Water use patterns of estuarine vegetation in a tidal creek system

Wei, Lili, Lockington, David A., Poh, Seng-Chee, Gasparon, Massimo and Lovelock, Catherine E. (2013) Water use patterns of estuarine vegetation in a tidal creek system. Oecologia, 172 2: 485-494. doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2495-5

Author Wei, Lili
Lockington, David A.
Poh, Seng-Chee
Gasparon, Massimo
Lovelock, Catherine E.
Title Water use patterns of estuarine vegetation in a tidal creek system
Journal name Oecologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0029-8549
Publication date 2013-06-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00442-012-2495-5
Volume 172
Issue 2
Start page 485
End page 494
Total pages 10
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Water availability is a key determinant of the zonation patterns in estuarine vegetation, but water availability and the use of different water sources over space and time are not well understood. We have determined the seasonal water use patterns of riparian vegetation over an estuarine ecotone. Our aim was to investigate how the water use patterns of estuarine vegetation respond to variations in the availability of tidal creek water and rain-derived freshwater. The levels of natural stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen were assessed in the stem of the mangrove Avicennia marina (tall and scrub growth forms), Casuarina glauca and Melaleuca quinquenervia that were distributed along transects from river/creek-front towards inland habitats. The isotopic composition of plant tissues and the potential water sources were assessed in both the wet season, when freshwater from rainfall is present, and the dry season, when mangrove trees are expected to be more dependent on tidal water, and when Casuarina and Melaleuca are expected to be dependent on groundwater. Our results indicate that rainwater during the wet season contributes significantly to estuarine vegetation, even to creek-side mangroves which are inundated by tidal creek water daily, and that estuarine vegetation depends primarily on freshwater throughout the year. In contrast, high intertidal scrub mangroves were found to use the greatest proportion of tidal creek water, supplemented by groundwater in the dry season. Contrary to prediction, inland trees C. glauca and M. quinquenervia were found also to rely predominantly on rainwater—even in the dry season. The results of this study reveal a high level of complexity in vegetation water use in estuarine settings.
Keyword Avicennia marina
Casuarina glauca
Estuarine water sources
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 16 October 2012

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Created: Wed, 14 Nov 2012, 12:59:40 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences