Data from: Purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia rosea) dieback and partial community disassembly following experimental storm surge in a coastal pitcher plant bog
Abbott, Matthew J.; Battaglia, Loretta L. (2016), Data from: Purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia rosea) dieback and partial community disassembly following experimental storm surge in a coastal pitcher plant bog, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5dr7b
Sea-level rise and frequent intense hurricanes associated with climate change will result in recurrent flooding of inland systems such as Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs by storm surges. These surges can transport salt water and sediment to freshwater bogs, greatly affecting their biological integrity. Purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia rosea) are Gulf Coast pitcher plant bog inhabitants that could be at a disadvantage under this scenario because their pitcher morphology may leave them prone to collection of saline water and sediment after a surge. We investigated the effects of storm surge water salinity and sediment type on S. rosea vitality, plant community structure, and bog soil-water conductivity. Plots (containing ≥1 ramet of S. rosea) were experimentally flooded with fresh or saline water crossed with one of three sediment types (local, foreign, or no sediment). There were no treatment effects on soil-water conductivity; nevertheless, direct exposure to saline water resulted in significantly lower S. rosea cover until the following season when a prescribed fire and regional drought contributed to the decline of all the S. rosea to near zero percent cover. There were also significant differences in plant community structure between treatments over time, reflecting how numerous species increased in abundance and a few species decreased in abundance. However, in contrast to S. rosea, most of the other species in the community appeared resilient to the effects of storm surge. Thus, although the community may be somewhat affected by storm surge, those few species that are particularly sensitive to the storm surge disturbance will likely drop out of the community and be replaced by more resilient species. Depending on the longevity of these biological legacies, Gulf Coastal pitcher plant bogs may be incapable of fully recovering if they become exposed to storm surge more frequently due to climate change.