Effects of increased summer flooding on nitrogen dynamics in impounded mangroves

J.T.A. Verhoeven, H.J. Laanbroek, M. Rains, D.F. Whigham

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Mangroves are important for coastal protection, carbon sequestration and habitat provision for plants and animals in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves are threatened by habitat destruction and sea level rise, but management activities such as impounding for mosquito control can also have negative effects. We studied the effects of Rotational Impoundment Management (RIM) on nitrogen dynamics in impoundments dominated by three types of Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) stands along the Indian River Lagoon (Florida). RIM, designed for noxious insect control, involves pumping estuarine water into impoundments in this area during spring and summer to raise water levels by 30 cm. We compared aspects of the nitrogen cycle before and after the start of the RIM and measured the same variables in an impoundment without RIM management. RIM led to the accumulation of ammonium in the substrate which coincided with a lowering of nitrification rates and decreased denitrification rates. Salt pan habitats dominated by dwarf mangroves became less saline following RIM initiation. Shoot growth of mangroves increased in response to higher nitrogen availability and lower pore water salinity. Mangrove responses were greatest in areas with dwarf and sparse mangrove cover. Overall, RIM resulted in lower nitrification and denitrification leading to lower nitrogen losses and increased Black mangrove growth, all benefits of RIM beyond those associated with noxious insect control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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