Space Coast Audubon Society
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Vulnerability of Species and Natural Communities in Florida to Sea-Level Rise
and What We Can Do About It
Reed Noss is Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Central Florida and President of the FL Institute for Conservation Science. He currently conducts research on vulnerability of species and ecosystems to sea-level rise; climate adaptation strategies; disturbance (e.g. fire) ecology; road ecology; ecosystem conservation and restoration; and changes in ecological processes and species assemblages along urban-rural-wildland gradients.
He has nearly 300 publications, including seven books. His latest book is Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (Island Press, 2013).
In Florida and other low-lying coastal regions, sea-level rise is an immediate and severe threat to natural and human communities. Reed Noss and his colleagues evaluated >300 species of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates and natural communities in Florida with coastal or near-coastal distributions, in terms of their vulnerability to sea-level rise in combination with climate change and urbanization. The species most vulnerable to sea-level rise and interacting threats in Florida are primarily range-restricted (endemic) species on islands, especially the Florida Keys, such as the Florida semaphore cactus, Miami blue butterfly, mangrove terrapin, and Key deer. For most island species, the only alternative to extinction with 1-2 m sea-level rise is ex situ conservation (zoos and botanical gardens).
Many mainland coastal species, such as aboriginal prickly pear and loggerhead turtle are also highly vulnerable. For mainland species restricted to largely developed coastlines, conservation options include:
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all general meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. in Calvin Hall at the Rockledge Presbyterian Church, 921 Rockledge Drive (on the corner of Orange Ave) Rockledge, FL.