Influences of sea level and salinity changes on Baltic coastal wetland plant communities

Thaisa Fernandes Bergamo, Raymond Ward, Chris Joyce, Kalev Sepp

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Influences of sea level and salinity changes on Baltic coastal wetland plant communitiesT.F. Bergamo1,2*, R.D.Ward1,2, C.B. Joyce2, K. Sepp11Estonian University of Life Sciences/Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonia2University of Brighton/Centre for Aquatic Environments, UK*thaisa.fernandes@student.emu.eeThe salinity of the Baltic Sea is classified as brackish-water in the east with 6.5 psu due the narrow connection with the Atlantic Ocean through the Danish Straits (Ward et al., 2016).Flooding is predominantly driven by atmospheric pressure and fluctuating meteorological conditions across the North Atlantic and Fennoscandia with very low tidal range (~0.02 m range in the east)(Suursaar&Sooäär, 2007).Recent estimates of relative sea level rise from three tide gauges along the Estonian coast are: 1.5–1.7 mm yr−1 at Tallinn, 1.7–2.1 mm yr−1 from Narva-Jõesuu and 2.3–2.7 mm yr−1 at Pärnu(Ward et al., 2014) and salinity is expected to decrease in the eastern Baltic and increase in the west(Graham et al., 2007).The aim of this project is to investigate how species rich Baltic coastal wetland plant communities are affected by changes in water levels and salinity as a result of climate change. Responses of main plant species (germination and growth) and coastal wetland plant communities have been evaluated under altered environmental conditions simulating future scenarios using mesocosm experiments. The experiment consists of 15 buckets per specie and 5 treatments (3 replicates per treatment). Seeds of Juncus gerardii, Festuca rubra and Salicornia salina (450 seeds per specie) were planted. Initial germination results show higher germination of F. rubra, followed by J. gerardii while S. salina didn't germinate. F. rubra had higher germination in lower water level and pattern salinity while J. gerardii with higher water level and pattern salinity in a period of 8 weeks.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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