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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 371:117-129 (2008)  -  DOI:

Characteristics of mangrove swamps managed for mosquito control in eastern Florida, USA

Beth Middleton1,*, Donna Devlin2, Edward Proffitt2, Karen McKee1, Kari Foster Getini1

1United States Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center, 700 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, Louisiana 70506, USA
2Florida Atlantic University, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Fort Pierce, Florida 34946, USA

ABSTRACT: Manipulations of the vegetation and hydrology of wetlands for mosquito control are common worldwide, but these modifications may affect vital ecosystem processes. To control mosquitoes in mangrove swamps in eastern Florida, managers have used rotational impoundment management (RIM) as an alternative to the worldwide practice of mosquito ditching. Levees surround RIM swamps, and water is pumped into the impoundment during the summer, a season when natural swamps have low water levels. In the New World, these mosquito-managed swamps resemble the mixed basin type of mangrove swamp (based on PCA analysis). An assessment was made of RIM, natural (control), and breached-RIM (restored) swamps in eastern Florida to compare their structural complexities, soil development, and resistance to invasion. Regarding structural complexity, dominant species composition differed between these swamps; the red mangrove Rhizophora mangle occurred at a higher relative density in RIM and breached-RIM swamps, and the black mangrove Avicennia germinans had a higher relative density in natural swamps. Tree density and canopy cover were higher and tree height lower in RIM swamps than in natural and breached-RIM swamps. Soil organic matter in RIM swamps was twice that in natural or breached-RIM swamps. RIM swamps had a lower resistance to invasion by the Brazilian pepper tree Schinus terebinthifolius, which is likely attributable to the lower porewater salinity in RIM swamps. These characteristics may reflect differences in important ecosystem processes (primary production, trophic structure, nutrient cycling, decomposition). Comparative assessments of managed wetlands are vital for land managers, so that they can make informed decisions compatible with conservation objectives.

KEY WORDS: Avicennia germinans · Crab burrowing · Functional assessment · Production · Rhizophora mangle · Schinus terebinthifolius · Soil organic matter · Wetland restoration

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Cite this article as: Middleton B, Devlin D, Proffitt E, McKee K, Foster Getini K (2008) Characteristics of mangrove swamps managed for mosquito control in eastern Florida, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 371:117-129.

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