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Faunal engineering stimulates landscape-scale accretion in southeastern US salt marshes
Crotty, S.M.; Pinton, D.; Canestrelli, A.; Fischman, H.S.; Ortals, C.; Dahl, N.R.; Williams, S.; Bouma, T.J.; Angelini, C. (2023). Faunal engineering stimulates landscape-scale accretion in southeastern US salt marshes. Nature Comm. 14(1): 881.

Bijhorende data:
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723; e-ISSN 2041-1723, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Auteurs  Top 
  • Crotty, S.M.
  • Pinton, D.
  • Canestrelli, A.
  • Fischman, H.S.
  • Ortals, C.
  • Dahl, N.R.
  • Williams, S.
  • Bouma, T.J., meer
  • Angelini, C.


    The fate of coastal ecosystems depends on their ability to keep pace with sea-level rise—yet projections of accretion widely ignore effects ofengineering fauna. Here, we quantify effects of the mussel , Geukensia demissa, on southeastern US saltmarsh accretion. Multi-season and -tidal stage surveys, in combination with field experiments, reveal that deposition is 2.8-10.7-times greater on mussel aggregations than any other marsh location. Our Delft-3D-BIVALVES model further predicts that mussels drive substantial changes to both the magnitude (±<0.1 cm·yr−1) and spatial patterning of accretion at marsh domain scales. We explore the validity of model predictions with a multi-year creekshed mussel manipulation of >200,000 mussels and find that this faunal engineer drives far greater changes to relative marsh accretion rates than predicted (±>0.4 cm·yr−1). Thus, we highlight an urgent need for empirical, experimental, and modeling work to resolve the importance of faunal engineers in directly and indirectly modifying the persistence of coastal ecosystems globally.

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