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Water levels primarily drive variation in photosynthesis and nutrient use of scrub Red Mangroves in the southeastern Florida EvergladesBall, Marilyn (Ed.)Abstract We investigated how mangrove-island micro-elevation (i.e., habitat: center vs edge) affects tree physiology in a scrub mangrove forest of the southeastern Everglades. We measured leaf gas exchange rates of scrub Rhizophora mangle L. trees monthly during 2019, hypothesizing that CO2 assimilation (Anet) and stomatal conductance (gsw) would decline with increasing water levels and salinity, expecting more considerable differences at mangrove-island edges than centers, where physiological stress is greatest. Water levels varied between 0 and 60 cm from the soil surface, rising during the wet season (May–October) relative to the dry season (November–April). Porewater salinity ranged from 15 to 30 p.p.t., being higher at mangrove-island edges than centers. Anet maximized at 15.1 μmol m−2 s−1, and gsw was typically <0.2 mol m−2 s−1, both of which were greater in the dry than the wet season and greater at island centers than edges, with seasonal variability being roughly equal to variation between habitats. After accounting for season and habitat, water level positively affected Anet in both seasons but did not affect gsw. Our findings suggest that inundation stress (i.e., water level) is the primary driver of variation in leaf gas exchange rates of scrub mangroves in the Florida Everglades, while also constraining Anet more than gsw. The interaction betweenmore »
Modeling net ecosystem carbon balance and loss in coastal wetlands exposed to sea‐level rise and saltwater intrusionCoastal wetlands are globally important stores of carbon (C). However, accelerated sea-level rise (SLR), increased saltwater intrusion, and modified freshwater discharge can contribute to the collapse of peat marshes, converting coastal peatlands into open water. Applying results from multiple experiments from sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense)-dominated freshwater and brackish water marshes in the Florida Coastal Everglades, we developed a system-level mechanistic peat elevation model (EvPEM). We applied the model to simulate net ecosystem C balance (NECB) and peat elevation in response to elevated salinity under inundation and drought exposure. Using a mass C balance approach, we estimated net gain in C and corresponding export of aquatic fluxes ( ) in the freshwater marsh under ambient conditions (NECB = 1119 ± 229 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 317 ± 186 gC m−2 year−1). In contrast, the brackish water marsh exhibited substantial peat loss and aquatic C export with ambient (NECB = −366 ± 15 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 311 ± 30 gC m−2 year−1) and elevated salinity (NECB = −594 ± 94 gC m−2 year−1; FAQ = 729 ± 142 gC m−2 year−1) under extended exposed conditions. Further, mass balance suggests a considerable decline in soil C and corresponding elevation loss with elevated salinity and seasonal dry-down. Applying EvPEM, we developed critical marsh net primarymore »
Hurricanes are recurring high-energy disturbances in coastal regions that change community structure and function of mangrove wetlands. However, most of the studies assessing hurricane impacts on mangroves have focused on negative effects without considering the positive influence of hurricane-induced sediment deposition and associated nutrient fertilization on mangrove productivity and resilience. Here, we quantified how Hurricane Irma influenced soil nutrient pools, vertical accretion, and plant phosphorus (P) uptake after its passage across the Florida Coastal Everglades in September 2017. Vertical accretion from Irma’s deposits was 6.7 to 14.4 times greater than the long-term (100 y) annual accretion rate (0.27 ± 0.04 cm y−1). Storm deposits extended up to 10-km inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Total P (TP) inputs were highest at the mouth of estuaries, with P concentration double that of underlying surface (top 10 cm) soils (0.19 ± 0.02 mg cm−3). This P deposition contributed 49 to 98% to the soil nutrient pool. As a result, all mangrove species showed a significant increase in litter foliar TP and soil porewater inorganic P concentrations in early 2018, 3 mo after Irma’s impact, thus underscoring the interspecies differences in nutrient uptake. Mean TP loading rates were five times greater in southwesternmore »