Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shifting Mangroves Have a Message; It's That Global Warming Is Real, Say Scientists at St. Augustine Meeting

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Shifting Mangroves Have a Message; It's That Global Warming Is Real, Say Scientists at St. Augustine Meeting

Article excerpt

Byline: Emelia Hitchner

Northeast Florida's recent mild winters and steamy summers are nurturing a warm-weather mangrove species proving climate change is real, according to some scientists.

"You can literally see the presence of climate change by looking out the window into our salt marshes," said Todd Osborne, an assistant professor from the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience.

Osborne is one of hundreds of scientists presenting research on mangrove ecosystems during the fourth Mangrove & Macrobenthos Meeting - or MMM4 - at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

The science conference is held every four years in different locations around the world. This year, Northeast Florida earned the spotlight.

Osborne said that's because the area currently represents the northernmost extension for mangrove migration as well as the transition between temperate and tropical zones.

"This was a good place to bring mangrove specialists from all around the world to talk about what we're seeing," Osborne said.

More than 30 countries will dedicate the next week to discussing the worldwide expansion of warm-weather mangrove species and what it could mean for coastal ecosystems.

"It's not a just local phenomenon, it's global," Osborne said.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, there are more than 50 species of mangrove worldwide. Within the state, the black, white and red mangrove make up an estimated 469,000 acres of mangrove forests vital for coastal well-being.

'INDICATIVE OF CHANGE'

Zach McKenna, owner and marine naturalist at St. Augustine Eco Tours, said the black mangrove is most common to the area due to its ability to handle cooler temperatures.

But within the past couple of years, McKenna said he's seen red mangroves - typically native to South Florida and tepid weather - springing up throughout St. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.