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Sea Level Rise May Increase Extinction Risk Of A Saltmarsh Ontogenetic Habitat Specialist, David S. Johnson, Bethany L. Williams Aug 2017

Sea Level Rise May Increase Extinction Risk Of A Saltmarsh Ontogenetic Habitat Specialist, David S. Johnson, Bethany L. Williams

VIMS Articles

Specialist species are more vulnerable to environmental change than generalist species. For species with ontogenetic niche shifts, specialization may occur at a particular life stage making those stages more susceptible to environmental change. In the salt marshes in the northeast U.S., accelerated sea level rise is shifting vegetation patterns from flood-intolerant species such as Spartina patens to the flood-tolerant Spartina alterniflora. We tested the potential impact of this change on the coffee bean snail, Melampus bidentatus, a numerically dominant benthic invertebrate with an ontogenetic niche shift. From a survey of eight marshes throughout the northeast U.S., small snails ...