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Hurricane Irma stresses out salt-sensitive plants

We sampled in the brackish and fresh marshes and at Saltex last week. In each case, salt-sensitive species were browning up near the downstream ends of their distributions, but looking fine upstream. This is consistent with our expectation that the saline storm surge from Hurricane Irma will push the distributions of the plants upstream along the estuary. We'll have to wait until next year, however, to see whether this is a lasting effect or whether the plants just resprout in the spring from their belowground rhizomes.

The photograph shows Zizaniopsis plants at SALTEx that were browning up due to salt stress from the Irma storm surge. Upstream, at GCE7, the Zizaniopsis plants were happy and green.

Zizaniopsis plants at Saltex browning up due to storm surge from Irma

(Contact Steve Pennings for additional information)

submitted Oct 20, 2017


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959 and OCE-1237140. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.