The form, function, and productivity of wetland communities are influenced strongly by the hydrologic regime of an area. Wetland ecosystems persist by depending upon surpluses of rainfall, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and frequency and amplitude of water-level fluctuations. Yet, wetland vegetation can also influence ecosystem water economy through conservative water- and carbon-use strategies at several organizational scales.
Scientists have described leaf-level water-use efficiency in coastal mangrove forests as being among the highest of any ecosystem. These forested wetlands occur in intertidal areas and often persist under flooded saline conditions. Are these same strategies used by other types of coastal forested wetlands? Do conservative water-use strategies reflect a consequence of salt balance more than efficiency in water use per se? At what organizational scales do these strategies manifest? These are just a few of the questions being answered by physiological and landscape ecologists at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC).
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USGS Numbered Series
Physiological Ecology and Ecohydrology of Coastal Forested Wetlands