FCE LTER Journal Articles


Leaf Gas Exchange and Nutrient Use Efficiency Help Explain the Distribution of Two Neotropical Mangroves under Contrasting Flooding and Salinity


Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa cooccur along many intertidal floodplains in the Neotropics. Their patterns of dominance shift along various gradients, coincident with salinity, soil fertility, and tidal flooding. We used leaf gas exchange metrics to investigate the strategies of these two species in mixed culture to simulate competition under different salinity concentrations and hydroperiods. Semidiurnal tidal and permanent flooding hydroperiods at two constant salinity regimes (10 g L−1 and 40 g L−1) were simulated over 10 months. Assimilation ( ), stomatal conductance ( ), intercellular CO2 concentration ( ), instantaneous photosynthetic water use efficiency (PWUE), and photosynthetic nitrogen use efficiency (PNUE) were determined at the leaf level for both species over two time periods. Rhizophora mangle had significantly higher PWUE than did L. racemosa seedlings at low salinities; however, L. racemosa had higher PNUE and and, accordingly, had greater intercellular CO2 (calculated) during measurements. Both species maintained similar capacities for A at 10 and 40 g L−1 salinity and during both permanent and tidal hydroperiod treatments. Hydroperiod alone had no detectable effect on leaf gas exchange. However, PWUE increased and PNUE decreased for both species at 40 g L−1 salinity compared to 10 g L−1. At 40 g L−1 salinity, PNUE was higher for L. racemosa than R. mangle with tidal flooding. These treatments indicated that salinity influences gas exchange efficiency, might affect how gases are apportioned intercellularly, and accentuates different strategies for distributing leaf nitrogen to photosynthesis for these two species while growing competitively.


This articles is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/524625

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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