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Secondary foundation species as drivers of coastal ecosystem structure, resilience and restoration success

Christine Angelini
Environmental Engineering
University of Florida
261 Marine Science Bldg.

Facilitation cascades arise where primary foundation species facilitate secondary (dependent) foundation species and collectively, they increase habitat complexity and quality to enhance species richness and abundance. In this seminar, I will present results from field experiments, lab experiments, correlational studies and models that indicate facilitation cascades created by spatial overlap of cordgrass and ribbed mussel foundation species are powerful drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem resilience to climate change in southeastern US salt marshes. I will also present findings from a recent experiment testing whether the integration of facilitation cascades in restoration designs can enhance the success and long-term persistence of restored habitat. The seminar will conclude with an overview of next steps in this line of research and their implications for understanding of biodiversity maintenance and resilience of coastal wetlands at longer temporal and larger spatial scales.  

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