Application of a coupled vegetation competition and groundwater simulation model to study effects of sea level rise and storm surges on coastal vegetation

Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
By: , and 

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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.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Application of a coupled vegetation competition and groundwater simulation model to study effects of sea level rise and storm surges on coastal vegetation
Series title Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
DOI 10.3390/jmse3041149
Volume 3
Issue 4
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher MDPI AG
Publisher location Basel, Germany
Contributing office(s) Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description 29 p.
First page 1149
Last page 1177
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N