Salt marsh vegetation on the Croatian coast: plant communities and ecological characteristics

  • Zuzana Dítě
  • Róbert Šuvada
  • Pavol EliášJr.
  • Vladimír Píš
  • Daniel DítěEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Plants of the Balkan Peninsula in Space and Time


There is a lack of a comprehensive study of eastern Adriatic salt marsh vegetation with special attention to plant–soil relationships that determine individual plant assemblages. We surveyed 41 sites of salt marshes on the Croatian coastline in order to classify their vegetation by numerical methods and to compare the resulting groups in terms of soil chemical properties. A clear zonation between plant communities along the hydro-sequence was identified and was well represented by the dominance of individual diagnostic species. Two large vegetation groups were detected, well distinguished by mean species richness and soil properties. The first group, assigned into the classes Thero-Salicornietea and Sarcocornietea fruticosae, contains three subgroups of succulent, sparse stands of species-poor vegetation on the mudflat zone flooded by sea water, characterised by high salinity, electric conductivity, exchangeable Mg and K, and low nutrient content (total nitrogen, organic carbon) of the substrate. In the second group, tall rush communities (class Juncetea maritimi), three subordinate clusters, were identified, occurring in the upper, brackish zone with infrequent tides. Their soils had low salinity and electric conductivity and increased total nitrogen, organic carbon and exchangeable Mg and Ca. Vegetation within the second group occurring in the uppermost tidal zone had the highest species-richness, nutrient content in the soil and the lowest salinity. It has not been previously identified. Here, we described it as the new association Limonio narbonensisCaricetum divisae.


Brackish swards Coastal habitats Eastern Adriatic Phytosociology Soil chemical properties Succulent vegetation 



The study was financially supported by Grant VEGA No. 2/0001/16. Special thanks to Mario Klesczewski for sharing his field experience from the Rhône delta, France.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

606_2019_1617_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1389 kb)
606_2019_1617_MOESM2_ESM.doc (89 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 89 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Botany, Plant Science and Biodiversity Center, Slovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Administration of the Slovenský kras National ParkBrzotínSlovakia
  3. 3.Department of BotanySlovak University of AgricultureNitraSlovakia
  4. 4.Soil Science and Conservation Research InstituteBratislavaSlovakia

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