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Mangrove community response to subsidence inflicted sea level change in Car Nicobar Island, India

  • Nehru Prabakaran

    Nehru Prabakaran is a DST-INSPIRE Faculty and scientist at Wildlife Institute of India since 2018. He holds a Ph.D. in Botany from Bharathiar University. He was a recipient of Leibniz-DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2014, Germany, and DST-INSPIRE Faculty Award, India 2018. He is a vegetation ecologist focusing primarily on ecosystem recovery following natural and anthropogenic disturbances. He currently studies the mangrove ecosystem responses to sea-level change and plant-soil feedback mechanisms.

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From the journal Botanica Marina


The inter-specific resilience among mangrove species to sea level rise (SLR) is a key to design conservation strategies for this economically important ecosystem that is among the most vulnerable to SLR. Tectonic processes can cause sudden increases or drops in sea level due to subsidence or uplift of the land surface, which can also provide insights for the mangrove community responses to rapid sea level change. This study aimed to investigate the responses of mangrove species to rapid SLR caused by land subsidence of 1.1 m during the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake at Car Nicobar Island. The Rhizophora spp. showed remarkable resilience to this rapid SLR, while the landward mangrove vegetation comprising Bruguiera spp., Lumnitzera spp., Sonneratia spp. etc., were unable to survive. Also, Rhizophora spp. establishment in the previous landward mangrove zones was more rapid than the landward mangrove species establishment in the previous terrestrial zones. The observed resilience of Rhizophora spp. may be due to the local specific geological legacy and species-specific ecological processes. However, further studies focusing on microcosm experiments to understand the Rhizophora spp. resilience to rapid SLR at the study site is required to strengthen these observations.

Corresponding author: Nehru Prabakaran,Wildlife Institute of India, 18, Chandrabani, Dehradun 248001, India, E-mail:

Funding source: Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Funding source: Leibniz-DAAD post-doctoral fellowship program

Award Identifier / Grant number: 91551252

Funding source: DST-INSPIRE Faculty award

Award Identifier / Grant number: IFA18-LSPA111

About the author

Nehru Prabakaran

Nehru Prabakaran is a DST-INSPIRE Faculty and scientist at Wildlife Institute of India since 2018. He holds a Ph.D. in Botany from Bharathiar University. He was a recipient of Leibniz-DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2014, Germany, and DST-INSPIRE Faculty Award, India 2018. He is a vegetation ecologist focusing primarily on ecosystem recovery following natural and anthropogenic disturbances. He currently studies the mangrove ecosystem responses to sea-level change and plant-soil feedback mechanisms.


The author is thankful to the Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar Islands for funding and the support during the fieldwork. I thank Balasubramanian Paramasivam for his encouragement. I am thankful to Ken Krauss, Daniel Friess, Catherine Lovelock and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on the earlier versions of the manuscript. I am grateful to Dominic Wodehouse for his language correction and comments on the manuscript. I am indebted to the Editor-in-Chief of Botanica Marina for his constructive comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

  1. Author contribution: The author has accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: The fieldwork was funded by the Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The author is thankful for the Leibniz-DAAD post-doctoral fellowship program & DST-INSPIRE Faculty award (IFA18-LSPA111) for the funding support during the manuscript writing.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The author declares no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Received: 2019-11-25
Accepted: 2020-06-30
Published Online: 2020-07-27
Published in Print: 2020-10-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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