Black mangroves' impact on the salt marsh food web

ScienceDaily | 1/15/2019 | Staff
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An article published this month, Tropicalization of the barrier islands of the northern Gulf of Mexico: A comparison of herbivory and decomposition rates between smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) and black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), examines how this tropical species is impacting the salt marsh food web.

In this study, researchers with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, University of South Alabama, and the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium teamed up to determine the black mangroves ability to shift both grazing and decomposer trophic pathways.

Grazers - Team - Approach - Damage - Mangroves

To determine which leaf the grazers prefer, the team took a novel approach by studying cumulative leaf damage of black mangroves and smooth cordgrass. The research team worked off the coast of Mississippi on Horn Island from 2012 to 2013 on three sites.

The sites included sample areas with just smooth cordgrass and those with mixed vegetation. Throughout the study period, the teams took leaf samples to note grazing habits.

Leaf - Damage - Perspective - Impact - Plant

"Cumulative leaf damage offers a two-way perspective, for the impact to the plant and for the sustenance of the grazers," Aaron Macy, a graduate student at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the University of South Alabama,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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