Science to Inform the Management of Mangrove Ecosystems Undergoing Sea Level Rise at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel
Dr. Ken Krauss (USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center)
ecosystems exist within the intertidal plane and respond to sea-level rise by trapping mineral sediments and through belowground productivity. Both can become altered by land use change and increase the vulnerability of coastal wetlands by altering their subtle,
but sustaining, elevation balance. Managers with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have become increasing concerned about persistent nutrient loading into the mangrove forests of Ding Darling NWR through the Caloosahatchee River watershed, which drains
agricultural and municipal areas. I will present an overview and preliminary results of a study conducted by U.S. Geological Survey, FWS, and university scientists to understand how areal mangrove coverage, soil surface elevation, and productivity might have
been altered by nutrient loading, and whether such loading provides increased vulnerability for these mangroves to sea-level rise and hurricanes. Experimental studies involved nutrient amendments to large trees of mangrove basins (10-12 m tall), and included
sapflow assessment as a measure of on-going eco-physiological stress. Our overall goal is to construct full carbon budgets from a synthesis of these data under different nutrient loading regimes, link that to potential vulnerabilities, and assist with ameliorative
management actions for the refuge and larger watershed.
Learn more about the SE CASC project associated with this work.
Learn more about the speakers:
Ken Krauss is a Physiological Ecologist and Wetland Scientist at the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Lafayette, LA. His career began in the federal government with the USDA Forest Service in Mississippi at the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research
and he then worked in Hawaii at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. Ken’s research spans several habitats, from mangroves to tidal freshwater forested wetlands and marshes. His research takes a multi-tiered approach to understanding eco-physiological
processes in coastal wetland forests; defining gas exchange between the soil and atmosphere, and among the leaf, tree, and atmosphere. Research has defined thresholds to tidal freshwater forested wetland habitat change in the face of persistent environmental
drivers, specifically sea level rise and salinity, defined the potential of forested wetlands to influence water cycling in coastal areas, and has begun to establish the potential of other wetland types to contribute to water conservation, especially under
drought and perennial salinization. Krauss also focuses on the vulnerability of coastal swamp forests and mangroves to sea-level rise, and on how science can inform management and restoration activity within the coastal zone.