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Herbivore responses to nutrient enrichment and landscape heterogeneity in a mangrove ecosystem

Herbivore responses to nutrient enrichment and landscape heterogeneity in a mangrove ecosystem Complex gradients in forest structure across the landscape of offshore mangrove islands in Belize are associated with nutrient deficiency and flooding. While nutrient availability can affect many ecological processes, here we investigate how N and P enrichment interact with forest structure in three distinct zones (fringe, transition, dwarf) to alter patterns of herbivory as a function of folivory, loss of yield, and tissue mining. The effects of nutrient addition and zone varied by functional feeding group or specific herbivore. Folivory ranged from 0 to 0.4% leaf area damaged per month, but rates did not vary by either nutrient enrichment or zone. Leaf lifetime damage ranged from 3 to 10% of the total leaf area and was caused primarily by the omnivorous tree crab Aratus pisonii. We detected two distinct spatial scales of response by A. pisonii that were unrelated to nutrient treatment, i.e., most feeding damage occurred in the fringe zone and crabs fed primarily on the oldest leaves in the canopy. Loss of yield caused by the bud moth Ecdytolopha sp. varied by zone but not by nutrient treatment. A periderm-mining Marmara sp. responded positively to nutrient enrichment and closely mirrored the growth response by Rhizophora mangle across the tree height gradient. In contrast, a leaf-mining Marmara sp. was controlled by parasitoids and predators that killed >89% of its larvae. Thus, nutrient availability altered patterns of herbivory of some but not all mangrove herbivores. These findings support the hypothesis that landscape heterogeneity of the biotic and abiotic environment has species-specific effects on community structure and trophic interactions. Predicting how herbivores respond to nutrient over-enrichment in mangrove ecosystems also requires an assessment of habitat heterogeneity coupled with feeding strategies and species-specific behavior measured on multiple scales of response. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Herbivore responses to nutrient enrichment and landscape heterogeneity in a mangrove ecosystem

Oecologia , Volume 153 (3) – Jun 14, 2007

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References (81)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Life Sciences; Plant Sciences ; Ecology
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s00442-007-0760-9
pmid
17566784
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Complex gradients in forest structure across the landscape of offshore mangrove islands in Belize are associated with nutrient deficiency and flooding. While nutrient availability can affect many ecological processes, here we investigate how N and P enrichment interact with forest structure in three distinct zones (fringe, transition, dwarf) to alter patterns of herbivory as a function of folivory, loss of yield, and tissue mining. The effects of nutrient addition and zone varied by functional feeding group or specific herbivore. Folivory ranged from 0 to 0.4% leaf area damaged per month, but rates did not vary by either nutrient enrichment or zone. Leaf lifetime damage ranged from 3 to 10% of the total leaf area and was caused primarily by the omnivorous tree crab Aratus pisonii. We detected two distinct spatial scales of response by A. pisonii that were unrelated to nutrient treatment, i.e., most feeding damage occurred in the fringe zone and crabs fed primarily on the oldest leaves in the canopy. Loss of yield caused by the bud moth Ecdytolopha sp. varied by zone but not by nutrient treatment. A periderm-mining Marmara sp. responded positively to nutrient enrichment and closely mirrored the growth response by Rhizophora mangle across the tree height gradient. In contrast, a leaf-mining Marmara sp. was controlled by parasitoids and predators that killed >89% of its larvae. Thus, nutrient availability altered patterns of herbivory of some but not all mangrove herbivores. These findings support the hypothesis that landscape heterogeneity of the biotic and abiotic environment has species-specific effects on community structure and trophic interactions. Predicting how herbivores respond to nutrient over-enrichment in mangrove ecosystems also requires an assessment of habitat heterogeneity coupled with feeding strategies and species-specific behavior measured on multiple scales of response.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Jun 14, 2007

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