Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro-Cabo

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew McDonald

Third Advisor

Dr. Ilka Feller


Mangroves are important for coastal systems because they provide habitat for fish and bird species, mitigate erosion, and create an area for carbon sequestration. Along the Gulf of Mexico, at the southern tip of Texas, recent observations have shown that A. germinans stands (the dominant species in Texas) are being browsed on by invasive nilgai antelope (Boselaphus tragocamelus). The antelope were introduce to the south Texas region via King Ranch in the 1930’s and have since significantly increased in population and distribution. Previously thought to be grazers, B. tragocamelus were captured on camera utilizing A. germinans as a common food source due to the increase in available mangrove trees, something that has not been historically documented in any literature. This occurrence has become a pressing issue because the black mangroves do not have any evolutionary history with the nilgai, meaning vertebrate herbivory may represent a threat to mangrove viability in the area. When browsing, B. tragocamelus destroys the physical structure of the mangrove trees leading to a decrease in biomass and inadvertently a decrease in reproduction and a change in the plants resource allocation.


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