Effects of Burial by Sand on Seedling Growth and Survival in Six Tropical Sand Dune Species from the Gulf of Mexico


  • M. Luisa Martinez
  • Patricia Moreno-Casasola


Coastal dunes, burial, coastal plants, biomass, disturbance, seedling, growth, Mexico


In this study, plants of six species (Chamaecrista chamaecristoides, Palajoxia lindenii, Trachypogon gouini, Canavalia rosea, Ipomoea pes-caprae and Schizachyrium scoparium) which grow in the sand dunes of the Gulf of Mexico were experimentally buried with sand at different depths. For all species, burial increased plant vigour in terms of biomass and leaf area. In general, buried plants allocated more biomass towards the aerial parts (except in T. gouini, in which the reverse was true). The tested species exhibited good tolerance to sand burial. Their germination occurred during the period when sand movement was at its lowest. Growth form of species affected their ability to withstand burial. For example, shrubby species were the most tolerant ones and herbaceous plants the least. Such tolerance to burial seems to be related to local distribution of species in the dune system.