Three high marsh communities on the Chesapeake Bay were exposed to a doubling in ambient CO 2 concentration for one growing season. Open-top chambers were used to raise CO 2 concentrations ca. 340 ppm above ambient over monospecific communities of Scirpus olneyi (C 3 ) and Spartina patens (C 4 ), and a mixed community of S. olneyi, S. patens , and Distichlis spicata (C 4 ). Plant growth and senescence were monitored by serial, nondestructive censuses. Elevated CO 2 resulted in increased shoot densities and delayed sensecence in the C 3 species. This resulted in an increase in primary productivity in S. olneyi growing in both the pure and mixed communities. There was no effect of CO 2 on growth in the C 4 species. These results demonstrate that elevated atmospheric CO 2 can cause increased aboveground production in a mature, unmanaged ecosystem.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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