGS GE PES, (FY13) USGS GE PES, (FY12) USGS GE PES, (FY11) USGS GE PES, (FY10) USGS GE PES


Summary

This project addresses the questions of rates and impacts of sea level rise on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) by utilizing paleoecologic tools and salinity models to examine changes to the Greater Everglades Ecosystem over the past 500-3000 years.

This project addresses the questions of rates and impacts of sea level rise on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) by utilizing paleoecologic tools and salinity models to examine changes to the Greater Everglades Ecosystem over the past 500-3000 years. Historical rates of change will be compared to potential sea level rise conditions under different IPCC climate change scenarios. The relationship between sea level, salinity, habitats and biota will be examined, and ecologic indicators of sea level rise will be identified. The project also examines the role of storms in shaping the coastal geomorphology and ecology.

Scientific Objectives:

  • Determine rates and impacts of sea level rise in South Florida for the last 500 to 3000 years and the associated climatic factors; focus will be on the coastal ecosystems (mangroves, corals, bays and estuaries) and compare past rates to those projected in the future by IPCC climate change scenarios and those of other modeling groups
  • Modify or use existing models (e.g.: statistical, FATHOM), which reflect historical salinity patterns in the estuaries, to examine effects of sea level rise on salinity in estuaries and freshwater flow in upstream Everglades (Marshall, et al., 2009)
  • Use paleoecologic temporal and spatial species distributions derived from prior ecosystem history projects to examine past ecologic response to sea level and to predict the effects of future sea level rise on key South Florida ecotones
  • Identify ecological indicators of sea level rise that can be used to track predicted inland migration of ecotones based on modern and paleo-species distributions

Management Objectives:

  • Address Southern Coastal Systems Sub-team of RECOVER's concerns about the impact of rising sea level on the estuaries and the Greater Everglades Ecosystem in general
  • Assist sub-team in determining alternative salinity targets under various future scenarios
  • Provide Land Managers responsible for protection of habitats with historical data on responses of organisms and ecotones to changes in sea level

Work Plans

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Script last updated: 02 December 2016 @ 02:34 PM by THF. Record creator: KP. Record last updated by: KP.