Wetland Ecology: Plant Adaptations to Changing Wetland Environments

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Ecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 March 2022) | Viewed by 10774

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 38677, USA
Interests: biodiversity; plant ecology; sustainable ecological systems; wetland ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Plant Ecology, Universität Hamburg, Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany
Interests: wetland plant ecology; blue carbon science; non-native species; coastal marshes

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Guest Editor
Director, International Institute for Sustainable Water Resources, EcoCentro, Alamo College District, San Antonio, TX, USA
Interests: integrated management of lentic systems; transboundary waters; lakes and climate change; eutrophication assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Ever since the signing of the International Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, environmental groups and government agencies have become more concerned with the suitable and sustainable use of wetlands around the world. Wetland scientists have expanded their research on different types of wetland in the various countries that support these wetlands. By the mid-1980s, scientists had become concerned with changes that were occurring across the globe. This Special Issue invites plant scientists to contribute their findings regarding wetland vegetation responses to climate change. What has been learned about the role of microbes in wetlands over the last 20 years? What has been learned about the role of rushes, or sedges, or grasses, or mangroves over the last 20 years? What is has been learned regarding the functioning of tidal freshwater, tidal brackish, or tidal saltwater wetlands over the past 20 years? Any predictions of how wetlands might function in 20, 50, or 100 years are encouraged. What restoration efforts might be utilized successfully?

Dr. Marjorie M. Holland
Dr. Kai Jensen
Dr. Walter Rast
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • wetland plant adaptations
  • microbes
  • rushes
  • sedges
  • grasses
  • mangroves
  • tidal freshwater
  • tidal brackish
  • tidal saltwater
  • response to temperature and/or salinity fluctuations
  • climate change
  • wetland function
  • wetland restoration

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 1714 KiB  
Article
Presence of the Herbaceous Marsh Species Schoenoplectus americanus Enhances Surface Elevation Gain in Transitional Coastal Wetland Communities Exposed to Elevated CO2 and Sediment Deposition Events
by Camille LaFosse Stagg, Claudia Laurenzano, William C. Vervaeke, Ken W. Krauss and Karen L. McKee
Plants 2022, 11(9), 1259; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11091259 - 6 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1756
Abstract
Coastal wetlands are dynamic ecosystems that exist along a landscape continuum that can range from freshwater forested wetlands to tidal marsh to mudflat communities. Climate-driven stressors, such as sea-level rise, can cause shifts among these communities, resulting in changes to ecological functions and [...] Read more.
Coastal wetlands are dynamic ecosystems that exist along a landscape continuum that can range from freshwater forested wetlands to tidal marsh to mudflat communities. Climate-driven stressors, such as sea-level rise, can cause shifts among these communities, resulting in changes to ecological functions and services. While a growing body of research has characterized the landscape-scale impacts of individual climate-driven stressors, little is known about how multiple stressors and their potential interactions will affect ecological functioning of these ecosystems. How will coastal wetlands respond to discrete climate disturbances, such as hurricane sediment deposition events, under future conditions of elevated atmospheric CO2? Will these responses vary among the different wetland communities? We conducted experimental greenhouse manipulations to simulate sediment deposition from a land-falling hurricane under future elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations (720 ppm CO2). We measured responses of net primary production, decomposition, and elevation change in mesocosms representing four communities along a coastal wetland landscape gradient: freshwater forested wetland, forest/marsh mix, marsh, and mudflat. When Schoenoplectus americanus was present, above- and belowground biomass production was highest, decomposition rates were lowest, and wetland elevation gain was greatest, regardless of CO2 and sediment deposition treatments. Sediment addition initially increased elevation capital in all communities, but post-deposition rates of elevation gain were lower than in mesocosms without added sediment. Together these results indicate that encroachment of oligohaline marshes into freshwater forested wetlands can enhance belowground biomass accumulation and resilience to sea-level rise, and these plant-mediated ecosystem services will be augmented by periodic sediment pulses from storms and restoration efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetland Ecology: Plant Adaptations to Changing Wetland Environments)
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17 pages, 3872 KiB  
Article
Above- and Below-Ground Carbon Storage of Hydrologically Altered Mangrove Wetlands in Puerto Rico after a Hurricane
by Lauren N. Griffiths, Elix Hernandez, Elvira Cuevas and William J. Mitsch
Plants 2021, 10(9), 1965; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10091965 - 20 Sep 2021
Viewed by 2572
Abstract
Mangrove wetlands are important ecosystems, yet human development coupled with climate change threatens mangroves and their large carbon stores. This study seeks to understand the soil carbon dynamics in hydrologically altered mangrove swamps by studying aboveground biomass estimates and belowground soil carbon concentrations [...] Read more.
Mangrove wetlands are important ecosystems, yet human development coupled with climate change threatens mangroves and their large carbon stores. This study seeks to understand the soil carbon dynamics in hydrologically altered mangrove swamps by studying aboveground biomass estimates and belowground soil carbon concentrations in mangrove swamps with high, medium, and low levels of disturbance in Cataño, Jobos Bay, and Vieques, Puerto Rico. All three sites were affected by hurricane María in 2017, one year prior to the study. As a result of being hit by the Saffir-Simpson category 4 hurricane, the low-disturbance site had almost no living mangroves left during sampling. There was no correlation between level of hydrologic alteration and carbon storage, rather different patterns emerged for each of the three sites. At the highly disturbed location, belowground carbon mass averaged 0.048 ± 0.001 g-C cm−3 which increased with increased aboveground biomass. At the moderately disturbed location, belowground carbon mass averaged 0.047 ± 0.003 g-C cm−3 and corresponded to distance from open water. At the low-disturbed location, organic carbon was consistent between all sites and inorganic carbon concentrations controlled total carbon mass which averaged 0.048 ± 0.002 g-C cm−3. These results suggest that mangroves are adaptive and resilient and have the potential to retain their carbon storage capacities despite hydrologic alterations, but mass carbon storage within mangrove forests can be spatially variable in hydrologically altered conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetland Ecology: Plant Adaptations to Changing Wetland Environments)
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20 pages, 5374 KiB  
Article
Estimating the Effects of a Hurricane on Carbon Storage in Mangrove Wetlands in Southwest Florida
by Lauren N. Griffiths and William J. Mitsch
Plants 2021, 10(8), 1749; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10081749 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2821
Abstract
Tropical and subtropical mangrove swamps, under normal conditions, can sequester large amounts of carbon in their soils but as coastal wetlands, they are prone to hurricane disturbances. This study adds to the understanding of carbon storage capabilities of mangrove wetlands and explores how [...] Read more.
Tropical and subtropical mangrove swamps, under normal conditions, can sequester large amounts of carbon in their soils but as coastal wetlands, they are prone to hurricane disturbances. This study adds to the understanding of carbon storage capabilities of mangrove wetlands and explores how these capacities might change within the scope of a changing storm climate. In September 2017, Naples Bay, FL, USA (28°5′ N, 81°47′ W) encountered a direct hit from hurricane Irma, a Saffir–Simpson category 3 storm. By comparing carbon storage, forest community structure, and aboveground productivity collected in 2013 and in 2019, we estimated the effects of hurricane Irma on mangrove functions. Aboveground biomass increased during the study period at a rate of approximately 0.72 kg m−2 yr−1, significantly less than the average found in undisturbed mangrove forests. Soil carbon storage decreased at all study sites. On average, 2.7 kg-C m−2 was lost in the top 20 cm between sample collections. Carbon loss in belowground pools could point to a feedback of mangrove swamps on climate change as they lose their ability to store carbon and increase net atmospheric carbon. Nevertheless, mangrove swamps remain resilient to tropical storms in the long term and can recover their carbon storage capacity in the years following a storm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetland Ecology: Plant Adaptations to Changing Wetland Environments)
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19 pages, 7503 KiB  
Article
Current Condition of Pannonic Salt Steppes at Their Distribution Limit: What Do Indicator Species Reveal about Habitat Quality?
by Zuzana Dítě, Róbert Šuvada, Tibor Tóth, Pavol Eliáš Jun, Vladimír Píš and Daniel Dítě
Plants 2021, 10(3), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030530 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2297
Abstract
Little is known about the suite of ecological conditions under which characteristic species may continue to develop under the pressure of recent habitat deterioration. We aimed to determine the niche of three indicator species of the priority habitat Pannonic salt steppes and to [...] Read more.
Little is known about the suite of ecological conditions under which characteristic species may continue to develop under the pressure of recent habitat deterioration. We aimed to determine the niche of three indicator species of the priority habitat Pannonic salt steppes and to find out how their vegetation composition, land use, and soil chemistry mirror the current condition of their typical habitat. A plot-based vegetation survey was conducted in degraded and in pristine (reference) inland salt steppes in East-Central Europe. We confirmed decreased habitat quality at their northern geographical limit. Most of the sites there showed a strong prevalence of generalists (e.g., Elytrigia repens) and lack of specialists, both resulting from lowered habitat extremity and inappropriate land use (abandonment). A small proportion of plots (19%) were in the same good condition as the reference vegetation in the central area. Soil analyses revealed that the studied halophytes are able to persist on desalinized soils if the land use is suitable. The occurrence of the annual Camphorosma annua (Amaranthaceae) was driven largely by abiotic stress; grazing alone is insufficient for its long-term persistence, while the perennial Artemisia santonicum (Asteraceae) and Tripolium pannonicum (Asteraceae) have higher survival chances as they are able to coexist with generalists. Overall habitat quality can be reliably determined from the analyzed ecological conditions of indicator species. The outcomes of the presented work are relevant for conservation practice and can serve as a quick tool for assessing the current stage of other grassland habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetland Ecology: Plant Adaptations to Changing Wetland Environments)
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