Wetland and Aquatic Research Center


Wetlands offer many significant benefits for fish and wildlife as well as society. They provide habitat for thousands of species of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Wetlands are valuable to humans for flood protection, water quality improvement, shoreline erosion control, natural products, recreation, and aesthetics. WARC researchers provide scientific understanding of how wetlands work and the importance of wetlands to both humans and the plants and animals that rely on healthy wetlands to survive.
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Mobile Bay, Alabama study area: Emergent wetlands, 1956
June 22, 2016

Throughout the past century, emergent wetlands have been declining across the Gulf of Mexico. Emergent wetland ecosystems provide a plethora of resources including plant and wildlife habitat, commercial and recreational economic activity, water quality, and natural barriers against storms.

Ornate Chorus Frog, Pseudacris ornata
June 17, 2016

Freshwater wetlands provide critical habitat for a diverse array of organisms, including many amphibians. Yet, under the threat of climate change, these habitats are among the most imperiled ecosystems on Earth.

Wetlands on the Fort A.P. Hill reservation are all freshwater
May 19, 2016

Mapping of Fort A.P Hill utilizes 2-D interpretation of 2013, 1-foot Color Infrared orthorectified imagery, affording greater detail in wetland interpretation and classification.

The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park
May 19, 2016

In Central America, “tropical dry wetlands” provide numerous ecosystem goods and services. The mosaic of wetlands within and around Palo Verde National Park (a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance) is one of the largest complexes in the region.

Satellite image of study areas
May 11, 2016

As Greater Everglades restoration project implementation progresses, wetlands in near coastal areas may undergo changes in salinity, hydroperiod, and water depth.

Example from USGS OFR-418 of Penland et al. 2001.
April 25, 2016

This task will involve the compilation of all data sources and expert knowledge of causal mechanisms of specific areas of wetland loss throughout the coastal zone of Louisiana.

Mangrove forest range expansion at the expense of salt marshes
April 18, 2016

Winter climate change has the potential to have a large impact on coastal wetlands in the southeastern United States.

Mangrove Migration Network
April 17, 2016

At the poleward marsh-mangrove ecotone, mangrove abundance and coverage is winter temperature-sensitive in that it oscillates in response to the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of extreme winter temperatures. Future winter climate change is expected to facilitate poleward mangrove range expansion at the expense of salt marshes in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida. 

Watershed Controls of Freshwater Wetland Nutrient Stoichiometry and Sensitivity to Eutrophication
April 17, 2016

When it comes to freshwater wetlands, hydrology plays a large role in nutrient stoichiometry and sensitivity to nutrient inputs. Although wetland biogeochemists intuitively understand these important relationships between landscape position, hydrology, and sensitivity to nutrient inputs, these relationships have never been quantified using geospatial data. The objective of this project will be to evaluate and quantify the linkages between watershed catchment characteristics and freshwater wetland nutrient sensitivity.

Incorporating Future Change into Current Conservation Planning: Evaluating Wetland Migration along the Gulf of Mexico under Alte
April 17, 2016

More than half of contiguous U.S. coastal wetlands are located along the Gulf of Mexico coast. These highly-productive wetlands support many ecosystem goods and services and fish and wildlife habitat. Historically, coastal wetlands have adapted to sea-level changes via lateral and vertical movement on the landscape. As sea levels rise in the future, coastal wetlands will adapt and migrate landward into undeveloped low-lying areas where migration corridors exist. However, where natural and human-created barriers are present, coastal wetland loss is likely. 

Macroclimatic Controls of Coastal Wetland Ecosystem Structure and Function
April 17, 2016

At the global-scale, macroclimatic drivers govern ecosystem structure and function in tidal saline wetlands (e.g., salt marshes, mangrove forests, salt flats). However, global reviews and models for these ecosystems typically do not directly include climatic drivers. The objective of this research is to examine and forecast the effects of macroclimatic drivers on wetland ecosystem structure and function.

Development of an Environmental Assessment and Eradication Plan to Remove Tilapia from Ponds and Wetlands in National Parks on t
April 17, 2016

Mozambique tilapia, a highly invasive non-native fish of the family Cichlidae, were discovered in a wetland in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawai'i. As the U.S. National Park Service works to restore the natural communities and functions of wetland ecosystems on the island, the eradication of the tilapia population is considered necessary to fully achieve wetland restoration.