HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Amy C. Hirons

Second Advisor

Richard E. Spieler

Third Advisor

Charles G. Messing


Mangrove communities are unique environments that line coastlines in tropical and subtropical latitudes. In Florida, four mangrove tree species dominate these communities and are accompanied by other primary producers, infaunal, epifaunal, and juvenile faunal species that together form the base of a complex, chiefly detritus-based food web. In an effort to evaluate mangrove communities in Port Everglades, Florida, tissue samples were taken from a diversity of mangrove- associated producer and consumer species from three mangrove sites. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were used to establish patterns of energy flow of mangrove material, examine the influence of detrital material, and identify isotopic differences among mangrove species. R.mangle was the most depleted in δ13C, -34.11 to -26.19‰, while C.erectus was the most enriched, -29.91 to -25.30‰. This pattern mirrors the documented pattern of proximity to the waterline, but this pattern was not the same in δ15N, as C.erectus exhibited the narrowest range of δ15N values, -1.95 to 5.40‰. Significant differences were found in δ15N and δ13C signatures of the mangrove species among the tissue types, sampling sites, and trophic linkages among three sample sites, which could indicate differences between natural and anthropogenic influences, such as increased nitrate from a nearby residential area. Specifically, site 1, the only site located directly on the Intracoastal Waterway, differed significantly from sites 2 and 3, both of which were indirectly connected to the waterway. Results also established unique trophic levels, with primary producers at the bottom and carnivorous fish at the top. Slight differences among the trophic dynamics, such as a shift in diet specifically with fish species, among the sites revealed a possible influence of restricted tidal flow from mangrove communities.


Project funded by the Chancellor’s Faculty Research and Development Grant, #335520, Nova Southeastern University.

To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid nova.edu OR mynsu.nova.edu email address and create an account for NSUWorks.

Free My Thesis

If you are the author of this work and would like to grant permission to make it openly accessible to all, please click the Free My Thesis button.

  Link to NovaCat