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Open AccessArticle

Differential Effects of Increasing Salinity on Germination and Seedling Growth of Native and Exotic Invasive Cordgrasses

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Departamento de Ciencias Integradas. Fuerzas Armadas Ave., Campus El Carmen, Universidad de Huelva, 21071 Huelva, Spain
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Departamento de Biología Vegetal y Ecología. Universidad de Sevilla, Ap. 1095, 41080 Sevilla, Spain
3
USDA-ARS Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Research Unit, Department of Plant Sciences MS-4, 1 Shields Ave., University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(10), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8100372
Received: 16 August 2019 / Revised: 4 September 2019 / Accepted: 23 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seed Behavior in Soil)
Soil salinity is a key environmental factor influencing germination and seedling establishment in salt marshes. Global warming and sea level rise are changing estuarine salinity, and may modify the colonization ability of halophytes. We evaluated the effects of increasing salinity on germination and seedling growth of native Spartina maritima and invasive S. densiflora from wetlands of the Odiel-Tinto Estuary. Responses were assessed following salinity exposure from fresh water to hypersaline conditions and germination recovery of non-germinated seeds when transferred to fresh water. The germination of both species was inhibited and delayed at high salinities, while pre-exposure to salinity accelerated the speed of germination in recovery assays compared to non-pre-exposed seeds. S. densiflora was more tolerant of salinity at germination than S. maritima. S. densiflora was able to germinate at hypersalinity and its germination percentage decreased at higher salinities compared to S. maritima. In contrast, S. maritima showed higher salinity tolerance in relation to seedling growth. Contrasting results were observed with differences in the tidal elevation of populations. Our results suggest S. maritima is a specialist species with respect to salinity, while S. densiflora is a generalist capable of germination of growth under suboptimal conditions. Invasive S. densiflora has greater capacity than native S. maritima to establish from seed with continued climate change and sea level rise. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; dormancy; Odiel Marshes; quiescent seed; salinity tolerance; sea level rise; radicle climate change; dormancy; Odiel Marshes; quiescent seed; salinity tolerance; sea level rise; radicle
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Infante-Izquierdo, M.D.; Castillo, J.M.; Grewell, B.J.; Nieva, F.J.J.; Muñoz-Rodríguez, A.F. Differential Effects of Increasing Salinity on Germination and Seedling Growth of Native and Exotic Invasive Cordgrasses. Plants 2019, 8, 372.

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