Salinity and periodic inundation controls on the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum of gray mangroves

Leonardo Noto, Francesco Viola, Saverio Perri, Annalisa Molini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Salinity and periodic inundation are both known to have a major role in shaping the ecohydrology of mangroves through their controls on water uptake, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, gas exchanges, and nutrient availability. Salinity, in particular, can be considered one of the main abiotic regulating factors for halophytes and salt-tolerant species, due to its influence on water use patterns and growth rate. Ecohydrological literature has rarely focused on the effects of salinity on plant transpiration, based on the fact that the terrestrial plants mostly thrive in low-saline, unsaturated soils where the role of osmotic potential can be considered negligible. However, the effect of salinity cannot be neglected in the case of tidal species like mangroves, which have to cope with hyperosmotic conditions and waterlogging. We introduce here a first-order ecohydrological model of the soil/plant-atmosphere continuum of Avicennia marinaâalso known as gray mangroveâa highly salt-tolerant pioneer species able to adapt to hyperarid intertidal zones and characterized by unique morphological and ecophysiological traits. The A. marina's soil-plant-atmosphere continuum takes explicitly into account the role of water head, osmotic water potential, and water salinity in governing plant water fluxes. A. marina's transpiration is thus modeled as a function of salinity based on a simple parameterization of salt exclusion mechanisms at the root level and a modified Jarvis' expression accounting for the effects of salinity on stomatal conductance. Consistently with previous studies investigating the physiology of mangroves in response to different environmental drivers, our results highlight the major influence of salinity on mangrove transpiration when contrasted with other potential stressors such as waterlogging and water stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1271-1282
Number of pages12
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume31
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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