Plant productivity is central to numerous ecosystem functions in tidal wetlands. We examined how productivity of brackish marsh plants in northern California responded to abiotic stress gradients of inundation and salinity using two experimental approaches. In a greenhouse study with varying salinity, shoot production and biomass of Juncus balticus, Schoenoplectus acutus and S. americanus all declined monotonically with higher salinity, with evidence of differences in sensitivity among species by their varied functional responses. Salinity also negatively affected fecundity for the one species (S. americanus) that produced enough inflorescences during the experiment for analysis. In a field manipulation of inundation and initial pore water salinity, total end-of-season biomass and other metrics of growth in the high marsh species, J. balticus, had unimodal relationships with inundation. Root production tended to be greater strongly impacted by greater inundation than shoot production. The salinity treatment quickly dissipated for treatments that were flooded more frequently but persisted at a higher marsh elevation where it suppressed plant growth. These results suggest that both increased flooding and salinity associated with climate change and sea-level rise may negatively impact productivity of brackish marsh species, but with variable effects by species and stressor.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Salinity and inundation effects on productivity of brackish tidal marsh plants in the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary|
|Contributing office(s)||Western Ecological Research Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|