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

Brian Fry*, Nicole Cormier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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 (σ13C, σ15N), 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 σ13C 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 σ15N 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-234
Number of pages16
JournalPacific Science
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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