Ecological Effects of Storms

Piping plover chick
Piping plover chick, Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts.

NPS photo.

Coastal storms are of relatively short duration—hours to days—but the effects can be long lasting and critical for some ecosystems. Rapid disturbance of local coastal geomorphology can simultaneously disrupt existing ecosystems and create new habitat nearby. Although many ecological components of coastal systems are initially severely altered by individual or multiple hurricanes, over the long term these systems are quite resilient to the acute effects of hurricanes, which is in sharp contrast to the long-term effects on human and social systems (Greening et al. 2006). Areas with higher levels of human land use and development are more susceptible to environmental damage and long-term effects from storms (Mallin and Corbett 2006). Coastal storm events govern significant ecological change in a system where the abiotic landscape dictates distribution of the biotic community.

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    Last updated: July 18, 2019


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