The lunar nodal cycle controls mangrove canopy cover on the Australian continent

Neil Saintilan*, Leo Lymburner, Li Wen, Ivan D. Haigh, Emma Ai, Jeffrey J. Kelleway, Kerrylee Rogers, Tien Dat Pham, Richard Lucas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabo6602
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScience Advances
Issue number37
Early online date14 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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