Lyle Vorsatz

PhD Candidate
Lyle Vorsatz


 

The nursery role of mangrove microhabitats: An invertebrate and fish larval perspective.

Mangroves are generally regarded as nursery areas for many marine and coastal species. Despite the rarity and critical role mangroves play in coastal and marine environments and its contribution to society, they are considered to be increasingly under threat through natural and anthropogenic disturbances. This research aims to evaluate the fine scale role microhabitats play in the larval stage of fish and invertebrates that use mangroves as nurseries, as well as how larvae have adapted physiologically to occupy those microhabitats. These microhabitats created by complex mangrove root systems, burrowing taxa, seagrass beds and tidal creeks in particular provide a food resource and refuge from predation in the early life history stages of commercially important marine species, as well as invertebrates that are essential to the ecosystem health of mangroves and estuaries that they occur in. Also, this information is important on a local and global scale as the temperature threshold and physiological processes of organisms are becoming imperative in the light of climate change and its effects on the marine environment. Registered: Rhodes University (Department of Zoology and Entomology) Supervisor: Dr Francesca Porri (SAIAB) Co-supervisor: Dr Paula Pattrick (SAEON)