Wetlands ecology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nearly one-third of the global coastline is vegetated. Incorporating these vegetation belts in coastal protection strategies would result in more sustainable and financially-attractive designs to mitigate the impacts of extreme coastal storms.

    • Vincent T. M. van Zelst
    • , Jasper T. Dijkstra
    •  & Mindert B. de Vries
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Invasive species could have cascading effects on ecosystem functioning. Here the authors use experimental and remote sensing data and modelling to show that an invasive mammal causes loss of facilitative interactions between sessile ecosystem engineers in salt marshes, and lower ecosystem resilience to disturbance.

    • Marc J. S. Hensel
    • , Brian R. Silliman
    •  & Jarrett E. K. Byrnes
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mangroves are adapted to cope with tropical storms, but might be threatened by rising frequency and intensity of these events. Here the authors document one of the largest mangrove diebacks on record following Hurricane Irma in Florida, and show a greater role of storm surge and ponding rather than wind as a mechanism for mangrove dieback.

    • David Lagomasino
    • , Temilola Fatoyinbo
    •  & Douglas C. Morton
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Conserving mangrove biodiversity has numerous co-benefits, including climate change-mitigation. Here the authors demonstrate that blue carbon storage in mangroves can be best sustained by combining site-specific dominant species with other species with contrasting functional traits.

    • Md Mizanur Rahman
    • , Martin Zimmer
    •  & Ming Xu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Leaf economics spectrum theory has greatly advanced understanding of plant functional ecology, but it is unclear whether its predictions hold in wetland communities. Here, Pan and colleagues analyse leaf economics traits in wetland plants, showing that their trait relationships deviate from fully terrestrial plants, particularly by clustering towards acquisitive plant strategies.

    • Yingji Pan
    • , Ellen Cieraad
    •  & Peter M. van Bodegom
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Coastal restoration tends to be failure-prone and expensive. Temmink and colleagues improve seagrass and cordgrass transplant survival in field experiments using biodegradable structures which temporarily mimic self-facilitation occurring in mature vegetation stands, and combine onsite and laboratory measurements on sediment stability and stem movement to test the biophysical mechanisms.

    • Ralph J. M. Temmink
    • , Marjolijn J. A. Christianen
    •  & Tjisse van der Heide
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wetlands are global hotspots of carbon storage, but errors exist with current estimates of the extent of their carbon density. Here the authors show that mangrove sediment organic carbon stock has previously been overestimated, while ecosystem carbon stock has been underestimated.

    • Xiaoguang Ouyang
    •  & Shing Yip Lee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It remains challenging to estimate carbon accumulation rates in tidal wetlands on a scale as large as the conterminous US. Here, the authors find that mean C accumulation rates vary greatly among watershed regions but not among vegetation types, and that tidal wetlands’ C sequestration capability will remain or increase by 2100, suggesting a resilience to sea level rise.

    • Faming Wang
    • , Xiaoliang Lu
    •  & Jianwu Tang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sea-level rise threatens coastal mangroves, with global consequences for these important blue carbon sinks. Here the authors analyse four Holocene sediment cores from islands in Florida Bay and find that mangroves that comprised the South Florida coastline 4–3000 years ago rapidly transitioned to estuarine conditions, despite low rates of sea-level rise, and propose that their demise was driven by high climate variability.

    • Miriam C. Jones
    • , G. Lynn Wingard
    •  & Christopher E. Bernhardt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Peatlands recovering from acidification release dissolved organic carbon (DOC), but no biological role has yet been identified in this process. Here, the authors show that pH increases enhance phenol oxidase activity, pore-water DOC concentrations and lead to greater abundances in Actinobacteria and fungi.

    • Hojeong Kang
    • , Min Jung Kwon
    •  & Chris Freeman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Large peatlands exist at high latitudes because flooded conditions and cold temperatures slow decomposition, so the presence of (sub)tropical peat is enigmatic. Here the authors show that low-latitude peat is preserved due to lower carbohydrate and greater aromatic content resulting in chemical recalcitrance.

    • Suzanne B. Hodgkins
    • , Curtis J. Richardson
    •  & Jeffrey P. Chanton
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Future permafrost thaw may be underestimated unless effects of wildfire are considered. Here the authors show that wildfires in boreal permafrost peatlands influence soil temperature and seasonal thaw depth for several decades, and increase the rate of complete permafrost thaw along permafrost edges.

    • Carolyn M. Gibson
    • , Laura E. Chasmer
    •  & David Olefeldt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Stressors such as sediment dredging can harm marine organisms, but this impact could be minimised if targeted within ‘ecological windows’. Here, Wu and colleagues develop a modelling framework to identify ecological windows that maximise seagrass resilience under varying dredging schedules.

    • Paul Pao-Yen Wu
    • , Kerrie Mengersen
    •  & M. Julian Caley
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Theory and controlled experiments have shown that the recovery rate of an ecological variable from perturbation slows down before a critical tipping point. Here, van Belzen and colleagues demonstrate that slowed vegetation recovery to disturbance is also apparent in the natural system of a tidal marsh.

    • Jim van Belzen
    • , Johan van de Koppel
    •  & Tjeerd J. Bouma
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Stopover sites are crucial to migratory birds, but the influence of this habitat on population dynamics has not been quantified. Here, Studds et al. show that, among ten migratory species, the degree of reliance on disappearing stopover habitat in the Yellow Sea tidal flats predicts the extent of recent population declines.

    • Colin E. Studds
    • , Bruce E. Kendall
    •  & Richard A. Fuller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Point measurements have historically been used to assess salt marsh vulnerability; however, these metrics do not integrate over the necessary spatiotemporal scales. Here, the authors show that two geomorphic-based, spatiotemporally integrative metrics reveal vulnerability not captured by traditional metrics.

    • Neil K. Ganju
    • , Zafer Defne
    •  & Luca Carniello
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wetlands store large quantities of carbon, the distribution and quantity of which is little known. Here, Nahlik and Fennessy use data collected as part of the 2011 National Wetland Condition Assessment to estimate wetland carbon stocks across the United States, illustrating total storage of 11.52 PgC.

    • A. M. Nahlik
    •  & M. S. Fennessy
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Tidal channel networks mediate the exchange of water, nutrients, sediment and biota between an estuary and marshes. Here, the authors show that the presence of vegetation on the marsh platform contributes to the formation of an efficient channel network.

    • William S. Kearney
    •  & Sergio Fagherazzi