Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 1176–1185 | Cite as

The Effects of Reduced Tidal Flushing on Mangrove Structure and Function Across a Disturbance Gradient

  • Rachel J. Harris
  • Eric C. Milbrandt
  • Edwin M. EverhamIII
  • Brian D. Bovard


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.


Hurricane 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.


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel J. Harris
    • 1
  • Eric C. Milbrandt
    • 2
  • Edwin M. EverhamIII
    • 1
  • Brian D. Bovard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine and Ecological ScienceFlorida Gulf Coast UniversityFort MyersUSA
  2. 2.Marine LaboratorySanibel–Captiva Conservation FoundationSanibelUSA

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