We combined observations of the natural tracer radon (222Rn) with hydrodynamic models across a broad latitudinal gradient covering several climate zones to estimate pore water exchange rates in mangroves. Pore water exchange ranged from 2.1 to 35.5 cm d−1 from temperate to tropical regions and averaged 16.3 ± 5.1 cm d−1. If upscaled to the global weighted mangrove area, pore water exchange in mangroves would recirculate the entire volume of water overlying the continental shelf in less than 153 years. Although pore water exchange (recirculated seawater) and river discharge represent different pathways for water entering the coastal ocean, the estimated global mangrove pore water exchange would be equal to approximately one third of annual global river discharge to the ocean (3.84 × 1013 m3 yr−1). Because biogeochemical processes in mangroves are largely dependent on pore water exchange, these large exchange rates have major implications for coastal nutrient, carbon, and greenhouse gas cycling in tropical marine systems.
Tait, DR, Maher, DT, Macklin, PA & Santos, IR in press, 'Mangrove pore water exchange across a latitudinal gradient', Geophysical Research Letters.
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