Restoration Affects Sexual Reproductive Capacity in a Salt Marsh
Plant sexual reproduction is an important driver of plant community maintenance, dispersal, and recovery from disturbance. Despite this, sexual reproduction in habitats dominated by clonally spreading perennial species, such as salt marshes, is often ignored. Communities dominated by long-lived perennial species can still depend on sexual reproduction for recolonizing large disturbed patches or for establishing in new patches, such as restored sites. We investigated the influence of restoration and elevation on flowering phenology, potential seed and seedling production, and insect flower damage of the dominant salt marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora, in reference and restored marshes in southeastern Louisiana, USA. We additionally tested whether elevation gradients or soil parameters could explain differences in sexual reproduction between sites. We demonstrate that sediment-slurry amendment restoration may not affect flowering phenology or insect flower damage at ecologically relevant levels, but that restoration activity increases sexual reproductive output at the patch scale. Restoration activity affected reproductive dynamics more often than changes in elevation alone. Restoration of subsiding salt marsh habitat by altering the soil environment may increase sexual reproductive capacity of these wetlands.
KeywordsSalt marsh Spartina alterniflora Sediment amendment restoration Sexual reproduction Seed germination Flower phenology
We would like to thank the Coastal Plant Ecology (J. Willis, M. McCoy) and Ecosystem Ecology (R. James, C. Laurenzano, J. Lesser, J. Nelson) labs at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, K. Rogers, and O. Chapman for field and lab assistance. B. Chiviou at the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center was instrumental in interpreting RTK data. Special thanks to L. Allain at the USGS WARC for starting us down the phenology path by lending us our first two time-lapse cameras, and to preliminary identification of Ischnodemus. V. Bayless at the LSU AgCenter identified I. conicus and provided copies of a genus-level key which was helpful. All data can be found at ScienceBase ( https://doi.org/10.5066/P9HQDP8O). Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government.
This research was partially funded by a grant to SFJ from the Ecology Center at ULL and the Society of Wetland Scientists.
- Bater, C.W., N.C. Coops, M.A. Wulder, T. Hilker, S.E. Nielsen, G. McDermid, and G.B. Stenhouse. 2011. Using digital time-lapse cameras to monitor species-specific understorey and overstorey phenology in support of wildlife habitat assessment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 180 (1-4): 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Blake, G.R., and K.H. Hartge. 1986. Bulk density. Methods of Soil Analysis: Part 1- Physical and Mineralogical Methods. 363–375Google Scholar
- Eleuterius, L.N., and J.D. Caldwell. 1984. Flowering phenology of tidal marsh plants in Mississippi. Castanea 1: 172–179.Google Scholar
- Fang, X. 2002. Reproductive biology of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora). LSU Master's Theses, 750.Google Scholar
- Feher, L.C., M.J. Osland, K.T. Griffith, J.B. Grace, R.J. Howard, C.L. Stagg, N.M. Enwright, K.W. Krauss, C.A. Gabler, R.H. Day, and K. Rogers. 2017. Linear and nonlinear effects of temperature and precipitation on ecosystem properties in tidal saline wetlands. Ecosphere 8 (10): e01956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fine, G. and G. Thomassie. 2000. Vermilion smooth cordgrass. NRCS Publication ID, 5830.Google Scholar
- Kettenring, K.M., M.K. McCormick, H.M. Baron, and D.F. Whigham. 2010. Phragmites australis (common reed) invasion in the Rhode River subestuary of the Chesapeake Bay: Disentangling the effects of foliar nutrients, genetic diversity, patch size, and seed viability. Estuaries and Coasts 33 (1): 118–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Mobberley, D.G. 1953. Taxonomy and distribution of the genus Spartina. Iowa State Dissertations, 12794.Google Scholar
- NOAA. 2016. Tides & Currents - Station Info. for Port Fourchon, Belle Pass, LA - Station ID: 8762075. https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/stationhome.html?id=8762075. Accessed May 2017.
- Pinheiro, J., D. Bates, S. DebRoy, D. Sarkar, and R Core Team. 2016. Nlme: Linear and nonlinear mixed effects models.Google Scholar
- R Core Team. 2016. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria.Google Scholar
- Schindelin, J., I. Arganda-Carreras, E. Frise, V. Kaynig, M. Longair, T. Pietzsch, S. Preibisch, C. Rueden, S. Saalfeld, B. Schmid, J.-Y. Tinevez, D. White, V. Hartenstein, K. Eliceiri, P. Tomancak, and A. Cardona. 2012. Fiji: An open-source platform for biological-image analysis. Nature Methods 9 (7): 676–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Slater, J.A. and R.M. Baranowski. 1990. Lygaeidae of Florida (Hemiptera: Heteroptera), in Florida Dept. Agric and Consumer Serv., Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas, Vol. 14, Div. Plant Industry, Gainesville, FL.Google Scholar
- Sokolov, I.M., X. Chen, R.M. Strecker, and L.M. Hooper-Bùi. 2018. An annotated list of Auchenorrhyncha and Heteroptera collected in the coastal salt marshes of the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana. Psyche: A Journal of Entomology 2018: 1808370.Google Scholar
- Zuur, A.F., E.N. Ieno, N.J. Walker, A.A. Saveliev, and G.M. Smith. 2009. Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. ed. Gail, M., K. Krickeberg, J.M. Samet, A. Tsiatis, and W. Wong. New York, NY: Spring Science and Business Media.Google Scholar