Mangrove wetland ecosystem modeling in the everglades

Hock Lye Koh, Donald L. DeAngelis, Su Yean Teh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Given the invaluable ecological functions served by mangroves, a primary objective of this chapter is to promote public and institutional awareness and education regarding the urgent need for conservation and protection of coastal wetlands and mangrove forests so that these valuable habitats can be conserved as conservation areas, to be properly managed and integrated into coastal zone planning. Many mangroves have been severely degraded by excessive human exploitation and rapid urbanization. One of the most well-known wetland restoration projects is the 30-year federally funded project in the US state of Florida, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). This chapter will summarize collaborative research findings on the Everglades by the authors that contribute to the goals of CERP. A brief outline of the coverage, purpose and theme of this chapter is provided in the following section. The Everglades ecosystem is vulnerable to changes in sea level and salinity because of its low lying landscape. Frequent and severe storm surges induced by hurricanes inundate coastal areas and cause sharp salinity changes in the inundated soils, which may have irreversible impacts on the sensitive plant ecosystems in the Everglades, including the hardwood hammocks and mangroves. The degradation of plant species will in turn adversely affect many other biological species, such as fish and birds. The simulation model MANHAM was therefore developed by the authors to address the issues of potential ecological regime shift in coastal vegetation comprising of halophytes (mangrove) and glycophytes (hardwood hammock), due to salinity perturbations induced by severe surges of seawater and sea level rise. Mangrove forests have been noted to be capable of mitigating the adverse impact of a tsunami by reducing tsunami wave height and velocity. Active research was initiated soon after the tragic 2004 Andaman tsunami to explore the potentials of mangroves as a mitigation measure to reduce the hazards of tsunamis. An analytical model was thus developed by the authors to evaluate the capability of mangroves to mitigate tsunami impact. Concerning the fish component of the research, many biological species in the Everglades are heavily contaminated by toxicants through the foods consumed, although the contamination level in the water column may not be that high. The bioaccumulation of toxicants, such as mercury and PCBs in the Everglades fish via the food web and the impact on the ecosystems will be modeled to facilitate assessment of the state of the environment in the Everglades and to highlight any urgent needs for remediation. Seasonally changing hydrological regimes in the Everglades determine the distribution of fish communities that provide foraging resources for wading birds. The spatial-temporal distribution of fish community in the Everglades, subject to seasonal hydrological regimes, is thus simulated to provide a basis to assess its impact on wading birds ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMangroves
Subtitle of host publicationEcology, Biology and Taxonomy
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781617289910
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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