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Ecosystems

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 1203–1215 | Cite as

Latitudinal Patterns of Herbivory in Mangrove Forests: Consequences of Nutrient Over-Enrichment

  • Ilka C. Feller
  • Anne H. Chamberlain
  • Cyril Piou
  • Samantha Chapman
  • Catherine E. Lovelock
Article

Abstract

Ecosystems in the tropics are predicted to have stronger responses to nutrient enrichment, greater diversity, and more intense biotic interactions than in temperate areas. Mangrove forests, which occur across a broad biogeographic range from warm temperate to tropical, provide a unique opportunity to test these hypotheses by investigating the responses of herbivores to nutrient enrichment in temperate versus tropical latitudes. Mangroves are complex intertidal ecosystems with spatial differences in structure and diversity along tidal gradients and are threatened globally by human activities including nutrient over-enrichment. In this study, we used long-term fertilization experiments at the Indian River Lagoon, FL; Twin Cays, Belize; and Bocas del Toro, Panamá to determine how increased nutrients impact herbivore abundance and herbivory of Rhizophora mangle at the tree, forest, and regional scales. At these locations, which span approximately 2185 km and 18.4º of latitude, we fertilized individual trees with one of three treatments (Control, +N, +P) in two zones (fringe, scrub) along transects perpendicular to the shoreline and measured their responses for 4 years. Herbivory was measured as folivory, loss of yield, and tissue mining. Although nutrient enrichment altered plant growth, leaf traits, and nutrient dynamics, these variables had little effect on folivory at any location. Our results did not support the prediction that herbivory and per capita consumption are greatest at the most tropical location. Instead, folivory was highest at the most temperate location and lowest at the intermediate location. Folivory was generally higher in the fringe than in the scrub zone, but the pattern varied by location, herbivore, and nutrient treatment. Folivory by a dominant herbivore, Aratus pisonii, decreased from the highest to the lowest latitude. Our data suggest that factors controlling population dynamics of A. pisonii cascade to the mangrove canopy, linking herbivory to crab densities.

Keywords

Aratus pisonii Ecdytolopha herbivory loss of yield mangrove Marmara nitrogen phosphorus Rhizophora mangle latitude nutrient enrichment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Smithsonian Marine Science Network for funding and the staffs of the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce (SMS), the Smithsonian Marine Field Station in Belize (CCRE), and the Smithsonian Marine Laboratory in Bocas del Toro, Panamá for logistical and field support. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB9981535, EF1065821) and the Australian Research Council (DP0879354 and DP0986179). We also thank the governments of Belize and Panamá for permission to use study sites at Twin Cays and Bocas del Toro. This is CCRE Contribution No. 936 and SMS Contribution No. 906.

Supplementary material

10021_2013_9678_MOESM1_ESM.docx (57 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 56 kb)
10021_2013_9678_MOESM2_ESM.tif (2 mb)
Figure B1. The three study sites used in this study span a latitudinal gradient of more than 18° in the Atlantic-East Pacific Region from the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), Florida to Twin Cays, Belize, and to Bocas del Toro, Panamá. Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 2058 kb)
10021_2013_9678_MOESM3_ESM.tif (332 kb)
Figure B2. Mangrove forests at each of our study sites were dominated by Rhizophora mangle and were characterized by distinctive tree-height gradient with tall trees fringing the shoreline and stunted scrub trees in the interior. Supplementary material 3 (TIFF 331 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilka C. Feller
    • 1
  • Anne H. Chamberlain
    • 1
  • Cyril Piou
    • 2
  • Samantha Chapman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Catherine E. Lovelock
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA
  2. 2.French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development CIRADUPR Bioagresseurs analyse et maîtrise du risqueMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Department of BiologyVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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