FCE LTER Journal Articles

Title

The Role of the Everglades Mangrove Ecotone Region (EMER) in Regulating Nutrient Cycling and Wetland Productivity in South Florida

Authors

Victor H. Rivera-Monroy, School of the Coast and Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University
Robert R. Twilley, School of the Coast and Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University
Stephen E. Davis, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M UniversityFollow
Daniel L. Childers, Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability, Arizona State UniversityFollow
Marc Simard, Caltech-Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Randolf Chambers, Keck Environmental Lab, College of William and Mary
Rudolf Jaffe´, Southeast Environmental Research Center, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida International University,Follow
Joseph N. Boyer, Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International UniversityFollow
David T. Rudnick, Wetland Watershed Sciences Division, South Florida Water Management District
Kequi Zhang, Department of Environmental Studies Earth and Environment and International Hurricane Center, Florida International University
Edward Castañeda-Moya, School of the Coast and Environment, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State UniversityFollow
Sharon M.L. Ewe, Southeast Environmental Research Center and Department of Earth and Environmental Research Center, Florida International UniversityFollow
René M. Price, Southeast Environmental Research Center and Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International UniversityFollow
Carlos Coronado-Molina, Wetland Watershed Sciences Division, South Florida Water Management DistrictFollow
Michael S. Ross, Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International UniversityFollow
Thomas J. Smith III, U.S. Geological Survey Florida Southeast Ecological Science Center
Beatrice Michot, Center for Louisiana Inland Water Studies, University of Louisiana at LafayetteFollow
Ehab Meselhe, Center for Louisiana Inland Water Studies, University of Louisiana at LafayetteFollow
William Nuttle, 1Eco-HydrologyFollow
Tiffany G. Troxler, Southeast Environmental Research Center and Department of Earth and Environmental Research Center, Florida International University
Gregory B. Noe, U.S. Geological SurveyFollow

Abstract

The authors summarize the main findings of the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research (FCE-LTER) program in the EMER, within the context of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), to understand how regional processes, mediated by water flow, control population and ecosystem dynamics across the EMER landscape. Tree canopies with maximum height <3 m cover 49% of the EMER, particularly in the SE region. These scrub/dwarf mangroves are the result of a combination of low soil phosphorus (P < 59 μg P g dw−1) in the calcareous marl substrate and long hydroperiod. Phosphorus limits the EMER and its freshwater watersheds due to the lack of terrigenous sediment input and the phosphorus-limited nature of the freshwater Everglades. Reduced freshwater delivery over the past 50 years, combined with Everglades compartmentalization and a 10 cm rise in coastal sea level, has led to the landward transgression (1.5 km in 54 years) of the mangrove ecotone. Seasonal variation in freshwater input strongly controls the temporal variation of nitrogen and P exports (99%) from the Everglades to Florida Bay. Rapid changes in nutrient availability and vegetation distribution during the last 50 years show that future ecosystem restoration actions and land use decisions can exert a major influence, similar to sea level rise over the short term, on nutrient cycling and wetland productivity in the EMER.

Comments

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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