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Geographic variation in salt marsh structure and function.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22614261     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
We examined geographic variation in the structure and function of salt marsh communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Focusing on the arthropod community in the dominant salt marsh plant Spartina alterniflora, we tested two hypotheses: first, that marsh community structure varies geographically, and second, that two aspects of marsh function (response to eutrophication and addition of dead plant material) also vary geographically. We worked at eleven sites on the Gulf Coast and eleven sites on the Atlantic Coast, dividing each coast up into two geographic areas. Abiotic conditions (tidal range, soil organic content, and water content, but not soil salinity), plant variables (Spartina nitrogen content, height, cover of dead plant material, but not live Spartina percent cover or light interception), and arthropod variables (proportional abundances of predators, sucking herbivores, stem-boring herbivores, parasitoids, and detritivores, but not total arthropod numbers) varied among the four geographic regions. Latitude and mean tidal range explained much of this geographic variation. Nutrient enrichment increased all arthropod functional groups in the community, consistent with previous experimental results, and had similar effects in all geographic regions, contrary to our hypothesis, suggesting widespread consistency in this aspect of ecosystem function. The addition of dead plant material had surprisingly little effect on the arthropod community. Our results caution against the uncritical extrapolation of work done in one geographic region to another, but indicate that some aspects of marsh function may operate in similar ways in different geographic regions, despite spatial variation in community structure.
Authors:
Brittany D McCall; Steven C Pennings
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-5-22
Journal Detail:
Title:  Oecologia     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1939     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-5-22     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0150372     Medline TA:  Oecologia     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 77204-5001, USA, bldeloach@gmail.com.
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