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Publication Type J
Authors Ross, PM; Harvey, K; Vecchio, EM; Beckers, D
Author Full Name Ross, Pauline M.; Harvey, Kerinne; Vecchio, Egidio M.; Beckers, Doug
Title Impact of fire and the recovery of molluscs in south-east Australian salt marsh
Source ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT & RESTORATION
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords fire; gastropods; Native Rush; salt marsh; Spiny Rush
Keywords Plus LAND SNAIL COMMUNITIES; COASTAL-MARSH; ESTUARINE; HERBIVORY; VEGETATION; WETLAND; INSECT; LARVAE; SIZE; PARK
Abstract Fire has long been recognised as a natural force in structuring Northern Hemisphere salt marshes, yet little is known about the impact of fire on molluscs and native vegetation dynamics of Southern Hemisphere coastal salt marshes. Following a fire at Ash Island, Hunter River New South Wales, Australia in the summer 2012, we assessed patterns of recovery through time of gastropod populations and resident salt marsh vegetation including biomass for three keystone native plant species, Native Rush (Juncus kraussii Hochst.), a chenopod (Sarcocornia quinqueflora Bunge ex Ungen-Sternberg A.J. Scott), Salt Couch (Sporobolus virginicus, L. Kunth) and the invasive Spiny Rush (Juncus acutus). In temperate east-coast Australian salt marshes, Spiny Rush is displacing native salt marsh vegetation. After twelve months, the biomass of Native Rush recovered to similar pre-burn levels. While fire affected the abundance, richness and composition of the gastropod assemblage differences were also largely driven by spatial variability. Gastropod assemblages associated with two of the higher elevation native species (Native Rush and Salt Couch) were impacted the most by fire. Greater abundance (between 1 and 5 orders of magnitude difference in abundance) and richness of gastropods were found in unburnt compared with burnt Native Rush and Salt Couch vegetation, while more gastropods were found in Spiny Rush in one site. Species prevalent in burnt vegetation included larger species of gastropods Ophicardelus ornatus (Ferussac, 1821) and Phallomedusa solida (Martens, 1878) with an unexpected spike in number of the smaller gastropod Tatea huonensis (Tenison-Woods, 1876) in the spiny rush at one site only. In salt marsh habitats, many gastropods have planktonic larval dispersal stages which are dependent on the tidal height for transport and the structural complexity provided by vegetation at settlement. Since fire appears to negatively affect salt marsh gastropod populations within structurally complex Native Rush and Salt Couch, due consideration of the importance of these refuges for gastropods is recommended when fire or other disturbances occur in ecologically endangered salt marsh in the Southern Hemisphere. Managers need to consider spatial heterogeneity of molluscs and their recovery in the event of fire in Southern Hemisphere salt marshes.
Author Address [Ross, Pauline M.] Univ Sydney, Biol, Sch Life & Environm Sci, Fac Sci, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia; [Harvey, Kerinne] New South Wales Dept Primary Ind, Weed Res Unit, Biosecur, Sydney, NSW, Australia; [Vecchio, Egidio M.] Auseco, Environm Educ, 69 Kalang Rd, Elanora Hts, NSW 2101, Australia; [Beckers, Doug] New South Wales Natl Pk & Wildlife Serv, Off Environm & Heritage, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Reprint Address Ross, PM (reprint author), Univ Sydney, Biol, Sch Life & Environm Sci, Fac Sci, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.
E-mail Address pauline.ross@sydney.edu.au
ORCID Number Ross, Pauline/0000-0002-8714-5194
Cited Reference Count 54
Publisher WILEY
Publisher City HOBOKEN
Publisher Address 111 RIVER ST, HOBOKEN 07030-5774, NJ USA
ISSN 1442-7001
29-Character Source Abbreviation ECOL MANAG RESTOR
ISO Source Abbreviation Ecol. Manag. Restor.
Publication Date MAY
Year Published 2019
Volume 20
Issue 2
Beginning Page 126
Ending Page 135
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1111/emr.12374
Page Count 10
Web of Science Category Ecology
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology
Document Delivery Number HZ1RU
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000468626400006
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