Comparative study of water uptake and photosynthetic gas exchange between scrub and fringe red mangroves, Rhizophora mangle L.

Guanghui Lin, Leonel da Silveira Lobo Sternberg

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58 Scopus citations


The red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) occurs frequently in both scrub and fringe mangrove forests. Our previous study demonstrated that individuals of this mangrove species growing in scrub and fringe forests differ significantly in both morphological and physiological characteristics. To further characterize physiological differences between scrub and fringe mangroves, we compared their differences in water uptake and photosynthetic gas exchange during different seasons. In the wet season (June-October, 1990), scrub mangroves showed lower δD and δ18O values of stem water than fringe mangroves, indicating more usage of rain-derived freshwater. In the dry season (Jan-April, 1991), however, scrub mangroves utilized the same water source as fringe mangroves, reflected by their similar δD and δ18O values of stem water. Consistently, there were significant differences in predawn water potentials between scrub and fringe mangroves in the wet season (October 1990) with higher values for scrub mangroves, but no significant differences in the dry season (January 1991). Higher elevation in the scrub forest seems to be the major factor responsible for the shift of water sources in scrub mangroves. On Apr. 27 and Aug. 8, 1990, scrub mangroves showed lower CO2 assimilation rate, stomatal conductance, and intercellular CO2 concentration than fringe mangroves. There were no differences in these gas exchange characteristics on the other two measuring dates: Oct. 17, 1990 and Jan. 11, 1991. Instantaneous water use efficiency was significantly higher for scrub mangroves than for fringe mangroves on three of the four sampling dates. Similarly, leaf carbon isotope discrimination of scrub mangroves was always significantly lower than that of fringe mangroves, indicating higher long-term water use efficiency. Higher water use efficiency in scrub mangroves is a result of stomatal limitation on photosynthesis, which may entail considerable carbon cost to the plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-403
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1992


  • Photosynthetic gas exchange
  • Scrub mangroves
  • Stable isotope ratios
  • Water uptake
  • Water use efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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