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Understanding drivers of connectivity and resilience under tropical cyclones in coastal ecosystems at Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Odériz, I.; Gómez, I.; Ventura, Y.; Díaz, V.; Escalante, A.; Gómez, D.T.; Bouma, T.J.; Silva, R. (2020). Understanding drivers of connectivity and resilience under tropical cyclones in coastal ecosystems at Puerto Morelos, Mexico. J. Coast. Res. 95(sp1): 128. https://dx.doi.org/10.2112/si95-025.1
In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale. ISSN 0749-0208; e-ISSN 1551-5036, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Physical connectivity; resilience; coastal ecosystems; tropical cyclones

Authors  Top 
  • Odériz, I.
  • Gómez, I.
  • Ventura, Y.
  • Díaz, V.
  • Escalante, A.
  • Gómez, D.T.
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Silva, R., more

Abstract
    A better understanding of ecosystem connectivity and resilience is needed to establish efficient conservation strategies for coastal ecosystems. Physical maritime processes are key drivers for ecosystem connectivity in the Caribbean, where there is low wind and wave energy for most of the year but also short, extreme meteorological events. The energy peaks induced by tropical cyclones and the long calms are important for biodiversity. Climate change projections suggest that while there may be fewer tropical cyclones here, their intensity will increase. This paper analyses the effect of tropical cyclones on ecosystem resilience, studying both the potential connectivity and damage of mangrove, vegetated dune, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems at Puerto Morelos, Mexico. A numerical modelling approach was used to evaluate the spatial-temporal ecosystem connectivity and damage induced by hydrodynamic processes between 2005 and 2018, taking into account, wave, storm surge patterns and modifications in the vegetation cover following tropical cyclones. From our results, it was found that the balance of connectivity-damage to the intensity of the tropical cyclones depends on healthy ecosystems and the characteristics of geomorphology, with coral reef-seagrass-mangrove being more resilient to the increase in wave height but less resilient to the sea level rise. Open beaches with dune-mangrove was less resilient to the increases of both.

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