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Precocious reproduction increases at the leading edge of a mangrove range expansion

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ABSTRACT

Climate change‐driven shifts in species ranges are ongoing and expected to increase. However, life‐history traits may interact with climate to influence species ranges, potentially accelerating or slowing range shifts in response to climate change. Tropical mangroves have expanded their ranges poleward in the last three decades. Here, we report on a shift at the range edge in life‐history traits related to reproduction and dispersal. With a common garden experiment and field observations, we show that Rhizophora mangle individuals from northern populations reproduce at a younger age than those from southern populations. In a common garden at the northern range limit, 38% of individuals from the northernmost population were reproductive by age 2, but less than 10% of individuals from the southernmost population were reproductive by the same age, with intermediate amounts of reproduction from intermediate latitudes. Field observations show a similar pattern of younger reproductive individuals toward the northern range limit. We also demonstrate a shift toward larger propagule size in populations at the leading range edge, which may aid seedling growth. The substantial increase in precocious reproduction at the leading edge of the R. mangle range could accelerate population growth and hasten the expansion of mangroves into salt marshes.

No MeSH data available.


(A) Precocious reproduction in Rhizophora mangle. A 2‐year‐old R. mangle seedling is shown here with a propagule forming. (B) Locations of source populations for common garden experiment. Common garden was placed at 30.0°N, 81.3°W.
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ece32270-fig-0001: (A) Precocious reproduction in Rhizophora mangle. A 2‐year‐old R. mangle seedling is shown here with a propagule forming. (B) Locations of source populations for common garden experiment. Common garden was placed at 30.0°N, 81.3°W.

Mentions: Mangroves are woody plants living in the intertidal zone in tropical and subtropical climates. Currently, mangrove species are expanding their ranges poleward into higher latitude temperate salt marshes and increasing in abundance near their northern range limits (Rogers et al. 2005; Osland et al. 2013; Cavanaugh et al. 2014). This increase in mangroves may have a positive impact on ecosystem services such as increased carbon storage (Chmura 2003) and an increased ability to control flooding from tropical storms (Krauss et al. 2009), but also can displace salt marsh plants and disrupt salt marsh food webs, which could have negative consequences for fisheries and wildlife (Glick and Clough 2006). Mangroves have doubled in abundance in the mangrove–salt marsh ecotone in northern Florida in the past 28 years, coincident with fewer severe freezes (Cavanaugh et al. 2014). We have observed precociously reproducing mangroves at the leading edge of the mangrove invasion in northern Florida. In this area, we have documented numerous incidences of seedlings of Rhizophora mangle L. that have begun reproducing in the first one to 2 years after establishment (Fig. 1). The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which precocious reproduction varies among R. mangle populations as they approach their northern range limit on the Atlantic coast of Florida. We examined reproductive traits of R. mangle along a latitudinal gradient on the Atlantic coast of Florida with a common garden experiment and field observations. Based on initial observations, we hypothesized that precocious reproduction would occur at a higher rate in northern populations compared to southern populations.


Precocious reproduction increases at the leading edge of a mangrove range expansion
(A) Precocious reproduction in Rhizophora mangle. A 2‐year‐old R. mangle seedling is shown here with a propagule forming. (B) Locations of source populations for common garden experiment. Common garden was placed at 30.0°N, 81.3°W.
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4979729&req=5

ece32270-fig-0001: (A) Precocious reproduction in Rhizophora mangle. A 2‐year‐old R. mangle seedling is shown here with a propagule forming. (B) Locations of source populations for common garden experiment. Common garden was placed at 30.0°N, 81.3°W.
Mentions: Mangroves are woody plants living in the intertidal zone in tropical and subtropical climates. Currently, mangrove species are expanding their ranges poleward into higher latitude temperate salt marshes and increasing in abundance near their northern range limits (Rogers et al. 2005; Osland et al. 2013; Cavanaugh et al. 2014). This increase in mangroves may have a positive impact on ecosystem services such as increased carbon storage (Chmura 2003) and an increased ability to control flooding from tropical storms (Krauss et al. 2009), but also can displace salt marsh plants and disrupt salt marsh food webs, which could have negative consequences for fisheries and wildlife (Glick and Clough 2006). Mangroves have doubled in abundance in the mangrove–salt marsh ecotone in northern Florida in the past 28 years, coincident with fewer severe freezes (Cavanaugh et al. 2014). We have observed precociously reproducing mangroves at the leading edge of the mangrove invasion in northern Florida. In this area, we have documented numerous incidences of seedlings of Rhizophora mangle L. that have begun reproducing in the first one to 2 years after establishment (Fig. 1). The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which precocious reproduction varies among R. mangle populations as they approach their northern range limit on the Atlantic coast of Florida. We examined reproductive traits of R. mangle along a latitudinal gradient on the Atlantic coast of Florida with a common garden experiment and field observations. Based on initial observations, we hypothesized that precocious reproduction would occur at a higher rate in northern populations compared to southern populations.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Climate change‐driven shifts in species ranges are ongoing and expected to increase. However, life‐history traits may interact with climate to influence species ranges, potentially accelerating or slowing range shifts in response to climate change. Tropical mangroves have expanded their ranges poleward in the last three decades. Here, we report on a shift at the range edge in life‐history traits related to reproduction and dispersal. With a common garden experiment and field observations, we show that Rhizophora mangle individuals from northern populations reproduce at a younger age than those from southern populations. In a common garden at the northern range limit, 38% of individuals from the northernmost population were reproductive by age 2, but less than 10% of individuals from the southernmost population were reproductive by the same age, with intermediate amounts of reproduction from intermediate latitudes. Field observations show a similar pattern of younger reproductive individuals toward the northern range limit. We also demonstrate a shift toward larger propagule size in populations at the leading range edge, which may aid seedling growth. The substantial increase in precocious reproduction at the leading edge of the R. mangle range could accelerate population growth and hasten the expansion of mangroves into salt marshes.

No MeSH data available.