Florida's Mangroves Head North
Expansion is thanks to fewer cold days: scientists
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jan 4, 2014 7:37 AM CST
A couple floats in a kayak among the Mangrove trees June 28, 2007 at the Weedon Island Preserve in St. Petersburg, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(Newser) – The world's mangroves—rich tropical ecosystems made up of trees and shrubs—tend to be shrinking in dramatic fashion, but Florida's mangroves seem to have bucked the trend, the Smithsonian reports. In fact, they're expanding to the north along the Atlantic coast. The state's mangroves typically haven't grown beyond a latitude of approximately 30 degrees North. Between 1984 and 2011, however, the forests became more common near that latitude, adding some 3,000 acres of coverage, according to a newly published study. Between Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine, for example, mangrove coverage has doubled, the Miami Herald reports.

Scientists have tied the expansion to the fact that the region has seen fewer days with temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. (The mangroves can't bounce back in the spring if it gets too cold.) It may all sound like good news for the mangroves, but the outcome for the local environment as a whole isn't clear. "The expansion isn’t happening in a vacuum," notes the study's lead author. "The mangroves are expanding into and invading salt marsh, which also provides an important habitat for a variety of species." (Humans like Florida's warm weather, too, and the state is expected to pass New York soon in population.)

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Jan 9, 2014 10:17 PM CST
Australia had their hottest year on record in 2013. It amazes me how ignorant and disrespectful so many republicans are. Clueless uneducated nitwits who yell their opinion they stole from some dildo on Fox News, and disregard the life's work of thousands and thousands of educated people. They are amazing fat fukin embarassments to this country. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45431593/ns/weather/t/snowless-scandinavians-wonder-wheres-winter/#.Us9y44uzKpg
Jan 4, 2014 4:37 PM CST
I'm not shocked. The Earth has been evolving (changing) since creation. Nothing is stationary. It's like watching the hour hand on a clock. You don't see it move but come back in an hour and you know it has. If we could get in a time machine and go back 1,000 years a lot of things would look different. It has nothing to do with man made global warming (or climate change if you prefer). It is the planet doing its thing. Believe what you will but that is just the way it is. No man or group of men can stop it. No even the supposed inventor of the World Wide Web, AlGore.
Jan 4, 2014 11:18 AM CST
There is a good chance the next big cold snap may push it back down to Orlando. Based on what there forecasting. Cold weather that we have not seen in about 40 years. The simple truth is the earth constantly changes temperature. Live with it!