DOI: 10.1101/506196Dec 26, 2018Paper

Mangrove leaf and root traits and their relation to urbanization

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Benjamin Branoff


Root and leaf traits are one means of understanding plant ecophysiological responses to environmental variation and disturbance. In mangroves, both chemical and morphological variations have been recorded in response to changes in inundation, salinity, and nutrient levels. Some have also been noted in urban environments, primarily in response to elevated nutrients and toxic substances. Yet these studies have not attempted to isolate the urban from the non-urban influences on both morphological and chemical traits. This study measured mangrove leaf and root chemical and morphological traits in herbarium samples and in field collected leaves and roots along a quantified urban gradient in three watersheds of Puerto Rico. It then correlated these traits with predictors of surrounding land cover, as well as with metrics of flooding and water chemistry. There were significant lines of evidence leading to an influence of urban sewage and roads on leaf and root traits. Leaf percent nitrogen increased with urbanization and with surface water nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, but its isotopic content decreased with increasing phosphorus, leading to the hypothesis that both nitrogen and phosphorus are fueling an otherwise co-limited...Continue Reading

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