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Publication Type J
Authors Middleton, BA
Author Full Name Middleton, Beth A.
Title REGENERATION OF COASTAL MARSH VEGETATION IMPACTED BY HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA
Source WETLANDS
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords disturbance dynamics; elevation; flooding; invasive species; salt water intrusion; sea level rise; seed bank assay; seed germination; seedling recruitment; species reassembly; succession
Keywords Plus RISING SEA-LEVEL; MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA; SALT-MARSH; PLANT COMMUNITY; WATER-LEVEL; SEED BANKS; SALINITY; WETLANDS; DYNAMICS; USA
Abstract The dynamics of plant regeneration via seed and vegetative spread in coastal wetlands dictate the nature of community reassembly that takes place after hurricanes or sea level rise. The objectives of my project were to evaluate the potential effects of saltwater intrusion and flooding of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on seedling regeneration in coastal wetlands of the Gulf Coast. Specifically 1 tested hypotheses to determine for species in fresh. brackish and salt marshes of the Gulf Coast if 1) the pattern of seed germination and seedling recruitment differed with distance from the shoreline, and 2) seed germination and seedling recruitment for various species were reduced in higher levels of water depth and salinity. Regarding hypothesis 1. seedling densities increased with distance from the shoreline in fresh and brackish water marshes while decreasing with distance from the shoreline in salt marshes. Also to test Hypothesis 1, I used a greenhouse seed bank assay to examine seed germination from seed banks collected at distances from the shoreline in response to various water depths and salinity levels using a nested factorial design. For all marsh types, the influence of water level and salinity on seed germination shifted with distance from the shoreline (i.e., three way interaction of the main effects of distance nested within site, water depth, and salinity). Data from the seed bank assay were also used to test Hypothesis 2. The regeneration of species from fresh. brackish, and salt marshes were reduced in conditions of high salinity and/or water, so that following hurricanes or sea level rise, seedling regeneration could be reduced. Among the species of these coastal marshes, there was some flexibility of response, so that at least some species were able to germinate in either high or low salinity. Salt marshes had a few fresher marsh species in the seed bank that would not germinate without a period of fresh water input (e.g., Sagittaria lancifolia) as well as salt water species (e.g., Avicennia germinans, Salicornia bigelovii). Nevertheless, the species richness of seeds germinating from the seed bank of freshwater marshes was reduced more than in salt marshes, indicating that freshwater marsh regeneration may be more affected by hurricanes and/or sea level rise that salt marshes. From the perspective of short-term seed germination and recruitment following hurricanes, species recruitment is dependent on the post-disturbance conditions of water and salinity.
Author Address US Geol Survey, Natl Wetlands Res Ctr, Lafayette, LA 70506 USA
Reprint Address Middleton, BA (reprint author), US Geol Survey, Natl Wetlands Res Ctr, 700 Cajundome Blvd, Lafayette, LA 70506 USA.
E-mail Address middletonb@usgs.gov
ResearcherID Number Middleton, Beth/D-1778-2014
ORCID Number Middleton, Beth/0000-0002-1220-2326
Funding Agency and Grant Number National Science Foundation [0602641]
Funding Text Funding for this project came from the National Science Foundation, SGER Award #0602641,
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Cited Reference Count 40
Times Cited 13
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 13
Publisher SOC WETLAND SCIENTISTS
Publisher City LAWRENCE
Publisher Address 810 E TENTH ST, P O BOX 1897, LAWRENCE, KS 66044 USA
ISSN 0277-5212
29-Character Source Abbreviation WETLANDS
ISO Source Abbreviation Wetlands
Publication Date MAR
Year Published 2009
Volume 29
Issue 1
Beginning Page 54
Ending Page 65
Page Count 12
Web of Science Category Ecology; Environmental Sciences
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Document Delivery Number 434SN
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000265294500007
Plants associated with this reference

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