We studied the microbial flora in decomposing mangrove leaves in relation to changes in nitrogen and tannin levels, and in penaeid prawn assemblages. Senescent leaves of two mangrove species (Rhizophora apiculata and Avicennia marina) kept in nylon bags, were separately immersed for 80 days in five tanks full of mangrove water. A known amount of decomposing leaves was collected every ten days from each tank for microorganism counts, total nitrogen and tannin measurement, and juvenile penaeid prawn counts. Five genera of total heterotrophic bacteria (THB), three species of azotobacters and 19 species of fungi were identified. The azotobacters showed a significant peak around 40-50 days after the beginning of of decomposition, similar to the trend for total nitrogen and for prawn assemblages.
Keywords: Rhizophora, Avicennia, hojarasca, microorganismos, descomposición, Azotobacter, litter, microbes, decomposition