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Effects of shoot stiffness, shoot size and current velocity on scouring sediment from around seedlings and propagules
Bouma, T.J.; Friedrichs, M.; Klaassen, P.; van Wesenbeeck, B.K.; Brun, F.G.; Temmerman, S.; van Katwijk, M.M.; Graf, G.; Herman, P.M.J. (2009). Effects of shoot stiffness, shoot size and current velocity on scouring sediment from around seedlings and propagules. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 388: 293-297. dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps08130
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Coasts; Current velocity; Hydrodynamics; Management; Restoration; Salt marshes; Sea grass; Seedlings; Shoots; Survival; Vegetation; Spartina anglica C.E. Hubbard [WoRMS]; Zostera (Zosterella) noltei Hornemann [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Seedling survival; Hydrodynamics; Current velocity; Spartina anglica; Salt marsh; Trade-offs; Seagrass; Zostera noltii

Authors  Top 
  • Bouma, T.J., more
  • Friedrichs, M.
  • Klaassen, P.
  • van Wesenbeeck, B.K., more
  • Brun, F.G.
  • Temmerman, S., more
  • van Katwijk, M.M.
  • Graf, G., more
  • Herman, P.M.J., more

Abstract
    Successful management and restoration of coastal vegetation requires a quantitative process-based understanding of thresholds hampering (re-)establishment of pioneer vegetation. We expected scouring to be important in explaining the disappearance of seedlings and/or small propagules of intertidal plant species, and therefore quantified the dependence of scouring on plant traits (flexibility, size) and physical forcing by current velocity. Flume studies with unidirectional flow revealed that scouring around seedlings increased exponentially with current velocity and according to a power relationship with plant size. Basal stem diameter rather than shoot length controlled scouring volume. Flexible shoots caused far less scouring than stiff shoots, provided that the bending occurred near the sediment surface as was the case for Zostera, and not on top of a solid tussock base as we observed for Puccinellia. Therefore, shoot stiffness is likely to strongly affect the chances for initial establishment in hydrodynamically exposed areas. Plant traits such as shoot stiffness are subject to a trade-off between advantages and disadvantages, the outcome of which depends on the physical settings.

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