Plant-Soil interactions in salt marsh environments: Experimental evidence from electrical resistivity tomography in the Venice Lagoon


Journal Article

© 2014. American Geophysical Union. The role of root water uptake in regulating soil water saturation in salt marshes is controversial. Modeling studies suggest that soil aeration is improved by transpiration, with implications for the distribution of vegetation species and of the associated topographic features controlling the hydraulic regime of the marshland and eventually its survival. Marsh vegetation plays a key role in the preservation of such critical environment, which represents unique marker for climatic change and impact studies. However, the direct quantification of space-Time aeration patterns has remained elusive, in part, because of the limitations posed by high salinity to conventional observation techniques such as time or frequency domain reflectometry. Here we show that time-Lapse microscale electrical resistivity tomography, coupled with tensiometric observations, allows the identification of variably saturated zones and the characterization of space-Time soil moisture dynamics in a salt marsh in the Venice Lagoon (Italy). This is the first quantitative observational experiment which confirms that periodically flooded plants are capable of producing a persistently aerated layer below the flooded surface when transpiration proceeds at a sufficiently high rate. The experimental results are compared against previously published model predictions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Boaga, J; D'Alpaos, A; Cassiani, G; Marani, M; Putti, M

Published Date

  • September 16, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 41 / 17

Start / End Page

  • 6160 - 6166

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-8007

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/2014GL060983

Citation Source

  • Scopus