Chemical ecology of red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle, in the Hawaiian Islands

Pacific Science
By:  and 



The coastal red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L., was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands from Florida 100 yr ago and has spread to cover many shallow intertidal shorelines that once were unvegetated mudflats. We used a field survey approach to test whether mangroves at the land-ocean interface could indicate watershed inputs, especially whether measurements of leaf chemistry could identify coasts with high nutrient inputs and high mangrove productivities. During 2001-2002, we sampled mangroves on dry leeward coasts of southern Moloka'i and O'ahu for 14 leaf variables including stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (delta13C, delta15N), macronutrients (C, N, P), trace elements (B, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn), and cations (Na, Mg, K, Ca). A new modeling approach using leaf Na, N, P, and delta13C indicated two times higher productivity for mangroves in urban versus rural settings, with rural mangroves more limited by low N and P nutrients and high-nutrient urban mangroves more limited by freshwater inputs and salt stress. Leaf chemistry also helped identify other aspects of mangrove dynamics: especially leaf delta15N values helped identify groundwater N inputs, and a combination of strongly correlated variables (C, N, P, B, Cu, Mg, K, Ca) tracked the mangrove growth response to nutrient loading. Overall, the chemical marker approach is an efficient way to survey watershed forcing of mangrove forest dynamics.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Chemical ecology of red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle, in the Hawaiian Islands
Series title Pacific Science
DOI 10.2984/65.2.219
Volume 65
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher University of Hawai'i Press
Publisher location Honolulu, HI
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center
Description 16 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Pacific Science
First page 219
Last page 234
Country United States
State Hawai'i
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