3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Adam Watts
Session Name Posters - Hydrology
Category Hydrology
Poster Number 18
Author(s) Adam Watts,  University of Florida (Presenting Author)
  Does a Hydrologic “Switch” Affect Microclimate in Wetland Forest Patches?
  Effects of edge distance or patch size on microclimate in forest patches are well established in uplands, but less understood in wetland forests with fluctuating water levels. I tested the influence of edge distance on microclimate in cypress swamps relative to the effects of water levels and the presence of canopy leaves. I hypothesized that attenuation of temperature and humidity with increasing distance from edge is greater during periods of inundation than when water levels are below ground. This poster will present results of a study to test for the presence of such a hydrologic “switch” that may affect the occurrence or strength of edge effects on microclimate depending on water levels. The study involved measurements of temperature and humidity in 12 forest patches of varied sizes at 30-minute intervals for a year. Because half of the forest patches experienced a drought-condition wildfire, interactive effects of edge and wildfire occurrence also will form the basis for a conceptual model relating this hypothesized hydrologic effect on microclimate to wildfire threats. These findings may be relevant to the management of wetland forests under scenarios of future climate change, when drought conditions are predicted to occur with greater frequency and severity and may increase risks to desiccated wetland forests from wildfires.