The Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas

Overview


The Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas is the only hypersaline coastal lagoon on the North American continent and only one of five worldwide. Extending along 277 miles of shoreline in South Texas and northeastern Mexico, the lagoon is renowned for its vast seagrass meadows, huge wintering redhead population, and bountiful fishing grounds.

Recent concerns about increasing human activity have focused attention on the long-term health of the Laguna Madre as growing population ...

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Overview


The Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas is the only hypersaline coastal lagoon on the North American continent and only one of five worldwide. Extending along 277 miles of shoreline in South Texas and northeastern Mexico, the lagoon is renowned for its vast seagrass meadows, huge wintering redhead population, and bountiful fishing grounds.

Recent concerns about increasing human activity have focused attention on the long-term health of the Laguna Madre as growing population pressures, pollution problems, and dredging threaten this unique ecosystem. The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is the conservation of biodiversity through protection of habitat, recognized the need to compile all known information about the Laguna Madre in order to move ahead with a science-based conservation agenda. This book is the result.

Taking an ecosystem approach to the study of this rich habitat, the authors first provide an overview of the natural history of the Laguna Madre and adjacent areas, including an essay on the importance of the region's private ranches. Succeeding chapters discuss the diverse natural resources of the lagoon—seagrasses, open bays, tidal flats, barrier islands, abundant waterfowl, colonial waterbird rookeries, sea turtles, and fisheries. A final section identifies information gaps, offers a conservation framework, and makes recommendations for preserving the biodiversity of this complex and special ecosystem.

Over seventy years of literature on the Laguna Madre and surrounding environments has been synthesized here. With 150 figures and illustrations, the book is the first to take a broad and comprehensive look at both the Texan and Tamaulipan Laguna Madre. For scientists, conservationists, resource managers, and policy makers involved in the future of the Texas and Mexico coasts, the value of this book is clear. And coastal residents, birders, anglers, and nature lovers who want to learn about and take care of the Laguna Madre will find this to be an indispensable guide.

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Product Details

Meet the Author


John W. Tunnell, Jr., is director of the Center for Coastal Studies and professor of biology at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.Frank W. Judd is a professor and head of the Department of Biology at the University of Texas–Pan American.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. I Overview 1
Ch. 1 Introduction 3
Ch. 2 Geography, Climate, and Hydrography 7
Ch. 3 Origin, Development, and Geology 28
Ch. 4 Tamaulipan Biotic Province 38
Ch. 5 Ranching Heritage 59
Pt. II Natural Resources 71
Ch. 6 The Environment 73
Ch. 7 Seagrass Meadows 85
Ch. 8 Open Bay 102
Ch. 9 Wind-Tidal Flats 114
Ch. 10 Barrier Islands 127
Ch. 11 Redheads and Other Wintering Waterfowl 169
Ch. 12 Colonial Waterbirds and Rookery Islands 182
Ch. 13 Shorebirds and Wading Birds 198
Ch. 14 Sea Turtles 211
Ch. 15 Fish and Invertebrate Fisheries Organisms 223
Pt. III Special Issues and Concerns 253
Ch. 16 Red and Brown Tides 255
Ch. 17 The Laguna Madre: A Conservation Framework 259
Ch. 18 Information Gaps and Needs 270
Ch. 19 Conservation Issues and Recommendations 275
App. 1: Contacts 289
App. 2: Acronyms 303
Literature Cited 305
List of Contributors 335
Index 337
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