Capstone Title

Factors Affecting Rhizophora mangle (Red Mangrove) Recruitment in Florida

Defense Date

1996

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Bart J. Baca

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney

Abstract

Rhizophora mangle, red mangrove, is the basis for an essential ecosystem found throughout South Florida. Red mangroves provide habitats, nursery areas, shoreline protection, and runoff treatment which are enormously beneficial to the environment.

The recruitment of red mangroves is an important aspect of their ecology. Red mangroves are often recruited to a specific area for a variety of reasons, relating to the characteristics and dispersion of their propagules, as well as outside factors. Propagule anatomy, growth and developmental stages, chemical make-up of propagules, and required nutrients of propagules have profound effects on the ability of a mangrove propagule to grow into a mature tree. These propagules must reach adulthood to keep the mangrove ecosystem flourishing. An outside factor which affects recruitment of red mangroves is physical. Physical influences can include such things as tides, waves, currents, temperature, sedimentation, hydrology, and storms. Another outside effect on mangrove ecology is chemical. Salinity, nutrients, minerals, and pollution affect the growth and development of the propagules. The final and most important outside effect is human influence. Pollution and human disturbances have profound effects on recruitment of all species of mangroves.

Since numerous factors influence how mangroves propagate, grow and develop to maturity, and since few studies address this particular aspect of mangrove ecology, this field and literature study was undertaken. Additionally, as a result of urbanization and industrialization, mitigation projects are in demand to compensate for impacts of development, and mangrove culture from propagules is often used in south Florida coastal projects. Besides obtaining and analyzing data on mangrove propagation this paper will address potential uses in mitigation, anticipating that an artificial mangrove ecosystem may provide values similar to those which occur naturally.

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