Graham Sustainability Institute

Using Advanced Mapping Techniques to Measure Changes in Mangrove and Seagrass Habitat over Time

October 2018

In recent years, seagrass and mangrove deaths have accelerated in the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other parts of southern Florida. Sea level rise, climate change, and severe weather (such as hurricanes) place significant stress on these habitats, which are already under pressure from urban development, road construction, boating, and pollution. The loss of these habitats poses a threat to the local economy, as they support the tourism and fishing industries, which drive economic development in local communities. In order to mitigate and reverse the damage to these habitats, Rookery Bay reserve staff are looking for new ways to measure which pressure has the most impact and determine the location and extent of damages. In this project, staff from Rookery Bay Reserve are partnering with researchers at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science to study the degradation of underwater habitats and coastal wetlands.