Plant and Soil

, Volume 436, Issue 1–2, pp 565–586 | Cite as

Stocks and soil-plant transfer of macro-nutrients and trace metals in temperate New Zealand estuarine mangroves

  • Carine Bourgeois
  • Andrea C. AlfaroEmail author
  • Amrit Dencer-Brown
  • Jean Louis Duprey
  • Anne Desnues
  • Cyril Marchand
Regular Article



Rapid expansion of temperate mangroves in New Zealand over the last decades has prompted an increase in resource consents for removal. However, little is known about the capacity of temperate mangroves to store elements, including pollutants. The main objectives of this study were to assess the stocks and soil-plant transfer of macro-nutrients (C, N, P, K, Mg, Ca, S) and trace metals (Fe, Mn, Al, Ni, Cu, Zn, Co, Cr) within temperate mangrove soils.


Soil samples and root, leaf and wood tissues were analysed for their total and available elemental concentrations over a wide range of environmental conditions along the head-mouth textural, salinity and nutrient gradients of the estuary. Physico-chemical characteristics of the soil of the different sites studied were also determined.


Mangrove soils with lower Eh and currents upstream of the estuary trapped larger amount of macro-nutrients and heavy metals in the soils than downstream. This results in higher translocation of macro elements from the soil toward the above-ground biomass and higher translocation of heavy metals from the soil toward the litterfall, likely as a mechanism to avoid long term metal toxicity in the root system.


This multi-elemental study provides a comprehensive understanding of soil- plant transfers in temperate mangroves and can be used to better evaluate the ecological services of these ecosystems.


Avicennia marina Estuary Elements Bio-accumulation Translocation factor 



The authors would like to thank the company Koniambo Nickel SAS for sponsoring the present research. The authors would also like to thank Léocadie Jamet, Felise Liufau and Stephanie Berne for their assistance with the chemical analyses at the IRD and Shaneel Sharma for his assistance in the field. We are also thankful to the administrative staff in the School of Science, AUT for their support during this work.

Supplementary material

11104_2019_3945_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (404 kb)
Online Resource 1 Mean values (±SD) concentrations (by dry weight, in of total (tot s) and available (av s) macro-elements in the soils, and total concentrations of the elements within coarse roots (root), green leaf tissues (gr) and senesced leaf tissues (sen) in each mangrove site (PDF 404 kb)
11104_2019_3945_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (527 kb)
ESM 1 Online Resource 2 Maps of the mean values concentrations of total phosphorus in green leaf tissues (gr) and senesced leaf tissues (sen) in each mangrove site. Online Resource 3 Maps of the mean values concentrations of total copper in green leaf tissues (gr) and senesced leaf tissues (sen) in each mangrove site (PDF 526 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Applied Ecology New Zealand, School of Science, Faculty of Health and Environmental SciencesAuckland University of Technology (AUT)AucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.IMPMC, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UPMC, CNRS, MNHNParisFrance
  3. 3.IMAGO, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), LAMAParisFrance
  4. 4.ISEAUniversity of New CaledoniaParisFrance

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