Spread of the native grass Elymus athericus in salt marshes of Mont-Saint-Michel bay as an unusual case of coastal eutrophication - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Coastal Conservation: planning and management Year : 2017

Spread of the native grass Elymus athericus in salt marshes of Mont-Saint-Michel bay as an unusual case of coastal eutrophication

Abstract

Contrary to many estuaries where the increase in inputs of nitrogenous nutrients results in a macro-algal or phytoplanktonic bloom, no proliferation of this kind has ever been observed in the waters of Mont-Saint-Michel bay (north-western France) owing to a very high turbidity which greatly limits light penetration. On the other hand, it is well known that the factor that usually limits the growth of vascular plants in salt marshes is not the light resource but nitrogen availability; these plant species are therefore able to benefit fully from the enrichment of water by nitrogenous compounds. This seems to be the case of the sea couch grass Elymus athericus that has spread very rapidly on the salt marshes of this site since the mid-1980s. Firstly, the present study (i) accurately documents, from a compilation of data from administrative archives, the changes in agricultural land use in the major watersheds during the period 1970-2010, together with related changes in the nitrate contents of the rivers flowing into the bay; (ii) quantifies the spatial spread of sea couch grass between 1984 and 2013 from the five maps made during this period. In the second part, using in-depth analysis based on the findings of previous studies, it shows that the expansion of this native grass corresponds to a biological invasion phenomenon, for which nitrogen enrichment of the bay seems to be the only plausible explanation.
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Dates and versions

hal-01585824 , version 1 (12-09-2017)

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Loïc Valery, Alain Radureau, Jean-Claude Lefeuvre. Spread of the native grass Elymus athericus in salt marshes of Mont-Saint-Michel bay as an unusual case of coastal eutrophication. Journal of Coastal Conservation: planning and management, 2017, 21 (3), pp.421--433. ⟨10.1007/s11852-016-0450-z⟩. ⟨hal-01585824⟩
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