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Filters: Contacts: K.L. McKee (X)

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The substrate beneath mangrove forests in the Pelican Cays complex is predominately peat composed mainly of mangrove roots. Leaves and wood account for less than 20% of the peat mass. At Cat Cay, the depth of the peat ranges from 0.2 m along the shoreline to 1.65 m in the island center, indicating that the island has expanded horizontally as well as vertically through below-ground, biogenic processes. Mangrove roots thus play a critical role in the soil formation, vertical accretion, and stability of these mangrove cays. The species composition of fossil roots changes markedly with depth: Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove) was the initial colonizer on a coral base, followed by Avicennia germinans (black mangrove),...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Atoll Research Bulletin
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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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This study examined the potential for inter-specific differences in root aeration to determine wetland plant distribution in nature. We compared aeration in species that differ in the type of sediment and depth of water they colonize. Differences in root anatomy, structure and physiology were applied to aeration models that predicted the maximum possible aerobic lengths and development of anoxic zones in primary adventitious roots. Differences in anatomy and metabolism that provided higher axial fluxes of oxygen allowed deeper root growth in species that favour more reducing sediments and deeper water. Modelling identified factors that affected growth in anoxic soils through their effects on aeration. These included...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Annals of Botany
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1. Macrofaunal leaf consumption and degradation of leaves, woody twigs and roots were studied in mangrove island forests on a Belizean island. Factors influencing accumulation of organic matter deposited both above and below ground in this oligotrophic, autochothonous system were assessed. 2. Leaf degradation rates of Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove), Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) and Laguncularia racemosa (white mangrove) measured in mesh bags, were much faster in the lower than the upper intertidal zone. Mass loss was most rapid in A. germinans but zonal effects were much larger than species differences. 3. Exposure to invertebrates such as crabs and amphipods tripled overall rates of leaf litter breakdown....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Ecology
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The effects of phosphorus (P) and oxygen availability on growth, biomass allocation and nutrient use efficiency in Cladium jamaicense Crantz and Typha domingensis Pers. were studied in a growth facility equipped with steady-state hydroponic rhizotrons. The treatments included four P concentrations (10, 40, 80 and 500 ??g I-1) and two oxygen concentration (8.0 and <0.5 mg O2 I-1) in the culture solutions. In Cladium, no clear relationship was found between P availability and growth rate (19-37 mg g-1 d-1), the above to below ground biomass ratio (A/B) (mean = 4.6), or nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) (mean = 72 g dry weight g-1 N). However, the ratio between root supported tissue (leaves, rhizomes and ramets) and root...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Aquatic Botany
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We measured sediment elevation and accretion dynamics in mangrove forests on the islands of Guanaja and Roatan, Honduras, impacted by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 to determine if collapse of underlying peat was occurring as a result of mass tree mortality. Little is known about the balance between production and decomposition of soil organic matter in the maintenance of sediment elevation of mangrove forests with biogenic soils. Sediment elevation change measured with the rod surface elevation table from 18 months to 33 months after the storm differed significantly among low, medium and high wind impact sites. Mangrove forests suffering minimal to partial mortality gained elevation at a rate (5 mm yeara??1) greater than...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Journal of Ecology
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The objective of this work was to determine whether radial oxygen loss (ROL) from roots of Typha domingensis and Cladium jamaicense creates an internal oxygen deficiency or, conversely, indicates adequate internal aeration and leakage of excess oxygen to the rhizosphere. Methylene blue in agar was used to quantify oxygen leakage. Typha's roots had a higher porosity than Cladium's and responded to flooding treatment by increasing cortical air space, particularly near the root tips. A greater oxygen release, which occurred along the subapical root axis, and an increase in rhizosphere redox potential (Eh) over time were associated with the well-developed aerenchyma system in Typha. Typha roots, regardless of oxygen...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: American Journal of Botany
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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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Although hurricanes can damage or destroy coastal wetlands, they may play a beneficial role in reinvigorating marshes by delivering sediments that raise soil elevations and stimulate organic matter production. Hurricane Katrina altered elevation dynamics of two subsiding brackish marshes in the Mississippi River deltaic plain by adding 3 to 8 cm of sediment to the soil surface in August 2005. Soil elevations at both sites subsequently declined due to continued subsidence, but net elevation gain was still positive at both Pearl River (+1.7 cm) and Big Branch (+0.7 cm) marshes two years after the hurricane. At Big Branch where storm sediments had higher organic matter and water contents, post-storm elevation loss...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Wetlands
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The ability of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)swamps to maintain themselves near the northern limit of their range depends on their levels of production, which is not only are response to climate but also to local environmental factors(e.g., impoundment). We asked if primary production was reduced under impounded conditions and if species' responses to impoundment were individualistic or more generalized. To examine long-term production trends in a permanently impounded baldcypress swamp, a 6-year study of leaf litterfall was conducted in Buttonland Swamp, Illinois, which had been impounded for 10 years before the beginning of the study. Buttonland Swamp is at the northern boundary of the baldcypress swamp region...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Aims Extensive dieback of salt marsh dominated by the perennial grass Spartina alterniflora occurred throughout the Mississippi River deltaic plain during 2000. More than 100,000 ha were affected, with 43,000 ha severely damaged. The aim of this work was to determine if sudden dieback could have been caused by a coincident drought and to assess the significance of this event with respect to long-term changes in coastal vegetation. Location Multiple dieback sites and reference sites were established along 150 km of shoreline in coastal Louisiana, USA. Methods Aerial and ground surveys were conducted from June 2000 to September 2001 to assess soil conditions and plant mortality and recovery. Results Dieback areas...
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Habitat stability of coastal ecosystems, such as marshes and mangroves, depends on maintenance of soil elevations relative to sea level. Many such systems are characterized by limited mineral sedimentation and/or rapid subsidence and are consequently dependent upon accumulation of organic matter to maintain elevations. However, little field information exists regarding the contribution of specific biological processes to vertical accretion and elevation change. This study used biogenic mangrove systems in carbonate settings in Belize (BZ) and southwest Florida (FL) to examine biophysical controls on elevation change. Rates of elevation change, vertical accretion, benthic mat formation, and belowground root accumulation...
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Aim: Predictions of vegetation change with global warming require models that accurately reflect physiological processes underlying growth limitations and species distributions. However, information about environmental controls on physiology and consequent effects on species boundaries and ecosystem functions such as production is limited, especially for forested wetlands that are potentially important carbon sinks. Location: The bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) region of the south-eastern United States was studied to examine how production of an important forested wetland varies with latitude and temperature as well as local hydrology. Methods: We used published data to analyse litter production across a latitudinal...
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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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1. Dwarf stands of the mangrove Rhizophora mangle L. are extensive in the Caribbean. We fertilized dwarf trees in Almirante Bay, Bocas del Toro Province, north-eastern Panama with nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to determine (1) if growth limitations are due to nutrient deficiency; and (2) what morphological and/or physiological factors underlie nutrient limitations to growth. 2. Shoot growth was 10-fold when fertilized with P and twofold with N fertilization, indicating that stunted growth of these mangroves is partially due to nutrient deficiency. 3. Growth enhancements caused by N or P enrichment could not be attributed to increases in photosynthesis on a leaf area basis, although photosynthetic nutrient-use...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Functional Ecology
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Mangrove forests are characterized by distinctive tree-height gradients that reflect complex spatial, within-stand differences in environmental factors, including nutrient dynamics, salinity, and tidal inundation, across narrow gradients. To determine patterns of nutrient limitation and the effects of nutrient availability on plant growth and within-stand nutrient dynamics, we used a factorial experiment with three nutrient treatment levels (control, N, P) and three zones along a tree-height gradient (fringe, transition, dwarf) on offshore islands in Belize. Transects were laid out perpendicular to the shoreline across a mangrove forest from a fringe stand along the seaward edge, through a stand of intermediate...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Biogeochemistry
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Physiological indices, including photosynthesis, chlorophyll fluorescence, adenylate energy charge (AEC) ratio, and leaf reflectance, were determined for Typha domingensis and Spartina alterniflora in response to increasing concentrations of Cd and compared with the growth responses of these species. Leaf expansion, the live/total ratio of plant aboveground biomass, and the aboveground regrowth rate after the initial harvests were significantly reduced with increasing Cd concentration in the growth medium. Of the four physiological responses measured, only photosynthesis and AEC responded to the Cd treatment before damage was visually apparent. Also, these indices were significantly correlated with leaf expansion...
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Panicum hemitomon, Spartina patens, and Spartina alterniflora are wide-spread dominant grasses of fresh, brackish, and salt marsh plant communities, respectively. Our previous research identified significant intraspecific variation in salt tolerance and morphology among populations within each species. In this study our objectives were to determine shorter-term physiological/biochemical responses to salinity stress and identify potential indicators of salt tolerance, with the ultimate goal of discerning similarities and differences in the mechanisms of salinity stress resistance. We subjected a subset of six populations within each species, ranging from high to low salt tolerance, to sublethal salinity levels (4,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Expansion of Typha domingensis into areas previously dominated by Cladium jamaicense in the Florida Everglades has been linked to anthropogenic phosphorus (P) enrichment and increased hydroperiod. The principal stress factor for plants in flooded soils is biochemical reduction, the intensity of which is measured as redox potential (Eh). The objective of this study was to assess the growth response of C. jamaicense to Eh (-150, +150, and +600 mV) and P availability (10, 80, and 500 ??g P/L). Plants were grown hydroponically in a factorial experiment using titanium (Ti3+) citrate as an Eh buffer. Treatment effects on growth, biomass partitioning, and tissue nutrients were recorded. Growth approximately doubled in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: American Journal of Botany


map background search result map search result map Hurricane Katrina sediment slowed elevation loss in subsiding brackish marshes of the Mississippi River delta Hurricane Katrina sediment slowed elevation loss in subsiding brackish marshes of the Mississippi River delta