Advertisement

Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 27, Issue 2–3, pp 377–392 | Cite as

Spatially-dependent patterns of plant recovery and sediment accretion following multiple disturbances in a Gulf Coast tidal marsh

  • Anna E. BraswellEmail author
  • Christopher A. May
  • Julia A. Cherry
Original Paper

Abstract

Coastal wetlands are projected to experience increases in anthropogenic and climatic disturbances, which may alter plant-sediment feedbacks critical for maintaining marsh resilience to sea level. To study the effects of disturbance on ecogeomorphic processes, we examined aboveground plant responses and sediment accretion in three locations relative to the shoreline (low, mid, and high) within a tidal marsh at Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Mississippi, USA. This study site was affected by two hurricanes in the fall of 2008, and subsequently burned as part of a controlled experiment in January 2009, permitting examination of the effects of two disturbance types on aboveground plant responses and vertical accretion. Fire and hurricanes affected these response variables differently, with effects dependent on location within the marsh. Fire significantly reduced standing aboveground biomass, and subsequent recovery of vegetation relative to pre-burn levels was faster in low marsh plots nearest to the shore than in high marsh plots closest to the marsh-pine ecotone. Hurricanes introduced sediment to the marsh platform, resulting in greater accretion in low marsh plots that had more standing biomass and higher stem densities than high marsh plots. Collectively, these results demonstrate that disturbances can heterogeneously affect surface soil-building processes in marshes through effects on sediment and organic matter accumulation, which may have important consequences for surface elevation maintenance in coastal marshes.

Keywords

Accretion Coastal wetland Disturbance Fire Hurricane Plant production Marsh 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank University of Alabama students Ryan Cooper, Sarah Masterson, Mason Overstreet, Kevin Richardson, Trey Stevens, and Diane Schneider for assistance with laboratory and field work. We also thank the staff of the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve for their generous support and field assistance, especially Jay McIlwain and Will Underwood. Comments from Dr. Gregory Starr, Dr. William Platt, and an anonymous reviewer improved the quality of this manuscript. Graphics assistance was provided by David Galinat of the Alabama Water Institute. This research was supported by the National Sea Grant College Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under NOAA Grant (R/CEH-27), the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, and the University of Alabama Department of Biological Sciences and New College. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of any of those organizations.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11273_2019_9666_MOESM1_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 44 kb)

References

  1. Bailey AD, Mickler R, Frost C (2007) Presettlement fire regime and vegetation mapping in Southeastern coastal plain forest ecosystems. In The fire environment-innovations, management and policy conference proceedings. USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, DestinGoogle Scholar
  2. Baldwin AH, Mendelssohn IA (1998) Effects of salinity and water level on coastal marshes: an experimental test of disturbance as a catalyst for vegetational change. Aquat Bot 61:255–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barras JA, Bernier JC, Morton RA (2008) Land area change in coastal Louisiana—a multidecadal perspective (from 1956 to 2006). US Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, Reston, p 14Google Scholar
  4. Bianchette TA, Liu KB, Qiang Y, Lam NSN (2016) Wetland accretion rates along coastal Louisiana: spatial and temporal variability in light of Hurricane Isaac’s impacts. Water 8:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bickford WA, Needelman BA, Weil RR, Baldwin AH (2012) Vegetation response to prescribed fire in mid-Atlantic Brackish marshes. Est Coasts 35:1432–1442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boorman LA, Garbutt A, Barratt D (1998) The role of vegetation in determining patterns of the accretion of salt marsh sediment. Geol Soc Lond 139:389–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bradley PM, Morris JT (1990) Influence of oxygen and sulfide concentration on nitrogen uptake kinetics in Spartina alterniflora. Ecology 71:282–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cahoon DR, Reed DJ, Day JW (1995) Estimating shallow subsidence in microtidal salt marshes of the southeastern United States: Kaye and Barghoorn revisited. Mar Geol 128:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cahoon DR, Lynch JC, Knaus RM (1996) Improved cryogenic coring device for sampling wetland soils. J Sediment Res 66:1025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cahoon DR, Ford MA, Hensel PF (2004) Ecogeomorphology of Spartina patens-dominated tidal marshes’ soil organic matter accumulation, marsh elevation dynamics, and disturbance. Coast Estuar Stud 59:247–266Google Scholar
  11. Cahoon DR, Hensel PF, Spencer T, Reed DJ, McKee KL, Saintilan N (2006) Coastal wetland vulnerability to relative sea-level rise: wetland elevation trends and process controls. Wetlands and natural resource management. Springer, Berlin, pp 271–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chabreck RH (1981) Effect of burn date on regrowth rate of Scirpus olneyi and Spartina patens. Proc Annu Conf of Southeast Assoc Game Fish Comm 35:201–210Google Scholar
  13. Cherry JA, McKee KL, Grace JB (2009) Elevated CO2 enhances biological contributions to elevation change in coastal wetlands by offsetting stressors associated with sea-level rise. J Ecol 97:67–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Christiansen T, Wiberg PL, Milligan TG (2000) Flow and sediment transport on a tidal salt marsh surface. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 50:315–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeLaune RD, Buresh RJ, Patrick WH (1979) Relationship of soil properties to standing crop biomass of Spartina alterniflora in a Louisiana marsh. Estuar Coast Mar Sci 8:477–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DeLaune RD, Nyman JA, Patrick WH Jr (1994) Peat collapse, ponding and wetland loss in a rapidly submerging coastal marsh. J Coast Res 5:1021–1030Google Scholar
  17. Feldman SR, Lewis JP (2005) Effects of fire on the structure and diversity of a Spartina argentinensis tall grassland. Appl Veg Sci 8:77–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flores C, Bounds DL, Ruby DE (2011) Does prescribed fire benefit wetland vegetation? Wetlands 31:35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ford MA, Grace JB (1998) The interactive effects of fire and herbivory on a coastal marsh in Louisiana. Wetlands 18:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Friedrichs CT, Perry JE (2001) Tidal salt marsh morphodynamics: a synthesis. J Coast Res 12:7–37Google Scholar
  21. Frost CC (1998) Presettlement fire frequency regimes of the United States: a first approximation. In: Pruden TL, Brennan LA (eds) Fire in Ecosystem Management: Shifting the paradigm from suppression to prescription. Tall Timbers Research Center, Tallahassee, pp 70–81Google Scholar
  22. Gabrey SW, Afton AD (2001) Plant community composition and biomass in Gulf Coast Chenier Plain marshes: responses to winter burning and structural marsh management. Environ Manage 27:281–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gabrey SW, Afton AD, Wilson BC (2001) Effects of structural marsh management and salinity on invertebrate prey of waterbirds in marsh ponds during winter on the Gulf Coast Chenier Plain. Wildl Soc Bull 29:218–231Google Scholar
  24. Geatz GW, Needelman BA, Weil RR, Megonigal JP (2013) Nutrient availability and soil organic matter decomposition response to prescribed burns in Mid-Atlantic Brackish tidal marshes. Soil Sci Soc Am J 77:1852–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gedan KB, Silliman BR, Bertness MD (2009) Centuries of human-driven change in salt marsh ecosystems. Ann Rev Mar Sci 1:117–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gill JC, Malamud BD (2014) Reviewing and visualizing the interactions of natural hazards. Rev Geophys 52:680–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gill JC, Malamud BD (2017) Anthropogenic processes, natural hazards, and interactions in a multi-hazard framework. Earth Sci Rev 166:246–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gleason ML, Elmer DA, Pien NC, Fisher JS (1979) Effects of stem density upon sediment retention by salt marsh cord grass, Spartina alterniflora Loisel. Estuaries 2:271–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grand Bay National Estuary Research Reserve (2010) Grand Bay NERR Water Nutrient Data: Bayou Cumbest sampling station. http://grandbaynerr.org/research/. Accessed 31 Jan 2010
  30. Gunderson L (2000) Ecological resilience–in theory and application. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:425–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Guntenspergen AGR, Cahoon DR, Grace J, Steyer GD, Fournet S, Townson MA, Foote AL (1995) Disturbance and recovery of the Louisiana Coastal marsh landscape from the impacts of hurricane andrew. J Coast Res 21:324–339Google Scholar
  32. Hackney CT, de la Cruz AA (1981) Effects of fire on brackish marsh communities: management implications. Wetlands 1:75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Howes NC, Fitzgerald DM, Hughes ZJ, Georgiou IY, Kulp MA, Miner MD, Smith JM, Barras JA (2010) Hurricane-induced failure of low salinity wetlands. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:14014–14019CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jackson M, Roering JJ (2009) Post-fire geomorphic response in steep, forested landscapes: Oregon Coast Range, USA. Quat Sci Rev 28:1131–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirwan ML, Guntenspergen GR (2012) Feedbacks between inundation, root production, and shoot growth in a rapidly submerging brackish marsh. J Ecol 100:764–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kirwan ML, Megonigal JP (2013) Tidal wetland stability in the face of human impacts and sea-level rise. Nature 504:53–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kirwan ML, Murray AB (2007) A coupled geomorphic and ecological model of tidal marsh evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:6118–6122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kirwan ML, Murray AB, Boyd WS (2008) Temporary vegetation disturbance as an explanation for permanent loss of tidal wetlands. Geophys Res Lett 35:L05403Google Scholar
  39. Kirwan ML, Murray AB, Donnelly JP, Corbett DR (2011) Rapid wetland expansion during European settlement and its implication for marsh survival under modern sediment delivery rates. Geology 39:507–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Li S, Pennings SC (2017) Timing of disturbance affects biomass and flowering of a saltmarsh plant and attack by stem-boring herbivores. Ecosphere 8:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Liu K, Lu H, Shen C (2008) A 1200-year proxy record of hurricanes and fires from the Gulf of Mexico coast: testing the hypothesis of hurricane-fire interactions. Quat Res 69:29–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Macreadie PI, Hughes AR, Kimbro DL (2013) Loss of “blue carbon” from coastal salt marshes following habitat disturbance. PLoS ONE 8:e69244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McKee KL, Mendelssohn IA, Hester MW (1988) Reexamination of pore water sulfide concentrationsand redox potentials near the aerial roots of Rhizophora mangle and Avicennia germinans. Am J Bot 75:1352–1359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McKee KL, Cherry JA (2009) Hurricane Katrina sediment slowed elevation loss in subsiding brackish marshes of the Mississippi River delta. Wetlands 29 (1):2–15.  https://doi.org/10.1672/08-32.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McKee KL, Cahoon DR, Feller IC (2007) Caribbean mangroves adjust to rising sea level through biotic controls on change in soil elevation. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 16:545–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McWilliams SR, Sloat T, Toft CA, Hatch D (2007) Effects of prescribed fall burning on a wetland plant community, with implications for management of plants and herbivores. West N Am Nat 67:299–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mendelssohn IA, Kuhn NL (2003) Sediment subsidy: effects on soil-plant responses in a rapidly submerging coastal salt marsh. Ecol Eng 21:115–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Mendelssohn IA, McKee KL, Patrick WH (1981) Oxygen deficiency in Spartina alterniflora roots: metabolic adaptation to anoxia. Science 214:439–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morris JT (2007) Estimating net primary production of salt marsh macrophytes. In: Fahey TJ, Knapp AK (eds) Principles and standards for measuring primary production. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 106–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Morris JT, Sundareshwar PV, Nietch CT (2002) Responses of coastal wetlands to rising sea level. Ecology 83:2869–2877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mudd S (2011) The life and death of salt marshes in response to anthropogenic disturbance of sediment supply. Geology 39:511–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] (2008) Tropical cyclone surge probability files. NOAA’s Meteorological development laboratory. http://www.weather.gov/mdl/psurge/download.php. Accessed 1 Dec 2008
  53. Neumeier U, Ciavola P (2004) Flow resistance and associated sedimentary processes in a Spartina maritima salt-marsh. J Coastal Res 20:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nyman JA, Chabreck RH (1995) Fire in coastal marshes: History and recent concerns. In: Proceedings of the tall timbers fire ecology conference NO. 19. Tall Timbers Research Station, pp 134-141Google Scholar
  55. Nyman JA, Crozier CR, DeLaune RD (1995) Roles and patterns of hurricane sedimentation in an estuarine marsh landscape. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 40:665–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Paine RT, Tegner MJ, Johnson EA (1998) Compounded perturbations yield ecological surprises. Ecosystems 1:535–545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Palmer MR, Nepf HM, Pettersson TJR, Ackerman JD (2004) Observations of particle capture on a cylindrical collector: Implications for particle accumulation and removal in aquatic systems. Limnol Oceanogr 49:76–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pennings S, Bertness MD (2001) Salt marsh communities. In: Bertness MD, Gaines SD, Hay M (eds) Marine community ecology. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  59. Peterson CG, Stevenson RJ (1992) Resistance and resilience of lotic algal communities: importance of disturbance timing and current. Ecology 73:1445–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schmalzer PA, Hinkle CR (1993) Effects of fire on nutrient concentrations and standing crops in biomass of Juncus roemerianus and Spartina bakeri marshes. Castanea 58:90–114Google Scholar
  61. Schmalzer PA, Hinkle CR, Mailander JL (1991) Changes in community composition and biomass in Juncus roemerianus scheele and Spartina bakeri merr marshes one year after a fire. Wetlands 11:67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shaffer GP, Wood WB, Hoeppner SS, Perkins TE, Zoller J, Kandalepas D (2009) Degradation of Baldcypress—Water Tupelo Swamp to Marsh and Open Water in Southeastern Louisiana, U.S.A.: an Irreversible Trajectory? J Coast Res 10054:152–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shepard CC, Crain CM, Beck MW (2011) The protective role of coastal marshes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 6:e27374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Slocum MG, Mendelssohn IA (2008) Use of experimental disturbances to assess resilience along a known stress gradient. Ecol Indic 8:181–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith SM, Newman S (2001) Growth of southern cattail (Typha domingensis pers.) Seedlings in response to fire-related soil transformations in the northern Florida Everglades. Wetlands 21:363–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Smith SM, Newman S, Garrett PB, Leeds JA (2001) Differential effects of surface and peat fire on soil constituents in a degraded wetland of the northern Florida Everglades. J Environ Qual 30:1998–2005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Stumpf R (1983) The process of sedimentation on the surface of a salt marsh. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 17:495–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Symbula M, Day FP (2008) Evaluation of two methods for estimating belowground production in a freshwater swamp forest. Am Midl Nat 120:405–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tate AS, Battaglia LL (2013) Community disassembly and reassembly following experimental storm surge and wrack application. J Veg Sci 24:46–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Temmerman S, Moonen P, Schoelynck J, Govers G, Bouma TJ (2012) Impact of vegetation die-off on spatial flow patterns over a tidal marsh. Geophys Res Lett 39:3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Turner MG, Dale VH (2008) Comparing large, infrequent disturbances: what bave we learned? Ecosystems 1:493–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Turner RE, Milan CS, Swenson EM (2006) Recent volumetric changes in salt marsh soils. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 69:352–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tweel AW, Turner RE (2012) Watershed land use and river engineering drive wetland formation and loss in the Mississippi River birdfoot delta. Limnol Oceanogr 57:18–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. van Coppenolle R, Schwarz C, Temmerman S (2018) Contribution of mangroves and salt marshes to nature-based mitigation of coastal flood risks in major deltas of the world. Estuaries Coasts 41:1699–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. van de Koppel J, van der Wal D, Bakker JP, Herman PMJ (2005) Self-organization and vegetation collapse in salt marsh ecosystems. Am Nat 165:E1–E12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Walters DC, Kirwan ML (2016) Optimal hurricane overwash thickness for maximizing marsh resilience to sea level rise. Ecol Evol 6:2948–2956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Westman WE (1978) Measuring the inertia and resilience of ecosystems. Bioscience 28:705–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Weston NB (2014) Declining sediments and rising seas: an unfortunate convergence for tidal wetlands. Estuaries Coasts 37:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. White PS, Pickett STA (1985) Natural disturbance and patch dynamics: an introduction. In: White PS, Pickett STA (eds) The ecology of natural disturbance and patch dynamics. Academic Press, New York, pp 3–13Google Scholar
  80. Williams HFL (2012) Magnitude of Hurricane Ike storm surge sedimentation: implications for coastal marsh aggradation. Earth Surf Process Landforms 37:901–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth LabUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.The Nature ConservancyLansingUSA
  3. 3.New College and Biological SciencesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

Personalised recommendations