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Top Story

Biodiversity in salt marshes builds climate resilience

Coastal ecosystems worldwide are feeling the heat of climate change. In the Southeastern U.S., salt marshes have endured massive grass die-offs as a result of intense drought, which can affect everything from fisheries to water quality. Now, new research shows that a mutualistic relationship -- where two organisms benefit from each other's activities -- between ribbed mussels and salt marsh grasses may play a critical role in helping salt marshes bounce back from extreme climate events such as drought. The results found that mussels piled up in mounds around salt grass stems helped to protect the grasses by improving water storage around their roots and reducing soil salinity. With the mussels' help, marshes can recover from drought in less than a decade. Without their help, it can take more than a century.

Visit Website | Image credit: Christine Angelini