Plant community boundary dynamics

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Plant community boundary dynamics

Global Climate Change PredictionsBender et al. 2010IPCC 2007Church et al. 2001, Meehl et al. 2007


A. Plant community change detection in the Lower Florida Keys at avariety of scales1. Detection of changes in community boundaries over the past 50years2. Detection of changes to plant communities resulting from recentdisturbance events3. Detection of changes to composition and structure within plantcommunities over the past 20 yearsB. An ecohydrological approach to understanding the effects of changesin seasonal resource availability on structuring plant communities1. DC resistivity surveys to determine freshwater lens boundary2. Determination of plant water source and plant water stress usingstable isotopes3. Groundwater monitoring4. Nutrient status and availability


Interaction of Press and Pulse EventsMaul and Martin 1993¯Hurricane WilmaOctober 24, 2005LegendWilma TrackWind Speed (m/s)High : 51Low : 0Nov 05 – Apr 06Rainfall was 9.18 inches below normal- Fire regime- Climate- Herbivory- Urban development and fragmentationSugarloaf KeyLegendKeysStorm Surge (m)0.3 - 0.60.6 - 1.21.2 - 1.81.8 - 2.42.4 - 3.0Big Pine Key


Florida Keys: Location and GeologyUpper SugarloafBig Pine(Halley et al. 1993)


Freshwater forest communities in the Lower Florida Keys(Salinity tolerance/elevation/distance to coast gradient)Transitional thornwoodlandPine rocklandHammockSupratidal scrubUpper Sugarloaf Key


1. Digital Imagery Sources for Community Boundary DelineationFL DOT aerial photographyMonroe Co. aerial photography15cmresolution30cm resolutionDTM 1m resolution from LiDAR


1. Landcover Classification Maps of Big Pine Key


2. Quantification of Storm Surge DamageNDVI =band4 – band3band4 + band3Post-Hurricane Katrina NDVI Change1234567Weeks Bay, ALRodgers et al. 2009


Field Research SitesBig Pine KeySugarloaf Key


Shallow groundwater salinity(ppt)Groundwater well monitoring on Sugarloaf KeyMay 2011 salinity values by location on Sugarloaf201816141210864200 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9Location along SLK transects 2 and 3 from SW to NE across islandGroundwatermonitoringwell installation


Assessment of seasonal plant water use in 6 species alongan inland to coastal gradientFigure courtesy of C. Rebenack


Research Goal:Combined approach (one thataccesses both past changes inplant communities and current dayspecies response to limited resourcesand disturbance) will provide aplatform for prediction of futureplant community change in the faceof sea level rise.


Thank you• USFWS National Key Deer Refuge for logistical support• FIU Doctoral Evidence Acquisition Fellowship for financial support• Dr. Michael Ross, Dr. Keqi Zhang, Dr. Rene Price, Dr. LeoSternberg, Dr. Dean Whitman, and Dr. Joyce Maschinski forguidance, laboratory access, use of equipment, & constant support• Numerous field volunteers without whom this research would not bepossible

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