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publications > thesis > successional dynamics of lightning-initiated canopy gaps in the mangrove forests of Shark River > chapter 1 > overall dissertation objective

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Overall dissertation objective:

The overall objective of this dissertation is to address the role that lightning gaps play in community structure and composition in the mangrove forest of Shark River. To understand the underlying basis for that role, detailed studies of lightning gap forest composition and structural changes through time along with assessments of the physical and biological interactions are needed. Specifically, one needs to have insight into the following questions. Do recruitment, survivorship, or growth dynamics change allowing a particular mangrove species to prevail at a particular life stage? How does gap succession affect the constituent fiddler crab population? Does lightning gap disturbance affect soil surface elevation? To interpret the change in soil elevation through time, one needs to determine the relationship of hydrology to soil elevation. What will be the affect of Everglades Restoration on lightning gap succession?

Finally, to comprehend the role lightning gap disturbance has on the mangrove forest a basic awareness of the closed canopy forest structure and composition is needed, including the life history parameters of recruitment and mortality rate, survivorship, and growth by life stage class (propagule, seedling, sapling and adult) in the intact forest. There will be approximately 8 billion dollars spent on Everglades Restoration, these basic life stage parameters in closed mangrove canopy forest are critically needed for proper parameterization of mangrove forest development models used by the land managers.


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Last updated: 04 September, 2013 @ 02:04 PM (TJE)