Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 107–116 | Cite as

The ecological adaptability of Phragmites australis to interactive effects of water level and salt stress in the Yellow River Delta

  • Bo Guan
  • Junbao Yu
  • Aixin Hou
  • Guangxuan Han
  • Guangmei Wang
  • Fanzhu Qu
  • Jiangbao Xia
  • Xuehong Wang


Soil salinity and waterlogging are two major environmental problems in estuarine wetlands. To prevent the typical wetland plants from degradation by soil salinization and salt waterlogging and more effectively use the plants to provide wetland ecosystem services, we examined the ecological adaptability of Phragmites australis, a characteristic plant species in the Yellow River Delta, to the interactive effects of water level and salt stress. The results showed that P. australis adapts to salt and water table stressed environments through slowing down the growth rate, maintaining the tiller number, and adjusting the biomass allocation of different organs. The highest plant height and the largest leaf area were at 0 cm water table treatment; the 0.5 % NaCl treatment increased the aboveground biomass; higher water table increased the fibrous root biomass allocation, but largely decreased the leaf biomass. The exclusion of toxic inorganic ions such as Na+ and Cl and the accumulation of organic solutes are also important mechanisms to aid survival in saline wetlands. On average 35.1 % of Cl and 53.9 % of Na+ accumulated in belowground organs. The study could provide fundamental guidance for wetland restoration projects and wetland sustainable use in coastal zones such as the Yellow River Delta.


Phragmites australis Ion content Biomass Salt stress Water table 



We thank the Editor and two anonymous reviewers of this paper for their critical and helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. We are grateful for support from the Project of the Cultivation Plan of Superior Discipline Talent Teams of Universities in Shandong Province: “the Coastal Resources and Environment team for Blue-Yellow Area,” the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31300325 and 41301052), the Program of Science and Technology Service Network Initiative, Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KFJ-EW-STS-127). We extend our thanks to Dr. Jingtao Liu, Dr. Wenjun Xie, Dr. Jingkuan Sun and Dr. Ximei Zhao for their helpful work during this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (YIC)Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)YantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Environmental ProcessesYICCASYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Resource and Environmental Engineering EcologyLudong UniversityYantaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Environmental SciencesCollege of the Coast and Environment, Louisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  5. 5.Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences Yellow River DeltaBinzhou UniversityBinzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  6. 6.Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agricultural EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunPeople’s Republic of China

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