Water-Related News

FGCU researching human effects on mangroves

Are roads and bridges leading to irregular forms of the shoreline plants?

Florida Gulf Coast University Professor Win Everham partnered with senior biology majors Paola Reyes and Jose Rivera on a research study deducing the effects of human development on mangroves in Florida.

The research team measured the growth of mangroves under different conditions: natural growth, natural storm restrictions, and restrictions from human development. Mangroves are trees or shrubs that live along shores, rivers and estuaries in the tropics and subtropics; they commonly grow on the banks of south Florida’s estuaries and are also extremely important to ecosystems.

Mangroves play an important part as a first line of defense against storms, hurricanes, waves and floods. They also prevent erosion and provide stability and shelter to ecosystems and aquatic life. Lastly, they also act as a natural filtration system, restraining sediments and other land runoffs that could damage water quality.

For these reasons, Reyes, Rivera and Everham chose to study the impacts of human development on the growth of mangroves. They theorize that man-made structures such as roads and bridges can interfere with the waterflow that nurtures mangrove growth and are leading to irregular forms of the shoreline plants.