Shanze Li worked with Steve to synthesize 14 years of data on disturbance at the 8 GCE LTER fall monitoring sites dominated by Spartina alterniflora, and the paper was recently published in Ecosphere (Ecosphere 7(10):e01487. 10.1002/ecs2.1487). The results indicated considerable variation among sites and years in the amount of disturbance, and considerable variation between creekbank and midmarsh in the types of disturbance (wrack and slumping at the creekbank; snails in the mid-marsh). Barrier island sites experienced more disturbance than mainland sites. Wrack and snails and terminal slumping (when the plot ends up at the bottom of the creek) strongly affected biomass in affected plots, but overall, at the landscape level, disturbance did not have as strong an effect on fall biomass as abiotic conditions (salinity, sea level, temperature) did.
Tag Archives: salt marsh
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.
Laurie Marczak, Kazik and Steve have a new paper in Journal of Ecology exploring how local versus geographic variation in traits of Spartina alterniflora affect herbivores (Prokelisia planthoppers). As shown before, local variation (tall versus short form, simulated in our study by fertilizing) was very important for herbivores, which do better on tall form plants. Although high-latitude plants are more palatable to herbivores than low-latitude plants, this affected population growth only slightly. Predators (spiders) and top omnivores (Orchelimum) affected Prokelisia, but these effects were mediated by bottom-up conditions. These results allow us to start putting local studies of Spartina-herbivore interactions into a better geographic context.
Marczak, L. B., K. Więski, R. F. Denno and S. C. Pennings. 2013. Importance of local versus geographical variation in saltmarsh plant quality for arthropod herbivore communities. Journal of Ecology 101:1169-1182.
The journal Oceanography just published a special issue focusing on the coastal LTER sites. The issue includes several papers from the GCE LTER, including one using remote sensing to estimate plant composition and biomass and invertebrate densities. Alana Lynes and Steve were among the authors.