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Seed dispersal capacity and post-dispersal fate of the invasive Spartina alterniflora in saltmarshes of the Yangtze Estuary
Xiao, D.; Zhang, C.; Zhang, L.; Zhu, Z.; Tian, K.; Gao, W. (2016). Seed dispersal capacity and post-dispersal fate of the invasive Spartina alterniflora in saltmarshes of the Yangtze Estuary. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 169: 158–163. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2015.11.032
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Author keywords
    Seed flotation capacity; Seed germination; Survival time; Spartina alterniflora; Yangtze Estuary

Authors  Top 
  • Xiao, D.
  • Zhang, C.
  • Zhang, L.
  • Zhu, Z., more
  • Tian, K.
  • Gao, W.

Abstract
    Spartina alterniflora is one of the most serious invasive species in the coastal saltmarshes of China. Seeds are generally considered to be the main method for this species to colonise new habitat, but little is known quantitatively about the seed dispersal capacity and post-dispersal fate (i.e., germination and survival time). We measured the duration of seed flotation, seed persistence and seed germination of S. alterniflora in three intertidal zones [low intertidal zone (LIT), middle intertidal zone (MIT) and high intertidal zone (HIT)] in the Yangtze Estuary on the eastern coast of China. The results showed that (1) the flotation time of S. alterniflora seeds ranged from 3 to 13 days, and the values were higher in HIT and MIT than in LIT; (2) the period of seed germination was from February to June, mainly in March and April, and seed source affected seed germination as the values for seeds from HIT and MIT were much higher than those from LIT, while burial sites had no effect on germination percentages, and (3) the seed persistence was less than a year regardless of seed source, which was characterised by a transient seed bank, with values being higher in HIT and MIT than in LIT. Our results suggested that low marsh plants were far less able to produce successful seeds, or conversely, that the mid-marsh location had plants with the greatest seed production and seed mass, and the high- and mid-marsh plants had good seed floatation ability, germination and survival. Thus, plants in the mid-and high-marsh may contribute disproportionally to an invasion.

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