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Climate Change and Adaptation: Wetland Ecosystems



Drexler, J.Z., Krauss, K.W., Sasser, M.C., Fuller, C.C., Swarzenski, C.M., Powell, A., Swanson, K.M., and Orlando, J., 2013, A long-term comparison of carbon sequestration rates in impounded and naturally tidal freshwater marshes along the Lower Waccamaw River, South Carolina: Wetlands, v. 33, n. 5, p. 965-974,

Carbon storage was compared between impounded and naturally tidal freshwater marshes along the Lower Waccamaw River in South Carolina, USA. Soil cores were collected in (1) naturally tidal, (2) moist soil (impounded, seasonally drained since ~1970), and (3) deeply flooded “treatments” (impounded, flooded to ~90 cm since ~2002). Cores were analyzed for dating purposes.


Osland, M.J., Enwright, N., Day, R.H. and Doyle, T.W., 2013, Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States: Global Change Biology, v. 19, n. 5, p. 1482-1494,

We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios?


Osland, M.J., Spivak, A.C., Nestlerode, J.A., Lessmann, J.M., Almario, A.E., Heitmuller, P.T., Russell, M.J., Krauss, K.W., Alvarez, F., Dantin, D.D., Harvey, J.E., From, A.S., Cormier, N., and Stagg, C.L., 2012, Ecosystem development after mangrove wetland creation: plant–soil change across a 20-year chronosequence: Ecosystems, v. 15, n. 5, p. 848-866,

Mangrove wetland restoration and creation efforts are increasingly proposed as mechanisms to compensate for mangrove wetland losses. However, ecosystem development and functional equivalence in restored and created mangrove wetlands are poorly understood. We compared a 20-year chronosequence of created tidal wetland sites in Tampa Bay, Florida (USA) to natural reference mangrove wetlands.


Krauss, K.W., Cahoon, D.R., Allen, J.A., Ewel, K.C., Lynch, J.C., and Cormier, N., 2010, Surface elevation change and susceptibility of different mangrove zones to sea-level rise on Pacific High Islands of Micronesia: Ecosystems, v. 13, n. 1, p. 129-143,

Mangroves on Pacific high islands offer a number of important ecosystem services to both natural ecological communities and human societies. High islands are subjected to constant erosion over geologic time, which establishes an important source of terrigeneous sediment for nearby marine communities. Many of these sediments are deposited in mangrove forests and offer mangroves a potentially important means for adjusting surface elevation with rising sea level. In this study, we investigated sedimentation and elevation dynamics of mangrove forests in three hydrogeomorphic settings on the islands of Kosrae and Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).


McKee, K.L., 2010, Potential effects of elevated CO2 and climate change on coastal wetlands [video]: USGS Multimedia Gallery,

This video provides an overview of direct and indirect effects of increases in atmospheric CO2 on coastal wetlands using a salt marsh-mangrove community as an example. A short background is given summarizing past, present, and future predicted changes in CO2 concentrations based on ice core data and direct measurements conducted at monitoring stations such as the Mauna Loa Observatory. Responses of plants utilizing different photosynthetic pathways (C3 vs. C4 species) are used as a starting point to explain potential responses of a coastal plant community containing Avicennia germinans (C3 mangrove) and Spartina alterniflora (C4 grass) to changes in CO2 and associated climate change (temperature, rainfall).


Cherry, J.A., McKee, K.L., and Grace, J.B., 2009, Elevated CO2 enhances biological contributions to elevation change in coastal wetlands by offsetting stressors associated with sea-level rise: Journal of Ecology, v. 97, n. 1, p. 67-77,

Sea-level rise, one indirect consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2, poses a major challenge to long-term stability of coastal wetlands. An important question is whether direct effects of elevated CO2 on the capacity of marsh plants to accrete organic material and to maintain surface elevations outweigh indirect negative effects of stressors associated with sea-level rise (salinity and flooding).


Carter, J., Merino, J.H., and Merino, S.L., 2009, Mesohaline submerged aquatic vegetation survey along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast, 2000: A stratified random approach: Gulf of Mexico Science, v. 27, n. 1, p. 1-8,

Estimates of submerged aquatic vegetative (SAV) along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) generally focus on seagrasses. In 2000, we attempted a synoptic survey of SAV in the mesohaline (5-20 ppt) zone of estuarine and nearshore areas of the northeastern Gulf. Areas with SAV were identified from existing aerial 1992 photography, and a literature review was used to select those areas that were likely to experience mesohaline conditions during the growing season.


Merino, J.H., Carter, J., and Merino, S.L., 2009, Mesohaline submerged aquatic vegetation survey along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast, 2001 and 2002: A salinity gradient approach: Gulf of Mexico Science, v. 27, n. 1, p. 9-20,

Distribution of marine submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV; i.e., seagrass) in the northern Gulf of Mexico coast has been documented, but there are nonmarine submersed or SAV species occurring in estuarine salinities that have not been extensively reported.

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