• Natural Systems

    Natural Systems

The potential effects of sea-level rise on Florida’s coastal ecosystems

This slideshow features excerpts from Florida Sea Grant Fact Sheet, SGEF-205, “The Potential Effects of Sea-Level Rise on Florida’s Coastal Ecosystems,” by Whitney Gray, sea-level rise coordinator.

  • sgef205 slide 8

    In addition to providing value for wildlife, mangroves, beaches and dunes also help protect homes and inland habitats from storm damage.

  • sgef205 slide 7

    Estuaries, where fresh water, often from rivers, enters semi-enclosed bodies of salt water, are some of our most productive ecosystems. Oysters, clams, shrimp, and many other species of marine vertebrates and invertebrates thrive in estuarine waters, as do the myriad bird species that prey upon them.

  • sgef205 slide 6

    Coastal forests, commonly containing oaks, pines, and/or palms, provide habitat for upland species like this scrub jay and other such as the red cockaded woodpecker, white tailed deer, and pine snake.

  • sgef205 slide 5

    Beaches and dunes are home to threatened species such as the marsh rabbit, beach mice, snowy plovers, and gopher tortoises, and provide nesting sites for shorebirds and sea turtles.

  • sgef205 slide 4

    Many commercially and recreationally valuable species of fish like this redfish or spotted seatrout, tarpon and snook depend on sea grass, mangroves, or salt marsh for part or all of their life cycles.

  • sgef205 slide 3

    Seagrass, mangroves, salt marshes, beaches, dunes, coastal forests and estuaries are important coastal ecosystems. Each provides breeding and nursery grounds, food, and cover for a wide variety of animals.

  • sgef205 slide 2

    Sea-level rise may have significant effects on Florida’s coastal ecosystems. These ecosystems are the foundation upon which much of Florida’s natural beauty and economy are based. Understanding what changes may happen in the future can help us plan for those changes and, to the extent possible, lessen the impacts of those changes.

  • sgef205 slide 1

    Sea-level rise is already having an effect in Florida. Subtle, and not so subtle, changes are being noticed especially by people who live, work and play at the coasts.