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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 444:57-68 (2012)  -  DOI:

Seasonal changes in leaf chlorophyll a content and morphology in a sub-tropical mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific

Francisco Flores-de-Santiago1,*, John M. Kovacs2, Francisco Flores-Verdugo

1Department of Geography, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada
2Department of Geography, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario P1B 8L7, Canada
3Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mazatlán, Sinaloa 82000, Mexico

ABSTRACT: Changes in chlorophyll a (chl a), leaf area, and leaf length need to be considered when developing ecological assessments of mangrove forests where distinct seasons occur. The purpose of this study was to assess such changes between the dry and rainy seasons in a variety of mangrove classes. Six different classes were examined, consisting of 3 species (white mangrove Laguncularia racemosa, red mangrove Rhizophora mangle, and black mangrove Avicennia germinans) that were either healthy or in poor condition. In total, 360 leaf samples were taken from the upper and lower canopy for chl a content. Additionally, leaf area index (LAI) was recorded at the same locations. For all the poor-condition classes, we observed an increase in the chl a content during the rainy season in both the upper and lower canopies. Moreover, dwarf black mangrove was the only poor-condition class which did not show an increase in leaf length during the rainy season. The healthy white mangrove showed no seasonal difference in chl a in the upper canopy, but the lower canopy did have higher chl a content during the dry season as well as a lower LAI. The healthy red mangrove also did not show any seasonal difference in chl a content, but the upper canopy had a higher chl a content. For the healthy black mangrove, no seasonal differences were found in chl a content, LAI, or leaf morphology in both upper and lower canopies. Consequently, for future endeavors we recommend that seasonal changes in the upper canopy be considered, especially when examining stands in poor condition.

KEY WORDS: Mangrove · Seasonal changes · Chlorophyll a · Leaf area index · LAI

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Cite this article as: Flores-de-Santiago F, Kovacs JM, Flores-Verdugo F (2012) Seasonal changes in leaf chlorophyll a content and morphology in a sub-tropical mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 444:57-68.

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