Marine Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 6, pp 1103–1113 | Cite as

Inter-specific and geographical variations in the fatty acid composition of mangrove leaves: implications for using fatty acids as a taxonomic tool and tracers of organic matter

  • T. MezianeEmail author
  • S. Y. Lee
  • P. L. Mfilinge
  • P. K. S. Shin
  • M. H. W. Lam
  • M. Tsuchiya
Research Article


Fatty acid compositions of the leaves of six species of mangroves were studied to ascertain their use as biomarkers for determining the fate of mangrove organic matter in the habitat and as taxonomic tool. Mangrove leaves were collected from three locations in the western Pacific Ocean: Moreton Bay (MB) (Australia), Hong Kong (China) and Okinawa (Japan). In MB, samples were collected from two sites separated by 15 km: Logan River Estuary (LRE) and Jabiru Island. In addition, along the LRE, leaves were collected from five stations at ∼2–3 km apart. Results show that the analysis of the entire fatty acid profiles of the mangrove leaves is a promising taxonomic tool as the profiles of most species were sufficiently different to be separated in an non-metric multidimensional scaling plot. In addition, geographically separated populations of the same species could also be identified by their fatty acid profiles. In most cases, two non-ubiquitous groups of fatty acids dominated in the mangrove leaves: the polyunsaturated 18:2ω6 and 18:3ω3 and the long chain fatty acids (≥24:0). With respect to the relative contributions of these fatty acids, three groups of species were identified, in which one or both groups of fatty acids may potentially be used as markers of the mangrove organic matter in the estuarine environment.


Fatty Acid Composition Total Fatty Acid Fatty Acid Profile Mangrove Species Total Fatty Acid Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant to SYL and TM (DP0344546). We thank Ms Alice Ho for competent technical help in GC-MS analysis of the Hong Kong samples and two anonymous reviewers. Associate Professor Yujuan Chen (Zhongshan University, China) helped establishing some of the protocols for GC analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Meziane
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • S. Y. Lee
    • 2
  • P. L. Mfilinge
    • 3
  • P. K. S. Shin
    • 4
  • M. H. W. Lam
    • 4
  • M. Tsuchiya
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Aquatic Processes and PollutionGriffith University PMB 50 Gold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Aquatic Processes and Pollution and School of Environmental and Applied ScienceGriffith UniversityPMB 50 Gold CoastAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of the Ryukyus NishiharaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Biology and ChemistryCity University of Hong Kong KowloonChina
  5. 5.UMR-CNRS 5178, Biologie des Organismes Marins et Ecosystèmes, Département Milieux et Peuplements Aquatiques, MNHNParis cedex 05France

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