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Pneumatophore height and density in relation to micro-topography in the grey mangrove Avicennia marina

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Mangroves are known to stabilise coastal sediments through their aboveground aerial root complex. The results presented in this paper suggest that the grey mangrove Avicennia marina has the ability to adapt its pneumatophores to micro-topographical irregularities in the otherwise regularly sloping intertidal zone. The difference in height above datum (and thus in hydrological regime) in this study was as little as 15 cm higher as opposed to that for the surrounding mangrove soil. Significantly higher pneumatophore densities and total pneumatophore lengths were observed in the centre of the landward depression, and significantly lower belowground pneumatophore length in the centre of the seaward depression. The mangrove's adaptations to these localised topographic differences are important in view of changes in intertidal hydrology, the latter being linked to changes in topography. We emphasize the need to consider the effect of topography in the intertidal environment of mangroves more closely in the future on different ecological scales (individual adaptation – regeneration of the entire population) and under different scenarios of change (direct anthropogenic impact – changes in sea level).


Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • The Belgian Journal of Botany (now known as Plant Ecology and Evolution) is an international journal open to all fields of plant sciences. Please note, however, that papers restricted to purely nomenclatural matters or to floristical data of only local interest will not be accepted. The Journal appears in one volume of two issues per year. It publishes reviews, original research papers, short notes, letters to the editor, and book reviews. Click here for current issues of this journal
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