Assumptions of a static landscape inspire predictions that about half of the world's coastal wetlands will submerge during this century in response to sea-level acceleration. In contrast, we use simulations from five numerical models to quantify the conditions under which ecogeomorphic feedbacks allow coastal wetlands to adapt to projected changes in sea level. In contrast to previous sea-level assessments, we find that non-linear feedbacks among inundation, plant growth, organic matter accretion, and sediment deposition, allow marshes to survive conservative projections of sealevel rise where suspended sediment concentrations are greater than ∼20 mg/L. Under scenarios of more rapid sea-level rise (e.g., those that include ice sheet melting), marshes will likely submerge near the end of the 21st century. Our results emphasize that in areas of rapid geomorphic change, predicting the response of ecosystems to climate change requires consideration of the ability of biological processes to modify their physical environment.
Coastal marshes are considered to be among the most valuable and vulnerable ecosystems on Earth, where the imminent loss of ecosystem services is a feared consequence of sea level rise. However, we show with a meta-analysis that global measurements of marsh elevation change indicate that marshes are generally building at rates similar to or exceeding historical sea level rise, and that process-based models predict survival under a wide range of future sea level scenarios. We argue that marsh vulnerability tends to be overstated because assessment methods often fail to consider biophysical feedback processes known to accelerate soil building with sea level rise, and the potential for marshes to migrate inland.
Sea-level rise can threaten the long-term sustainability of coastal communities and valuable ecosystems such as coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. Mangrove forests have the capacity to keep pace with sea-level rise and to avoid inundation through vertical accretion of sediments, which allows them to maintain wetland soil elevations suitable for plant growth. The Indo-Pacific region holds most of the world's mangrove forests, but sediment delivery in this region is declining, owing to anthropogenic activities such as damming of rivers. This decline is of particular concern because the Indo-Pacific region is expected to have variable, but high, rates of future sea-level rise. Here we analyse recent trends in mangrove surface elevation changes across the Indo-Pacific region using data from a network of surface elevation table instruments. We find that sediment availability can enable mangrove forests to maintain rates of soil-surface elevation gain that match or exceed that of sea-level rise, but for 69 per cent of our study sites the current rate of sea-level rise exceeded the soil surface elevation gain. We also present a model based on our field data, which suggests that mangrove forests at sites with low tidal range and low sediment supply could be submerged as early as 2070.
 Salt marshes are delicate landforms at the boundary between the sea and land. These ecosystems support a diverse biota that modifies the erosive characteristics of the substrate and mediates sediment transport processes. Here we present a broad overview of recent numerical models that quantify the formation and evolution of salt marshes under different physical and ecological drivers. In particular, we focus on the coupling between geomorphological and ecological processes and on how these feedbacks are included in predictive models of landform evolution. We describe in detail models that simulate fluxes of water, organic matter, and sediments in salt marshes. The interplay between biological and morphological processes often produces a distinct scarp between salt marshes and tidal flats. Numerical models can capture the dynamics of this boundary and the progradation or regression of the marsh in time. Tidal channels are also key features of the marsh landscape, flooding and draining the marsh platform and providing a source of sediments and nutrients to the marsh ecosystem. In recent years, several numerical models have been developed to describe the morphogenesis and long-term dynamics of salt marsh channels. Finally, salt marshes are highly sensitive to the effects of long-term climatic change. We therefore discuss in detail how numerical models have been used to determine salt marsh survival under different scenarios of sea level rise.
Abstract. Structural equation modeling (SEM) is increasingly being chosen by researchers as a framework for gaining scientific insights from the quantitative analyses of data. New ideas and methods emerging from the study of causality, influences from the field of graphical modeling, and advances in statistics are expanding the rigor, capability, and even purpose of SEM. Guidelines for implementing the expanded capabilities of SEM are currently lacking. In this paper we describe new developments in SEM that we believe constitute a third-generation of the methodology. Most characteristic of this new approach is the generalization of the structural equation model as a causal graph. In this generalization, analyses are based on graph theoretic principles rather than analyses of matrices. Also, new devices such as metamodels and causal diagrams, as well as an increased emphasis on queries and probabilistic reasoning, are now included. Estimation under a graph theory framework permits the use of Bayesian or likelihood methods. The guidelines presented start from a declaration of the goals of the analysis. We then discuss how theory frames the modeling process, requirements for causal interpretation, model specification choices, selection of estimation method, model evaluation options, and use of queries, both to summarize retrospective results and for prospective analyses.The illustrative example presented involves monitoring data from wetlands on Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. Our presentation walks through the decision process involved in developing and evaluating models, as well as drawing inferences from the resulting prediction equations. In addition to evaluating hypotheses about the connections between human activities and biotic responses, we illustrate how the structural equation (SE) model can be queried to understand how interventions might take advantage of an environmental threshold to limit Typha invasions.The guidelines presented provide for an updated definition of the SEM process that subsumes the historical matrix approach under a graph-theory implementation. The implementation is also designed to permit complex specifications and to be compatible with various estimation methods. Finally, they are meant to foster the use of probabilistic reasoning in both retrospective and prospective considerations of the quantitative implications of the results.
The wetland complex is the functional ecological unit of the prairie pothole region (PPR) of central North America. Diverse complexes of wetlands contribute high spatial and temporal environmental heterogeneity, productivity, and biodiversity to these glaciated prairie landscapes. Climatewarming simulations using the new model WETLANDSCAPE (WLS) project major reductions in water volume, shortening of hydroperiods, and less-dynamic vegetation for prairie wetland complexes. The WLS model portrays the future PPR as a much less resilient ecosystem: The western PPR will be too dry and the eastern PPR will have too few functional wetlands and nesting habitat to support historic levels of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species. Maintaining ecosystem goods and services at current levels in a warmer climate will be a major challenge for the conservation community.
Marshes worldwide are actively degrading in response to increased sea level rise rates and reduced sediment delivery, though the growth rate of vegetation plays a critical role in determining their stability. We have compiled 56 measurements of aboveground annual productivity for Spartina alterniflora, the dominant macrophyte in North American coastal wetlands. Our compilation indicates a significant latitudinal gradient in productivity, which we interpret to be determined primarily by temperature and/or the length of growing season. Simple linear regression yields a 27 g m À2 yr À1 increase in productivity with an increase of mean annual temperature by 1 1C. If temperatures warm 2-4 1C over the next century, then marsh productivity may increase by 10-40%, though physiological research suggests that increases in the north could potentially be offset by some decreases in the south. This increase in productivity is roughly equivalent to estimates of marsh lost due to future sea level change. If a warming-induced stimulation of vegetation growth will enhance vertical accretion and limit erosion, then the combined effects of global change may be to increase the total productivity and ecosystem services of tidal wetlands, at least in northern latitudes.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2024 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.