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Caught in transit: offshore interception of seafaring propagules from seven mangrove species
Van der Stocken, T.; Vanschoenwinkel, B.; De Ryck, D.; Koedam, N. (2018). Caught in transit: offshore interception of seafaring propagules from seven mangrove species. Ecosphere 9(4): e02208. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/ecs2.2208
In: Ecosphere. Wiley-Blackwell. ISSN 2150-8925, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    citizen science; connectivity; fishermen; Gazi Bay; ocean dispersal;release-recapture

Authors  Top 
  • Van der Stocken, T., more
  • Vanschoenwinkel, B., more
  • De Ryck, D., more
  • Koedam, N., more

Abstract
    Many organisms are transported passively and make use of the energy of natural phenomena or other organisms to disperse. However, not all species are equally likely to disperse over long distances. In mangroves, which possess seafaring propagules, it is largely unknown which species are more likely to reach the ocean and contribute to long‐distance dispersal. This is because dispersal has been mainly studied under reductionist laboratory conditions and via localized release–recapture experiments. Direct interceptions of propagules at sea have hardly been attempted because of the high labor intensity. Here, we set up a local citizen‐science network and engaged local fishermen to collect floating mangrove propagules over a period of 27 months. By comparing the dispersing community of propagules from the local stands in which they were produced, the open water of the bay, and the open ocean beyond the coral reef barrier, we could study the transition between local and long‐distance dispersal. The composition of the dispersing community changed from the local stands toward the ocean, suggesting that this transition imposes an important selective filter for leaving the local system. With the exception of three rare species (Lumnitzera racemosa, Pemphis acidula, and Xylocarpus moluccensis), we intercepted dispersing propagules of every mangrove species occurring in the East African region. Most intercepted propagules were produced by Rhizophora mucronata and Ceriops tagal, followed by Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Avicennia marina, which also represent the most abundant species in the nearby mangrove forest. A larger number of propagules were intercepted during the wet season, with fewer propagules recovered during the dry season. Overall, our study indicates that differences in the dispersal capacity of mangrove propagules are not straightforward and that some species may better disperse at local scales within an estuary or embayment, while others might be more suitable for dispersal over longer distances. The presence of such trade‐offs may help explain why current attempts to use mangrove traits to predict mangrove species distributions at different scales have remained only moderately successful.

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