FCE LTER Journal Articles


Inverse relationship between salinity and 2H/1H fractionation in leaf wax n-alkanes from Florida mangroves


The effect of salinity on hydrogen isotope fractionation during the production of leaf wax n-alkanes was assessed for Laguncularia racemosa (white mangrove), Rhizophora mangle (red mangrove), and Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) along a 31 ppt (parts per thousand) salinity gradient in the Shark River estuary, Florida, USA. Significant variation in hydrogen isotope ratios was observed among these three Atlantic-East Pacific (AEP) species, with increasing leaf wax n-alkane 2H/1H fractionation with increasing salinity. Net 2H/1H fractionation for hentriacontane (n-C31) increased by 0.8, 1.4 and 1.8‰/ppt in R. mangle, A. germinans and L. racemosa, respectively. The observations are consistent with published δ2HnC31 data from 5 species of Indo-West Pacific (IWP) mangroves, which increased with salinity by 0.7–1.5‰/ppt. Although all measured species from both the AEP and IWP regions have more 2H/1H fractionation at high salinity, differences in slope and intercepts of these relationships are observed among genera. The differences may result from variation in the composition of compatible solutes, reliance on storage carbohydrates, and/or physiological response to salt. However, no statistically significant difference in the sensitivity of δ2HnC31 to salinity was observed in four Rhizophora species from both Indo-West Pacific and Americas-East Atlantic regions, which makes sedimentary Rhizophora lipids a promising target for paleohydroclimatic reconstruction.


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 #DEB-1237517, #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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