Mangrove ecosystem development in Biosphere 2
Southwest Florida mangrove forest vegetation was successfully transplanted into a mesocosm within Biosphere 2. Dense stands of mangroves with characteristics comparable to natural Florida mangrove forests developed from the small seedlings and saplings initially installed in the mesocosm. Mangrove overstory was evaluated by leaf area index which ranged from 2.16 to 4.02 m2/m2. Mangrove understory decrease was monitored as the mangrove overstory developed. The Biosphere 2 mesocosm is compared with a similarly planted mesocosm at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. The performance of these mesocosms is used to evaluate existing theories on natural mangrove forest species composition.