Date of Award
Utley, John; Hester, Mark
Aboveground plant community dynamics in the oligohaline marsh at Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, USA, were assessed in response to nutrient loading (3 N x 3 P treatments) and disturbance (both planned lethal disturbance and stochastic tropical storm/hurricane disturbance). Sampling was conducted seasonally from April 2004 to September 2006. Spartina patens and Schoenoplectus americanus are co-dominant plant species in this marsh. Low N-loading additions resulted in increased S. patens cover. However, increased N loading did not result in a shift in plant community composition despite S. americanus consistently having higher leaf tissue N than S. patens. Our results indicate that S. americanus may be more resilient than S. patens to disturbances that do not increase marsh surface elevation. Hurricane Katrina deposited significant amounts of sediment into remaining plots (August 29, 2005). By 2006, this disturbance resulted in a significant increase in both species richness and S. patens cover.
Meert, Danielle, "Responses of a Louisiana oligohaline marsh plant community to nutrient loading and disturbance" (2008). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 890.