A study funded by the South Central CSC that explores the impact of climatic changes on coastal wetlands in the Gulf of Mexico was published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Summary: Coastal wetlands in the U.S. provide communities with billions of dollars in ecosystem services including water quality enhancement, erosion control, flood prevention, and wildlife habitat. Unfortunately, these wetlands are also extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. Past research on climate impacts to coastal wetlands has concentrated primarily on sea-level rise, largely ignoring the influence of changing temperature and precipitation patterns on wetland structure and function. This study changes that by modeling relationships between climate drivers and wetland communities and considering what these relationships might mean for wetlands as the climate changes. Because coastal wetlands around the world function in a similar way, the results of this study could inform wetland conservation worldwide.