Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Maria L. Estevanez

Second Committee Member

Rafael J. Araújo

Third Committee Member

Keene Haywood


Mangroves are key indicator species that manifest the interplay of abiotic and biotic inputs or energy signatures of a particular location. Technological advancements in living shoreline design have resulted in a growing interest in understanding and comparing the ecological role of mangroves along hardened shorelines to mangrove communities in natural settings. The objective of the present study was to compare fringe seawall and natural shoreline mangrove stands using structural attributes in south Florida. Structural surveys were conducted in four study sites using the fixed-plot method where all sites were assessed for the following structural attributes: tree diameter, height, species, leaf size and area, and root density. Results demonstrated that there were few differences in structural characteristics both within and among study sites. A comparison with Neotropical mangroves showed that stands in south Florida exhibited similar structural attributes and complexities to natural fringe stands. Results from the present study have shown the importance of mangroves that exist in conjunction with hardened structures, highlighting the importance of incorporating mangroves as part of the urban landscape.


mangroves; mangrove structure; mangrove ecology; Florida ecology; seawall; living shoreline