, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 1919–1931 | Cite as

Temperature variation among mangrove latitudinal range limits worldwide

  • Katrien QuisthoudtEmail author
  • Nele Schmitz
  • Christophe F. Randin
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
  • Elisabeth M. R. Robert
  • Nico Koedam
Original Paper


Mangroves are mainly tropical tree species that occur on either side of the equator and because temperature decreases with increasing latitude, the latitudinal limits of mangroves are expected to be mainly controlled by temperature-related drivers. Here, we hypothesized that the mangrove genera (Avicennia and Rhizophora) have the same limiting temperature at all of their upper latitudinal limits at the global scale. We first derived six parameters from monthly mean sea surface temperature (SST) and air temperature (AT). Furthermore, we investigated whether the variation in these temperature parameters is related (i) to the position of the limit, (ii) to specific temperature requirements of congeneric species and/or (iii) to aridity. All temperature-based parameters derived from AT and SST are highly variable among the upper latitudinal limits of Avicennia and Rhizophora. Hence, we found no common isotherms to characterize the limits of the two mangrove genera, which contradict previous studies. The high temperature variation among limits can be due to partial range filling towards the latitudinal limits. This is supported by the higher warmest month temperatures at the latitudinal limits of the northern hemisphere as compared to the southern hemisphere. However, temperature parameters at limits, with no or less than 250 km of available poleward coast, are not different from other limits, and adult tree height at the limits is not correlated with the temperature-based variables. Mean air temperature is warmer at limits with an arid climate, suggesting mechanisms of compensation towards higher temperatures when Avicennia and Rhizophora have to cope with both aridity and low temperature.


Avicennia Biogeography Climate Distribution Leading edge Rhizophora 



We would like to thank all mangrove researchers who provided us the needed information about the latitudinal limits, especially Randy Altman (Florida Department of Environmental Protection), Marilyn Ball (The Australian National University), Catherine Beard (Waikato Regional Council, New Zealand), Matt Love (Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve), Arturo Ruiz Luna (CIAD-Mazatlan), Jose Luis Léon de la Luz (Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste), Eric Madrid (Texas A&M University), Mohammad Mokhtari (Khorramshar University of Marine Science and Technology), Matsui Naohiro (The General Environmental Technos Co., Osaka), Anusha Rajkaran (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Luis Alfredo Santillan and Peter Symens (Natuurpunt), and the staff of Parc National du Banc d’Arguin and Parc National Diawling. We appreciated the insightful discussions about the topic with the research groups of Nicole Van Lipzig (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Christian Körner (Universität Basel) and with Ronny Merken (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). KQ and NS were supported by the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), EMR by the IWT-Vlaanderen and CFR has been funded by European Research Council (ERC) grant 233399 (project TREELIM). The field mission to Mauritania was funded by Vrije Universiteit Brussel, FWO-Vlaanderen and King Leopold III Fund for Nature Exploration and Conservation. We thank an anonymous reviewer for the constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

468_2012_760_MOESM1_ESM.doc (303 kb)
Supplementary material Additional supporting information may be found in the online version of this article: Appendix S1: Table S1, Latitudinal limits of the genera Rhizophora and Avicennia; Appendix S2: Figure S2, Temperature at Avicennia limits grouped by availability of coast further poleward; Appendix S3: Exceptions and Appendix S4: Table S4, Literature review of mangrove temperature requirements. (DOC 303 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katrien Quisthoudt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nele Schmitz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christophe F. Randin
    • 4
  • Farid Dahdouh-Guebas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elisabeth M. R. Robert
    • 1
    • 3
  • Nico Koedam
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Plant Biology and Nature ManagementVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Systems Ecology and Resource ManagementUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Laboratory for Wood Biology and XylariumRoyal Museum for Central AfricaTervurenBelgium
  4. 4.Institute of BotanyUniversität BaselBaselSwitzerland

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