Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

As sea level rises, Everglades' freshwater plants perish

Date:
October 10, 2013
Source:
University of Miami
Summary:
Satellite imagery over the southeastern Everglades confirms long-term trends of mangrove expansion and sawgrass habitat loss near the shore.

The study area, including the Southern Everglades, Florida City, Key Largo and other parts of Florida Bay and the upper Keys.
Credit: CSTARS / Doug Fuller

Just inland from the familiar salt-loving mangroves that line the Southern tip of the Florida Peninsula lie plant communities that depend on freshwater flowing south from Lake Okeechobee.

Related Articles


These communities provide critical habitats to many wildlife species, and as salt water intrudes, it could spell problems for freshwater plants and animals alike.

Satellite imagery over the southeastern Everglades confirms long-term trends of mangrove expansion and sawgrass habitat loss near the shore. The trend is related to salt water intrusion caused by sea-level rise and water management practices, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Wetlands.

"I was very surprised at how well the results matched our understanding of long-term trends and field data. Normally, we don't see such clear patterns," said Douglas Fuller, principal investigator of the study.

The findings show large patches of vegetation loss closer to the coast, approximately four kilometers from the shoreline, in and around a vegetative band of low productivity that has been shifting inland over the past 70 years. Growth trends were seen primarily in the interior, at about eight kilometers from the shore.

"Less salt-tolerant plants like the sawgrass, spike rush, and tropical hardwood hammocks are retreating. At the same time, salt-loving mangroves continue to extend inland," said Fuller, professor of Geography and Regional studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami.

Changes in water management, such as the implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, may help offset the possible effects caused by future salt water intrusion. "However, restoration may not suffice if sea-level rise accelerates in the coming decades," Fuller said.

Fuller and co-author Yu Wang, a former master's student at UM, used satellite imagery from 2001 to 2010 over the southeastern Everglades, in an area called Taylor Slough, which is the second-largest flow-way for surface water in the Everglades, and stretches about 30 kilometers along the eastern boundary of Everglades National Park.

"These methods allowed us to perform a spatially comprehensive assessment of the trends, unlike research that has been limited to plot-level studies, in which careful measurements of plant cover and composition have been made over the past dozen years," Fuller said. "These field studies, which provide confirmation of the satellite-based results, involved clipping and weighing plants found in sawgrass prairies and are part of a long-term effort to understand the dynamics of the ecosystems in the Everglades."

In the future, the researchers would like to apply the methods used in their study to other coastal wetland areas that are threatened by sea-level rise.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Miami. The original article was written by Marie Guma-Diaz and Annette Gallagher. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Douglas O. Fuller, Yu Wang. Recent Trends in Satellite Vegetation Index Observations Indicate Decreasing Vegetation Biomass in the Southeastern Saline Everglades Wetlands. Wetlands, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s13157-013-0483-0

Cite This Page:

University of Miami. "As sea level rises, Everglades' freshwater plants perish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010124745.htm>.
University of Miami. (2013, October 10). As sea level rises, Everglades' freshwater plants perish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010124745.htm
University of Miami. "As sea level rises, Everglades' freshwater plants perish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010124745.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Saharan Solar Project to Power Europe

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A solar energy project in the Tunisian Sahara aims to generate enough clean energy by 2018 to power two million European homes. Matt Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins