Apalachicola Bay, an estuary located in northwest Florida, is likely to experience an increase in climate change and human-induced stressors, such as sea level rise and changes in freshwater inflow, in the future. A coupled hydrodynamic and food web modeling approach was used to simulate future scenarios of low and high river flow and sea level rise in Apalachicola Bay from 2020 to 2049 and demonstrate the range of temporal and spatial changes in water temperature, salinity, fisheries species populations and the broader food web. Concurrent with model development, a survey of Apalachicola Bay stakeholders was conducted to assess stakeholder knowledge and concerns regarding species and environmental changes within the system. Model results indicated an increase in annual average biomass for white shrimp and blue crab under low river flow scenarios and decrease in Gulf flounder and red drum biomass. High river flow scenarios resulted in an increase in annual average biomass for blue crab and red drum and decrease for white shrimp and Gulf flounder. For all modeled simulations, the largest differences in future environmental variables and species biomasses were between scenarios of low and high river flow, rather than low and high sea level rise. Stakeholders anticipated a future reduction in river flow and increase in sea level rise as both having some negative impacts to the Franklin County economy and stakeholders' personal interaction with the Apalachicola Bay ecosystem. The use of the ensemble modeling approach combined with the stakeholder survey highlights the use of multiple knowledge types to better understand abiotic and biotic changes in the estuarine system. Results provide insight on the synergistic effects of climate change and human-induced stressors on both the estuarine food web and human community of Apalachicola Bay.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Allen, Kira, "Synergistic Impacts of Climate Change and Human Induced Stressors on the Apalachicola Bay Food Web" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1355.
Restricted to the UCF community until 12-15-2023; it will then be open access.