The Transport of Mangrove-Based Energy to Offshore Communities by Migrating Fish

Grant Winners

  • Amy Hirons, PhD – Oceanographic Center
  • Kelly Parks, BS – Oceanographic Center

Dean

  • Richard Dodge, Ph.D. – Oceanographic Center

Abstract

Award Winners

Mangrove forests are low energy, intertidal habitats that provide a rich supply of food to diversity of infaunal, epifaunal, and juvenile species (Nagelkerken and van der Velde, 2004). Besides supporting a food web of permanent mangrove inhabitants, mangroves could also contribute to the food webs of offshore communities. Through the migration of predatory and herbivorous fish, mangrove based energy is carried to offshore communities such as seagrass beds and coral reefs (Sheaves and Molony, 2000). The transportation of this energy from the mangroves is a complex and dynamic process that still has yet to be fully understood (Kathiresan and Bingham, 2001). In Port Everglades, a mangrove restoration project has been approved by the Broward County Commissioners and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to create a 16.5 acre functioning mangrove wetland habitat as a part of the Port Everglades Master Plan to amend for the proposed width increase of the Port Everglades channel (2007). This research is extremely important in understanding the food webs of the mangroves in this area and understanding how potential disturbances, such as these changes to Port Everglades, will affect the food web. This project will also connect to the research performed on the food webs of the local seagrass beds, thus being able to develop a greater understanding of the flow of energy and the connectivity of these different ecosystems. During this project, fish and invertebrate species will be caught from three mangrove sites located within Port Everglades using simple push nets and small gill nets. All mangrove species will be analyzed using gut content analysis and stable isotopes to evaluate their place in the food web. These analyses will help identify of the flow of energy from mangroves trees up to migrating fish and onto offshore communities