The lunar nodal cycle controls mangrove canopy cover on the Australian continent
Long-phase (interannual) tidal cycles have been shown to influence coastal flooding and sedimentation, but their role in shaping the extent and condition of tidal wetlands has received little attention. Here, we show that the 18.61-year lunar nodal cycle, popularly termed the "lunar wobble," is a dominant control over the expansion and contraction of mangrove canopy cover over much of the Australian continent. Furthermore, the contrasting phasing of the 18.61-year lunar nodal cycle between diurnal and semidiurnal tidal settings has mediated the severity of drought impacts in northern bioregions. Long-phase tidal cycles regulate maximum tide heights, are an important control over mangrove canopy cover, and may influence mangrove ecosystem services including forest productivity and carbon sequestration at regional scales.
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