Microclimate influences mangrove freeze damage: Implications for range expansion in response to changing macroclimate

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 



In response to warming winter air temperatures, freeze-sensitive mangrove forests are expected to expand at the expense of freeze-tolerant salt marshes. To better anticipate and prepare for mangrove range expansion, there is a need to advance understanding of the modulating role of microclimate. Here, we synthesized hypotheses regarding the effects of microclimatic variation on temperature gradients and mangrove freeze damage. Temperature data from the literature and from temperature loggers were used to quantify ecologically relevant temperature gradients. Then, literature-derived mangrove freeze damage data were used to quantify the ecological effects of these temperature gradients. Six microclimatic factors are described that produce air temperature gradients that modulate mangrove responses to winter temperature extremes: (1) distance from the ocean; (2) distance from wind buffers; (3) mangrove canopy cover; (4) height above the soil surface; (5) local slope concavity; and (6) tidal inundation. Variation in these factors produces local temperature differences that range from 2 to 14 °C, with concomitant effects on horizontal and vertical patterns of biological damage from freezing. Collectively, our results elucidate the influence of microclimate on spatial patterns of biological damage and mortality due to winter temperature extremes. As mangrove ranges expand in response to climate change, we anticipate that microclimatic variation will produce adverse environments where mangrove expansion is prohibited as well as expansion hot spots where mangroves are protected. Subsequent expansion into newly available habitat will occur from protection zones, and microclimatic gradients may even produce positive feedback cycles that ultimately accelerate the rate of range expansion in response to warming.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Microclimate influences mangrove freeze damage: Implications for range expansion in response to changing macroclimate
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-019-00533-1
Volume 42
Issue 4
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 1084
Last page 1096
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