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The ecology of Belizean mangrove-root fouling communities: patterns of epibiont distribution and abundance, and effects on root growth
Ellison, A.M.; Farnsworth, E.J. (1992). The ecology of Belizean mangrove-root fouling communities: patterns of epibiont distribution and abundance, and effects on root growth, in: Jaccarini, V. et al. (Ed.) The Ecology of Mangrove and Related Ecosystems: Proceedings of the International Symposium held at Mombasa, Kenya, 24-30 September 1990. Developments in Hydrobiology, 80: pp. 87-98
In: Jaccarini, V.; Martens, E.E. (Ed.) (1992). The Ecology of Mangrove and Related Ecosystems: Proceedings of the International Symposium held at Mombasa, Kenya, 24-30 September 1990. Reprinted from Hydrobiologia, vol. 247. Developments in Hydrobiology, 80. Kluwer Academic: Dordrecht. ISBN 0-7923-2049-2. 266 pp., more
In: Dumont, H.J. (Ed.) Developments in Hydrobiology. Kluwer Academic/Springer: The Hague; London; Boston; Dordrecht. ISSN 0167-8418, more

Also published as
  • Ellison, A.M.; Farnsworth, E.J. (1992). The ecology of Belizean mangrove-root fouling communities: patterns of epibiont distribution and abundance, and effects on root growth. Hydrobiologia 247: 87-98, more

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Document type: Conference paper

Keyword
    Brackish water

Authors  Top 
  • Ellison, A.M.
  • Farnsworth, E.J.

Abstract
    The aerial prop roots of the neotropical red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L., begin growing well above highest high water (HHW) and often extend well below lowest low water (LL W) before rooting in the benthic substratum. In Belize, Central Arnerica, prop roots growing below LLW are colonized by diverse assemblages of organisms, including macroalgae, hydrozoans, ascidians, sponges, anemones, hard corals, and isopod crustaceans. Mangroves, root-fouling epibionts, root herbivores, and benthic predators engage in complex interactions that are major determinants of mangrove growth and production. Species richness of root epibionts increases with distance from the mainland and with proximity to the barrier reef. Species richness decreases with variability in water temperature and salinity. Ascidians and sponges transplanted from Lark Cay into the coastal Placencia Lagoon failed to survive, but anemones from Lark Cay survived in Placencia Lagoon. Reciprocal transplants survived off-shore. The gas- tropod predator, Melongena melongena L., present only in mainland estuaries, reduced local barnacle abundance and epibiont species richness in Placencia Lagoon. Isopod species richness also increases with distance from shore, but the number of roots bored by these species decreases. These isopods can reduce root relative growth rate (RGR root by 55% .On off-shore cays, sponges and ascidians ameliorate negative effects of isopods. In mainland estuaries where epibionts are less common, isopod damage to roots is more severe. Experimental studies in mangrove swamps throughout the world would clarify the importance of plant-animal interactions in these widespread tropical ecosystems.

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