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Assessing coastal wetland vulnerability to sea-level rise along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast: gaps and opportunities for developing a coordinated regional sampling network


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Osland, M.J., Griffith, K.T., Larriviere, J.C., Feher, L.C., Cahoon, D.R., Enwright, N.M., Oster, D.A., Tirpak, J.M., Woodrey, M.S., Collini, R.C., Baustian, J.J., Breithaupt, J.L., Cherry, J.A., Cormier, Nicole, Coronado-Molina, C.A., Donoghue, J.F., Graham, S.A., Harper, J.W., Hester, M.W., Howard, R.J., Krauss, K.W., Kroes, D.E., Lane, R.R., McKee, K.L., Mendelssohn, I.A., Middleton, B.A., Moon, J.A., Piazza, S.C., Rankin, N.M., Sklar, F.H., Steyer, G.D., Swanson, K.M., Swarzenski, C.M., Vervaeke, W.C., Willis, J.M., and Van Wilson, K., 2017, Assessing coastal wetland vulnerability to sea-level rise along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast: gaps and opportunities for developing a coordinated regional sampling network: U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The study area included the coasts of all five U.S. states along the northern Gulf of Mexico (i.e., Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas). We contacted federal, state, and university-affiliated scientists working with SET-MH data within this area to obtain the geographic coordinates and the installation year for each SET-MH station. Please note that while our inventory is extensive and includes most SET-MH stations in the region, our inventory is not fully exhaustive; in other words, it is possible that some stations in the region are not contained within this inventory. The SET-MH stations in our dataset include original SET, deep rod SET (RSET), and shallow RSET benchmarks.


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Gulf_SET_inventory.csv 68.04 KB
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Coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise are greatly influenced by biogeomorphic processes that affect wetland surface elevation. Small changes in elevation relative to sea level can lead to comparatively large changes in ecosystem structure, function, and stability. The surface elevation table-marker horizon (SET-MH) approach is being used globally to quantify the relative contributions of processes affecting wetland elevation change. Historically, SET-MH measurements have been obtained at local scales to address site-specific research questions. However, in the face of accelerated sea-level rise, there is an increasing need for elevation change network data that can be incorporated into regional ecological models and vulnerability assessments. In particular, there is a need for long-term, high-temporal resolution data that are strategically distributed across ecologically-relevant abiotic gradients. Here, we quantify the distribution of SET-MH stations along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast (USA) across political boundaries (states), wetland habitats, and ecologically-relevant abiotic gradients (i.e., gradients in temperature, precipitation, elevation, and relative sea-level rise). This regional network would provide data for predicting and preparing for the responses of coastal wetlands to accelerated sea-level rise and other aspects of global change.



  • USGS Data Release Products
  • USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center



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DOI doi:10.5066/F79S1PJ5

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