Mangroves are becoming increasingly recognized as important nursery habitats for many juvenile fish and macroinvertebrate species, however little is known about their importance for zooplankton communities. The complex structure of mangrove environments may provide zooplankton populations with shelter, substrate, food, and protection from depredation. These factors could impact zooplankton survival, retention and/or habitat selection within mangroves, resulting in differences in the composition of zooplankton communities among different coastal habitats. This project is composed of two studies conducted in red mangrove communities (Rhizophora) in Panama and the Seychelles. The first compares zooplankton communities in intact mangrove environments to those found in areas where mangroves have been cleared by human activity. The second compares zooplankton communities between locations where mangroves experience high or low tidal exchange. Both studies focused on variation in larval abundance, species diversity, and numbers of individuals representing different developmental stages in the two types of environments. Larger abundances of individuals were present in cleared mangrove areas, and in areas of low tidal exchange. Differences in diversity among areas sampled included different abundances of the represented taxa.
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