School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Temperature Thresholds for Leaf Damage from Two Extreme Freeze Events (2018 and 2021) Near the Northern Range Limit of Black Mangroves (Avicennia germinans) in Southeastern North America

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Extreme winter temperatures govern the northern range limit of black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) in southeastern North America. There is a pressing need for studies that advance our understanding of how extreme cold temperature events affect mangroves near their range limits. However, such events are infrequent and challenging to study at regional scales. Here, we compared the damage to mangroves from extreme freeze events in 2018 and 2021, using local data from sites in USA (Florida, Louisiana, and Texas) and northeastern Mexico (Tamaulipas). In 2018, mangrove damage was concentrated in Louisiana and the upper Texas coast, where minimum temperatures ranged from -4 °C to -7 °C. In 2021, damage from a more severe freeze event was concentrated along the central to northern coasts of Texas, where minimum temperatures ranged from -4 °C to -10 °C. We used regional temperature and vegetation data from these events to quantify temperature thresholds for A. germinans leaf damage. Our results indicate that A. germinans leaf damage is likely to occur when temperatures are between -4 °C and -6 °C. These findings help refine temperature thresholds for A. germinans leaf damage and advance understanding of the effects of extreme freeze events on mangrove range expansion. This information is valuable for anticipating future range dynamics in a warming world.


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Estuaries and Coasts