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Life history and morphological shifts in an intertidal seagrass following multiple disturbances

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dc.creator Ruesink, Jennifer L.
dc.creator Fitzpatrick, John P.
dc.creator Dumbauld, Brett R.
dc.creator Hacker, Sally D.
dc.creator Trimble, Alan C.
dc.creator Wagner, Eric L.
dc.creator Wisehart, Lorena M.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-31T23:38:57Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-31T23:38:57Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-01
dc.identifier.citation Ruesink, J., Fitzpatrick, J., Dumbauld, B., Hacker, S., Trimble, A., Wagner, E., & Wisehart, L. (2012). Life history and morphological shifts in an intertidal seagrass following multiple disturbances. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MARINE BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY, 424, 25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2012.05.002 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/33150
dc.description This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-experimental-marine-biology-and-ecology/. To the best of our knowledge, one or more authors of this paper were federal employees when contributing to this work. en_US
dc.description.abstract Disturbance regimes differ in type, magnitude, and frequency, but few field experiments have considered compounded effects of disturbance. In this study, we characterized gap recovery after complete removal of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in Willapa Bay, Washington, USA. In separate experiments, we imposed two disturbance types – shoot damage and shoot removal – at different magnitudes and frequencies. We examined a broad suite of morphological and life history responses relevant to the ability of Z. marina to tolerate and recolonize following disturbance. We found that at multiple sites, 4 m² gaps in eelgrass meadows recovered in 2 years. Experiments revealed that cut shoots had a short-term reduction in growth, decline in shoot width in relation to the number of cutting events, and a drop in clonal branching. In contrast, in thinned plots, both clonal branching and seedling size increased. Upper-elevation intertidal plants shared many traits of cut plants, particularly lower growth and size, but maintained similar clonal branching and shoot densities as at lower intertidal elevations. Sexual reproduction appeared inflexible to disturbances imposed over the summer experimental period but differed by elevation, with upper-elevation plants showing increased flowering, lower seedling densities, but higher seedling survival. Effects of multiple disturbances were generally additive even though individually their effects varied in magnitude and direction. One exception was an antagonism that appeared in sheath width: cutting had less effect at upper than lower elevation. Overall, Z. marina tolerated shoot damage through remodeling that reduced shoot size, and shoots compensated following loss of neighbors via enhanced clonal branching. Recolonization in this estuary should be further accelerated by sexual reproduction, despite weak responses to disturbance treatments, because seedling densities in late summer (4 m⁻²) contributed 20–56% of shoot births. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This study was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Western Regional Aquaculture Center through Grant No. 2003‐38500‐13198 from the United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Vol. 424-425 (2012) en_US
dc.subject Allocation following disturbance en_US
dc.subject Clonal plant life-history traits en_US
dc.subject Phenotypic plasticity en_US
dc.subject Compensatory growth en_US
dc.subject Compounded perturbations en_US
dc.title Life history and morphological shifts in an intertidal seagrass following multiple disturbances en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.description.peerreview yes en_US
dc.identifier.doi 10.1016/j.jembe.2012.05.002

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