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Eutrophication saturates surface elevation change potential in tidal mangrove forests

April 6, 2024

Coastal mangrove forests are at risk of being submerged due to sea-level rise (SLR). However, mangroves have persisted with changing sea levels due to a variety of biotic and physical feedback mechanisms that allow them to gain and maintain relative soil surface elevation. Therefore, mangrove’s resilience to SLR is dependent upon their ability to build soil elevation at a rate that tracks with SLR, or well-enough to migrate inland. Anthropogenic disturbances, such as altered hydrology and eutrophication, can degrade mangrove forest health and compromise this land building process, placing mangroves at greater risk. Much of Florida’s mangroves are adjacent to highly urbanized areas that produce nutrient-loaded runoff. This study assesses how experimental nutrient inputs in the eutrophic Caloosahatchee Estuary influence the soil surface elevation change (SEC) in two distinct mangrove zones. Annual rates of SEC were reduced by phosphorus additions and differed by mangrove zone, ranging from 0.67 ± 0.59 to 2.13 ± 0.61 and 4.21 ± 0.58 to 6.39 ± 0.59 mm year−1 in the fringe and basin zone, respectively. This suggests that eutrophication can reduce the maximum potential SEC response to SLR and that a mangrove forest’s vulnerability to SLR is not uniform throughout forest but can differ by mangrove zone.

Publication Year 2024
Title Eutrophication saturates surface elevation change potential in tidal mangrove forests
DOI 10.1007/s12237-024-01353-8
Authors Jeremy R. Conrad, Ken Krauss, Brian W. Benscoter, Ilka C. Feller, Nicole Cormier, Darren Johnson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Estuaries and Coasts
Index ID 70253068
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center