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Publication

Global-scale dispersal and connectivity in mangroves

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Dispersal provides a key mechanism for geographical range shifts in response to changing environmental conditions. For mangroves, which are highly susceptible to climate change, the spatial scale of dispersal remains largely unknown. Here we use a high-resolution, eddy- and tide-resolving numerical ocean model to simulate mangrove propagule dispersal across the global ocean and generate connectivity matrices between mangrove habitats using a range of floating periods. We find high rates of along-coast transport and transoceanic dispersal across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. No connectivity is observed between populations on either side of the American and African continents. Archipelagos, such as the Galapagos and those found in Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia, act as critical stepping-stones for dispersal across the Pacific Ocean. Direct and reciprocal dispersal routes across the Indian Ocean via the South Equatorial Current and seasonally reversing monsoon currents, respectively, allow connectivity between western Indian Ocean and Indo-West Pacific sites. We demonstrate the isolation of the Hawaii Islands and help explain the presence of mangroves on the latitudinal outlier Bermuda. Finally, we find that dispersal distance and connectivity are highly sensitive to the minimum and maximum floating periods. We anticipate that our findings will guide future research agendas to quantify biophysical factors that determine mangrove dispersal and connectivity, including the influence of ocean surface water properties on metabolic processes and buoyancy behavior, which may determine the potential of viably reaching a suitable habitat. Ultimately, this will lead to a better understanding of global mangrove species distributions and their response to changing climate conditions.
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
ISSN: 0027-8424
Issue: 3
Volume: 116
Pages: 915 - 922
Number of pages: 8
Publication year:2019