Plant Ecology

, Volume 214, Issue 7, pp 917–928 | Cite as

Plant responses to increased inundation and salt exposure: interactive effects on tidal marsh productivity

Article

Abstract

Flooding and high salinity generally induce physiological stress in wetland vascular plants which may increase in intensity with sea-level rise (SLR). We tested the effects of these factors on seedling growth in a transplant experiment in a macrotidal estuary in the Pacific Northwest. Seven common wetland species were grown at mean higher high water (MHHW, a typical mid-marsh elevation), and at 25 and 50 cm below MHHW in oligohaline, mesohaline, and polyhaline marshes. Increased flooding reduced shoot and root growth in all species, including those typically found at middle or lower tidal elevations. It also generally disproportionately reduced root biomass. For more sensitive species, biomass declined by >50 % at only 25 cm below MHHW at the oligohaline site. Plant growth was also strongly reduced under polyhaline conditions relative to the less saline sites. By combining inundation and salinity time-series measurements we estimated a salt exposure index for each site by elevation treatment. Higher values of the index were associated with lower root and shoot biomass for all species and a relatively greater loss of below-ground than above-ground production in most species. Our results suggest that inundation and salinity stress individually and (often) interactively reduce productivity across a suite of common marsh species. As relative SLR increases the intensity of stress on coastal marsh plants, negative effects on biomass may occur across a range of species and especially on below-ground production.

Keywords

Biomass Ecosystem function Physiological stress Salinity Sea-level rise Submergence 

Supplementary material

11258_2013_218_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (441 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 442 kb)
11258_2013_218_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (218 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 218 kb)
11258_2013_218_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (238 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 238 kb)
11258_2013_218_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (208 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 209 kb)

References

  1. Baldwin AH, Egnotovich MS, Clarke E (2001) Hydrologic change and vegetation of tidal freshwater marshes: field, greenhouse, and seed-bank experiments. Wetlands 21:519–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertness MD, Ellison AM (1987) Determinants of pattern in a New England salt marsh plant community. Ecol Monogr 57:129–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blom CWPM, Voesenek LACJ (1996) Flooding: the survival strategies of plants. Trends Ecol Evol 11:290–295PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cherry JA, McKee KL, Grace JB (2009) Elevated CO2 enhances biological contributions to elevation change in coastal wetlands by offsetting stressors associated with sea-level rise. J Ecol 97:67–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chmura GL, Anisfeld SC, Cahoon DR, Lynch JC (2003) Global carbon sequestration in tidal, saline wetland soils. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 17(4):1111. doi:10.1029/2002GB001917 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colmer TD, Voesenek LAJC (2009) Flooding tolerance: suites of plant traits in variable environments. Funct Plant Biol 36:665–681. doi:10.1071/FP09144 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Darby FA, Turner RE (2008) Effects of eutrophication on salt marsh root and rhizome biomass accumulation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 363:63–70. doi:10.3354/meps07423 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deegan LA, Johnson DS, Warren RS, Peterson BJ, Fleeger JW, Fagherazzi S, Wollheim WM (2012) Coastal eutrophication as a driver of salt marsh loss. Nature 490:388–392. doi:10.1038/nature11533 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Engels JG, Rink F, Jensen K (2011) Stress tolerance and biotic interactions determine plant zonation patterns in estuarine marshes during seedling emergence and early establishment. J Ecol 99:277–287. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01745.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gorham J, Wyn Jones RG, McDonnell E (1985) Some mechanisms of salt tolerance in crop plants. Plant Soil 89:15–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gough L, Grace JB (1998) Effects of flooding, salinity and herbivory on coastal plant communities, Louisiana, United States. Oecologia 117:527–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guo H, Pennings SC (2012) Mechanisms mediating plant distributions across estuarine landscapes in a low-latitude tidal estuary. Ecology 93:90–100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haines BL, Dunn EL (1976) Growth and resource allocation responses of Spartina alterniflora Loisel. to three levels of NH4–N, Fe, and NaCl in solution culture. Bot Gaz 137:224–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hester MW, Mendelssohn IA, McKee KL (2001) Species and population variation to salinity stress in Panicum hemitomon, Spartina patens, and Spartina alterniflora: morphological and physiological constraints. Environ Exp Bot 46:277–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Howard RJ, Mendelssohn IA (2000) Structure and composition of oligohaline marsh plant communities exposed to salinity pulses. Aquat Bot 68:143–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Janousek CN, Folger CF (2012) Patterns of distribution and environmental correlates of macroalgal assemblages and sediment chlorophyll a in Oregon tidal wetlands. J Phycol 48:1448–1457. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2012.01228.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kirwan ML, Guntenspergen GR (2012) Feedbacks between inundation, root production, and shoot growth in a rapidly submerging brackish marsh. J Ecol 100:764–770. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01957.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koch MS, Mendelssohn IA, McKee KL (1990) Mechanism for the hydrogen sulfide-induced growth limitation in wetland macrophytes. Limnol Oceanogr 35:399–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Konisky RA, Burdick DM (2004) Effects of stressors on invasive and halophytic plants of New England salt marshes: a framework for predicting response to tidal restoration. Wetlands 24:434–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lamers LPM, Tomassen HBM, Roelofs JGM (1998) Sulfate-induced eutrophication and phytotoxicity in freshwater wetlands. Environ Sci Technol 32:199–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Langley JA, Mozdzer TJ, Shepard KA, Hagerty SB, Megonigal JP (2013) Tidal marsh plant responses to elevated CO2, nitrogen fertilization, and sea level rise. Glob Chang Biol 19:1495–1503. doi:10.1111/gcb.12147 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li H, Yang SL (2009) Trapping effect of tidal marsh vegetation on suspended sediment, Yangtze Delta. J Coast Res 25:915–924. doi:10.2112/08-1010.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McKee KL, Mendelssohn IA (1989) Response of a freshwater marsh plant community to increased salinity and increased water level. Aquat Bot 34:301–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morris JT, Sundareshwar PV, Nietch CT, Kjerfve B, Cahoon DR (2002) Responses of coastal wetlands to rising sea level. Ecology 83:2869–2877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nicholls RJ, Cazenave A (2010) Sea-level rise and its impact on coastal zones. Science 328:1517–1520. doi:10.1126/science.1185782 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nyman JA, Walters RJ, Delaune RD, Patrick WH Jr (2006) Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 69:370–380. doi:10.1016/j.ecss2006.05.041 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Parker VT, Callaway JC, Schile LM, Vasey MC, Herbert ER (2011) Climate change and San Francisco Bay-Delta tidal wetlands. San Franc Estuary Watershed Sci 9:1–15Google Scholar
  28. Parrondo RT, Gosselink JG, Hopkinson CS (1978) Effects of salinity and drainage on the growth of three salt marsh grasses. Bot Gaz 139:102–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pearcy RW, Ustin SL (1984) Effects of salinity on growth and photosynthesis of three California tidal marsh species. Oecologia 62:68–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pennings SC, Grant M-B, Bertness MD (2005) Plant zonation in low-latitude salt marshes: disentangling the roles of flooding, salinity and competition. J Ecol 93:159–167. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2004.00959.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pidwirny MJ (1990) Plant zonation in a brackish tidal marsh: descriptive verification of resource-based competition and community structure. Can J Bot 68:1689–1697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Por FD (1972) Hydrological notes on the high-salinity water of the Sinai Peninsula. Mar Biol 14:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. R Development Core Team (2012) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  34. Rozema J, Blom B (1977) Effects of salinity and inundation on the growth of Agrostis stolonifera and Juncus gerardii. J Ecol 65:213–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Spalding EA, Hester MW (2007) Interactive effects of hydrology and salinity on oligohaline plant species productivity: implications of relative sea-level rise. Estuaries Coasts 30:214–225Google Scholar
  36. Stralberg D, Brennan M, Callaway JC, Wood JK, Schile LM, Jongsomjit D, Kelly M, Parker VT, Crooks S (2011) Evaluating tidal marsh sustainability in the face of sea-level rise: a hybrid modeling approach applied to San Francisco Bay. PLoS ONE 6:e27388. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027388 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tilman D (1988) Plant strategies and the dynamics and structure of plant communities. Monographs in population biology 26. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  38. Voss CM, Christian RR, Morris JT (2013) Marsh macrophyte responses to inundation anticipate impacts of sea-level rise and indicate ongoing drowning of North Carolina marshes. Mar Biol 160:181–194. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2076-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wainright SC, Weinstein MP, Able KW, Currin CA (2000) Relative importance of benthic microalgae, phytoplankton and the detritus of smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora and the common reed Phragmites australis to brackish-marsh food webs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 200:77–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wang CH, Lu M, Tang B, Yang Q, Zhang XD, Hara T, Li B (2010) Effects of environmental gradients on the performances of four dominant plants in a Chinese saltmarsh: implications for plant zonation. Ecol Res 25:347–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Webb EC, Mendelssohn IA (1996) Factors affecting vegetation dieback of an oligohaline marsh in coastal Louisiana: field manipulation of salinity and submergence. Am J Bot 83:1429–1434CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (outside the USA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Ecology DivisionUS Environmental Protection AgencyNewportUSA
  2. 2.Juniata CollegeHuntingdonUSA

Personalised recommendations