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The study links the growth of individual plants, and particularly their roots, to the survival of an entire ecosystem. The long-term strength of the mangrove effects we identified may determine what the maps of our southeastern coastlines look like in the future, study author and Villanova biologist J. Adam Langley said in a university press release.The study, published in the British Ecological Societys Journal of Ecology Tuesday, conducted a two-year experiment in a mixed salt marsh and mangrove wetland at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) on Merritt Island, Florida.The researchers exposed both salt marshes and mangroves to warming chambers and found that higher temperatures doubled the plants height and increased the transition from salt marsh to mangrove ecosystems.Plots exposed to warming saw their mangrove cover increase by a factor of six compared with plots left at current temperatures.Further, the mangroves elevation increased when exposed to temperatures consistent with projections for future warming, indicating that trees would be able to build soil to keep pace with a rise in sea level.

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