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1 June 2009 Influence of Biotic and Abiotic Factors on Annual Aboveground Biomass of an Intermediate Coastal Marsh
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Annual production of vegetation is an important indicator of various ecosystem processes in coastal marshes; many factors, both biotic and abiotic, can influence production of aboveground biomass. Using a 14-year data set, we evaluated the relative influence of 38 biotic and abiotic factors on annual aboveground biomass of an intermediate coastal marsh on the upper Gulf Coast of Texas. We used visual obstruction (VO) measurements as a surrogate variable in a prediction model to estimate available aboveground biomass in the marsh. Available biomass was greatest (3.34 kg/m2) when sampling site was flooded. Plant growth form, type of animal present, and composition of the ground cover influenced biomass of the marsh. Presence of insects was related to biomass (regression beta weight  =  0.28), uniquely accounting for 7.6% of the incremental variance in biomass. The presence of moderate amounts of litter was also related to available biomass (beta weight  =  0.86). Soil capping had little or no influence on aboveground biomass. Implementing standard protocols for long-term vegetation monitoring can be cost and time intensive. Our results suggest quantitative measurement of VO and qualitative observation of few variables (standing water, insects, and litter) measured annually can yield a reasonable assessment of aboveground biomass of intermediate coastal marshes.

Joydeep Bhattacharjee, David A. Haukos, and Jim Neaville "Influence of Biotic and Abiotic Factors on Annual Aboveground Biomass of an Intermediate Coastal Marsh," Wetlands 29(2), 690-696, (1 June 2009).
Received: 4 November 2008; Accepted: 1 December 2008; Published: 1 June 2009

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