A new paper by Hongyu Guo, Kazik, Zhenjiang and Steve looks at how tidal marsh plant communities are structured using statistical methods to identify how deterministic the communities are. The bottom line is that tidal salt and brackish marsh communities are highly deterministic, likely reflecting the strong abiotic stresses and competitive interactions that have been previously identified in these systems. But tidal fresh marsh communities were much less deterministic, probably due to higher species richness, recruitment from seed, and lower abiotic stress. At the scale of the estuary, deterministic processes structure plant communities along the salinity gradient from tidal fresh to tidal salt marshes, as shown by previous experimental studies.
Full citation: H. Guo, K. Wieski, Z. Lan and S. Pennings 2014. Relative influence of deterministic processes on structuring marsh plant communities varies across an abiotic gradient. Oikos 123:173-178.