Water Uptake by Roots Controls Water Table Movement and Sediment Oxidation in Short Spartina Marsh

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Science  04 May 1984:
Vol. 224, Issue 4648, pp. 487-489
DOI: 10.1126/science.224.4648.487


Downward movement of the water table during both day and night in the short grass zone of intertidal salt marshes is due not to drainage but to water uptake by roots. Removal of water from the sediment results in the entry of air into the sediment, suggesting a feedback between plant growth, water uptake, and sediment oxidation. The water balance of Spartina alterniflora appears to influence the internal morphology of its roots, potentially giving rise to a new mechanism for the mass flow of gas in plants.