Extreme events and ecological forecasting

Litaker, R. Wayne and Tester, Patricia A. (2003) Extreme events and ecological forecasting. In: Valette-Silver, Nathalie and Scavia, Donald (eds.) Ecological forecasting: new tools for coastal and marine ecosystem management. Silver Spring, MD, NOAA/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, pp. 85-91. (NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS,1)

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Almost all extreme events lasting less than several weeks that significantly impact ecosystems are weather related. This review examines the response of estuarine systems to intense short-term perturbations caused by major weather events such as hurricanes. Current knowledge concerning these effects is limited to relatively few studies where hurricanes and storms impacted estuaries with established environmental monitoring programs. Freshwater inputs associated with these storms were found to initially result in increased primary productivity. When hydrographic conditions are favorable, bacterial consumption of organic matter produced by the phytoplankton blooms and deposited during the initial runoff event can contribute to significant oxygen deficits during subsequent warmer periods. Salinity stress and habitat destruction associated with freshwater inputs, as well as anoxia, adversely affect benthic populations and fish. In contrast, mobile invertebrate species such as shrimp, which have a short life cycle and the ability to migrate during the runoff event, initially benefit from the increased primary productivity and decreased abundance of fish predators. Events studied so far indicate that estuaries rebound in one to three years following major short-term perturbations. However, repeated storm events without sufficient recovery time may cause a fundamental shift in ecosystem structure (Scavia et al. 2002). This is a scenario consistent with the predicted increase in hurricanes for the east coast of the United States. More work on the response of individual species to these stresses is needed so management of commercial resources can be adjusted to allow sufficient recovery time for affected populations.

Item Type: Book Section
Title: Extreme events and ecological forecasting
Personal Creator/Author:
Litaker, R. WayneWayne.Litaker@noaa.gov
Tester, Patricia A.Pat.Tester@noaa.gov
Title of Book: Ecological forecasting: new tools for coastal and marine ecosystem management.
Valette-Silver, Nathalie
Scavia, Donald
Refereed: Yes
Series Name: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS
Number: 1
Number of Pages: 120
Page Range: pp. 85-91
Date: 2003
Publisher: NOAA/National Ocean Service/National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
Place of Publication: Silver Spring, MD
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Subjects: Ecology
Item ID: 2126
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 26 May 2009 22:18
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2014 20:35
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/2126

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