Keywords

Facilitation, herbivory, indian river lagoon, mangroves, saltmarsh

Abstract

Coastal wetland plants serve as ecological engineers in a physiologically stressful environment and the loss of coastal wetlands can cause negative effects throughout the estuarine system. Due to increased degradation of coastal habitats worldwide, interest in restoration has increased around the world. An understanding of the biotic processes affecting species distribution and diversity is critical for future conservation, management, and restoration of coastal wetlands. The purpose of my study was to test the effects of biotic interactions on native coastal wetland plants and determine how these interactions may be incorporated into current and future restoration projects. I had three primary goals for my dissertation. First, I evaluated the effectiveness of natural regeneration of coastal wetland communities following hydrological restoration. Second, I examined effects of biotic interactions between mangroves and other wetland species by experimentally testing: 1) trapping capabilities of early successional plant species on Rhizophora mangle propagules, 2) effects of pre-dispersal propagule damage on native mangrove species, 3) facilitative and competitive interactions between the plants Rhizophora mangle, Batis maritima, Sarcocornia perennis, and the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator using mesocosms. Third, I evaluated the combined effects of biotic and abiotic interactions on survival and growth of R. mangle propagules during their first year of establishment using a manipulative field experiment. Results from my study increase our knowledge of the importance of biotic interactions in coastal wetland communities, their role in early successional stages, and have direct applications to coastal wetland restoration and management.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2014

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Walters, Linda

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Conservation Biology; Applied Conservation Biology Track

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005483

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005483

Language

English

Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Included in

Biology Commons

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