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Publication Type J
Authors Pennings, S. C. and D. J. Moore
Title Zonation of shrubs in western Atlantic salt marshes
Source Oecologia
Author Keywords competition generality physical stress salt marsh zonation spartina-alterniflora field experiments plant zonation competition consequences frutescens community habitats patens
Abstract We explored the generality of the processes mediating shrub zonation in western Atlantic salt marshes by comparing the results of our experiments in Georgia, USA with previous studies from Rhode Island, USA. The shrub Borrichia frutescens dominates the terrestrial border of many Georgia salt marshes. Within the shrub zone, physical stress increased at lower elevations, shrubs at lower elevations were stunted, and experimentally reducing physical stress reduced shrub stunting. Below the shrub zone, physical stress increased further, and the grass Spartina alterniflora dominated. Transplant and neighbor-removal experiments indicated that the lower border of the shrub zone was set more by physical stress than by competition, but that the upper border of the grass zone was set primarily by competition with shrubs. Laboratory experiments indicated that S. alterniflora seedlings survived best and shrub seedlings worst in the flooded, salty treatment that mimicked low-marsh conditions. These processes are similar to those maintaining zonation patterns between the shrub Iva frutescens and the rush Juncus gerardi in Rhode Island salt marshes. However, markedly different processes appear to occur further to the north, where woody shrubs are absent from coastal marshes, and further to the south, where woody plants (mangroves) dominate coastal wetlands.
Publication Date Feb
Year Published 2001
Volume 126
Issue 4
Beginning Page 587-594
Unique Article Identifier ISI:000167339100016
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