Understanding the response of salt marshes to flooding is crucial to foresee the fate of these fragile ecosystems, requiring an upscaling approach. In this study we related plant species and community response to multispectral indices aiming at parsing the power of remote sensing to detect the environmental stress due to flooding in lagoon salt marshes. We studied the response of Salicornia fruticosa (L.) L. and associated plant community along a flooding and soil texture gradient in nine lagoon salt marshes in northern Italy. We considered community (i.e., species richness, dry biomass, plant height, dry matter content) and individual traits (i.e., annual growth, pigments, and secondary metabolites) to analyze the effect of flooding depth and its interplay with soil properties. We also carried out a drone multispectral survey, to obtain remote sensing-derived vegetation indices for the upscaling of plant responses to flooding. Plant diversity, biomass and growth all declined as inundation depth increased. The increase of soil clay content exacerbated flooding stress shaping S. fruticosa growth and physiological responses. Multispectral indices were negatively related with flooding depth. We found key species traits rather than other community traits to better explain the variance of multispectral indices. In particular stem length and pigment content (i.e., betacyanin, carotenoids) were more effective than other community traits to predict the spectral indices in an upscaling perspective of salt marsh response to flooding. We proved multispectral indices to potentially capture plant growth and plant eco-physiological responses to flooding at the large scale. These results represent a first fundamental step to establish long term spatial monitoring of marsh acclimation to sea level rise with remote sensing. We further stressed the importance to focus on key species traits as mediators of the entire ecosystem changes, in an ecological upscaling perspective.

New perspective for the upscaling of plant functional response to flooding stress in salt marshes using remote sensing

Cingano, Paolo;Trotta, Giacomo;Petrussa, Elisa;Bezzi, Annelore;Pellegrini, Elisa;
2024-01-01

Abstract

Understanding the response of salt marshes to flooding is crucial to foresee the fate of these fragile ecosystems, requiring an upscaling approach. In this study we related plant species and community response to multispectral indices aiming at parsing the power of remote sensing to detect the environmental stress due to flooding in lagoon salt marshes. We studied the response of Salicornia fruticosa (L.) L. and associated plant community along a flooding and soil texture gradient in nine lagoon salt marshes in northern Italy. We considered community (i.e., species richness, dry biomass, plant height, dry matter content) and individual traits (i.e., annual growth, pigments, and secondary metabolites) to analyze the effect of flooding depth and its interplay with soil properties. We also carried out a drone multispectral survey, to obtain remote sensing-derived vegetation indices for the upscaling of plant responses to flooding. Plant diversity, biomass and growth all declined as inundation depth increased. The increase of soil clay content exacerbated flooding stress shaping S. fruticosa growth and physiological responses. Multispectral indices were negatively related with flooding depth. We found key species traits rather than other community traits to better explain the variance of multispectral indices. In particular stem length and pigment content (i.e., betacyanin, carotenoids) were more effective than other community traits to predict the spectral indices in an upscaling perspective of salt marsh response to flooding. We proved multispectral indices to potentially capture plant growth and plant eco-physiological responses to flooding at the large scale. These results represent a first fundamental step to establish long term spatial monitoring of marsh acclimation to sea level rise with remote sensing. We further stressed the importance to focus on key species traits as mediators of the entire ecosystem changes, in an ecological upscaling perspective.
2024
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https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-024-56165-4
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3070399
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