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Seedling emergence from seed banks of tidal freshwater wetlands: response to inundation and sedimentation
Peterson, J.E.; Baldwin, A.H. (2004). Seedling emergence from seed banks of tidal freshwater wetlands: response to inundation and sedimentation. Aquat. Bot. 78(3): 243-254.
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Emergence; Environmental effects; Flooding; Plant populations; Recruitment; Sedimentation; Seeds; Swamps; Wetlands; USA, Maryland, Nanticoke R.; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Peterson, J.E.
  • Baldwin, A.H., correspondent

    Seed banks play a critical role in the maintenance of many wetland plant communities, and recruitment from the seed bank in response to environmental heterogeneity may influence species diversity and the spatial pattern seen in vegetation. Reduced recruitment in tidal freshwater wetlands in the Nanticoke River watershed (Maryland and Delaware, USA) may result from sediment input or sea level rise. An experimental test of the effects of inundation and sedimentation was conducted on seedling emergence from a pooled seed bank of tidal freshwater wetlands in a 2×5 factorial greenhouse experiment. Treatments were two levels of inundation (flooded and non-flooded) and five levels of sediment addition (0-2 cm depth). Twenty taxa emerged from the pooled wetland seed bank, with Leersia oryzoides and Typha species occurring the most frequently. A significant decrease was seen in seedling emergence due to flooding (P=0.003), and the addition of sediment significantly decreased taxa density (P=0.023) and seedling emergence (P=0.0069). These findings suggest that the expression of species from the seed bank is largely controlled by sedimentation rates and hydrology, and that increases in sedimentation and relative sea level may reduce plant biodiversity of tidal freshwater wetlands.

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