, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 180–191

Relationship between aboveground and belowground biomass ofSpartina alterniflora (Smooth Cordgrass)


  • Michael F. Gross
    • College of Marine StudiesUniversity of Delaware
  • Michael A. Hardisky
    • Biology DepartmentUniversity of Scranton
  • Paul L. Wolf
    • Biology DepartmentLebanon Valley College
  • Vytautas Klemas
    • College of Marine StudiesUniversity of Delaware

DOI: 10.2307/1351692

Cite this article as:
Gross, M.F., Hardisky, M.A., Wolf, P.L. et al. Estuaries (1991) 14: 180. doi:10.2307/1351692


Aboveground and belowground biomass ofSpartina alterniflora were harvested during the period of peak aerial biomass from six sites along a latitudinal gradient ranging from Georgia to Nova Scotia. An equation relating live aboveground to live belowground biomass for short-form plants was formulated, using data collected in Delaware marshes. When data from the other sites were substituted into the equation, the mean live belowground biomass it predicted was within 15% of the value determined by harvesting at four of the five sites. At all sites, short-form plant live belowground biomass was concentrated in the upper 10 cm. Dead belowground biomass was located mostly in the top 15 cm in southern marshes, but was more evenly distributed with depth in northern marshes. Results were more ambiguous for tall-form plants, probably because of greater spatial variability in biomass distribution, and greater seasonal biomass dynamics.

Copyright information

© Estuarine Research Federation 1991