Belowground productivity of mangrove forests in southwest florida

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A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in The Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

by Beatriz Giraldo Sánchez B.S., Universidad Del Valle, 1995 December2005


To my daughters, Maria del Mar and Estefania Beatriz, my motivation and inspiration.

Thanks God for blessing me during this journey….


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like specially thanks to my major professor, Dr. Karen Lee McKee, for all her unconditional support, valuable guidance, encouragement, and financial assistance during all these years in the doctorateprogram. I also would like to thank the co-chair of my committee, Dr. Irving Mendelssohn, and the other committee members, Dr. Ken Damann, Dr. John W. Day, Dr. James Geaghan, Dr. Michael Wascom for their support, suggestions, and corrections that were valuable for the completion of this dissertation. I would like to thank Colciencias (Instituto Colombiano para la Ciencia y la Tecnologia, Franscisco Josede Caldas) for contributing to the fulfillment of my studies through a fellowship program supported by the Colombian government that provided me with full financial assistance during four years. Fellowship that was administered by Laspau (Academic and Professional programs for the Americas) here in the United States. I also would like to acknowledge financial assistance from the U.S. GeologicalSurvey through the National Wetlands Research Center, at Lafayette, the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (DOCS), and the Wetland Biogeochemistry Institute (WBI) at LSU that contributed to the culmination of my studies. I want to thank faculty members at DOCS and WBI, Dr. Laurence Rouse, Dr. Robert Twilley, Dr. Robert Gambrell, Dr. Brian Fry, Dr. William Patrick, Dr. Ron DeLaune, Dr.Chuck Wilson, and Aroon Jugsujinda for their support to finish my studies successfully. I also would like to thank Dr. Moser for helping with statistic analysis of my greenhouse data. I want to thank the staff at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (RBNERR), for allowing me to conduct my field research in that area. Thanks to the department of Residential Life at LSU, especially LoriPattersson, for whom I received much support during four years that I worked for her. I also would like to thank Dr. Leonor Botero for her encouragement to get in the doctorate program.


I want to thank Dr. McKee’s research group, especially Andrea Anteau for providing me fieldwork and lab assistance. Thanks to Patti Faulkner and Ellen Travis, for helping me with lab analyses, and alsoTara Martinez, and Kara Knott, and Michael Mumma for helping me weighting root samples. I also would like to acknowledge the fieldwork assistance from my mom, Lucila Sánchez, my sister Maritza Sánchez, my cousin Bryan Dauqui, and my friend Oscar David, who motivated by their love accepted my invitation to get in a mangrove forest. Also, I want to thank my graduate fellows for their friendship andsupport specially Edward Castañeda, Pablo Cardona, Carlos Coronado, Patricia Delgado, Philipp Hensel, Jim Pahl, and Whitney Broussard. I want to especially thank my husband Guillermo Duque, with whom I walked a long way following our dreams, even though we got lost down the road. Also especial thanks to my daughters, Maria del Mar and Estefania Beatriz, for their unconditional love that kept mestrong at times I needed. Thanks to my mom, Lucila Sánchez, for teaching me much about life, which has been a blessing for me, especially during hard times, and to my Dad, Jairo Giraldo, for being supportive and always there for me. Thanks to my grandma, Alba Leonor, whose love and strength brings me joy. Thanks to my oldest sister, Claudia, her husband, Julian, and my nephew, Miguel Angel for their...
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