The Effects of Reduced Tidal Flushing on Mangrove Structure and Function Across a Disturbance Gradient
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- Harris, R.J., Milbrandt, E.C., Everham, E.M. et al. Estuaries and Coasts (2010) 33: 1176. doi:10.1007/s12237-010-9293-2
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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.