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Will fluctuations in salt marsh - mangrove dominance alter vulnerability of a subtropical wetland to sea-level rise?


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McKee, K.L., 2017, Will fluctuations in salt marsh - mangrove dominance alter vulnerability of a subtropical wetland to sea-level rise?: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


To avoid submergence during sea-level rise, coastal wetlands build soil surfaces vertically through accumulation of inorganic sediment and organic matter. At climatic boundaries where mangroves are expanding and replacing salt marsh, wetland capacity to respond to sea-level rise may change. To compare how well mangroves and salt marshes accommodate sea-level rise, we conducted a manipulative field experiment in a subtropical plant community in the rapidly subsiding Mississippi River Delta. Experimental plots were established in spatially equivalent positions along creek banks in monospecific stands of Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass) or Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) and in mixed stands containing both species. To examine [...]


Point of Contact :
Karen L Mckee
Originator :
Karen L Mckee
Metadata Contact :
Karen L Mckee
publisher :
U.S. Geological Survey
Distributor :
GS ScienceBase
USGS Mission Area :
Land Resources
SDC Data Owner :
Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

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MangroveSaltmarshComparison_MasterLegend.xlsx 14.28 KB 39.19 KB


An understanding of how different types of wetland vegetation may respond to sea-level rise is essential to accurate predictions of future submergence of coastal regions and for conservation and restoration planning. Such information is particularly important for major vegetation boundaries where changes in the plant community may be occurring in response to climate change. In the rapidly subsiding Mississippi River Delta, mangroves have been expanding and replacing salt marsh due to lack of killing freezes in recent decades. We investigated how vegetation type and disturbance (temporary reduction in plant canopy) may affect wetland capacity to accommodate sea-level rise. These data were obtained to better understand how mangrove expansion may affect habitat stability of subtropical, coastal wetlands.



  • USGS Data Release Products
  • USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center



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Type Scheme Key
DOI doi:10.5066/F7GT5M4C

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