Brazil has one of the largest mangrove surfaces worldwide. Due to a wide latitudinal distribution, Brazilian mangroves can be found within a large range of environmental conditions. However, little attention has been given to the description of environmental variables driving the distribution of mangrove species in Brazil. In this study, we present a novel and unprecedented description of environmental conditions for all mangroves along the Brazilian coast focusing on species limits. We apply a descriptive statistics and data-driven approach using Self-Organizing Maps and we combine data from terrestrial and marine environmental geodatabases in a Geographical Information System. We evaluate 25 environmental variables (21 bioclimatic variables, three sea surface temperature derivates, and salinity). The results reveal three groups of correlated variables: (i) air temperature derivates and sea surface temperature derivates; (ii) air temperature, potential evapotranspiration and precipitation derivates; and (iii) precipitation derivates, aridity and salinity. Our results unveil new locations of extreme values of temperature and precipitation. We conclude that Rhizophora harrisonii
and Rhizophora racemosa
are more limited by precipitation and aridity and that they do not necessarily follow a latitudinal gradient. Our data also reveal that the lowest air temperatures of the coldest month are not necessarily found at the southernmost limits of mangroves in Brazil; instead they are localized at the Mesoregion of Vale do Itajaí. However, the minimum sea surface temperature drops gradually with higher latitudes in the Brazilian southern hemisphere and is probably a better indicator for the decrease of species at the latitudinal limits of mangroves than the air temperature and precipitation.
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