Differential responses of three coastal grassland species to seawater flooding

Mick E. Hanley, Tom L. Grove, Gregory R. Cawthray, Timothy D. Colmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims
Supratidal plant communities fulfil a vital role in coastal protection, but despite an increased likelihood of seawater flooding resulting from anthropogenic climate change, we understand little about how tidal inundation affects these habitats or interactions between their component species. Our aim was to determine how three common coastal grassland species responded to simulated seawater flooding and how subsequent changes to their ecophysiology, growth and survival might affect plant–plant interactions in mixed assemblages.
Methods
Seeds of three widely distributed European coastal grassland species (Leontodon autumnalis Asteraceae, Plantago lanceolata Plantaginaceae and Trifolium pratense Fabaceae) were collected from a coastal grassland site in South West England. In Experiment 1, we quantified changes in leaf ion (K+, Na+, Cl−) concentrations as a response to short-duration (0, 2, 8 or 24h) immersion in seawater of the root-zone before monitoring longer-term effects on plant survival and growth. In a second experiment, we examined community-level responses by subjecting mixed assemblages of all three species to seawater immersion for (0, 12, 24 or 96h).


Important Findings

When grown individually, one species (Trifolium) had markedly reduced survival with increasing soil immersion time, but a consistent decline in plant growth for all species with flooding duration was most likely linked to osmotic and ionic stresses caused by salt ion accumulation. In mixed assemblages, all species suffered increased mortality and reduced growth following seawater flooding, although the relative contribution of one species (Leontodon) to total biomass increased in flooded microcosms. We thus demonstrate a number of species-specific responses to simulated seawater flooding and show that when grown together, interactions between plants are altered as a consequence. We argue that variation in the responses of component plant species will dictate how coastal plant communities respond to, and recover from, expected changes in sea levels and transient floods following storm surge events. Such information is vital in order to predict future impacts of seawater floods on supratidal vegetation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-330
JournalJournal of Plant Ecology
Volume10
Issue number2
Early online date15 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Fingerprint

flooding
seawater
grasslands
grassland
Leontodon
plant communities
ions
plant community
Plantaginaceae
Plantago lanceolata
Trifolium
duration
ecophysiology
Trifolium pratense
coastal protection
sea level
ion
Fabaceae
England
Asteraceae

Cite this

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title = "Differential responses of three coastal grassland species to seawater flooding",
abstract = "AimsSupratidal plant communities fulfil a vital role in coastal protection, but despite an increased likelihood of seawater flooding resulting from anthropogenic climate change, we understand little about how tidal inundation affects these habitats or interactions between their component species. Our aim was to determine how three common coastal grassland species responded to simulated seawater flooding and how subsequent changes to their ecophysiology, growth and survival might affect plant–plant interactions in mixed assemblages.MethodsSeeds of three widely distributed European coastal grassland species (Leontodon autumnalis Asteraceae, Plantago lanceolata Plantaginaceae and Trifolium pratense Fabaceae) were collected from a coastal grassland site in South West England. In Experiment 1, we quantified changes in leaf ion (K+, Na+, Cl−) concentrations as a response to short-duration (0, 2, 8 or 24h) immersion in seawater of the root-zone before monitoring longer-term effects on plant survival and growth. In a second experiment, we examined community-level responses by subjecting mixed assemblages of all three species to seawater immersion for (0, 12, 24 or 96h).Important FindingsWhen grown individually, one species (Trifolium) had markedly reduced survival with increasing soil immersion time, but a consistent decline in plant growth for all species with flooding duration was most likely linked to osmotic and ionic stresses caused by salt ion accumulation. In mixed assemblages, all species suffered increased mortality and reduced growth following seawater flooding, although the relative contribution of one species (Leontodon) to total biomass increased in flooded microcosms. We thus demonstrate a number of species-specific responses to simulated seawater flooding and show that when grown together, interactions between plants are altered as a consequence. We argue that variation in the responses of component plant species will dictate how coastal plant communities respond to, and recover from, expected changes in sea levels and transient floods following storm surge events. Such information is vital in order to predict future impacts of seawater floods on supratidal vegetation.",
author = "Hanley, {Mick E.} and Grove, {Tom L.} and Cawthray, {Gregory R.} and Colmer, {Timothy D.}",
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Differential responses of three coastal grassland species to seawater flooding. / Hanley, Mick E.; Grove, Tom L.; Cawthray, Gregory R.; Colmer, Timothy D.

In: Journal of Plant Ecology, Vol. 10, No. 2, 01.04.2017, p. 322-330.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Differential responses of three coastal grassland species to seawater flooding

AU - Hanley, Mick E.

AU - Grove, Tom L.

AU - Cawthray, Gregory R.

AU - Colmer, Timothy D.

PY - 2017/4/1

Y1 - 2017/4/1

N2 - AimsSupratidal plant communities fulfil a vital role in coastal protection, but despite an increased likelihood of seawater flooding resulting from anthropogenic climate change, we understand little about how tidal inundation affects these habitats or interactions between their component species. Our aim was to determine how three common coastal grassland species responded to simulated seawater flooding and how subsequent changes to their ecophysiology, growth and survival might affect plant–plant interactions in mixed assemblages.MethodsSeeds of three widely distributed European coastal grassland species (Leontodon autumnalis Asteraceae, Plantago lanceolata Plantaginaceae and Trifolium pratense Fabaceae) were collected from a coastal grassland site in South West England. In Experiment 1, we quantified changes in leaf ion (K+, Na+, Cl−) concentrations as a response to short-duration (0, 2, 8 or 24h) immersion in seawater of the root-zone before monitoring longer-term effects on plant survival and growth. In a second experiment, we examined community-level responses by subjecting mixed assemblages of all three species to seawater immersion for (0, 12, 24 or 96h).Important FindingsWhen grown individually, one species (Trifolium) had markedly reduced survival with increasing soil immersion time, but a consistent decline in plant growth for all species with flooding duration was most likely linked to osmotic and ionic stresses caused by salt ion accumulation. In mixed assemblages, all species suffered increased mortality and reduced growth following seawater flooding, although the relative contribution of one species (Leontodon) to total biomass increased in flooded microcosms. We thus demonstrate a number of species-specific responses to simulated seawater flooding and show that when grown together, interactions between plants are altered as a consequence. We argue that variation in the responses of component plant species will dictate how coastal plant communities respond to, and recover from, expected changes in sea levels and transient floods following storm surge events. Such information is vital in order to predict future impacts of seawater floods on supratidal vegetation.

AB - AimsSupratidal plant communities fulfil a vital role in coastal protection, but despite an increased likelihood of seawater flooding resulting from anthropogenic climate change, we understand little about how tidal inundation affects these habitats or interactions between their component species. Our aim was to determine how three common coastal grassland species responded to simulated seawater flooding and how subsequent changes to their ecophysiology, growth and survival might affect plant–plant interactions in mixed assemblages.MethodsSeeds of three widely distributed European coastal grassland species (Leontodon autumnalis Asteraceae, Plantago lanceolata Plantaginaceae and Trifolium pratense Fabaceae) were collected from a coastal grassland site in South West England. In Experiment 1, we quantified changes in leaf ion (K+, Na+, Cl−) concentrations as a response to short-duration (0, 2, 8 or 24h) immersion in seawater of the root-zone before monitoring longer-term effects on plant survival and growth. In a second experiment, we examined community-level responses by subjecting mixed assemblages of all three species to seawater immersion for (0, 12, 24 or 96h).Important FindingsWhen grown individually, one species (Trifolium) had markedly reduced survival with increasing soil immersion time, but a consistent decline in plant growth for all species with flooding duration was most likely linked to osmotic and ionic stresses caused by salt ion accumulation. In mixed assemblages, all species suffered increased mortality and reduced growth following seawater flooding, although the relative contribution of one species (Leontodon) to total biomass increased in flooded microcosms. We thus demonstrate a number of species-specific responses to simulated seawater flooding and show that when grown together, interactions between plants are altered as a consequence. We argue that variation in the responses of component plant species will dictate how coastal plant communities respond to, and recover from, expected changes in sea levels and transient floods following storm surge events. Such information is vital in order to predict future impacts of seawater floods on supratidal vegetation.

U2 - 10.1093/jpe/rtw037

DO - 10.1093/jpe/rtw037

M3 - Article

VL - 10

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EP - 330

JO - JOURNAL OF PLANT ECOLOGY-UK

JF - JOURNAL OF PLANT ECOLOGY-UK

SN - 1005-264X

IS - 2

ER -