Salinity as a constraint on growth of oligohaline marsh macrophytes. II. Salt pulses and recovery potential
The ability of common oligohaline marsh macrophytes of the northern Gulf of Mexico coast to recover from pulses of increased salinity was investigated in a greenhouse experiment with Eleocharis palustris, Panicum hemitomon, Sagittaria lancifolia, and Scirpus americanus monocultures. Components of salinity pulses applied were final salinity reached (6 or 12 g/L), salinity influx rate (3 d or 3 wk), and duration of exposure (1, 2, or 3 mo). After each exposure period, we placed plants into freshwater until the end of the 120-d experiment to determine recovery potential. The four species varied in their ability to recover from the salinity pulses. Within a species, recovery varied with final salinity level and duration of exposure, and to a lesser extent with salinity influx rate. Scirpus americanus, growth of which was stimulated by <3 mo of exposure to 6 g/L, was able to recover even under the most extreme conditions of exposure to 12 g/L salinity for 3 mo. Ability to recover decreased with increased salinity and increased duration of exposure for the remaining three species. Recovery of specific aspects of growth was also suppressed in these species by a rapid salinity influx rate compared to a slow influx rate. The complex variations in recovery patterns displayed by the different species may lead to changes in species dominance following the short-term salinity pulses that can occur during storm events, which in turn may affect marsh plant community composition and structure.
|Salinity as a constraint on growth of oligohaline marsh macrophytes. II. Salt pulses and recovery potential
|R.J. Howard, I.A. Mendelssohn
|American Journal of Botany
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|National Wetlands Research Center; Wetland and Aquatic Research Center