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A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought / Christine Angelini, John Griffin, Johan van de Koppel, Leon P. M. Lamers, Alfons J. P. Smolders, Marlous Derksen-Hooijberg, Tjisse van der Heide, Brian R. Silliman

Nature Communications, Volume: 7, Issue: 1, Start page: 12473

Swansea University Author: John Griffin

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DOI (Published version): 10.1038/ncomms12473

Abstract

Droughts are increasing in severity and frequency, yet the mechanisms that strengthen ecosystem resilience to this stress remain poorly understood. Here, we test whether positive interactions in the form of a mutualism between mussels and dominant cordgrass in salt marshes enhance ecosystem resistan...

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Published in: Nature Communications
ISSN: 2041-1723
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2016
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa31871
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spelling 2020-11-12T16:20:28.4789379 v2 31871 2017-02-06 A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought 9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f 0000-0003-3295-6480 John Griffin John Griffin true false 2017-02-06 SBI Droughts are increasing in severity and frequency, yet the mechanisms that strengthen ecosystem resilience to this stress remain poorly understood. Here, we test whether positive interactions in the form of a mutualism between mussels and dominant cordgrass in salt marshes enhance ecosystem resistance to and recovery from drought. Surveys spanning 250 km of southeastern US coastline reveal spatially dispersed mussel mounds increased cordgrass survival during severe drought by 5- to 25-times. Surveys and mussel addition experiments indicate this positive effect of mussels on cordgrass was due to mounds enhancing water storage and reducing soil salinity stress. Observations and models then demonstrate that surviving cordgrass patches associated with mussels function as nuclei for vegetative re-growth and, despite covering only 0.1–12% of die-offs, markedly shorten marsh recovery periods. These results indicate that mutualisms, in supporting stress-resistant patches, can play a disproportionately large, keystone role in enhancing ecosystem resilience to climatic extremes. Journal Article Nature Communications 7 1 12473 Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2041-1723 1 11 2016 2016-11-01 10.1038/ncomms12473 COLLEGE NANME Biosciences COLLEGE CODE SBI Swansea University 2020-11-12T16:20:28.4789379 2017-02-06T13:07:16.1185749 College of Science Biosciences Christine Angelini 1 John Griffin 0000-0003-3295-6480 2 Johan van de Koppel 3 Leon P. M. Lamers 4 Alfons J. P. Smolders 5 Marlous Derksen-Hooijberg 6 Tjisse van der Heide 7 Brian R. Silliman 8 0031871-03032017145252.pdf ncomms12473.pdf 2017-03-03T14:52:52.3770000 Output 747541 application/pdf Version of Record true ©The Author(s) 2016. All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) License true eng
title A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
spellingShingle A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
John, Griffin
title_short A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
title_full A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
title_fullStr A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
title_full_unstemmed A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
title_sort A keystone mutualism underpins resilience of a coastal ecosystem to drought
author_id_str_mv 9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f
author_id_fullname_str_mv 9814fbffa76dd9c9a207166354cd0b2f_***_John, Griffin
author John, Griffin
author2 Christine Angelini
John Griffin
Johan van de Koppel
Leon P. M. Lamers
Alfons J. P. Smolders
Marlous Derksen-Hooijberg
Tjisse van der Heide
Brian R. Silliman
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container_title Nature Communications
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publishDate 2016
institution Swansea University
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publisher Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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hierarchy_parent_title College of Science
department_str Biosciences{{{_:::_}}}College of Science{{{_:::_}}}Biosciences
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description Droughts are increasing in severity and frequency, yet the mechanisms that strengthen ecosystem resilience to this stress remain poorly understood. Here, we test whether positive interactions in the form of a mutualism between mussels and dominant cordgrass in salt marshes enhance ecosystem resistance to and recovery from drought. Surveys spanning 250 km of southeastern US coastline reveal spatially dispersed mussel mounds increased cordgrass survival during severe drought by 5- to 25-times. Surveys and mussel addition experiments indicate this positive effect of mussels on cordgrass was due to mounds enhancing water storage and reducing soil salinity stress. Observations and models then demonstrate that surviving cordgrass patches associated with mussels function as nuclei for vegetative re-growth and, despite covering only 0.1–12% of die-offs, markedly shorten marsh recovery periods. These results indicate that mutualisms, in supporting stress-resistant patches, can play a disproportionately large, keystone role in enhancing ecosystem resilience to climatic extremes.
published_date 2016-11-01T03:48:58Z
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