Ecophysiology and ecology of coastal sand-dune plants.
A characteristic of coastal dune systems is that species diversity and total plant biomass is less than that of the adjoining inland areas, and furthermore, there is generally pronounced zonation of the species present on the dunes. This raises the question, why are the foredunes inhabited by few species, and dominated by even fewer?
There are obviously a number of factors controlling plant distribution and productivity, but for the foredunes in particular, adaptations to resource stress and/or disturbance are likely to be very important. My research focuses on investigating adaptation to such stress and/or disturbance by considering plant function, productivity and response to obtaining and using resources, including light, water and nutrients.
Gilbert ME and Ripley B (2008) Biomass reallocation and the mobilisation of leaf resources support dune plant growth after sand burial. In press, Physiologica Plantarum.
Gilbert ME, Pammenter NW and Ripley BS (2008) The growth response of coastal dune species are determined by nutrient limitation and sand burial. Oecologia 156: 169–178
Ripley BS and Pammenter NW (2004) Do low standing biomass and leaf area index of sub-tropical coastal dunes ensure that plants have an adequate supply of water? Oecologia 139: 535 – 544.
Ripley BS and Pammenter NW (2004) Physiological Characteristics of Coastal Dune Pioneer Species from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. In: Coastal Sand Dunes: Ecology and Restoration. M.L. Martinez and N. Psuty (eds.) Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.
Roberstson MP, Peter CI, Villet MH and Ripley BS (2003) Comparing models for predicting potential distributions of species: a case study using correlative and mechanistic predictive modelling techniques. Ecological Modelling 3253: 1-5.
Peter CI, Ripley BS and Robertson MP (2003) The distribution of Scaevola plumieri along the South African coast is limited by seasonal water balance and temperature. Journal of Vegetation Science14: 89-98.
Barker NP, Harman KT, Ripley BS and Bond JA (2002) The genetic diversity of Scaevola plumieri L. (Goodeniaceae), an indigenous dune coloniser, as revealed by Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) fingerprinting. South African Journal of Botany 68: 532-541.
Gilbert ME (2008) The zonation of coastal dune plants in relation to sand burial, resource availability and physiological adaptation. PhD, Rhodes University.
Fraser C (2005) Assessment of the process involved in dune formation at Bushman’s river. MSc, Rhodes University.
Peter CI (2001) Water requirements and distribution of Ammophila arenaria and Scaevola plumieri on South African coastal dunes. MSc, Rhodes University.
Ripley BS (2001) The Ecophysiology of selected coastal dune pioneer plants of the Eastern Cape. PhD, Rhodes University.