Navigation Links
Living on the edge: An innovative model of mangrove-hammock boundaries in Florida
Date:1/26/2012

CORAL GABLES, FL. -- The key to understanding how future hurricanes and sea level rise may trigger changes to South Florida's native coastal forests lurks below the surface, according to a new model linking coastal forests to groundwater. Just inland from the familiar mangroves that line the coasts lie hardwood hammocks that are sensitive to salinity changes in water found in the soils.

University of Miami (UM) Ecologist Donald L. DeAngelis, who is also a researcher for the U.S Geological Survey (USGS), has worked with collaborators to develop a novel computer model describing the underlying forces that maintain this vegetative boundary. The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Landscape Ecology, indicate that large pulses of saline water into the hammock vegetation may cause mangroves to invade areas now populated by hardwood hammocks.

"A high level of salt in the soil favors the mangroves and stresses the hardwoods," says DeAngelis, professor in the Biology Department at the UM college of Arts and Sciences and one of the principal investigators of this project "Hardwood hammocks are a unique feature of the Everglades, they are home to many species, and if they decrease in numbers that will mean a loss of habitat for some organisms."

During storm surges, the salty winds and waves rush into areas of brackish water. The likelihood of such salt water overwash from the coast is expected to increase as sea level rise affects the natural coastal processes in the region.

The study is one of the first to couple vegetation dynamics with hydrology and salinity of the area in order to study the factors affecting the forest boundary. The work reveals that the sharp mangrove-hammock boundary, or ecotone, is defined by a combination of factors such as water levels during the dry season, tides, changes in the land's features, and trees own ability to alter the environment to their benefit (a process known as positive feedback).

"Ecotones are of great interest to ecologists because many species like to live along the edges between different vegetation types, so you can get rich diversity in those areas," says Jiang Jiang, doctoral student in the Biology Department at UM College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study.

Changes in water management, such as the expected increase in freshwater from the implementation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, may help offset the possible effects caused by future salt water overwash and inundation.

"The USGS project that we are working on will include a big landscape hydrology model that will predict the freshwater flow into the southern Everglades and at the same time take into account sea level rise," says DeAngelis.

The study, supported and funded by the USGS, lays groundwork for a larger investigation in which the agency is developing models to look at how sea level rise will affect coastal regions in South Florida. Other co-authors are Thomas J. Smith III, ecologist at the USGS and co-principal investigator of the project; Su Yean Teh, lecturer at the School of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia; and Hock-Lye Koh, professor at the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The scientists hope to extend the application of this model to include other ecotones and other parts of the world that experience frequent storm surges. The researchers would like to be able to predict if salt water intrusion will have a long-lasting effect on vegetation, and on fresh water supply.
'/>"/>

Contact: Marie Guma-Diaz
marie.guma.diaz@gmail.com
786-375-7397
University of Miami
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Advantages of living in the dark: The multiple evolution events of blind cavefish
2. New information on the waste-disposal units of living cells
3. Researchers create living neon signs composed of millions of glowing bacteria
4. Scientists find microbes in lava tube living in conditions like those on Mars
5. Communal living of the insect kind
6. CO2 bonds in sea ice: Small living creatures with major impact
7. Tufts University researcher develops living tissue
8. Alternate ending -- living on without telomerase
9. New discoveries on the state of hemoglobin in living red blood cells
10. Improved living environments can reduce health problems for women and children
11. A living species of aquatic beetle found in 20-million-year-old sediments
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/24/2016)... Cercacor today introduced Ember TM Sport ... non-invasively measure hemoglobin, Oxygen Content, Oxygen Saturation, Perfusion ... in approximately 30 seconds. Smaller than a smartphone, using ... to key data about their bodies to help monitor ... Hemoglobin carries oxygen to muscles. When hemoglobin ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it ... to have an independent technology judge determine who has ... high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer ... do most of what we do – which clearly ...
(Date:11/15/2016)...  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: SYN), a ... gut microbiome, today announced the pricing of an ... common stock and warrants to purchase 50,000,000 shares ... the public of $1.00 per share and accompanying ... offering, excluding the proceeds, if any from the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... DUBLIN , Dec 5, 2016 ... new report "DNA Sequencing - Technologies, Markets and Companies" ... ... This report briefly reviews basics of human genome variations, development ... sequencers are described as well as companies developing them. Various ...
(Date:12/4/2016)... , Dec. 3, 2016  In five studies ... Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in ... engineering methods to improve the delivery of life-saving treatments ... new methods are designed to carry therapies directly to ... most, which could provide a substantial advantage over traditional, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 2, 2016  The Multiple Myeloma ... from the MMRF CoMMpass Study SM —the largest and ... precision medicine in multiple myeloma—will be presented at the ... Meeting & Exposition in San Diego ... to optimize treatment strategies, as well as identify pathways ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ACEA ... from its Phase I/II clinical trials for AC0010 at the World Conference on Lung ... to providing an update on the phase I/II clinical trials for AC0010 in patients ...
Breaking Biology Technology: