108 Unraveling the spectral and biochemical response of mangroves to oil spills and biotic stressors

Rodrigues F.H., de Souza Filho C.R., Scafutto R.D.M., Lassalle G. (2024) Environmental Pollution, 348, art. no. 123832, DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2024.123832

ABSTRACT: Mangroves are prone to biotic and abiotic stressors of natural and anthropogenic origin, of which oil pollution is one of the most harmful. Yet the response of mangrove species to acute and chronic oil exposure, as well as to other stressors, remains barely documented. In this study, a non-destructive, non-invasive approach based on field spectroscopy is proposed to unravel these responses. The approach relies on tracking alterations in foliar traits (pigments, sugars, phenols, and specific leaf area) from reflectance data in the 400–2400 nm spectral range. Three mangrove species hit by two of the most notorious oil spills in Brazilian history (1983 and 2019) and various biotic stressors, including grazing, parasitism, and fungal disease, were investigated through field spectroscopy and machine learning. This study reveals strong intra- and interspecific variability of mangrove’s spectral and biochemical responses to oil pollution. Trees undergoing acute exposure to oil showed stronger alterations of foliar traits than the chronically exposed ones. Alterations induced by biotic stressors such as parasitism, disease, and grazing were successfully discriminated from those of oil for all species based on Linear Discriminant Analysis (Overall Accuracy ≥76.40% and Kappa ≥0.70). Leaf chlorophyll, phenol, and starch contents were identified as the most relevant traits in stressor discrimination. The study highlights that oil spills affect mangroves uniquely, both acutely and chronically, threatening their global conservation.

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