Between condominiums, villa parks and beach resorts lies the Smithsonian research center. The Smithsonian environmental research center studies the estuarine and marine environment in the region. I am staying in this sunny place on the east coast of Florida, U.S., for two weeks to conduct research for my master’s thesis.
Dikes were constructed around a mangrove area and these areas used to be flooded continuously so that the noxious mosquitos and sandflies were unable to lay their eggs. The consequences for the ecosystem, however, were dramatic: the dominantly black mangrove vegetation did not tolerate the continuous flooding, the water quality decreased and fishes were unable to access the mangrove areas. A newer and more sustainable method of flooding only floods the mangrove during the spring and summer. The technique is called Rotational impoundment management (RIM) and it is used in one of the mangroves under study. The hypothesis is that this strategy actually enhances the primary production in these areas that are still relatively isolated from the tide. At the same time RIM still allows for the control of mosquitos and sandflies.
Posted by Brian Dermody