Plant Diversity ›› 2024, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (01): 134-143.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.06.006

• Short communication • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal variation of water salinity in mangroves revealed by continuous monitoring and its relationship to floristic diversity

Wei Wanga, Kun Xina, Yujun Chena, Yuechao Chenb, Zhongmao Jianga, Nong Shenga, Baowen Liaoa, Yanmei Xionga   

  1. a. Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520, PR China;
    b. Guangdong Zhanjiang Mangrove National Nature Reserve Administration, Zhanjiang 524088, PR China
  • Received:2022-12-27 Revised:2023-06-06 Online:2024-01-25 Published:2024-03-02
  • Contact: Yanmei Xiong,
  • Supported by:
    This study was funded by the Forestry Administration of Guangdong Province (2022KJCX014), the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation (2022A1515010550), and the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province, China (2019B121202003).

Abstract: Salinity is among the most critical factors limiting the growth and species distribution of coastal plants. Water salinity in estuarine ecosystems varies temporally and spatially, but the variation patterns across different time scales and salinity fluctuation have rarely been quantified. The effects of salinity on floristic diversity in mangroves are not fully understood due to the temporal and spatial heterogeneity of salinity. In this study, we monitored water salinity at an interval of 10-min over one year in three mangrove catchment areas representing the outer part, middle part, and inner part respectively of Dongzhai Bay, Hainan, China. The number of mangrove community types and dominant mangrove species of the three catchment areas were also investigated. We found that the diurnal variation and dry-season intra-month variation in water salinity were driven by tidal cycles. The seasonal variation in water salinity was mainly driven by rainfall with higher salinity occurring in the dry season and lower salinity occurring in the wet season. Spatially, water salinity was highest at the outer part, intermediate at the middle part, and lowest at the inner part of the bay. The intra-month and annual fluctuations of water salinity were highest at the middle part and lowest at the outer part of the bay. The number of mangrove community types and dominant species were lowest at the outer part, intermediate at the middle part, and highest at the inner part of the bay. These results suggest that the temporal variation of water salinity in mangroves is driven by different factors at different time scales and therefore it is necessary to measure water salinity at different time scales to get a complete picture of the saline environment that mangroves experience. Spatially, lower salinity levels benefit mangrove species richness within a bay landscape, however, further research is needed to distinguish the effects of salinity fluctuation and salinity level in affecting mangrove species richness.

Key words: Coastal wetlands, Mangroves, Salinity fluctuation, Species diversity, Species richness