Agnieszka Piernik

Ecological Pattern of Inland Salt Marsh Vegetation in Central Europe

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Agnieszka Piernik

Ecological Pattern of Inland Salt Marsh Vegetation in Central Europe

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The book presents the results of the research on plant-environment relations, both in natural and anthropogenic inland saline areas in Central Europe. The research covered most of the existing sites of inland halophytes in Poland known from the literature. In order to perform the analyses in an even wider range of variability of ecological factors, the study was also performed on a few salt marshes in Germany. In the first stage, habitat properties of the studied sites of halophytes were analysed. In the next stage, a general vegetation pattern was investigated and the importance of different salinity measures for the development of this pattern was compared. Ecological spectra of species occurring in salt marshes were analysed based on the salinity measure that was most important for the vegetation pattern. The subsequent analyses were carried out in order to investigate whether the species composition and cover-abundance of species in vegetation patches are related to the intensity of influence exerted by particular environmental variables. For this purpose, the studied patches were grouped. It was analysed which environmental factors are most important in differentiation of the distinguished groups, and what is the relationship between their occurrence and the local environmental conditions.


CHAPTER I - Background and scope of the study  11
Acknowledgements  19

CHAPTER II - Study area  23
II.1. The region of Kujawy  25
II.1.1. The environs of the town of Inowrocław  25
II.1.2. The town of Kłodawa  26
II.1.3. The Zgłowiączka River valley  26
II.1.4. The village of Słonawy  27
II.1.5. The town of Ciechocinek  27
II.2. The environs of the town of Łęczyca  28
II.3. The region of Wielkopolska  29
II.4. The Lower Nida Basin  30
II.5. The environs of Kraków  31
II.6. Artern  32
II.7. Jerxheim, Barnstorf and Beienrode  33
II.8. Süldorf, Hecklingen and Aseleben  33

CHAPTER III - Methods  35
III.1. Field works  35
III.2. Laboratory analysis  36
III.3. Data analysis  38
III.3.1. Pattern of species distribution  38
III.3.2. Species spectra  39
III.3.3. Identification of plant communities  41
III.3.4. Pattern of plant communities  42

CHAPTER IV - Habitat properties of saline areas  45
IV.1. Soil salinity  45
IV.1.1. Electrical conductivity of the saturated extract  45
IV.1.2. Types of salinity  47
IV.2. Soil content of organic matter and total nitrogen  50
IV.3. Soil reaction  52
IV.4. Management/land use method  54

CHAPTER V - Factors determining the pattern of species distribution  57
V.1. General vegetation pattern  57
V.2. Pattern of species distribution along the gradient of habitat properties  59
V.2.1. Measure of salinity versus vegetation pattern  59
V.2.2. Environmental variables in the vegetation pattern  60

CHAPTER VI - Ecological spectra of species  65
VI.1. Species typical of saline habitats  65
VI.1.1. Species response curves  72
VI.1.2. Classification of species according to soil ionic composition  74
VI.1.3. Species tolerance to salinity with reference to other environmental factors  76
VI.2. Species with a frequency of 1-5%  78
VI.3. Accidental species  87

CHAPTER VII - Phytocoenoses in the gradient of environmental factors  101

CHAPTER VIII - Plant communities of the most saline places  105
VIII.1. Plant communities of group II  105
VIII.2. Plant communities of group III  115

CHAPTER IX - Plant communities of sites with a higher content of organic matter  121
IX.1. Plant communities of group VI  121
IX.2. Plant communities of group VII  128

CHAPTER X - Plant communities of sites with a higher content of bicarbonates and a higher ratio of sulphate to chloride ions  139
X.1. Plant communities of group I  139
X.2. Plant communities of group IV  145
X.3. Plant communities of group V  145

CHAPTER XI - Restrictions of the model  149
CHAPTER XII - Salinity as an ecological factor  151
CHAPTER XIII - Species-environment relations  153
CHAPTER XIV - Species as salinity indicators  157
CHAPTER XV - Salt tolerant plants and databases  165
CHAPTER XVI - Plant communities  167
CHAPTER XVII - Conclusions  183
Appendix  191
References  201
Ekologiczne zróżnicowanie roślinności solnisk śródlądowych w Europie Środkowej. Streszczenie  217

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  • Agnieszka Piernik


    Ms. Agnieszka Piernik is a graduate of biology at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. She completed her Master's thesis under the supervision of Professor (Mr.) Zbigniew Prusinkiewicz at the Department of Soil Science. After graduation, she was employed at the NCU Department of Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation with Professor (Ms.) Jadwiga Wilkoń-Michalska as the Head of the Department. Under the supervision of Professor Jadwiga Wilkoń-Michalska she began her researches on ecology of halophytic vegetation and wrote a PhD thesis on halophytes as indicators of soil salinity in the region of Kujawy. She was awarded the degree of Doctor of Biological Sciences in 2000 at the NCU Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences. She gained and extended her knowledge of salt marsh ecosystems not only under the supervision of Professor Jadwiga Wilkoń-Michalska, but also during foreign internships in the Netherlands, in Germany and in Spain.
    At present she is employed in the Laboratory of Ecological Modelling at NCU. Her scientific interests include ecology of halophytic vegetation, and in particular the relationships between the distribution of vegetation and environmental conditions, species tolerance to salinity, as well as monitoring and protection of saline habitats, and application of statistical methods in ecological analysis.


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