Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro-Cabo

Second Advisor

Dr. Carlos E. Cintra Buenrostro

Third Advisor

Dr. Carolyn A. Currin


Decomposition of plant material produced by mangroves and other macrophytes in estuaries occurs in both sediments and the water column. Early and intense processing could be more common in the water. In a previous study, in situ decomposition rates of Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans ) leaf litter suspended in the water column differed among three estuaries in south Texas with moderate differences in salinity, water temperature, available nitrogen (N), and tidal flow. A series of microcosm experiments were conducted to determine the influence, within observed ranges in the estuaries, of these water variables on mass loss of Black Mangrove leaf litter and N dynamics over 60 days. Decomposition and N dynamics are influenced the most by salinity in highly hypersaline conditions, by temperature in less hypersaline and mesohaline environments, and by water movement in general. Nitrogen concentrations tested did not affect decay rates or N dynamics in Black Mangrove microcosm experiments.


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