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Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 5;8(1):2441. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18721-z.

Ecophysiological response of native and exotic salt marsh vegetation to waterlogging and salinity: Implications for the effects of sea-level rise.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, Institute of Eco-Chongming, East China Normal University, 200062, Shanghai, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, Institute of Eco-Chongming, East China Normal University, 200062, Shanghai, China. zmge@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn.
3
School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 80101, Joensuu, Finland. zmge@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn.
4
Center for Global Change and Ecological Forecasting, East China Normal University, 200062, Shanghai, China. zmge@sklec.ecnu.edu.cn.
5
Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science (Ministry of Education), School of Geographical Sciences, East China Normal University, 200062, Shanghai, China.

Abstract

The ecophysiological characteristics of native Phragmites australis and exotic Spartina alterniflora grown under waterlogging and salinity were investigated to explore their adaptation potential to sea level rise. The seasonal course of phenotypic traits, photosynthetic activity and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters of P. australis did not change remarkably under shallow flooding, whereas these variables were sensitive to increasing salinity. Waterlogging exacerbated the negative effects of salinity on shoot growth and photosynthetic activity of P. australis, and the combined stresses led to an absence of tassel and reproductive organs. By contrast, S. alterniflora performed well under both stresses and showed an obvious adaptation of salt secretion with increasing salinity. Light salinity was the optimal condition for S. alterniflora, and the tassel growth, chlorophyll content and fluorescence characters under moderate stresses did not differ notably. The Na+ and Cl- concentrations in leaves of both species increased, and the K+ content decreased in response to salinity. Under moderate and high saline levels, the ion concentrations in S. alterniflora were maintained at relatively consistent levels with increased salt secretion. We expect the degradation of P. australis and further colonization of S. alterniflora under prolonged flooding and saltwater intrusion from sea level rise on the coastline of China.

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