Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program



Earth and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Reed, Denise

Second Advisor

Hester, Mark

Third Advisor

Kulp, Mark


Rapid rates of coastal wetland loss in Louisiana are widely recognized. One important question of wetland sustainability is how volumetric contributions of roots to wetland soils vary under the influence of different hydrologic regimes. The research presented here specifically investigates the spatial and temporal relationships among the specific gravity of live roots, soil chemistry, and flooding regime for the macrophyte Spartina alterniflora Loisel. in natural, salt marsh, field settings located across southeastern coastal Louisiana. The results of this research propose the existence of a stress-tolerance threshold (beyond which root specific gravity modifications are observed), and highlight the importance of micro-scale factors over macro-scale regional characteristics in determining environmental stresses and the subsequent impact on root specific gravity. A conceptual model is developed linking the interactions of relevant environmental variables, root specific gravity, and the idea of a stress-tolerance threshold.


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