Salt marsh restoration practices based on the reintroduction of tides to hydrologically-altered wetlands may be hindered by a lack of specific knowledge regarding plant community response to environmental change. Since saltmarsh plant communities are controlled by physical stress tolerance and competition, we conducted a field experiment that measured effects of saltwater flooding and competitive interactions on plants as a guide for predicting habitat response to tidal restoration. Six plant species of New England salt marshes were studied: halophytes Spartina alterniflora, Spartina patens, and Juncus gerardii and brackish invasive species Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, and Lythrum salicaria. Plant shoots were transplanted across a gradient of three flooding and three salinity regimes and arranged into pair-wise competitive combinations. After one growing season, saltwater flooding was found to decrease transplant survival, biomass production, and/or relative growth for all species. Reduction in halophyte growth was largely due to increased flood duration; brackish species were most reduced by increased salinity. Interspecific competition also influenced species growth, although the short duration of the study may have weakened these effects. Transplants paired with S. alterniflora had reduced growth, but combinations with Juncus produced increased growth. Standardized factors of stress tolerance and relative competitive strength were derived for the six study species as a framework for understanding community-level changes in marshes. As an aid to resource managers, experimental results can be used to predict plant community response to existing and potential alterations in saltmarsh tidal hydrology.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 24 • No. 2