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Project Summary Sheet

U.S Geological Survey, South Florida Ecosystem Program: Place-Based Studies

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

Web Site: http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/projects/brd_global_change/proj_29_florida_mangroves.html

Location: Southeast Coast, Southwest Coast; Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier Counties

Principal Investigators: Thomas J. Smith III, Tom_J_Smith@usgs.gov, 305.348.1267; Carole C. McIvor, mcivorc@fiu.edu, 727.803.8747

Project Personnel: Gordon Anderson, gordon_anderson@usgs.gov; Kevin Whelan, whelank@fiu.edu; Christa Walker, walkerc@fiu.edu, Shannon Whaley, shannon_whaley@usgs.gov

Other Supporting Organizations: NPS, Fish & Wildlife Service, FDEP

Associated Projects: Vegetation Dynamics in Land-Margin Ecosystems: The Mangroves of South Florida (Smith); Hydrologic Variation and Ecological Processes in the mangroves Forests of South Florida: Response to Restoration (Saiers/Smith); TIME: Tides and Inflows to the mangroves of the Everglades (Schafrannek/Jenter)

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 support commercial and recreational fisheries. In Florida and elsewhere mangrove forests have been subjected to a variety 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 sea level rise is entirely lacking. Sea level in south Florida is rising at measurable and unprecedented rates.

This project is addressing several key hypotheses related to global change impacts on the fauna and flora of the mangrove forested ecosystems which lie 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 less edge; 2) Fishery productivity (density, biomass/area) along upslope 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 maintains the Mangrove Hydrology Monitoring network which develops data crucial to a variety of studies, both ecological and hydrological, within the southwest Florida mangrove dominated Everglades. This network, of 16 stations, provides data on surface and groundwater stage and conductivity. Two "Water Year Data Reports" (for WR 1997 and 1998) have been prepared and are in the review process to be published as Open File Reports. Additionally this project adds a key research element concerning mangrove fauna, which is not present in related projects dealing with the mangrove dominated coastal zone.

Application to Everglades Restoration: The project will enhance knowledge of the Everglades system's response to upstream water management and how this interacts with global change events such as sea level rise.

Study Milestones

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Note: "x" indicates task completed, and "o" indicates task planned, but not completed


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Last updated: 24 April, 2014 @ 12:00 PM (KP)