Organic matter dynamics on the forest floor of a Micronesian mangrove forest: An investigation of species composition shifts

Sean M. Gleason*, Katherine C. Ewel

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    70 Citations (Scopus)


    Species composition shifts in mangrove forests may alter organic matter dynamics. The purpose of this study was to predict the effect of species replacements among mangrove trees on organic matter dynamics in a mangrove forest on the island of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. We were particularly interested in elements of the carbon cycle that affect peat accumulation rates, organic matter exports to the estuary and coral reef systems, and soil microbiology. We compared organic matter production and decomposition rates among three mangrove species that commonly grow in similar hydrogeomorphic settings: Rhizophora apiculata BL, which is selectively harvested; Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, which may gradually replace Rhizophora; and Sonneratia alba, which is producing few mature fruits. Sonneratia had significantly higher rates of root production (estimated with ingrowth chambers) than Bruguiera or Rhizophora. Sonneratia foliage had significantly faster decomposition rates and significantly lower lignin:nitrogen ratios than Bruguiera foliage. Live root mass was positively correlated with ingrowth and soil carbon, although soil carbon and ingrowth were not significantly correlated with each other. Humic acid concentrations were significantly higher in Sonneratia rhizospheres than in either Bruguiera or Rhizophora rhizospheres and were positively correlated with root ingrowth. The species changes taking place on Kosrae are likely to result in lower rates of root production and foliage decomposition, and more refractory carbon pools in soil.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)190-198
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • Bruguiera gymnorrhiza
    • Decomposition
    • Micronesia
    • Organic matter
    • Rhizophora apiculata
    • Root production
    • Sonneratia alba
    • Species composition


    Dive into the research topics of 'Organic matter dynamics on the forest floor of a Micronesian mangrove forest: An investigation of species composition shifts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this