The coastal zone of Louisiana is changing due to multiple pressures associated with sea-level rise, subsidence, and the inability of sediment or organic accretion to keep pace. The expected increases in sea level and salinity may affect the distribution of the existing plant communities. In addition, these changes in the environment could lead to shifts in plant community composition. During the summer of 2014, I researched how changes in salinity and water levels may change the establishment of vegetation in Louisiana marshes. Randomly selected Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) sites were used to collect vegetation data and soil samples. The collected soil samples from fresh, intermediate, brackish, and saline marsh sites were used in a seed bank study. The seed bank study evaluated the effects of different levels of salinity and flooding on seed germination and species richness. Seed germination was highest in soil samples collected from fresh and intermediate sites when these samples were exposed to low salinity (0.0 ppt) and non-flooded conditions. My study only found 43 seedlings in the 10 ppt treatment of 336 total seed germinations, and only 2 seedlings were found in the 20 ppt salinity treatment. Salinity was the dominant factor governing seed germinations and species richness. I also determined that the parent plants for the species found in my seed bank study were more likely to be found within the study site. However, the species data showed at least one species or genus was not present in either the historical or the field collected data. Therefore, the dispersal distance of some seeds from their parental seed provider could have been several hundred meters.
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|Advisor:||Visser, Jenneke M., Duke-Sylvester, Scott M.|
|Commitee:||Hester, Mark W.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Natural Resource Management, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||Dispersal, Flooding, Salinity, Seed bank, Seed germination, Species richness|
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