How is mangrove architecture and growth affected by biota?
Red mangroves are critical habitat-forming foundation species in the tropics and subtropics. The aerial roots of red mangroves grow down forming a complex habitat used by a diversity of species. However, many animals inhabiting mangroves can influence the growth and shape of mangrove roots.
I am interested in the role of ecosystem engineers and herbivores in influencing the growth and root architecture of red mangroves. In my recent paper, I found boring isopods colonize brackish mangrove root tips, reducing root growth and the amount of root habitat available to other species.
In the future, I'm interested in exploring how other organisms alter mangrove growth and architecture and the community and ecosystem consequences of those architectural modifications.