Summary

Mangroves may be one of the most well-investigated habitats among tropical ecosystems, particularly when you consider all the botanical, zoological and ecological studies. The unique adaptations of plants and animals that inhabit the tropical intertidal zone have always captured the interest of scientists (Tomlinson 1986). In addition, these coastal forested wetlands have long been linked to the sustainabiiity of commercially important fisheries (Macnae 1974). Given this extensive pool of information, it should be appropriate to summarize the linkages between changes in biodiversity and ecosystem function in tropical estuaries. Our inability to integrate these two properties of mangrove ecosystems may indicate the inadequate approach used to study these interactions in mangrove ecology. Linking biodiversity and ecosystem function requires pluralistic investigations of different ecological scales, since an emergent property of the ecosystem must be interpreted relative to changes in specific biodiversity components. These approaches to ecological studies need to be the products of appropriate questions focusing on biodiversity and ecosystem function, whereas much of the information on mangrove ecology has lacked clear testing of specific hypotheses. Nixon (1980) criticized the lack of hypothesis testing in approaches to study the ecology of marsh ecosystems, and this same analysis may be appropriate for mangrove ecology. In our review, we have relied on examples of how

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