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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3(4), 1149-1177; doi:10.3390/jmse3041149

Application of a Coupled Vegetation Competition and Groundwater Simulation Model to Study Effects of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surges on Coastal Vegetation

1
School of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang 11800, Malaysia
2
Geological Survey, Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, 4446 Pet Lane, Suite #108, Lutz, FL 33559-630, USA
3
Geological Survey, Southeast Ecological Science Center, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA
4
Jiang Jiang, Forestry College of Nanjing Forestry University, Key Laboratory of soil and water conservation and Ecological Restoration, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
5
Leonard Pearlstine, Everglades National Park, South Florida Natural Resources Center, 950 N Krome Ave, Homestead, FL 33030, USA
6
Geological Survey, 600 Fourth Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
7
Hock Lye Koh, Sunway University Business School, Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway, Selangor 47500, Malaysia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rick Luettich
Received: 31 July 2015 / Accepted: 21 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Hazards Related to Storm Surge)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1704 KB, uploaded 25 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

Global climate change poses challenges to areas such as low-lying coastal zones, where sea level rise (SLR) and storm-surge overwash events can have long-term effects on vegetation and on soil and groundwater salinities, posing risks of habitat loss critical to native species. An early warning system is urgently needed to predict and prepare for the consequences of these climate-related impacts on both the short-term dynamics of salinity in the soil and groundwater and the long-term effects on vegetation. For this purpose, the U.S. Geological Survey’s spatially explicit model of vegetation community dynamics along coastal salinity gradients (MANHAM) is integrated into the USGS groundwater model (SUTRA) to create a coupled hydrology–salinity–vegetation model, MANTRA. In MANTRA, the uptake of water by plants is modeled as a fluid mass sink term. Groundwater salinity, water saturation and vegetation biomass determine the water available for plant transpiration. Formulations and assumptions used in the coupled model are presented. MANTRA is calibrated with salinity data and vegetation pattern for a coastal area of Florida Everglades vulnerable to storm surges. A possible regime shift at that site is investigated by simulating the vegetation responses to climate variability and disturbances, including SLR and storm surges based on empirical information. View Full-Text
Keywords: coupled hydrology–vegetation model; salinity; coastal Everglades; hardwood hammock; mangroves; vadose zone; groundwater coupled hydrology–vegetation model; salinity; coastal Everglades; hardwood hammock; mangroves; vadose zone; groundwater
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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

Teh, S.Y.; Turtora, M.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Jiang, J.; Pearlstine, L.; Smith, T.J., III; Koh, H.L. Application of a Coupled Vegetation Competition and Groundwater Simulation Model to Study Effects of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surges on Coastal Vegetation. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2015, 3, 1149-1177.

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