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Authors van Regteren, M; Amptmeijer, D; de Groot, AV; Baptist, MJ; Elschot, K
Author Full Name van Regteren, M.; Amptmeijer, D.; de Groot, A. V.; Baptist, M. J.; Elschot, K.
Title Where does the salt marsh start? Field-based evidence for the lack of a transitional area between a gradually sloping intertidal flat and salt marsh
Source ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords Benthic community; Vegetation establishment; Seed limitation; Oxygen; Salt marsh expansion
Keywords Plus SPARTINA-ANGLICA; BENTHIC INVERTEBRATES; SEED DISPERSAL; SEDIMENT; VEGETATION; ELEVATION; DYNAMICS; MUDFLAT; COLONIZATION; SUITABILITY
Abstract Salt marshes are vegetated ecosystems between land and sea, hosting unique plant and animal communities, contributing to crucial habitats for birds and providing numerous other ecosystem services. They form a sustainable nature-based coastal protection, and its protective value increases with the width of the system. Salt marshes and their adjoining tidal flats are often studied separately. At present, there is a lack of studies that describe the features of these two systems in unison and in relation to each other. This study descriptively assesses an array of abiotic and biotic variables that potentially affect successful vegetation establishment. Unfavourable soil conditions may limit establishment as well as bioturbation of infauna. This is related to the marsh expansion potential and could aid in salt marsh restoration and marsh growth stimulation projects. In a naturally developing salt marsh, we sampled the elevation gradient from the tidal flat to the low marsh for benthic species composition, plant seed availability and abiotic variables. The abundance of benthos was highest landwards of the transition zone, in the pioneer zone. Distinct meiobenthic groups occurred in the different zones along the tidal flat to low marsh gradient, but macrobenthos was largely absent from the muddy soil. In the sparsely vegetated transition zone, the abundance of salt-marsh seeds was low, similar to the tidal flat. It suggests that, even though a seed source was in proximity, seed availability in spring was insufficient to achieve lateral marsh expansion. Clustering and nMDS analyses showed that an identifiable transition zone was lacking. The transition zone resembled the bare tidal flat in terms of its abiotic and biotic conditions. This was mainly driven by significant changes in soil oxygenation and seed availability.
Author Address [van Regteren, M.; de Groot, A. V.; Baptist, M. J.; Elschot, K.] Wageningen Univ & Res, Wageningen Marine Res, Ankerpk 27, NL-1781 AG Den Helder, Netherlands; [Amptmeijer, D.] Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Max Planck Str 1, D-21052 Geesthacht, Germany; [van Regteren, M.; Baptist, M. J.] Wageningen Univ & Res, Environm Sci Grp, Postbus 47, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands
Reprint Address van Regteren, M (corresponding author), Wageningen Marine Res, Ankerpk 27, NL-1781 AG Den Helder, Netherlands.
E-mail Address marin.vanregteren@wur.nl
Funding Agency and Grant Number Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) [13888]; EcoShape: Building with Nature and Waddenfonds; Fryske Gea
Funding Text This work is part of the research program 'Sediment for salt marshes: physical and ecological aspects of a Mud Motor', which is partly financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) with project number 13888. This research received co-funding from EcoShape: Building with Nature and Waddenfonds. Access to the field site was granted by It Fryske Gea. The following students: Kimberley Fowler, Elora de Grijs, Rick Morks, Laura Sandifort and Sanne Schellekens were of great help in sorting the benthos and seed samples. We owe our strong appreciation to Matty P. Berg for his help with springtail identification and to Ton van Haaren for his guidance on oligochaete identification. We are grateful to Anastasia O'Donoghue and Marinka E. B. van Puijenbroek for valuable comments on the text.
Publisher ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Publisher City LONDON
Publisher Address 24-28 OVAL RD, LONDON NW1 7DX, ENGLAND
ISSN 0272-7714
29-Character Source Abbreviation ESTUAR COAST SHELF S
ISO Source Abbreviation Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci.
Publication Date SEP 30
Year Published 2020
Volume 243
Article Number 106909
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106909
Page Count 11
Web of Science Category Marine & Freshwater Biology; Oceanography
Subject Category Marine & Freshwater Biology; Oceanography
Document Delivery Number NQ9WD
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000571215800004
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