The Effects of Reduced Tidal Flushing on Mangrove Structure and Function Across a Disturbance Gradient
The effects of reduced tidal flushing on post-hurricane mangrove recovery were measured across a gradient of hurricane disturbance (in order of decreasing wind intensity: Captiva, North Sanibel, Central Sanibel, and East Sanibel). Each region consisted of replicate study plots with either reduced tidal exchange (tidally restricted location) or an open tidal connection (tidally unrestricted location). Locations with reduced tidal exchange displayed significantly lower (two-way ANOVA, p ≤ 0.0001) tidal amplitude, decreased seedling densities, and decreased productivity (recruitment, growth, and litter fall) when compared to the tidally unrestricted locations. Results also indicated significant regional variations in measures of mangrove stand structure (seedlings and canopy) and productivity (recruitment, growth, and litter fall) up to 4-years post-hurricane disturbance. These findings suggest that the legacy effects from hurricane disturbance vary with degree of wind intensity, acting both independently and synergistically with the effects of tidal restriction to influence post-hurricane mangrove structure and function.
KeywordsHurricane disturbance Mangrove stand structure Productivity Recruitment Regeneration Recovery Reduced tidal amplitude
This research was supported by funds from the Explorers Club of Southwest Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The authors wish to thank Sanibel–Captiva Conservation Foundation, J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Florida Gulf Coast University Coastal and Watershed Institute. This is contribution 0019 from the Sanibel–Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Laboratory.
- Carter, M.R., L.A. Burns, T.R. Cavinder, K.R. Dugger, P.C. Fore, D.B. Hicks, H.L. Revells, and T.W. Schmidt. 1973. Ecosystem analysis of Big Cypress swamp and estuaries. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report 904/9-74-002 Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
- Clark, J. 1976. The Sanibel Report: formulation of a comprehensive plan based on natural systems. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation.Google Scholar
- Corbett, C.A. 2006. Seagrass coverage changes in Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Florida Scientist 69: 7–23.Google Scholar
- Doyle, T.W., T.J. Smith, and M.B. Robblee. 1995. Wind damage effects of Hurricane Andrew on mangrove communities along the southwest coast of Florida, USA. Journal of Coastal Research 21: 159–168.Google Scholar
- Ellison, A.M., and Simmons. 2003. Structure and productivity of inland mangrove stands at Lake MacLeod, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 86: 25–30.Google Scholar
- Everham, E.M., and N.L. Brokaw. 1996. Forest damage and recovery from catastrophic wind. The Botanical Review 6: 114–149.Google Scholar
- Lemmon, P.E. 1956. A spherical densitometer for estimating forest overstory density. Forest Science 2: 314–320.Google Scholar
- Lugo, A.E. 1980. Mangrove ecosystems: sucessional or steady state? Biotropica, supplement: Tropical Succession 12: 65–82.Google Scholar
- Milbrandt, E.C., J.M. Greenawalt-Boswell, P.D. Sokoloff, and S.A. Bortone. 2006. Impact and response of Southwest Florida mangroves to the 2004 Hurricane Season. Estuaries and Coasts 29: 979–984.Google Scholar
- Meyers, J.M., C.A. Langtimm, T.J. Smith III, and K. Pednault-Willett. 2006. Wildlife and habitat damage assessment from Hurricane Charley: recommendations for recovery of the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge Complex. U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2006-1126. http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/ofr/2006-1126/index.html Accessed 09 Dec 2009.
- Proffitt, C.E., E.C. Milbrandt, and S.E. Travis. 2006. Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) reproduction and seedling colonization after Hurricane Charley: comparisons of Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay. Estuaries and Coasts 29: 972–978.Google Scholar