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Natural Hazards: Wetland Ecosystems



Krauss, K.W., From, A.S., Doyle, T.W., Doyle, T.J., and Barry, M.J., 2011, Sea-level rise and landscape change influence mangrove encroachment onto marsh in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Florida, USA: Journal of Coastal Conservation, v. 15, n. 4, p. 629-638,

The Ten Thousand Islands region of southwestern Florida, USA is a major feeding and resting destination for breeding, migrating, and wintering birds. Many species of waterbirds rely specifically on marshes as foraging habitat, making mangrove encroachment a concern for wildlife managers. With the alteration of freshwater flow and sea-level rise trends for the region, mangroves have migrated upstream into traditionally salt and brackish marshes, mirroring similar descriptions around the world. Aside from localized freezes in some years, very little seems to be preventing mangrove encroachment. We mapped changes in mangrove stand boundaries from the Gulf of Mexico inland to the northern boundary of Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge from 1927 to 2005.


Krauss, K.W., Doyle, T.W., Doyle, T.J., Swarzenski, C.M., From, A.S., Day, R.H., and Conner, W.H., 2009, Water level observations in mangrove swamps during two hurricanes in Florida: Wetlands, v. 29, n. 1, p. 142-149,

Little is known about the effectiveness of mangroves in suppressing water level heights during landfall of tropical storms and hurricanes. Recent hurricane strikes along the Gulf Coast of the United States have impacted wetland integrity in some areas and hastened the need to understand how and to what degree coastal forested wetlands confer protection by reducing the height of peak water level.


Middleton, B.A., 2009, Regeneration of coastal marsh vegetation impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita: Wetlands, v. 29, n. 1, p. 54-65,

The dynamics of plant regeneration via seed and vegetative spread in coastal wetlands dictate the nature of community reassembly that takes place after hurricanes or sea level rise. The objectives of my project were to evaluate the potential effects of saltwater intrusion and flooding of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on seedling regeneration in coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast. Specifically I tested hypotheses to determine for species in fresh, brackish and salt marshes of the Gulf Coast if 1) the pattern of seed germination and seedling recruitment differed with distance from the shoreline, and 2) seed germination and seedling recruitment for various species were reduced in higher levels of water depth and salinity.


Holloway, J.M., Swarzenski, C.M., Krauss, K.W., and Doyle, T.W., 2008, Application of phospholipid fatty acids in the evaluation of post-Katrina wetland soils [abs. B51C-0399]: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 15-19, 2008, San Francisco, California,,

The combined effects of Hurricanes Katrina (landfall Aug. 29, 2005) and Rita (landfall Sept. 24, 2005) resulted in a catastrophic loss of wetlands, with an estimated decrease of 562 km2 of land area along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. A study was initiated following the 2005 hurricane season to characterize storm impacts on coastal marsh soils, measuring soil organic carbon, biogeochemistry of soil pore waters, and soil microbial communities using phospholipids fatty acids (PLFA).


Farris, G.S., Smith, G.J., Crane, M.P., Demas, C.R., Robbins, L.L., and Lavoie, D.L., eds., 2007, Science and the storms—the USGS response to the hurricanes of 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1306, 283 p.,

This report is designed to give a view of the immediate response of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to four major hurricanes of 2005: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Some of this response took place days after the hurricanes; other responses included fieldwork and analysis through the spring. While hurricane science continues within the USGS, this overview of work following these hurricanes reveals how a Department of the Interior bureau quickly brought together a diverse array of its scientists and technologies to assess and analyze many hurricane effects. Topics vary from flooding and water quality to landscape and ecosystem impacts, from geotechnical reconnaissance to analyzing the collapse of bridges and estimating the volume of debris. Thus, the purpose of this report is to inform the American people of the USGS science that is available and ongoing in regard to hurricanes. It is the hope that such science will help inform the decisions of those citizens and officials tasked with coastal restoration and planning for future hurricanes.


Ward, G.A., Smith, T.J. III, Whelan, K.R.T., and Doyle, T.W., 2006, Regional processes in mangrove ecosystems: spatial scaling relationships, biomass, and turnover rates following catastrophic disturbance: Hydrobiologia, v. 569, n. 1, p. 517-527,

Physiological processes and local-scale structural dynamics of mangroves are relatively well studied. Regional-scale processes, however, are not as well understood. Here we provide long-term data on trends in structure and forest turnover at a large scale, following hurricane damage in mangrove ecosystems of South Florida, U.S.A.

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