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Salinity, growth and root respiration in the grey mangrove, Avicennia marina


M. D. Burcheu (reprint requests)


Relationships between growth parameters and root respiration under various conditions of salinity were investigated in seedlings of the grey mangrove Avicennia marina (Forsk.) Vierh. Growth, root/shoot ratios, leaf succulence and osmotic potential of leaves were measured for seedlings grown for 6–8 weeks in 100, 50, 25 and 0% seawater. Oxygen uptake of root segments, from distal to proximal ends of roots, was measured for all treatments. Total growth was maximal in 25% seawater, highest leaf succulence was obtained in 50% seawater, and highest leaf osmotic potential in 100% seawater. Oxygen uptake in distal root segments, as measured both by Clark oxygen electrode and Warburg manometry, showed a stimulation in the presence of salt that closely paralleled growth stimulation. The rates of respiration were highest in 25% seawater. The oxygen uptake was not stimulated by salt per se, since concentrations higher than 25% were associated with a decline in rate of oxygen uptake from the maximum. Values for the respiratory quotient approximated to one in all treatments. Avicennia marina has been reported to exclude from its roots about 90% of the salt in the surrounding medium. It might have been expected that increased concentrations of salt in the growth medium would be associated with a standard salt respiration response in the roots; however, this was not obtained.