FCE LTER Journal Articles


Responses of neotropical mangrove seedlings grown in monoculture and mixed culture under treatments of hydroperiod and salinity


We investigated the combined effects of salinity and hydroperiod on seedlings of Rhizophora mangle and Laguncularia racemosa grown under experimental conditions of monoculture and mixed culture by using a simulated tidal system. The objective was to test hypotheses relative to species interactions to either tidal or permanent flooding at salinities of 10 or 40 g/l. Four-month-old seedlings were experimentally manipulated under these environmental conditions in two types of species interactions: (1) seedlings of the same species were grown separately in containers from September 2000 to August 2001 to evaluate intraspecific response and (2) seedlings of each species were mixed in containers to evaluate interspecific, competitive responses from August 2002 to April 2003. Overall, L. racemosa was strongly sensitive to treatment combinations while R. mangle showed little effect. Most plant responses of L. racemosa were affected by both salinity and hydroperiod, with hydroperiod inducing more effects than salinity. Compared to R. mangle, L. racemosa in all treatment combinations had higher relative growth rate, leaf area ratio, specific leaf area, stem elongation, total length of branches, net primary production, and stem height. Rhizophora mangle had higher biomass allocation to roots. Species growth differentiation was more pronounced at low salinity, with few species differences at high salinity under permanent flooding. These results suggest that under low to mild stress by hydroperiod and salinity, L. racemosa exhibits responses that favor its competitive dominance over R. mangle. This advantage, however, is strongly reduced as stress from salinity and hydroperiod increase.


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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