Science Inventory

DESICCATION IS A LIMITING FACTOR FOR EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA L.) DISTRIBUTION IN THE INTERTIDAL ZONE OF A NORTHEASTERN P{ACIFIC (USA) ESTUARY

Citation:

BOESE, B. L., B. D. ROBBINS, AND G. B. THURSBY. DESICCATION IS A LIMITING FACTOR FOR EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA L.) DISTRIBUTION IN THE INTERTIDAL ZONE OF A NORTHEASTERN P{ACIFIC (USA) ESTUARY. BOTANICA MARINA. Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin, Germany, 48:274-283, (2005).

Impact/Purpose:

To correlate physical data on intertidal irradiance, temperature, and aerial exposure with plant growth in eelgrass

Description:

Intertidal irradiance, temperature, and aerial exposure were measured for two years in intertidal Zostera marina beds located in Yaquina Bay (Newport, OR, USA). These physical data were correlated with plant growth and other metrics measured at intervals during the study. Photosynthesis vs. irradiance (P vs. I) curves were determined by PAM fluorometry on plants along an intertidal gradient, and were used to estimate saturating irradiance (Ik) and daily hours of saturating irradiance (Hsat). Mean Ik values were ;64 mmol photons m-2 s-1 and Hsat increased with increasing tidal position. Measurements taken during the second winter showed that Hsat values in the low intertidal zone were within a critical range requiring eelgrass to use rhizome reserves to maintain carbon balance. However, plants continued to grow. Temperature differences across tidal gradients were not found to be physiologically important. These results suggested that temperature and irradiance were not limiting factors for intertidal Z. marina growth. High intertidal eelgrass, exposed to aerial conditions more frequently and for longer durations, exhibited signs of desiccation damage and appeared to have faster blade turn-over rates in spring and summer than their low intertidal neighbors. Thus, we concluded that the major factor limiting Z. marina in the upper intertidal zone was desiccation stress, which was acute and episodic rather than chronic.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 11/01/2005
Record Last Revised: 08/07/2006
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 145111

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH