Gladstone-Gallagher, R., Lundquist, C., & Pilditch, C. (2013). Mangrove (Avicennia marina subsp. australasica) litter production and decomposition in a temperate estuary. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 1-14.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8344
Mangrove forests can provide important cross-boundary subsidies of organic matter to adjacent habitats through the production, export, decomposition and assimilation of litter. We quantified two of these components in a temperate mangrove forest in Whangamata Harbour, New Zealand: 1) litter production; and 2) decomposition rates as a function of tidal elevation, sediment type and burial depth. Litter traps sampled monthly for a year measured an annual detrital input of 3.24–5.38 t DW ha−1, of which 77% occurred in summer. Decomposition rates depended on litter type, with leaves decomposing faster (63 d to decay by 50%) than pneumatophore and wood material (316 and 460 d, respectively). Buried leaf and wood litter decomposed 1.3–1.4 times slower than litter on the sediment surface; however, tidal elevation and sediment type (mud vs. sand) had no effect. The slow decay of litter (an order of magnitude slower than tropical mangrove litter) suggests that its incorporation into temperate marine food webs may be relatively slow.
Taylor & Francis