Morphological plasticity in mangrove trees: salinity-related changes in the allometry of Avicennia germinans

Vovides, A. G. , Vogt, J., Kollert, A., Berger, U., Grueters, U., Peters, R., Lara-Domínguez, A. L. and López-Portillo, J. (2014) Morphological plasticity in mangrove trees: salinity-related changes in the allometry of Avicennia germinans. Trees, 28(5), pp. 1413-1425. (doi:10.1007/s00468-014-1044-8)

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Abstract

Several studies show that mangrove trees possess high species- and site-related trait allometry, suggesting large morphological plasticity that might be related to environmental conditions, but the causes of such variation are not clearly understood and systematic quantification is still missing. Both aspects are essential for a mechanistic understanding of the development and functioning of forests. We analyzed the role of salinity in the allometric relations of the mangrove Avicennia germinans, using: (1) the top height trees (trees with the largest diameters at breast height, which reflect forest properties at the maximum use of resources); (2) the slenderness coefficient (which indicates competition and environmental conditions); and (3) the crown to DBH ratio. These standard tools for forest scientists dealing with terrestrial forests are suitable to analyze the plastic responses of mangroves to salinity. First, the top height trees help to recognize structural forest properties that are not detectable when studying the whole stand. Second, we found that at salinities above 55 ‰, trees are less slender and develop wider crowns in relation to DBH than when growing at lower salinities. Our results suggest a significant change in allometric traits in relation to salinity, and reflect the plastic responses of tree traits in response to environmental variation. Understanding the plastic responses of plants to their environment can help to better model, predict, and manage forests in changing environments.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vovides, Dr Alejandra
Authors: Vovides, A. G., Vogt, J., Kollert, A., Berger, U., Grueters, U., Peters, R., Lara-Domínguez, A. L., and López-Portillo, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Trees
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0931-1890
ISSN (Online):1432-2285
Published Online:04 July 2014

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