A Multi-Disciplinary Review of Current Sea-Level Rise Research in Florida
Sea-level rise is an issue of paramount importance for the state of Florida due to its lengthy coastline, low relief, high coastal population density, ecologically and economically vital beaches, estuaries, and wetlands, and porous limestone geology. The rate of sea-level rise in Florida generally follows the global average (~3 mm per year) and is slowly gaining public attention as a significant threat to the natural and socioeconomic future of the state. This multi-disciplinary review provides an annotated bibliographic summary of current peer-reviewed literature regarding sea-level rise in Florida. The authors also offer an analysis of research topic areas defined for the purpose of identifying knowledge gaps in the peer-reviewed literature. Fifty-five articles with direct relevance to Florida were divided into three broad categories (physical, biological, and social sciences), assigned place and subject keywords, and summarized. The keyword analysis revealed an emphasis on research addressing habitat migration, modeling, wetlands, inundation (flooding), land-use planning, legislation, and private property rights. The Gulf of Mexico, Everglades, Big Bend and Florida Keys are the most common geographic locations discussed in the literature. Topics the authors perceive as underrepresented in the current literature are presented and discussed, including saltwater intrusion to groundwater, the economic consequences of sea-level rise, threats to intangible coastal ecosystem services (nutrient cycling, shoreline protection), and the sustainability of certain habitat types (seagrass beds, coral reefs). With a continually expanding body of research, this paper serves as a “one-stop shop” for researchers, planners, and policy makers to quickly review the current state of the science on sea-level rise in Florida.