Analysis of cumulative effects of multiple stressors on saltmarshes and consideration of management options

Wong, Joanne Xiao Wen (2015) Analysis of cumulative effects of multiple stressors on saltmarshes and consideration of management options, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione, 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/7228.
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Natural systems face pressures exerted by natural physical-chemical forcings and a myriad of co-occurring human stressors that may interact to cause larger than expected effects, thereby presenting a challenge to ecosystem management. This thesis aimed to develop new information that can contribute to reduce the existing knowledge gaps hampering the holistic management of multiple stressors. I undertook a review of the state-of-the-art methods to detect, quantify and predict stressor interactions, identifying techniques that could be applied in this thesis research. Then, I conducted a systematic review of saltmarsh multiple stressor studies in conjunction with a multiple stressor mapping exercise for the study system in order to infer potential important synergistic stressor interactions. This analysis identified key stressors that are affecting the study system, but also pointed to data gaps in terms of driver and pressure data and raised issues for potentially overlooked stressors. Using field mesocosms, I explored how a local stressor (nutrient availability) affects the responses of saltmarsh vegetation to a global stressor (increased inundation) in different soil types. Results indicate that saltmarsh vegetation would be more drastically affected by increased inundation in low than in medium organic matter soils, and especially in estuaries already under high nutrient availability. In another field experiment, I examined the challenges of managing co-occurring and potentially interacting local stressors on saltmarsh vegetation: recreational trampling and smothering by deposition of excess macroalgal wrack due to high nutrient loads. Trampling and wrack prevention had interacting effects, causing non-linear responses of the vegetation to simulated management of these stressors, such that vegetation recovered only in those treatments simulating the combined prevention of both stressors. During this research I detected, using molecular genetic methods, a widespread presence of S. anglica (and to a lesser extent S. townsendii), two previously unrecorded non-native Spartinas in the study areas.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Wong, Joanne Xiao Wen
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
multiple stressors, saltmarsh, Spartina, stressor interactions, management, experiment, systematic review, mapping, invasives
Data di discussione
29 Giugno 2015

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