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Ellison Abstract- 1990 Ellison and Farnsworth

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Ellison, A. M., and E. J. Farnsworth. 1990. The ecology of Belizean mangrove-root fouling communities. I. Epibenthic fauna are barriers to isopod attach of red mangrove roots. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 142: 91-104.


Wood-boring isopods consume and damage aerial prop roots of mangroves that grow throughout the western Atlantic and Caribbean regions. On mangrove cays off the eastern coast of Belize, the isopod Phycolimnoria clarkae Kensley & Schotte attacks submerged freely hanging roots of red mangroves Rhizophora mangle L. At Twin Cays, these isopods reduce root relative growth rate (based on root elongation) by 55%, and do not cause an increase in lateral branching frequency relative to control roots from which isopods were experimentally excluded. These submerged roots are also colonized by a diverse array of epibionts. We demonstrate experimentally that the most common sponge and ascidian species at Twin Cays inhibit isopod colonization and hence indirectly facilitate root growth.

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