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Diversification of Gulf/Caribbean Mangrove Communities Through Cenozoic Time

Alan Graham
Biotropica
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 20-27
DOI: 10.2307/2388899
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388899
Page Count: 8
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Diversification of Gulf/Caribbean Mangrove Communities Through Cenozoic Time
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Abstract

The mangrove community of the Neotropics shows a progressive increase in diversity through the Cenozoic. Palynofloras from the early Eocene ∼50 Ma (million years ago) indicate that brackish-water coastal areas were occupied by four principal genera-Acrostichum, the extinct Brevitricolpites variabilis. Nypa, and Pelliceria (Pellicera). Avicennia is first reported in the late Miocene ∼10 Ma. Extinctions, introductions, and adaptations varied the composition and increased net diversity to six mangrove and three associated genera by the middle Pliocene (∼3.5 Ma)-Acrostichum, Avicennia, Crenea, Laguncularia, Pelliceria, Rhizophora; Acacia, Hampea/Hibiscus, and Pachira. Modernization continued in the Quaternary with the first microfossils of Conocarpus, and with the addition of eight possible associates, for a total of 15 genera. Twelve others, unknown as fossils, were added during the Cenozoic to constitute the present-day community of ∼27 genera of mangroves and associates. The fossil record identifies a trend of increasing diversity that can be assessed as new assemblages are studied, and provides a first quantitative estimate of Neotropical history through the Cenozoic Era.

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