Investigating the Abiotic Factors
We collected water samples in multiple locations to have a preliminary assessment of the composition of the water entering the system, identify potential sources of pollutants, and determine if management efforts were necessary to maintain or restore the quality of the waters flowing in and out of the mangrove.
The results of the water samples analysis indicated nutrient enrichment (nitrogen and phosphorus) at several locations, especially in the vicinity of runoff and waste water discharge locations.
We collected soil samples to evaluate the nutrient levels across the forest and assess the edaphic characteristics of the site. We sampled the channels in the vicinity of the Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa. We also sampled along two perpendicular transects to investigate the apparent diminished health of the forest along the beach road and compare its nutrient content to more vigorous and remote parts of the ecosystem.
The results of the soil samples analysis indicate that the soil along the road is less rich in bioavailable nitrogen than the soil in the center of the forest. This situation is likely to result in nutrient limitation and hinder the development of the mangroves. In addition, the presence of nitrate as the dominant form of bioavailable nitrogen at certain locations along the road indicates aerobic conditions, which are unfit for wetland species. Both nutrient limitation and water restriction are likely to be the cause of the reduced vigor of the vegetation in this part of the forest.