1980s–2010s: the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem is becoming homogenous

Sarker, S. K., Matthiopoulos, J. , Mitchell, S. N., Ahmed, Z. U., Al Mamun, M. B. and Reeve, R. (2019) 1980s–2010s: the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem is becoming homogenous. Biological Conservation, 236, pp. 79-91. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.011) (PMID:31496538) (PMCID:PMC6716549)

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Abstract

Knowledge gaps in spatiotemporal changes in mangrove diversity and composition have obstructed mangrove conservation programs across the tropics, but particularly in the Sundarbans (10,017 km2), the world's largest remaining natural mangrove ecosystem. Using mangrove tree data collected from Earth's largest permanent sample plot network at four historical time points (1986, 1994, 1999 and 2014), this study establishes spatially explicit baseline biodiversity information for the Sundarbans. We determined the spatial and temporal differences in alpha, beta, and gamma diversity in three ecological zones (hypo-, meso-, and hypersaline) and also uncovered changes in the mangroves' overall geographic range and abundances therein. Spatially, the hyposaline mangrove communities were the most diverse and heterogeneous in species composition while the hypersaline communities were the least diverse and most homogeneous at all historical time points. Since 1986, we detect an increasing trend of compositional homogeneity (between-site similarity in species composition) and a significant spatial contraction of distinct and diverse areas over the entire ecosystem. Temporally, the western and southern hypersaline communities have undergone radical shifts in species composition due to population increase and range expansion of the native invasive species Ceriops decandra and local extinction or range contraction of specialists including the globally endangered Heritiera fomes. The surviving biodiversity hotspots are distributed outside the legislated protected area network. In addition to suggesting the immediate coverage of these hotspots under protected area management, our novel biodiversity insights and spatial maps can form the basis for spatial conservation planning, biodiversity monitoring and protection initiatives for the Sundarbans.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sarker, Swapan Kumar and Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason and Reeve, Dr Richard and Mitchell, Miss Sonia
Authors: Sarker, S. K., Matthiopoulos, J., Mitchell, S. N., Ahmed, Z. U., Al Mamun, M. B., and Reeve, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Biological Conservation
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-3207
ISSN (Online):1873-2917
Published Online:24 May 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Biological Conservation 236:79-91
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
629831The influence of selective breeding on MHC diversityLouise MatthewsBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/L004070/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
730011Mathematical Theory and Biological Applications of DiversityRichard ReeveBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/P004202/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED
5887510BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership 2012George BaillieBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/J013854/1MVLS COLLEGE SENIOR MANAGEMENT