, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 93–118

A simulation model of organic matter and nutrient accumulation in mangrove wetland soils

  • Ronghua Chen
  • Robert R. Twilley

DOI: 10.1023/A:1006076405557

Cite this article as:
Chen, R. & Twilley, R.R. Biogeochemistry (1999) 44: 93. doi:10.1023/A:1006076405557


The distribution and accumulation of organic matter, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in mangrove soils at four sites along the Shark River estuary of south Florida were investigated with empirical measures and a process-based model. The mangrove nutrient model (NUMAN) was developed from the SEMIDEC marsh organic matter model and parameterized with data from mangrove wetlands. The soil characteristics in the four mangrove sites varied greatly in both concentrations and profiles of soil carbon, N and P. Organic matter decreased from 82% in the upstream locations to 30% in the marine sites. Comparisons of simulated and observed results demonstrated that landscape gradients of soil characteristics along the estuary can be adequately modeled by accounting for plant production, litter decomposition and export, and allochthonous input of mineral sediments. Model sensitivity analyses suggest that root production has a more significant effect on soil composition than litter fall. Model simulations showed that the greatest change in organic matter, N, and P occurred from the soil surface to 5 cm depth. The rapid decomposition of labile organic matter was responsible for this decrease in organic matter. Simulated N mineralization rates decreased quickly with depth, which corresponded with the decrease of labile organic matter. The increase in organic matter content and decrease in soil bulk density from mangrove sites at downstream locations compared to those at upstream locations was controlled mainly by variation in allochthonous inputs of mineral matter at the mouth of the estuary, along with gradients in mangrove root production. Research on allochthonouns sediment input and in situ root production of mangroves is limited compared to their significance to understanding nutrient biogeochemistry of these wetlands. More accurate simulations of temporal patterns of nutrient characteristics with depth will depend on including the effects of disturbance such as hurricanes on sediment redistribution and biomass production.

Everglades National Park mangrove soils organic matter nitrogen phosphorus sedimentation simulation model 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronghua Chen
    • 1
  • Robert R. Twilley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Southwestern LouisianaLafayetteUSA

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