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Coastal land managers are faced with many challenges and uncertainties in planning adaptive strategies for conserving coastal habitats at the land-sea interface under future climate change scenarios. As transitional ecotones between the marine and terrestrial environment, intertidal to shallow subtidal habitats along the Pacific coast are particularly sensitive to change. Projected climate change effects on coastal environments include sea-level rise, increased storm magnitude and frequency, salt water intrusion, accelerated erosion, shifting mud flat profiles, and increased water temperature and acidity. The subtidal and intertidal zones of shallow bays, mud flats, and salt marshes are a linked continuum, and thus, understanding the complex relationships between them is critical to project the effect of climate change stressors. This project takes a detailed bottom-up approach to assess vulnerability of Pacific coast habitats and their dependent wildlife at selected sites along a latitudinal gradient. It examines the potential climate change effects on transitional coastal habitats with high-quality local habitat data, downscaled climate models, and projected storm effects, and links habitat responses to wildlife using vulnerability assessments.
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