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The Biology of Coastal Sand Dunes$
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M. Anwar Maun

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780198570356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198570356.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2021

Salt spray and soil salinity

Salt spray and soil salinity

(p.117) Chapter 8 Salt spray and soil salinity
The Biology of Coastal Sand Dunes

M. Anwar Maun

Oxford University Press

Salt spray is an important abiotic stress that affects plant and other biotic communities in the vicinity of sea coasts. Salt stress refers only to excess of ions in the environment, but along sea coasts it specifically involves increased amounts of Na+ and Cl− ions. Anyone who has visited a sea coast on windy days has experienced the landward movement of salt in the form of salt spray. Salisbury (1805) reported details of a marine storm in England following gale force winds from the east for one week. He writes: ‘On the 14th of January 1803, I observed an east window of my house, which had been cleaned a few days before, covered on the outside with an apparent hoar frost.’ Chemical analysis showed that it was salt from salt spray that had been deposited on plants, buildings and other objects. In spring of that year he made two observations: (i) plant taxa showed differential tolerance to salt spray and (ii) injury was more pronounced on the windward than the leeward sides of plants. Salt spray acts as a strong environmental stress and populations of biotic organisms have evolved traits that allow them to tolerate the effects of salt. The salt crystals also act as condensation nuclei in the air and damage plants by abrasion during wind storms. However, salt spray may also be beneficial because it improves plant growth by providing some essential nutrients. Many researchers have examined the role of salt spray on survival, distribution and growth form of plant species. In this chapter the effects of salt spray and soil salinity on seed germination, seedling survival and plant growth will be examined. Symptoms of injury to plants, mechanisms of salt tolerance and comparisons between plant species native to the coastal dunes will also be discussed. Three factors—wind speed, wave amplitude and wind direction—influence the formation of salt spray. Waves of high amplitude produce four basic types of breakers: surging, collapsing, plunging and spilling. The steepest waves with high turbulence create spilling breakers with a bore accompanied by large quantities of small foam bubbles.

Keywords:   bubble formation and collapse, halophytes, salinity, salt spray, salt spray resistance, salt stimulation, salt traps, soil salinity

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