Mangrove communities in the Australian tropics presently occur as narrow belts of vegetation in estuaries and on sheltered, muddy coasts. Palynological data from continental‐shelf and deep‐sea cores indicate a long‐term cyclical component of mangrove development and decline at a regional scale, which can be linked to specific phases of late Quaternary sea‐level change. Extensive mangrove development, relative to today, occurs during periods of marine transgression, whereas very diminished mangrove occurs during marine regressions and during rarer periods of relative sea‐level stability. Episodes of flourishing mangrove cannot be linked to phases of humid climate, as has been suggested in studies elsewhere. Rather, the cycle of expansion and decline of mangrove communities on a grand scale is explained in terms of contrasting physiographic settings characteristic of continental‐shelf coasts during transgressive and regressive phases, in particular by the existence, or lack, of well‐developed tidal estuaries. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Quaternary Science – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1999
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