Growth of pioneer beach plants is strongly driven by buried macroalgal wrack, whereas macroinvertebrates affect plant nutrient dynamics

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Abstract

Sandy beach food webs depend heavily upon marine organic input, such as macroalgae, as internal organic matter productivity is low. The fate, however, of this marine organic material (termed wrack) after being deposited onto the beach and its relation to pioneer vegetation, consisting of annual and perennial beach plants, needs to be further elucidated. In particular, the effect of various drivers, such as wrack burial and macroinvertebrate presence, on wrack decomposition is largely unknown on sandy beaches. Also, the subsequent effects of decomposition-driven nitrogen and phosphorus availability on beach pioneer plant growth are not yet understood. We performed a mesocosm experiment manipulating Fucus vesiculosus wrack access to the supratidal amphipod Talitrus saltator, and used Cakile maritima and Elytrigia juncea as phytometers to estimate decomposition-driven, wrack-derived nutrient supply. Buried wrack had a strong positive effect (2–3 fold increase) on plant mass, N and P content of C. maritima compared to surface wrack, while effects on E. juncea were largely absent. In addition, macroinvertebrate-facilitated decomposition was important for increasing nutrient availability, but this did not result in an increase in plant growth. We conclude that the burial of wrack by a thin layer of sand is a crucial driver of beach pioneer plant growth, which is most likely due to an increase in moisture availability. This supports the importance of management practices that allow deposited wrack to remain and be buried on the sandy beach for a long period of time, which will have positive effects on beach pioneer plant growth and possibly embryo dune formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume514-515
Early online date4 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Fingerprint

nutrient dynamics
macroinvertebrates
macroinvertebrate
beaches
beach
nutrients
pioneer species
Thinopyrum junceum
plant growth
decomposition
degradation
dune formation
Fucus vesiculosus
mesocosm
nutrient availability
dunes
amphipod
embryo (plant)
Amphipoda
food webs

Keywords

  • Beach pioneer vegetation
  • Cakile maritima
  • Elytrigia juncea
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Talitrus saltator
  • Wrack

Cite this

@article{5fb3543e5f36423ba9a420ef1d4f3fbc,
title = "Growth of pioneer beach plants is strongly driven by buried macroalgal wrack, whereas macroinvertebrates affect plant nutrient dynamics",
abstract = "Sandy beach food webs depend heavily upon marine organic input, such as macroalgae, as internal organic matter productivity is low. The fate, however, of this marine organic material (termed wrack) after being deposited onto the beach and its relation to pioneer vegetation, consisting of annual and perennial beach plants, needs to be further elucidated. In particular, the effect of various drivers, such as wrack burial and macroinvertebrate presence, on wrack decomposition is largely unknown on sandy beaches. Also, the subsequent effects of decomposition-driven nitrogen and phosphorus availability on beach pioneer plant growth are not yet understood. We performed a mesocosm experiment manipulating Fucus vesiculosus wrack access to the supratidal amphipod Talitrus saltator, and used Cakile maritima and Elytrigia juncea as phytometers to estimate decomposition-driven, wrack-derived nutrient supply. Buried wrack had a strong positive effect (2–3 fold increase) on plant mass, N and P content of C. maritima compared to surface wrack, while effects on E. juncea were largely absent. In addition, macroinvertebrate-facilitated decomposition was important for increasing nutrient availability, but this did not result in an increase in plant growth. We conclude that the burial of wrack by a thin layer of sand is a crucial driver of beach pioneer plant growth, which is most likely due to an increase in moisture availability. This supports the importance of management practices that allow deposited wrack to remain and be buried on the sandy beach for a long period of time, which will have positive effects on beach pioneer plant growth and possibly embryo dune formation.",
keywords = "Beach pioneer vegetation, Cakile maritima, Elytrigia juncea, Nutrient cycling, Talitrus saltator, Wrack",
author = "{van Egmond}, {E. M.} and {van Bodegom}, {P. M.} and {van Hal}, {J. R.} and {van Logtestijn}, {R. S.P.} and Broekman, {R. A.} and Berg, {M. P.} and R. Aerts",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.jembe.2019.03.015",
language = "English",
volume = "514-515",
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journal = "Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Growth of pioneer beach plants is strongly driven by buried macroalgal wrack, whereas macroinvertebrates affect plant nutrient dynamics

AU - van Egmond, E. M.

AU - van Bodegom, P. M.

AU - van Hal, J. R.

AU - van Logtestijn, R. S.P.

AU - Broekman, R. A.

AU - Berg, M. P.

AU - Aerts, R.

PY - 2019/5/1

Y1 - 2019/5/1

N2 - Sandy beach food webs depend heavily upon marine organic input, such as macroalgae, as internal organic matter productivity is low. The fate, however, of this marine organic material (termed wrack) after being deposited onto the beach and its relation to pioneer vegetation, consisting of annual and perennial beach plants, needs to be further elucidated. In particular, the effect of various drivers, such as wrack burial and macroinvertebrate presence, on wrack decomposition is largely unknown on sandy beaches. Also, the subsequent effects of decomposition-driven nitrogen and phosphorus availability on beach pioneer plant growth are not yet understood. We performed a mesocosm experiment manipulating Fucus vesiculosus wrack access to the supratidal amphipod Talitrus saltator, and used Cakile maritima and Elytrigia juncea as phytometers to estimate decomposition-driven, wrack-derived nutrient supply. Buried wrack had a strong positive effect (2–3 fold increase) on plant mass, N and P content of C. maritima compared to surface wrack, while effects on E. juncea were largely absent. In addition, macroinvertebrate-facilitated decomposition was important for increasing nutrient availability, but this did not result in an increase in plant growth. We conclude that the burial of wrack by a thin layer of sand is a crucial driver of beach pioneer plant growth, which is most likely due to an increase in moisture availability. This supports the importance of management practices that allow deposited wrack to remain and be buried on the sandy beach for a long period of time, which will have positive effects on beach pioneer plant growth and possibly embryo dune formation.

AB - Sandy beach food webs depend heavily upon marine organic input, such as macroalgae, as internal organic matter productivity is low. The fate, however, of this marine organic material (termed wrack) after being deposited onto the beach and its relation to pioneer vegetation, consisting of annual and perennial beach plants, needs to be further elucidated. In particular, the effect of various drivers, such as wrack burial and macroinvertebrate presence, on wrack decomposition is largely unknown on sandy beaches. Also, the subsequent effects of decomposition-driven nitrogen and phosphorus availability on beach pioneer plant growth are not yet understood. We performed a mesocosm experiment manipulating Fucus vesiculosus wrack access to the supratidal amphipod Talitrus saltator, and used Cakile maritima and Elytrigia juncea as phytometers to estimate decomposition-driven, wrack-derived nutrient supply. Buried wrack had a strong positive effect (2–3 fold increase) on plant mass, N and P content of C. maritima compared to surface wrack, while effects on E. juncea were largely absent. In addition, macroinvertebrate-facilitated decomposition was important for increasing nutrient availability, but this did not result in an increase in plant growth. We conclude that the burial of wrack by a thin layer of sand is a crucial driver of beach pioneer plant growth, which is most likely due to an increase in moisture availability. This supports the importance of management practices that allow deposited wrack to remain and be buried on the sandy beach for a long period of time, which will have positive effects on beach pioneer plant growth and possibly embryo dune formation.

KW - Beach pioneer vegetation

KW - Cakile maritima

KW - Elytrigia juncea

KW - Nutrient cycling

KW - Talitrus saltator

KW - Wrack

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U2 - 10.1016/j.jembe.2019.03.015

DO - 10.1016/j.jembe.2019.03.015

M3 - Article

VL - 514-515

SP - 87

EP - 94

JO - Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

JF - Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

SN - 0022-0981

ER -