WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: 2003NJ44B
Title: Seed Dispersal Dynamics in a Restored Salt Marsh: Implications for Restoration Success
Project Type: Research
Focus Categories: Wetlands, Ecology
Keywords: seed dispersal, wetlands, restoration, secondary dispersal, primary dispersal, salt marsh
Start Date: 03/01/2003
End Date: 03/01/2004
Federal Funds: $1500.00
Matching Funds: $12060.00
Congressional District: 6
Principal Investigators: Hicks, Polly L.; Joan G. Ehrenfeld
Abstract: The research outlined
in this proposal aims to critically examine one restoration approach (natural
colonization) and its application to salt marsh restoration. Natural colonization
is often incorporated into restoration activities because it helps to ensure
the genetic diversity and health of a restored site. The main pathway for
salt marsh colonization is thought to occur through the secondary dispersal
of seeds by tidal forces. Secondary dispersal is the additional movement of
the seed from its initial substrate due to an outside force; primary dispersal
is the release of a seed from the parent plant to a substrate, such as land
or water. Neither the application of natural colonization for restoration
activities nor the dynamics of secondary dispersal in a salt marsh system
have been well studied (Bakker et al. 1996; Palmer et al. 1997; Zedler 2000).
This research will quantitatively examine seed input, germination and secondary
dispersal to assess the influence of these important, but poorly understood,
salt marsh dynamics on restoration success in the Hackensack Meadowlands (Meadowlands).
Proposed activities will:
· characterize the seed input of a restored marsh,
· determine the influence of secondary dispersal on seed input,
· determine how seed input is related to the successful establishment of vegetation, and
· experimentally investigate seed dispersal patterns in the Meadowlands.
The methodologies developed and information collected in this project can be used by agency personnel and restoration practitioners to enhance their understanding of salt marsh restoration and the factors that influence success. This research can also be used by state agency and restoration practitioners working in the Meadowlands to enhance their knowledge of the area’s ecology enabling them to make restoration activities more predictable. In addition, once developed and tested, these methodologies can be used by individuals working in other marsh systems to improve their restoration activities.