Ecological response of marsh ecosystems to intrusion of black mangroves (Avicenna germinans)

Project Leader: Dr. Just Cebrian

Project Details

Funding Agencies: US Department of Fish and Wildlife

Black mangroves have been slowly become more widespread throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico. On Horn Island off the coast of Mississippi, the unique opportunity has been presented to study the initial effects these trees will have on marshes historically dominated by black needle rush (Juncus roemarianus) and smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora). The goal is to study what changes mangroves make to their environment as they expand and colonize. As with our other work, we aim to take a multi-faceted approach to this study. Currently, research has focused on changes to the vegetative community and any morphological characteristics as well as comparisons of nutrient cycling (herbivory and decomposition). Later on, more in depth analyses of nutrients and sediment chemistry will help better understand the effect these trees will have on their surrounding environment.