Braly, S. Katharine , Brewer, Steven .
Seed production in sea oats (Uniola paniculata L., Poaceae) along an environmental gradient on a barrier island.
Sea oats (Uniola paniculata L., Poaceae) are one of the most biologically and economically important plants in the coastal plain of the southeastern United States; this species plays a central role in dune formation and stabilization. Adaptations to burial and salt spray, and a rhizomatous habit, in sea oats facilitate the stabilization and expansion of foredunes. Sexual reproduction in sea oats is important for new dune formation; however, the controls over seed set in this species are poorly understood. Furthermore, very low seed set in sea oats may be responsible for limiting the formation of foredunes as well as recolonization of back dunes that have been blown out by storms. Anecdotal evidence suggests that seed set in sea oats varies with distance from the ocean to sound sides of barrier islands. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test for a relationship between seed set and seed viability in U. paniculata and the environmental gradients across a barrier island in North Carolina. We quantified physical characteristics of the abiotic environment – primarily soil and salt spray chemistry, geographic distance, and topography – from ocean to back dunes on Bear Island using a system of 100 sampling stations. Seed set and seed viability were also quantified for each of these 100 stations. We found significant gradients in salt spray and soil nutrients with distance from the ocean. Seed set, but not seed viability, varied significantly along this gradient and declines with distance from the ocean.
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1 - University of North Carolina Wilmington, Marine Science, 116 A Lullwater dr., Wilmington, NC, 28403, U.S.A.
2 - University of North Carolina Wilmington, Biology, 601 South College rd., Wilmington, NC, 28403, U.S.A.
Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Location: Ball Room & Party Room/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 12:30 PM