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Ilka C. Feller

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Plant communities along tropical coastlines are often affected by natural and human disturbances, but little is known about factors influencing recovery. We focused on mangrove forests, which are among the most threatened ecosystems globally, to examine how facilitation by herbaceous vegetation might improve forest restoration after disturbance. We specifically investigated whether recovery of mangrove forests in harsh environments is accelerated by nurse plants and whether the beneficial effects are species-specific. Quantification of standardized effects allowed comparisons across performance parameters and over time for: (1) net effect of each herbaceous species on mangrove survival and growth, (2) effects of...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Applications
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Concerted mangrove research and rehabilitation efforts over the last several decades have prompted a better understanding of the important ecosystem attributes worthy of protection and a better conservation ethic toward mangrove wetlands globally. While mangroves continue to be degraded and lost in specific regions, conservation initiatives, rehabilitation efforts, natural regeneration, and climate range expansion have promoted gains in other areas, ultimately serving to curb the high mangrove habitat loss statistics from the doom and gloom of the 1980s. We highlight those trends in this article and introduce this special issue of Hydrobiologia dedicated to the important and recurring Mangrove and Macrobenthos Meeting....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Hydrobiologia
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The objectives of this study were to determine effects of nutrient enrichment on plant growth, nutrient dynamics, and photosynthesis in a disturbed mangrove forest in an abandoned mosquito impoundment in Florida. Impounding altered the hydrology and soil chemistry of the site. In 1997, we established a factorial experiment along a tree-height gradient with three zones, i.e., fringe, transition, dwarf, and three fertilizer treatment levels, i.e., nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), control, in Mosquito Impoundment 23 on the eastern side of Indian River. Transects traversed the forest perpendicular to the shoreline, from a Rhizophora mangle-dominated fringe through an Avicennia germinans stand of intermediate height, and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Oecologia
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Mangrove islands in Belize are characterized by a unique switching from nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) limitation to tree growth from shoreline to interior. Fertilization has previously shown that Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) fringe trees (5–6 m tall) growing along the shoreline are N limited; dwarf trees (!1.5 m tall) in the forestinterior are P limited; and transition trees (2–4 m tall) are co-limited by both N and P. Growth patterns paralleled a landward decrease in soil flushing by tides and an increase in bioavailable N, but P availability remained consistently low across the gradient. Stable isotopic composition was measured in R. mangle leaves to aid in explaining this nutrient switching pattern and...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecology
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Mangrove forest structure and sediment characteristics were examined in the extensive mangroves of Bocas del Toro, Republic of Panama. Forest structure was characterized to determine if spatial vegetation patterns were repeated over the Bocas del Toro landscape. Using a series of permanent plots and transects we found that the forests of Bocas del Toro were dominated by Rhizophora mangle with very few individuals of Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa. Despite this low species diversity, there was large variation in forest structure and in edaphic conditions (salinity, concentration of available phosphorus, Eh and sulphide concentration). Aboveground biomass varied 20-fold, from 6.8 Mg ha-1 in dwarf forests...
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