Population dynamics of annual Salicornia species in the tidal salt marshes of the Oosterschelde, The Netherlands
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The population dynamics of two Salicornia species from the Bergen op Zoom salt marsh (south-west Netherlands) was examined. Based on the results of several field studies three preliminary life tables were constructed, two for S. procumbens agg. populations growing respectively on the mud flats and in the salt marsh, and one for S. europaea agg. living in the upper marsh.
The life cycles are described and quantified in terms of eight phases and the transition probabilities between them, starting from a notional individual representative of each population.
The models depicting the life cycle of S. procumbens show a mean offspring number of 4.26 individuals per parent for the mud-flat population and 0.18 for the salt-marsh population. The S. europaea model gives an output of 0.44 individuals per parent. These results reflect the fluctuations in population size observed in sample plots over the years 1976–78.
Comparison of the transition probabilities reveals that on the mud flats most S. procumbens individuals die during pollination and seed germination, while the population in the salt marsh proper is thinned especially during the seed phase in winter time and during the growth from established seedlings to maturation. S. europaea behaves in a similar but less pronounced way to S. procumbens in the salt marsh.
Probabilities for one flower or one seed to produce a mature flowering plant were calculated, and were compared with those found in the literature. They are roughly of the same order of magnitude as the probabilities for other annual species, but much higher than those reported for biennial species.
KeywordsLife-table Population dynamics Salicornia Salt marsh
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