Plant and Soil

, Volume 380, Issue 1–2, pp 399–413 | Cite as

Increasing fluctuations of soil salinity affect seedling growth performances and physiology in three Neotropical mangrove species

  • Felix Bompy
  • Gauthier Lequeue
  • Daniel Imbert
  • Maguy Dulormne
Regular Article



Micro-tidal wetlands are subject to strong seasonal variations of soil salinity that are likely to increase in amplitude according to climate model predictions for the Caribbean. Whereas the effects of constant salinity levels on the physiology of mangrove species have been widely tested, little is known about acclimation to fluctuations in salinity.

Aims and methods

The aim of this experiment was to characterize the consequences of the rate of increase in salinity (slow versus fast) and salinity fluctuations over time versus constant salt level. Seedling mortality, growth, and leaf gas exchange of three mangrove species, Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa, and Rhizophora mangle were investigated in semicontrolled conditions at different salt levels (0, 685, 1025, and 1370 mM NaCl).


Slow salinity increase up to 685 mM induced acclimation, improving the salt tolerance of A. germinans and L. racemosa, but had no effect on R. mangle. During fluctuations between 0 and 685 mM, A. germinans and R. mangle were not affected by a salinity drop to zero, whereas L. racemosa took advantage of the brief freshwater episode as shown by the durable improvement of photosynthesis and biomass production.


This study provides new insights into physiological resistance and acclimation to salt stress. We show that seasonal variations of salinity may affect mangrove seedlings’ morphology and physiology as much as annual mean salinity. Moreover, more severe dry seasons due to climate change may impact tree stature and species composition in mangroves through higher mortality rates and physiological disturbance at the seedling stage.


Acclimation Avicennia germinans Hypersalinity Laguncularia racemosa Leaf gas exchange Rhizophora mangle Salt stress 

Supplementary material

11104_2014_2100_MOESM1_ESM.docx (84 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 83 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Bompy
    • 1
  • Gauthier Lequeue
    • 1
  • Daniel Imbert
    • 1
  • Maguy Dulormne
    • 1
  1. 1.EA 926 DYNECAR, UFR des Sciences Exactes et NaturellesUniversité des Antilles et de la GuyanePointe-à-Pitre cedexFrance

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