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Windows of opportunity: thresholds to mangrove seedling establishment on tidal flats
Balke, T.; Bouma, T.J.; Horstman, E.M.; Webb, E.L.; Erftemeijer, P.L.A.; Herman, P.M.J. (2011). Windows of opportunity: thresholds to mangrove seedling establishment on tidal flats. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 440: 1-9.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 227910 [ OMA ]

    Equipment > Laboratory equipment > Flumes
    Avicennia alba Blume [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Avicennia; Colonization; Flume; Pioneer; Mangrove restoration; Seedlingestablishment; Succession; Threshold

Authors  Top 
  • Balke, T., editor, more
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Horstman, E.M.
  • Webb, E.L.
  • Erftemeijer, P.L.A.
  • Herman, P.M.J., more

    Physical processes limiting colonization of bare tidal flats by pioneer mangrove species have commonly been described but not yet quantified. Understanding thresholds to early seedling establishment is critical for successful restoration and management of mangrove forests. We determined how seedling establishment of Avicennia alba Bl. is affected by the combination of increasing hydrodynamic forces and sediment dynamics. As the buoyant propagules of A. alba are dispersed by water, early establishment on bare tidal flats requires propagules to quickly anchor to stay in place. Flume studies and field observations showed that 3 thresholds have to be passed until the seedling is successfully established: (1) stranded propagules need an inundation-free period to rapidly develop roots that are long enough to withstand displacement by flooding, (2) roots need to become long enough to withstand seedling dislodgement by hydrodynamic forces from waves and currents, with the required root length being proportional to the force that needs to be resisted, (3) even longer roots are needed to survive high energy events that cause sheet erosion and can thereby induce seedling dislodgement. This sequence of thresholds implies that establishment of the pioneer mangrove species A. alba requires a suitable window of opportunity to pass all thresholds and underlines the importance of rapid root expansion as a crucial pioneer trait for the species.

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