Urban Mangrove Ecology

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A number of studies have indirectly attempted to assess the influence of urban landscapes on mangrove ecology.  Skilleter (1996) found that molluscan assemblages within mangroves varied depending upon the level of damage to the mangrove stand, and they associated heavy damage with urban development.  Another study found increasing crab richness and decreasing molluscan richness from non-urban to urban mangrove ecosystems in Africa (Cannicci et al. 2009).  The authors attributed these observations to sewage exposure in the urban mangrove sites.  Another study found varying benthic microbiological communities within urban mangrove forests (Newton et al 2008).  Yet another found no significant differences in benthic macrofauna assemblages in urban and non-urban mangroves in Australia (Lindegarth and Hoskin, 2001).  One study in the mangroves of Mombasa Kenya, suggested the trees there were stressed due to canopy gaps and structural integrity, however, this paper failed to provide comparisons with non-urban mangroves, making it difficult to quantify the influence of urban development on the measured stress (Moamed et al. 2009).  Shu-jie and Shi-chu (2008) found ecosystem services in mangroves of varying land use classes are generally impaired as land use intensity increases.  These studies have begun to scratch the surface of urban mangrove ecology, however, they use vague and often conflicting definitions for urban, peri-urban, and non-urban, and their results suggest both benefits and drawbacks of urban land use on adjacent mangroves. The most conclusive study on urban mangrove ecology was done in the Tampa Bay Estuary, in which the urban intensity of the landscape was quantified and interesting findings resulted. I would like to add to the urban mangrove dialogue, by using a quantified urban gradient, and a number of ecological and social measurements, to draw more definitive conclusions on the influence of urban land use on mangrove ecology and social perceptions.

Feb, 2018


Many many runs in R and many many rounds of review later, and the first global metal analysis of urban mangroves is out! Really ther first time we have looked specifically at urban land-use metrics as they relate to mangroves, although as described above, there have been many other anecdotal accounts.

This analysis shows mangrove loss in big cities is greater than overall loss rates, that urban mangroves are using anthropogenic nitrogen and harbor elevated metal concentrations, and that faunal assemblages in these systems are different in different ways.

Check it out here in Global Ecology ang Biogeography (Open Access):


July 24, 2015

Recently, I made a mini-research project on the urban mangroves of the Daytona Beach area in Florida, which includes portions of the Canaveral National Seashore. I measured the morphology of three species of mangroves along an urban gradient and found that one of these charactersitics was related to the population density of each study site. Further measurements will hopefully clarify the results.

FloridaResults FloridaStudySites


January, 2015

A poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography in Granada, Spain. This poster mainly explores the relationships between surrounding urban land coverage and estuarine water quality variables in the San Juan Bay Estuary, Puerto Rico.