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Title: Reconstructing extreme climatic and geochemical conditions during the largest natural mangrove dieback on record
Authors: Sippo, JZ
Santos, IR
Sanders, CJ
Gadd, PS
Hua, Q
Lovelock, CE
Santini, NS
Johnston, SG
Harada, Y
Reithmeir, G
Maher, DT
Keywords: Climatic change
Southern Oscillation
Ground water
Issue Date: 28-Feb-2020
Publisher: European Geosciences Union (EGU)
Citation: Sippo, J. Z., Santos, I. R., Sanders, C. J., Gadd, P., Hua, Q., Lovelock, C. E., Santini, N. S., Johnston, S. G., Harada, Y., Reithmeir, G. & Maher, D. T. (2020). Reconstructing extreme climatic and geochemical conditions during the largest natural mangrove dieback on record. Biogeosciences, 17(18), 4707-4726. doi:10.5194/bg-17-4707-2020
Abstract: A massive mangrove dieback event occurred in 2015–2016 along ∼ 1000 km of pristine coastline in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Here, we use sediment and wood chronologies to gain insights into geochemical and climatic changes related to this dieback. The unique combination of low rainfall and low sea level observed during the dieback event had been unprecedented in the preceding 3 decades. A combination of iron (Fe) chronologies in wood and sediment, wood density and estimates of mangrove water use efficiency all imply lower water availability within the dead mangrove forest. Wood and sediment chronologies suggest a rapid, large mobilization of sedimentary Fe, which is consistent with redox transitions promoted by changes in soil moisture content. Elemental analysis of wood cross sections revealed a 30- to 90-fold increase in Fe concentrations in dead mangroves just prior to their mortality. Mangrove wood uptake of Fe during the dieback is consistent with large apparent losses of Fe from sediments, which potentially caused an outwelling of Fe to the ocean. Although Fe toxicity may also have played a role in the dieback, this possibility requires further study. We suggest that differences in wood and sedimentary Fe between living and dead forest areas reflect sediment redox transitions that are, in turn, associated with regional variability in groundwater flows. Overall, our observations provide multiple lines of evidence that the forest dieback was driven by low water availability coinciding with a strong El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event and was associated with climate change. © Author(s) 2020.
Description: This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
ISSN: 1726-4189
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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