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Authors White, SN; Alber, M
Author Full Name White, Susan N.; Alber, Merryl
Title DROUGHT-ASSOCIATED SHIFTS IN SPARTINA ALTERNIFLORA AND S-CYNOSUROIDES IN THE ALTAMAHA RIVER ESTUARY
Source WETLANDS
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords coastal indicators; freshwater inflow; salinity; vegetation; water resource management
Keywords Plus SALT-MARSH DIEBACK; TIDAL FRESH-WATER; PLANT ZONATION; VEGETATION; SALINITY; IMPACT
Abstract In estuarine systems, informed water resource management decisions rely, in part, on evaluating how changes in freshwater inflow and salinity affect a selected management target (i.e., habitat or organismal changes). This study examined the distribution or Spartina alterniflora and S. cynosuriodes species along the Altamaha River estuary in Georgia in association with an extensive drought, during which time freshwater inflow decreased considerably and salty water encroached into previously brackish areas. Bankside vegetation was surveyed along the length of the estuary at the beginning and end of the drought (2000, 2002), and again in 2004 after flows had increased. In addition, a removal experiment, in which one or the other plant was removed from naturally mixed communities, was conducted the drought (2001-2002). In all surveys, S. cynosuroides densities decreased at a location that corresponded to where average high tide salinities were > 14 psu, such that the downstream border shifted from approximately 3 to 6 kill from the mouth of the river between 2000 and 2002 and then back to 3 kill ill 2004. Although the peak density of S. alterniflora also shifted upstream between 2000 and 2002, upstream densities were high in 2004 and plant distribution did not correspond with salinity. Ill the removal experiment. densities and relative % cover of S. alterniflora increased in all treatments (including controls), whereas densities of'S. cynosuroides remained relatively constant except ill treatments where it was purposely removed. We interpret these results to suggest that S. alterniflora is a strong invader that can expand into new habitat under stressful (increased salinity, low flow) conditions. and that once it is established it call co-exist with S. cynosuroides. The more rapid response of S. cynosuroides (shifts occured within 2 years) suggests that its downstream limit is a potential indicator of changes in inflow conditions in this system.
Author Address [White, Susan N.; Alber, Merryl] Univ Georgia, Dept Marine Sci, Athens, GA 30602 USA
Reprint Address White, SN (corresponding author), NOAA, Natl Ctr Coastal Ocean Sci, Ctr Human Hlth Risk, Hollings Marine Lab, Charleston, SC 29412 USA.
E-mail Address Susan.White@noaa.gov
Funding Agency and Grant Number Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research [OCE 99-82133, OCE-0620959]
Funding Text We thank the following people for their assistance in conducting this research: G. Albers. T. Bishop. J. Carpenter, L. Cloci, J. Flory. S. Franks. B. Girl. K. Helm, C. McFarlin, M. Palta, C. Richards. S. Pennings, W. Sheldon, J. Sheldon, and M. Watkins and research staff from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources including B. Good, D. Guadagnoli, J. Huntington, and J. MacKinnon. and P. Christian from the University of Georgia Marine Extension Service. Funding for this project was provided by the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Program (NSF Awards OCE 99-82133 and OCE-0620959).
Times Cited 15
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 15
Publisher SPRINGER
Publisher City DORDRECHT
Publisher Address VAN GODEWIJCKSTRAAT 30, 3311 GZ DORDRECHT, NETHERLANDS
ISSN 0277-5212
29-Character Source Abbreviation WETLANDS
ISO Source Abbreviation Wetlands
Publication Date MAR
Year Published 2009
Volume 29
Issue 1
Beginning Page 215
Ending Page 224
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1672/08-39.1
Page Count 10
Web of Science Category Ecology; Environmental Sciences
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Document Delivery Number 434SN
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000265294500022
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