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Vegetation as self-adaptive coastal protection: Reduction of current velocity and morphologic plasticity of a brackish marsh pioneer

  • By reducing current velocity, tidal marsh vegetation can diminish storm surges and storm waves. Conversely, currents often exert high mechanical stresses onto the plants and hence affect vegetation structure and plant characteristics. In our study, we aim at analysing this interaction from both angles. On the one hand, we quantify the reduction of current velocity by Bolboschoenus maritimus, and on the other hand, we identify functional traits of B. maritimus’ ramets along environmental gradients. Our results show that tidal marsh vegetation is able to buffer a large proportion of the flow velocity at currents under normal conditions. Cross-shore current velocity decreased with distance from the marsh edge and was reduced by more than 50% after 15 m of vegetation. We were furthermore able to show that plants growing at the marsh edge had a significantly larger diameter than plants from inside the vegetation. We found a positive correlation between plant thickness and cross-shore current which could provide an adaptive value inBy reducing current velocity, tidal marsh vegetation can diminish storm surges and storm waves. Conversely, currents often exert high mechanical stresses onto the plants and hence affect vegetation structure and plant characteristics. In our study, we aim at analysing this interaction from both angles. On the one hand, we quantify the reduction of current velocity by Bolboschoenus maritimus, and on the other hand, we identify functional traits of B. maritimus’ ramets along environmental gradients. Our results show that tidal marsh vegetation is able to buffer a large proportion of the flow velocity at currents under normal conditions. Cross-shore current velocity decreased with distance from the marsh edge and was reduced by more than 50% after 15 m of vegetation. We were furthermore able to show that plants growing at the marsh edge had a significantly larger diameter than plants from inside the vegetation. We found a positive correlation between plant thickness and cross-shore current which could provide an adaptive value in habitats with high mechanical stress. With the adapted morphology of plants growing at the highly exposed marsh edge, the entire vegetation belt is able to better resist the mechanical stress of high current velocities. This self-adaptive effect thus increases the ability of B. maritimus to grow and persist in the pioneer zone and may hence better contribute to ecosystem-based coastal protection by reducing current velocity.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jana CarusORCiDGND, Maike Paul, Boris Schroeder
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1904
ISSN:2045-7758
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=27087929
Parent Title (English):Ecology and evolution
Publisher:Wiley
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2016
Year of Completion:2016
Release Date:2020/03/22
Tag:Adaptive value; Bolboschoenus maritimus; brackish marsh; flow velocity; mechanical pressure; morphological adaptation; phenotypic plasticity; pioneer zone
Volume:6
Pagenumber:11
First Page:1579
Last Page:1589
Funder:German Science Foundation [SCHR1000/6-2, SCHR1000/8-2, PA 2547/1-1]; Federal Ministry of Education and Research [01LL0911C]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert