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Recolonization of Small Disturbance Patches in a New England Salt Marsh
Jean Marie Hartman
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 75, No. 11 (Nov., 1988), pp. 1625-1631
Published by: Botanical Society of America, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444678
Page Count: 7
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Availability of colonizers and edaphic conditions were tested in relation to rates of recolonization of open patches in salt marsh vegetation. The density of buried viable seeds was estimated by counting seedlings in undisturbed vegetation and germinating seeds in the laboratory. A low density of viable seeds (<50 per m2) found in these salt marsh soils indicated the absence of an important viable seed bank in this system. Rates of recolonization in natural open patches were monitored for three years. Vegetative expansion of Spartina alterniflora, at approximately 12 cm per year, accounted for most of the recolonization of open patches, although some colonization of annual Salicornia spp. occurred from seeds. Salinity and sulfide and ammonium concentrations were measured in pore water samples from depths of 2-7 cm and 10-15 cm of soil. Comparison of the concentrations from disturbed and undisturbed plots in the marsh did not show significant differences, indicating that none of the edaphic conditions measured would be more inhibitory to plant growth in the disturbed than the undisturbed plots. Therefore, the rate at which small open patches become recolonized is primarily controlled by proximity of Spartina alterniflora and its capacity for vegetative expansion.
American Journal of Botany © 1988 Botanical Society of America, Inc.