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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Clayborn, Jaeson [1], Koptur, Suzanne [2], Whelan, Kevin [3].

Sea Level Rise versus Host Plant Habitat Enhancement for Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus, a Climate Change Paradox?

Many butterflies in the Florida Keys (U.S.), including the federally endangered Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus, have experienced significant population reductions. H.a. ponceanus is restricted to coastal subtropical dry forests in the Florida Keys, implicating vulnerability to severe storms, human development, and rising seas. A habitat enhancement project in Biscayne National Park (25.4431° N, 80.1972° W) designated four restored sites to increase the number of host plants (Amyris elemifera) specifically for H.a. ponceanus. Host plant mortality was significantly higher at Adams Key than Elliott Key. The restored sites at Elliott Key were significantly higher in elevation than Adams Key. Sea level rise (SLR) projections from the United States Army Corps of Engineers speculate SLR ranging from 0.5 – 1.5 m by year 2100. SLR range projections were adjusted to include tides and elevation of habitats surrounding coastal subtropical dry forests. Maps using GIS were generated to infer habitat loss by 2100. If projected SLR followed the worst-case scenario, only an estimated 22% of subtropical dry forest would remain in Biscayne National Park. Remaining subtropical dry forests in the Florida Keys at higher elevations should be protected from development. Managed relocation to the mainland of Florida (historic range) should be contemplated for long-term preservation of H.a. ponceanus and other rare butterflies dependent on coastal tropical dry forests.

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Related Links:
The rare Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Heraclides aristodemus ponceanus) at Elliott Key (2015)

1 - Florida International University, Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th Street, Miami, FL, 33199, USA
2 - Florida International University, Department Of Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL, 33199, USA
3 - National Park Service South Florida Caribbean Network, 18001 Old Cutler Rd., Suite 419, Palmetto Bay, FL, 33157, USA

seasonally dry tropical forest
Forest restoration
sea level rise
univoltine butterfly.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 48, Conservation Biology II
Location: 204/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: 48003
Abstract ID:643
Candidate for Awards:None

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