, 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


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.


Avicennia germinans Leaf demography Leaf production rate Mangroves Salinity 



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


  1. Ackerly DD, Bazzaz FA (1995) Leaf dynamics, self-shading, and carbon gain in seedlings of a tropical pioneer tree. Oecologia 101:289–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ball MC (1988) Salinity tolerance in the mangroves Aegiceras corniculatum and Avicennia marina. I. Water use in relation to growth, carbon partitioning, and salt balance. Aust J Plant Physiol 15:447–464Google Scholar
  3. Ball MC, Pidsley SM (1995) Growth responses to salinity in relation to distribution of two mangrove species, Sonneratia alba and S. lanceolata, in northern Australia. Funct Ecol 9:77–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burchett MD, Clarke CJ, Field CD, Pulkownik A (1989) Growth and respiration in two mangrove species at a ranges of salinities. Physiol Plant 75:299–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Casper BB, Forseth IN, Kempenich H, Seltzer S, Xavier K (2001) Drought prolongs leaf life span in the herbaceous desert perennial Cryptantha flava. Funct Ecol 15:740–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chabot BF, Hicks DJ (1982) The ecology of leaf life spans. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 13:229–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clough BF (1984) Growth and salt balance of the mangroves Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. and Rhizophora stylosa Griff. in relation to salinity. Aust J Plant Physiol 11:419–430Google Scholar
  8. Clough BF, Andrews TJ, Cowan IR (1982) Physiological processes in mangroves. In: Clough BF (ed) Mangrove ecosystems in Australia. Structure, function, and management. Australian National Press, Canberra, pp 193–210Google Scholar
  9. Cram WJ, Torr PG, Rose DA (2002) Salt allocation during leaf development and leaf fall in mangroves. Trees 16:112–119Google Scholar
  10. Downton WJS (1982) Growth and osmotic relation of the mangrove Avicennia marina as influenced by salinity. Aust J Plant Physiol 9:519–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans GC (1972) The quantitative analysis of plant growth. Studies in Ecology, vol 1. Blackwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Greenway H, Munns R (1980) Mechanisms of salt tolerance in nonhalophytes. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Mol Biol 31:149–190Google Scholar
  13. Hunt R, Causton DR, Shipley B, Askew AP (2002) A modern tool for classical plant growth analysis. Ann Bot 90:485–488CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. James KR, Hart BT (1993) Effect of salinity on four freshwater macrophytes. Aust J Mar Freshwater Res 44:769–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jefferies RL, Rudmik T (1991) Growth, reproduction, and resource allocation in halophytes. Aquat Bot 39:3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McMillan C (1974) Salt tolerance of mangroves and submerged aquatic plants. In: Reimold RJ, Queen WH (eds) Ecology of halophytes. Academic, New York, pp 379–390Google Scholar
  17. Medina E, Francisco M (1997) Osmolality and δ13C of leaf tissue of mangrove species from environments of contrasting rainfall and salinity. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 45:337–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Meyer RF, Boyer JS (1972) Sensitivity of cell division and cell elongation to low water potentials in soybean hypocotyls. Planta 108:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Munns R, Passioura JB (1984) Effect of prolonged exposure to NaCl on the osmotic pressure of leaf xylem sap from intact, transpiring barley plants. Aust J Plant Physiol 11:497–507Google Scholar
  20. Munns R, Termaat A (1986) Whole-plant responses to salinity. Aust J Plant Physiol 13:143–160Google Scholar
  21. Naidoo G (1986) Responses of the mangrove Rhizophora mucronata to high salinities and low osmotic potentials. S Afr J Bot 52:124–128Google Scholar
  22. Pannier F (1959) El efecto de distintas concentraciones salinas sobre el desarrollo de Rhizophora mangle L. Acta Cient Venez 10:68–78Google Scholar
  23. Pezeshki SR, De Laune RD, Patrick WH Jr (1990) Differential response of selected mangroves to soil flooding and salinity: gas exchange and biomass partitioning. Can J For Res 20:869–874Google Scholar
  24. Rawson HM, Munns R (1984) Leaf expansion in sunflower as influenced by salinity and short-term changes in carbon fixation. Plant Cell Environ 7:207–213Google Scholar
  25. Reich PB, Uhl C, Walters MB, Ellsworth DS (1992) Leaf lifespan as a determinant of leaf structure and function among 23 amazonian tree species. Oecologia 86:16–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sheil D, Burslem DFRP, Alder D (1995) The interpretation and misinterpretation of mortality rate measures. J Ecol 83:331–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sobrado MA (1999) Leaf photosynthesis of the mangrove Avicennia germinans as affected by NaCl. Photosynthetica 13:125–130Google Scholar
  28. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1969) Biometry. WH Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  29. Srivastava DS, Jefferies RL (1995) The effect of salinity on the leaf and shoot demography of two arctic forage species. J Ecol 83:421–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Suárez N, Sobrado MA, Medina E (1998) Salinity effects on the leaf water relations components and ion accumulation patterns in Avicennia germinans (L.) L. seedlings. Oecologia 114:299–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Warwick NWM, Bailey PCE (1998) The effect of time of exposure to NaCl on leaf demography and growth for two non-halophytic wetland macrophytes, Potamogeton tricarinatus F Muell and A Benn ex A. Benn and Triglochin procera R. Br. Aquat Bot 62:19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Werner A, Stelzer R (1990) Physiological responses of the mangrove Rhizophora mangle grown in the absence and presence of NaCl. Plant Cell Environ 13:243–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wium-Andersen S, Christensen B (1978) Seasonal growth of mangrove trees in southern Thailand. 2. Phenology of Bruguiera cylindrical, Ceriops tagal, Lumnitzera littorea, and Avicennia marina. Aquat Bot 5:383–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations