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Authors: Stovall, Kalin
Advisors: Hedin, Lars
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Tela Bay's mangrove ecosystems provide vital resources for the local Garifuna communities. Specifically, mangroves support wood production and fisheries, and may provide more economic benefits with the development of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) certification schemes. Tela's mangroves continue to be threatened by human activities, and the effects that these anthropogenic disturbances are having on Tela are unclear and require investigation. This study aims to discern the effects that anthropogenic disturbances have on four different mangrove ecosystems by comparing carbon storage, forest structure, and fish biodiversity. The relationship between carbon storage and forest conditions including pollution, salinity, fern density, soil water content and soil organic matter are examined to help explain how anthropogenic disturbances are affecting mangrove productivity. Additionally, fish biodiversity of the mangrove ecosystems was accessed using information from a study that interviewed local fishermen. Results from this study indicate that anthropogenic disturbances have a clear effect on Tela's mangroves. More anthropogenically disturbed mangrove forests had lower carbon storage from biomass. These differences might be explained by anthropogenic disturbances leading to increased organic and oil pollution, increased salinity fluctuations, and increased fern sizes. Moreover, more anthropogenically disturbed mangrove forests had lower fish biodiversities than less disturbed forests. This is most likely explained by disturbed mangroves serving as poorer habits to fish communities because of their reduced structural complexity and heterogeneity. Lastly, carbon storage in soils was comparable between all mangrove forests, possibly because of the differences in autochthonous and allochthonous organic matter inputs. These findings represent valuable information that local officials should consider when deciding how to sustainably use Tela Bay's mangrove ecosystems.
Extent: 67 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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