Interactions between species are dynamic and are likely to shift with changes in species ranges due to climate change. With the expansion of new species into incumbent ecosystems a variety of abiotic and biotic factors shape the rate, pattern, and method of invasion. This dissertation utilizes one such boundary of transition, the salt marsh-mangrove ecotone, located in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This dynamic coastal wetland has recently seen the expansion of sub-tropical mangrove species into a previously salt marsh dominated system. This collection of works provides pointed case studies seeking to understand local and patch scale dispersal dynamics, expansion, recruitment, growth, and survival rates along an elevational gradient, and understanding interactions both above- and belowground between mature mangroves and the surround salt marsh. We find that dispersal is overwhelmingly dominated by propagule export, that black mangrove and smooth cordgrass differ in their ability to provide structural provisioning in the short term after restoration, and that mature mangroves have much greater belowground extent than aboveground. By better understanding species-specific interactions at the salt marsh-mangrove ecotone, a greater understanding of future expansion rates can be gained.
|Advisor:||Hester, Mark W.|
|Commitee:||Duke-Sylvester, Scott, Krauss, Ken, Nelson, James, Osland, Michael J.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Climate change, Ecotone, Interactions, Mangrove, Salt marsh|
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