Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The influence of mangrove-derived tannins on intertidal meiobenthos in tropical estuaries

  • 265 Accesses

  • 85 Citations


Mangrove-derived tannins negatively effected laboratory-reared nematode populations and natural communities of meiobenthos in tropical mangrove forests along the northeastern coast of Australia. In the low and mid intertidal zones of five mangrove estuaries, nearly all of the dominant meiofaunal taxa correlated negatively with concentrations of sediment tannins. Only nematodes correlated with low tannin concentrations in the high intertidal zones. The negative exponential equation y=be -mxrepresented the best-fit for most of the meiofauna-tannin relationships. The mangrove-dwelling nematode, Terschellingia longicaudata did not grow (r=0.001) in the laboratory on fresh, tannin-rich leaves of the red mangrove, Rhizophora stylosa. Population growth of the nematode was significantly greater on fresh, tannin-poor leaves of the grey mangrove, Avicennia marina (r=0.081) with best growth (r=0.112) attained on a diet of tannin-free, mixed cereal. These preliminary field and laboratory results suggest that hydrolyzable tannins leached from mangrove roots and leaf litter are an important factor regulating intertidal meiobenthic communities in tropical mangrove forests along the northeastern Australian coast.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Allen SE, Grimshaw, HM, Parkinson JA, Quarmby C (1974) Chemical Analysis of Ecological Materials. J. Wiley and Sons, New York

  2. Alongi DM (1986) Quantitative estimates of benthic protozoa in tropical marine systems using silica gel: A comparison of methods. Estuarine, Coastal Shelf Sci 23:443–450

  3. Alongi DM (1987) Intertidal zonation and seasonality of meiobenthos in tropical mangrove estuaries. Mar Biol: (in press)

  4. Alongi DM, Tietjen TJ (1980) Population growth and trophic interactions among free-living marine nematodes. In: Tenore KR, Coull BC (eds), Marine Benthic Dynamics. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. pp 151–166

  5. Bate-Smith EC (1973) Haemanalysis of tannins: the concept of relative astringency. Phytochem 12:907–912

  6. Boto KG, Bunt JS, Wellington JT (1984) Variations in mangrove forest productivity in Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Estuarine, Coastal Shelf Sci 19:321–329

  7. Bunt JS (1982) Studies of mangrove litter fall in tropical Australia. In: Clough BF (ed.), Mangrove Ecosystems in Australia. Australian National University Press, Canberra, ACT. pp 223–237

  8. Draper N, Smith H (1981) Applied Regression Analysis, 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA

  9. Fell JW, Cefalu RC, Master IM, Tallman AS (1975) Microbial activities in the mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) leaf detrital system. In: Walsh G, Snedaker S, Teas H (eds) Proc Int'l Symp Biol Manag Mangrove. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fl. pp 661–679

  10. Harrison PG (1982) Control of microbial growth and of amphipod grazing by water-soluble compounds from leaves of Zostera marina. Mar Biol 67:225–230

  11. Hopper BE, Fell JW, Cerfalu RC (1973) Effect of temperature on life cycles of nematodes associated with the mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) detrital system. Mar Biol 23:293–296

  12. Krishnamurthy K, Sultan Ali MA, Jeyseelan MJP (1984) Structure and dynamics of the aquatic food web community with special reference to nematodes in mangrove ecosystems. Proc As Symp Mangr Env Res Manag: 429–452

  13. Macnae W (1968) A general account of the fauna and flora of mangrove swamps and forests in the Indo-West-Pacific region. Adv mar Biol 6:73–270

  14. Neilson MJ, Giddins RL, Richard GN (1986) Effects of tannins on the palatability of mangrove leaves to the tropical sesarminid crab Neosarmatium smithi. Mar Ecol Prog Ser (in press)

  15. Poovachiranon S, Boto K, Duke N (1986) Food preference studies and ingestion rate measurements of the mangrove amphipod Parhyale hawaiensis (Dana). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 98:129–140

  16. Popp M (1984) Chemical composition of Australian mangroves. 1. Inorganic ions and organic acids. Z Pflanzenphysiol Bd 113:395–409

  17. Tahvanainen J, Helle E, Julkunen-Tiitto R, Lavola A (1985) Phenolic compounds of willow bank as deterrents against feeding by mountain hare. Oecologia (Berlin) 65:319–323

  18. Valiela I (1984) Marine Ecological Processes. Springer, New York

  19. Valiela I, Koumjian L, Swain T, Teal JM, Hobbie J (1979) Cinnamic acid inhibition of detritus feeding. Nature 280:55–57

  20. Valiela I, Rietsma CS (1984) Nitrogen, phenolic acids, and other feeding cues for salt marsh detritivores. Oecologia (Berlin) 63:350–356

  21. Walsh GE (1974) Mangroves: a review In: Reinhold R, Queen WM (eds), Ecology of Halophytes. Academic Press, New York pp 51–174 W

  22. Wieser W (1975) The meiofauna as a tool in the study of habitat heterogeneity: Ecophysiological aspects. A review. Cah Biol mar 16:647–670

  23. Zapata O, McMillan C (1979) Phenolic acids in seagrasses. Aquat Bot 7:307–317

  24. Zucker WV (1983) Tannins: Does structure determine function? An ecological perspective. Am Nat 121:335–365

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Alongi, D.M. The influence of mangrove-derived tannins on intertidal meiobenthos in tropical estuaries. Oecologia 71, 537–540 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00379293

Download citation

Key words

  • Mangrove
  • Meiobenthos
  • Nematode
  • Tannins
  • Tropics