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, 19:722 | Cite as

Salinity effect on plant growth and leaf demography of the mangrove, Avicennia germinans L.

  • N. SuárezEmail author
  • E. Medina
Original Article

Abstract

We assessed the effect of salinity on plant growth and leaf expansion rates, as well as the leaf life span and the dynamics of leaf production and mortality in seedlings of Avicennia germinans L. grown at 0, 170, 430, 680, and 940 mol m−3 NaCl. The relative growth rates (RGR) after 27 weeks reached a maximum (10.4 mg g−1 d−1) in 170 mol m−3 NaCl and decreased by 47 and 44% in plants grown at 680 and 940 mol m−3 NaCl. The relative leaf expansion rate (RLER) was maximal at 170 mol m−3 NaCl (120 cm m−2 d−1) and decreased by 57 and 52% in plants grown at 680 and 940 mol m−3 NaCl, respectively. In the same manner as RGR and RLER, the leaf production (P) and leaf death (D) decreased in 81 and 67% when salinity increased from 170 to 940 mol m−3 NaCl, respectively. Since the decrease in P with salinity was more pronounced than the decrease in D, the net accumulation of leaves per plant decreased with salinity. Additionally, an evident increase in annual mortality rates (λ) and death probability was observed with salinity. Leaf half-life (t 0.5) was 425 days in plants grown at 0 mol m−3 NaCl, and decreased to 75 days at 940 mol m−3 NaCl. Thus, increasing salinity caused an increase in mortality rate whereas production of new leaves and leaf longevity decreased and, finally, the leaf area was reduced.

Keywords

Avicennia germinans Leaf demography Leaf production rate Mangroves Salinity 

Notes

Acknowledgements

To CONICIT for providing NS with a Ph.D. fellowship. Financial support for this work was provided by IVIC and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (USDA-Forest Service). I am grateful to editor, anonymous referees, and Prof. MA Sobrado for helpful suggestions to improve this manuscript

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Ecofisiología VegetalInstituto Venezolano de Investigaciones CientíficasCaracasVenezuela
  2. 2.Present Address: Departamento de Biología de OrganismosUniversidad Simón BolívarCaracasVenezuela

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