Mangrove Migration Network

Science Center Objects

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. 

Mangrove Migration Network
Study sites along the Gulf of Mexico 

The Science Issue and Relevance: 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 (specifically, a decrease in the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of extreme winter temperatures) is expected to facilitate poleward mangrove range expansion at the expense of salt marshes in Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida. The initial, primary objective of this collaborative effort (with researchers at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Northeastern University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas, and University of Florida) was to establish a network of sites at the northern range of mangrove distribution where in situ temperature and plant community measurements will be collected in concert to better quantify the effects of extreme winter temperature upon black mangrove performance and mangrove-salt marsh interactions (i.e., useful information for climate change-focused modeling efforts). Via this collaboration, we have already established a network of sites to collect baseline vegetation and in situ temperature data that will improve our understanding of the effects of extreme winter temperature events upon coastal wetland and how climate change will modulate mangrove expansion northward at the expense of salt marshes. 

Mangrove Migration Network
Baseline vegetation and environmental data collected at study sites. 

Methodology for Addressing the Issue: A network of sites (Port Aransas TX, Galveston TX, Port Fourchon LA, Chandeleur Islands LA, Cat Island MS, Saint Joseph Bay FL, Cedar Key FL) was established where a simple suite of in situ temperature and plant community measurements will be collected together in order to better quantify the effects of extreme winter temperature events upon black mangrove performance and mangrove-salt marsh interactions (i.e., useful information for climate change-focused modeling efforts).

Future Steps: Monitoring of established sites will continue with potential for network expansion by adding additional sites. Analyses of data will continue toward communication of research results.

Publications (in press):

Lovelock, C. E., K. W. Krauss, M. J. Osland, R. Reef, and M. C. Ball. In press. The physiology of mangrove trees with changing climate.in G. H. Goldstein and L. S. Santiago, editors. Tropical tree physiology: adaptations and responses in a changing environment. Springer, New York, New York.