Sea-Level Rise: Rabbits are in Trouble

Written by on September 24, 2012 in Marine Life
Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) at Green Cay wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida. Photo credit: Tom Friedel.

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) at Green Cay wetlands, Delray Beach, Florida. Photo credit: Tom Friedel (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Tomfriedel)

New research shows that the Lower Keys marsh rabbit, an endangered rabbit found in Florida, has lost 64 percent of its habitat in the last five decades due primarily to sea-level rise.

By comparing aerial photos of the islands on which the rabbits live, the research determined their most likely habitats.  They then confirmed the locations by searching for fecal pellets in those areas.  Of the 64 percent of their habitat lost, 48 percent was due to sea-level rise; the rest is due most likely to development.

The study, Impacts of a half century of sea-level rise and development on an endangered mammal, was published in the journal Global Change Biology.

To learn more about sea-level rise, check out some of these links:

This map shows changes in relative sea level from 1958 to 2008. Photo credit NOAA, 2009

This map shows changes in relative sea level from 1958 to 2008. Photo credit: NOAA, 2009.

Red areas indicate regions of the southeastern US that would be below sea level for rises of 1, 2, 4 and 8 meters, respectively. Photo credit NOAA1

Red areas indicate regions of the southeastern US that would be below sea level for rises of 1, 2, 4 and 8 meters, respectively. Photo credit NOAA1

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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