mangroves, Schinus terebinthifolius, invasive species
Mangrove ecosystems are critical to Florida, providing economic resources to humans, and untold ecological resources to estuarine organisms. In Florida's estuaries, mangrove ecosystems have suffered significant losses due to natural and human disturbances; these disturbances potentially leave mangrove communities vulnerable to invasion by the opportunistic exotic, Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper). Prior experiments have suggested that Schinus terebinthifolius is unable to survive under marine conditions and poses no long term threat to mangrove systems. However, this contradicts field observations where Schinus terebinthifolius was found growing in the intertidal zone of Mosquito Lagoon alongside three native species of mangroves, Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa. The purpose of my study was to evaluate competition between the invasive S. terebinthifolius and these three native species of mangroves in the coastal estuarine system along the east coast of Central Florida in Canaveral National Seashore. The effects of competition were evaluated by testing the ability of S. terebinthifolius to: 1) chemically inhibit growth of mangrove propagules, 2) invade new coastal habitats by dispersing seeds in the water, 3) alter species richness and abundance of the flora when present in a mangrove system, and 4) recruit and survive in mangrove habitat. By better understanding the invasibility and impact of Schinus terebinthifolius on mangroves, coastal resource managers will be able to develop the most effective management strategies to prevent this exotic from altering the structure and productivity of the mangrove ecosystem.
Walters, Linda J.
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Donnelly, Melinda, "Is The Exotic Brazilian Pepper, Schinus Terebinthifolius, A Threat To Mangrove Ecosystems In Florida?" (2006). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 801.