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)

Date 2018
Temporal extent 2012-05 -2013-10
Author(s) Macy AaronORCID1, 2, Sharma Shailesh1, 2, Sparks Eric3, 4, Goff Josh1, Heck Kenneth1, 2, Johnson Matthew5, Harper Patric6, Cebrian Just1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Dauphin Island Sea Lab, 101 Bienville Blvd. Dauphin Island, AL 36528 USA
2 : University of South Alabama, Marine Science Department, 307 North University Blvd. Mobile, AL 36688 USA
3 : Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center, 1815 Popps Ferry Rd., Biloxi, MS 39532 USA
4 : Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, 703 East Beach Drive, Ocean Springs, MS 39564 USA
5 : National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Dr., Miami, FL 33149
6 : Northern Gulf Coastal Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Grand Bay Coastal Resources Center, 6005 Bayou Heron Rd, Moss Point, MS 39562
DOI 10.17882/51515
Publisher SEANOE
Keyword(s) Climate Change, Herbivory, Decomposition, Nitrogen, Range Expansion
Abstract

The expansion of black mangrove Avicennia germinans into historically smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora-dominated marshes with warming temperatures heralds the migration of the marsh-mangrove ecotone northward in the northern Gulf of Mexico. With this shift, Avicennia is expected to outcompete Spartina where it is able to establish, offering another prevalent food source to first order consumers. In this study, we find Avicennia leaves to be more preferable to chewing herbivores, but simultaneously, chewing herbivores cause more damage to Spartina leaves. Despite higher nitrogen content, Avicennia leaves decomposed slower than Spartina leaves, perhaps due to other leaf constituents or a different microbial community, for other studies have found the opposite in decomposition rates of the two species’ leaf tissue. This study provides insights into basic trophic process, herbivory and decomposition, at the initial stages of black mangrove colonization into Spartina salt marsh.  

Licence CC-BY-NC-SA
Acknowledgments We thank T. Ferrero, J. Hulsey, R. Gamble, A. McDonald, B. Tuttle, and C. Wessel for their help in the field and lab. We thank J. Alberti for his statistical software advice. This project was funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Grant #F11AC01390.
Data
File Size Format Processing Access
measurements and calculations used in confirming tip reconstructions of Spartina alterniflora leaf blades. 92 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
Surface area to dry weight ratio for Avicennia germinans and Spartina alterniflora leaves. 29 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
Remaining biomass of green Avicennia germinans and Spartina alterniflora leaves collected after a series of time intervals 56 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
Growth metrics of A. germinans and S. alterniflora. 36 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
Marsh plant species density counts 18 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
areal measurements of bite marks on leaves of A. germinans 114 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
areal measurements of bite marks on leaves of S. alterniflora, as well as estimation of missing tip area (for those leaves with missing tip) 6 MB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
estimates (on bases of: percent cover, absolute area, and mass removal) of grazing for leaves of S. alterniflora, accounting for missing tip areas. 1 MB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
carbon and nitrogen content of A. germinans and S. alterniflora green leaves. 56 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
size fractionization of marsh/mangrove soils. 56 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
organic content of marsh/mangrove soils. 26 KB XLS, XLSX Raw data Open access
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How to cite 

Macy Aaron, Sharma Shailesh, Sparks Eric, Goff Josh, Heck Kenneth, Johnson Matthew, Harper Patric, Cebrian Just (2018). 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). SEANOE. https://doi.org/10.17882/51515


In addition to properly cite this dataset, it would be appreciated that the following work(s) be cited too, when using this dataset in a publication :


Macy Aaron, Sharma Shailesh, Sparks Eric, Goff Josh, Heck Kenneth L., Johnson Matthew W., Harper Patric, Cebrian Just, Rutherford Suzannah (2019). 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). PLOS ONE, 14(1), e0210144-. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210144