Fine roots are of major importance for belowground processes in mangrove ecosystems. Little is known about individual mangrove root systems, particularly the fine root component. We measured fine root biomass distribution of solitary standing Rhizophora mangle L. individuals with the dual aim of (a) deepening our understanding of the belowground ecology and allometric relations of this species; and (b) gaining further information about its climatic relevance. Twelve trees of variable height (45–240 cm) were measured on three reforested sites in south-east Florida, USA. Soil cores were collected from individual trees at transects by means of auger sampling. Fine roots were extracted, sorted, dried and weighed. Mean fine root biomass varied between 20.56–253.12 g/m2. Two separate mixed-effects models led to statistically sound predictions of spatial fine root biomass distribution. The first model was based on distance function and tree height (Model 1, $$R^2 = 0.77$$ R 2 = 0.77 , p value ≤ 0.001), and the second on prop root density (Model 2, $$R^2 = 0.56$$ R 2 = 0.56 , p value ≤ 0.001). Besides the aforementioned fixed effects, the results of both models indicated random, site-specific variation with regards to fine root biomass distribution. Nevertheless, we were able to explain individual fine root biomass distribution with reference to aboveground characteristics alone. These findings may help to improve the modelling of belowground plant interaction and carbon storage in mangroves, both of which are intrinsically linked to fine roots.
Wetlands Ecology and Management – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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