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Water 2015, 7(8), 4108-4128; doi:10.3390/w7084108

Seawater and Freshwater Circulations through Coastal Forested Wetlands on a Caribbean Island

1,* , 2,3,†
,
2,†
,
4,†
and
2,†
1
Ecolab, UMR 5245, CNRS-Université Paul Sabatier-INPT, 118 route de Narbonne, Toulouse Cedex 31062, France
2
UMR ECOFOG-Dynecar, Université des Antilles, Pointe-à-Pitre 97159, Guadeloupe, France
3
Impact Mer, 90 rue du Pr Raymond Garcin, Fort-de-France 97200, Martinique, France
4
Geolab, UMR 6042, 4 rue Ledru, CNRS-Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand Cedex 63057, France
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miklas Scholz
Received: 22 May 2015 / Revised: 20 July 2015 / Accepted: 22 July 2015 / Published: 27 July 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2904 KB, uploaded 10 August 2015]   |  

Abstract

Structure and composition of coastal forested wetlands are mainly controlled by local topography and soil salinity. Hydrology plays a major role in relation with tides, seaward, and freshwater inputs, landward. We report here the results of a two-year study undertaken in a coastal plain of the Guadeloupe archipelago (FWI). As elsewhere in the Caribbean islands, the study area is characterized by a micro-tidal regime and a highly seasonal climate. This work aimed at understanding groundwater dynamics and origin (seawater/freshwater) both at ecosystems and stand levels. These hydrological processes were assessed through 18O/16O and 2H/1H isotopic analyses, and from monthly monitoring of water level and soil salinity at five study sites located in mangrove (3) and swamp forest (2). Our results highlight the importance of freshwater budget imbalance during low rainfall periods. Sustained and/or delayed dry seasons cause soil salinity to rise at the mangrove/swamp forest ecotone. As current models on climate change project decreasing rainfall amounts over the inner Caribbean region, one may expect for this area an inland progression of the mangrove forest to the expense of the nearby swamp forest. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrology; salinity; mangrove; 18O/2H stable isotope; swamp forest; water level hydrology; salinity; mangrove; 18O/2H stable isotope; swamp forest; water level
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lambs, L.; Bompy, F.; Imbert, D.; Corenblit, D.; Dulormne, M. Seawater and Freshwater Circulations through Coastal Forested Wetlands on a Caribbean Island. Water 2015, 7, 4108-4128.

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