Aging Rhizophora seedlings from leaf scar nodes: a technique for studying recruitment and growth in mangrove forests

Duke, Norman C., and Pinzón M., Zuleika S. (1992) Aging Rhizophora seedlings from leaf scar nodes: a technique for studying recruitment and growth in mangrove forests. Biotropica, 24 (2 Part A). pp. 173-186.

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Abstract

This paper proposes a rapid and non-destructive technique to age Rhizophora seedlings in the field, using the sequence of leaf nodes along main stems. Based on three- to four-year-old R. mangle seedlings planted in a bay on the Caribbean coast of Panama, it was found that rates of annual node production (=half of leaf production) in the terminal shoot was relatively constant between individuals in the same and similar sites, and for each individual when remeasured three or four times over 19 months. Marked differences, however, were scored between sites under obviously different light conditions, notably in shade (closed canopy) or sun (open canopy); estimates range from 3.8 (SE ± 0.3) to 7.0 (SE ± O.6) nodes.shoot-1.year-1, respectively (note, these were comparable with branch shoots on mature trees nearby).Therefore, neighbouring seedlings in sites with the same light condition could be aged by dividing total counts of main stem nodes by the respective rate. But, of greater interest, seedlings in open sites were found to have annual peaks of internodal extension along their main stems. It followed that seedlings like these could be aged by counting the number of peaks. This provided a more robust means to age seedlings having unknown growth histories, since it did not assume constant annual node production. These characteristics of seedling growth offer a relatively simple means to age individuals, and to quickly characterize demographic patterns in seedling communities. The technique is limited by bark development obscuring nodes on lower stems, occurring after approximately six or more years in R. mangle. Furthermore, because node production was not apparently influenced by age, the technique may also apply to distal branches of larger trees in appropriate light conditions.

Item ID: 48894
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: mangrove; plants; Rhizophora; seedling; age; height; internodal; light; nodes; Panama; Central America; Caribbean; Atlantic; AEP
ISSN: 1744-7429
Funders: Minerals Management Service (MMS), Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Projects and Grants: MMS Contract #14-12-0001-30393
Date Deposited: 10 May 2017 04:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 30%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060703 Plant Developmental and Reproductive Biology @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961201 Rehabilitation of Degraded Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 30%
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