We investigated the intrasoecific variation in propagule mass within red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) and its effect on carbon assimilation and seedling growth. Propagule sizes of red mangrove varied considerably at all three study sites along the south-eastern coast of Florida, with propagule fresh mass from 3,9 to 20.7 g for the scrub form and from 5.3 to 35.8 g for the tall form. Highly significant correlations were observed between propagule length and fresh weight at all three study sites and for two growth forms. The scrub form had significantly smaller propagules than the tall form. A greenhouse study showed that CO2 assimilation rates were not correlated with propagule mass, but total leaf area per plant increased significantly with increasing initial propagule mass in all three family lines of both the scrub and tall forms. Consequently, total carbon fixation rate by each seedling increased significantly with increasing propagule fresh weight in all cases, and the biomass increment significantly increased with increasing mass. Relative growth rate, however, was not correlated with propagule mass. The differences in leaf areas and biomass accumulation among seedlings from different sizes of propagules seem to have resulted from the differences in maternal reserve of hypocotyls. The considerable intraspecific variation in propagule size observed for red mangrove may have a significant effect on seedling growth and competitive ability. carbon fixation, Florida, mangrove, mangrove propagules, Rhizophora mangle, seed size variation, seedling establishment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics