Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Estuaries and Coasts








Climate change is altering species’ range limits and transforming ecosystems. For example, warming temperatures are leading to the range expansion of tropical, cold-sensitive species at the expense of their cold-tolerant counterparts. In some temperate and subtropical coastal wetlands, warming winters are enabling mangrove forest encroachment into salt marsh, which is a major regime shift that has significant ecological and societal ramifications. Here, we synthesized existing data and expert knowledge to assess the distribution of mangroves near rapidly changing range limits in the southeastern USA. We used expert elicitation to identify data limitations and highlight knowledge gaps for advancing understanding of past, current, and future range dynamics. Mangroves near poleward range limits are often shorter, wider, and more shrublike compared to their tropical counterparts that grow as tall forests in freeze-free, resource-rich environments. The northern range limits of mangroves in the southeastern USA are particularly dynamic and climate sensitive due to abundance of suitable coastal wetland habitat and the exposure of mangroves to winter temperature extremes that are much colder than comparable range limits on other continents. Thus, there is need for methodological refinements and improved spatiotemporal data regarding changes in mangrove structure and abundance near northern range limits in the southeastern USA. Advancing understanding of rapidly changing range limits is critical for foundation plant species such as mangroves, as it provides a basis for anticipating and preparing for the cascading effects of climate-induced species redistribution on ecosystems and the human communities that depend on their ecosystem services.


© The Authors 2023.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original authors and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

Data Availability

Article states: "The expert-derived mangrove presence dataset has been published as USGS Data Release (Bardou et al., 2022)."

Link to data as referenced in Bardou et al. (2022) is:

Original Publication Citation

Bardou, R., Osland, M. J., Scyphers, S., Shepard, C., Aerni, K. E., Alemu, J. B., Crimian, R., Day, R. H., Enwright, N. M., Feher, L. C., Gibbs, S. L., O'Donnell, K., Swinea, S. H., Thorne, K., Truskey, S., Armitage, A. R., Baker, R., Breithaupt, J. L., Cavanaugh, K. C., . . . Hughes, A. R. (2023). Rapidly changing range limits in a warming world: Critical data limitations and knowledge gaps for advancing understanding of mangrove range dynamics in the southeastern USA. Estuaries and Coasts, 46(5), 1123-1140.


0000-0002-8786-6178 (Yando)


Article Location