Navigation Links
Climate change may spell demise of key salt marsh constituent
Date:7/13/2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Global warming may exact a toll on salt marshes in New England, but new research shows that one key constituent of marshes may be especially endangered.

Pannes are waterlogged, low-oxygen zones of salt marshes. Despite the stresses associated with global warming, pannes are "plant diversity hotspots," according to Keryn Gedan, a graduate student and salt marsh expert at Brown University. At least a dozen species of plants known as forbs inhabit these natural depressions, Gedan said. The species include the purple flower-tipped plants Limonium nashii (sea lavender), the edible plant Salicornia europaea (pickleweed) and Triglochin maritima, a popular food for Brent and Canada geese as well as ducks and other migratory waterfowl.

Gedan and her adviser, Mark Bertness, chair of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Brown, decided to find out how global warming may affect pannes. In a series of experiments published in Ecology Letters, the pair subjected plots of forb pannes to air as much as 3.3 degrees Celsius (about 6 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the surrounding area.

They found that the plants in the test plots responded initially by growing more but then began a rapid die-off. As they died, they were replaced by a salt marsh grass, Spartina patens. At two sites Nag Creek (Prudence Island, Rhode Island), and Little River (Maine) the forbs covered less than 10 percent of the plot, from 50 percent originally, in tests that spanned the summer from 2004 to 2006. At the third site, Drakes Island (Maine), the forb pannes cover decreased from 50 percent of the plot to 44 percent (a 12-percent decline) in just the summer of 2007.

The researchers believe the forbs disappeared due to changes in the plant-water balance in the zone. What that means, Gedan explained, is the warmer air causes the forbs to take in more water, thus making the area less waterlogged and more hospitable to an invasion by Spartina patens, which prefers less water-soaked conditions.

"The forbs basically engineer themselves out of their habitat by making it more favorable for their competitor," said Gedan, the paper's lead author.

In New England, pannes range from Connecticut, where they make up less than 10 percent of a salt marsh's area, to Maine, where they can comprise some 40 percent of the salt marsh ecosystem, according to Gedan.

The Brown experiments "demonstrate that New England salt marsh pannes are extremely sensitive to temperature increases and will be driven to local and regional extinction with the temperature increases expected to occur in New England over the next century," Bertness said.

The scientists are unsure how other variables associated with climate change, such as sea-level rise, may affect pannes. Gedan said higher sea levels would help pannes, because forbs fare well in areas inundated by water. On the other hand, she added, the higher concentrations of carbon dioxide also expected to occur would accelerate forbs' use of water, which may open them up to competition from other plant species.

"How all these things interact, we don't really know," Gedan said. "But we know that with [higher] temperatures, these changes happen rapidly."


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Lewis
Richard_Lewis@Brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Down Under dinosaur burrow discovery provides climate change clues
2. Seals quickly respond to gain and loss of habitat under climate change
3. Arctic climate under greenhouse conditions in the Late Cretaceous
4. Report shows the power of US cities to mitigate climate change and steps they need to take to adapt
5. New crops needed for new climate
6. New crops needed for new climate
7. New guide to tropical seedlings: Essential to climate change research
8. In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires flames
9. West Coast needs more research on fisheries, marine science, climate change
10. Leading scientists and scholars urge action on climate issues
11. Help for climate-stressed corals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Climate change may spell demise of key salt marsh constituent
(Date:4/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging ... server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A ... Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan ... at the Las Vegas Convention Center April ... Click here for ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... Calif. , April 13, 2017 UBM,s ... York will feature emerging and evolving technology ... Both Innovation Summits will run alongside the expo portion ... speaker sessions, panels and demonstrations focused on trending topics ... largest advanced design and manufacturing event will take place ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based Advanced Space Technology and ... ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs is a technology development ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Palo Alto, CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... is set to take place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, ... and policy influencers as well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. ... The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... use MMprofilerâ„¢ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients ... trial known as MUK nine . The University of ... trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 ... for the treatment of osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane ...
Breaking Biology Technology: