Campbell-Martínez, G.E.; Thetford, M., and Miller, D., 2022. Germination response of three florida panhandle coastal dune plants to salinity. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(3), 585–591. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.

Coastal dunes and their ecosystem services are threatened by human pressures warranting active restoration. Understanding dune plant germination responses to salinity is important when considering plant species and direct seeding locations for coastal dune restoration projects. The germination response of three Florida panhandle native coastal dune plant species to various salinity concentrations (0%, 0.25%, 0.50%, 0.75%, and 1% weight per volume) were tested. Species included were coastalplain honeycombhead (Balduina angustifolia (Pursh)B.L.Rob.), coastalsand frostweed (Crocanthemum arenicola (Chapm.)Barnhart), and squareflower (Paronychia erecta (Chapm.)Shinners). Seeds were germinated within germination boxes, placed in growth chambers under species-specific temperatures with a daily 12-hour photoperiod, and monitored weekly for 4 weeks. Germination responses to salinity were species-specific. Coastalplain honeycombhead had intermediate salt tolerance (highest germination at 0%–0.50% salinity), coastalsand frostweed was the least salt tolerant (highest germination at 0%–0.25% salinity), and squareflower was the most salt tolerant species in respect to germination (high germination across all salinities). Germination was delayed for all species at the highest salinity concentrations (0.75%–1%). However, for all three species, at least one-third of all seeds (>39%) at all salinity concentrations germinated by week 4. Results suggest germination for seeds of these species is possible in saline conditions documented within coastal areas before and after hurricane overwash. Future dune restoration studies for these species should test direct seeding of these plants under field conditions.

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