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Unraveling the wheel of recruitment for salt-marsh seedlings: Resistance to and recovery after dislodgement
Zhao, Z.; Zhang, L.; Yuan, L.; Bouma, T.J. (2022). Unraveling the wheel of recruitment for salt-marsh seedlings: Resistance to and recovery after dislodgement. Sci. Total Environ. 847: 157595.
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Saltmarsh; Seedling establishment; Resistance; Recovery; Windows of opportunity; Wheel of recruitment

Auteurs  Top 
  • Zhao, Z., meer
  • Zhang, L.
  • Yuan, L.
  • Bouma, T.J., meer

    Elucidating bottlenecks at critical life stages and quantifying associated resilience (including resistance and recovery) to physical processes are central in inform restoration and attain sustainable development of coastal biogeomorphic ecosystems. Seedling establishment is a key life stage determines saltmarsh restoration potentials. However, the resilience of these recruits, especially through recovery, remains poorly understood. Here, two contrasting globally occurring saltmarsh species, namely Salicornia europaea and Spartina anglica, were employed to generate insights in i) seedling resistance against dislodgement, and ii) seedling recovery potential after dislodgement. Regarding resistance, we found that 1) root-shoot antagonism characterizes the growth rate of seedling resistance to dislodgement through hydraulic disturbance, 2) the root length determines seedling resistance to dislodgement through sheet erosion; 3) a 5 mm sedimentary setting amplifies seedling resistance without inhibiting their morphological evolution. Regarding recovery, we found that 4) dislodged seedlings have a high probability for achieving long-distance dispersal; 5) seedling age and the inundation-free period regulate the re-establishment potential of dislodged seedlings. Overall, S. anglica showed stronger resilience than S. europaea, characterized by stronger seedling resistance against dislodgement and higher re-establishment potential. Our results on seedling resilience suggest that seedling dislodgement is not an end-of-life cycle but a new spin on the “Wheel of Recruitment”, a proposed short-term cyclic behavior with alternating phases of seedling dislodgement, dispersal, and (re-)establishment. The Wheel of Recruitment concept is important for forecasting resilience and persistence of biogeomorphic systems such as salt marshes under global change and for guiding life cycle informed restoration.

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