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Rising tides: Assessing habitat vulnerability for an endangered salt marsh-dependent species with sea-level rise

December 4, 2018

Salt marsh-dependent species are vulnerable to impacts of sea-level rise (SLR). Site-specific differences in ecogeomorphic processes result in different SLR vulnerabilities. SLR impacts to Ridgway’s rail (Rallus obsoletus) of Southern California (SC) and San Francisco Bay (SF), U.S.A. could foreshadow SLR effects on other coastal endemic species. Salt marsh vulnerabilities to SLR were forecasted across 14 study sites using the Wetland Accretion Rate Model of Ecosystem Resilience, which accounts for changes in above and belowground marsh processes. Changes in suitable habitat for rail were projected with MaxEnt. Under a high (166 cm/100 yr) SLR scenario, current extent of suitable habitat is projected to increase by 34% across the combined area of 14 sites by 2050, but by 2100, total habitat suitability is projected to decrease by 83%, with six salt marshes losing over 95% of suitable habitat. Under a high SLR scenario, SF’s suitable habitat is predicted to increase by 35% at mid-century, and SC’s current suitable habitat extent will increase by 24%. However, by 2100, SF is forecasted to lose 84% of suitable habitat and SC to lose 80% of its current habitat extent. If accretion rates cannot keep pace with SLR, salt marsh obligate species are in danger of being extirpated from their habitat.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Rising tides: Assessing habitat vulnerability for an endangered salt marsh-dependent species with sea-level rise
DOI 10.1007/s13157-018-1112-8
Authors Jordan A. Rosencranz, Karen M. Thorne, Kevin J. Buffington, Cory T. Overton, John Takekawa, Michael L. Casazza, Jennifer McBroom, Julian K. Wood, Nadav Nur, Richard L. Zembal, Glen M. MacDonald, Richard F. Ambrose
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wetlands
Series Number
Index ID 70202541
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center