Establishing a Foundation for Evaluating the Ecological Implications of Climate Change along a Gradient in Macroclimatic Drivers of Coastal Wetland Ecosystems

Michael Osland
Posted on: 7/18/2022 -

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CakeX Site Admin


The northern Gulf of Mexico coast spans a dramatic water availability gradient (precipitation range: 700 to 1800 mm/year) and represents an excellent natural laboratory for developing climate-influenced ecological models for natural resource managers and culture keepers. In this project, researchers will use this zone of remarkable transition to develop macroclimate-based models for quantifying the regional responses of coastal wetland ecosystems to climate variation. In addition to providing important fish and wildlife habitat and supporting coastal food webs, these coastal wetlands provide many ecosystem goods and services including clean water, stable coastlines, food, recreational opportunities, and stored carbon. The project objective is to examine and forecast the effects of macroclimatic drivers on wetland ecosystem structure and function in the Gulf of Mexico. The first major step in meeting this overall objective will be to use structural equation modeling (SEM) to develop a multivariate understanding of the connections between climate and ecosystem structure. The research team will then incorporate the resulting information into quantitative vulnerability assessments that examine sensitivity (via observed data), exposure (via alternative future climate scenarios), and adaptive capacity (via life history literature).


The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.


Adaptation Phase
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