Sustainable development of coastal systems and low-laying inland areas require replacement of artificial coastal stabilization and protection structures with “soft” transplanting techniques of native, salt-tolerant plant species. They can effectively minimize erosion and reduce storm damages with minimal negative impacts to natural ecosystems. Ecosystem services require searching for well adapted plants with extensive root systems and studying their ability for erosion and flooding control. Although, the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is relatively protected from sea floods due to the small amplitude tides, extreme storms may cause flooding, erosion and destruction of communities of dominant sand stabilizers Leymus racemosus (Lam.) Tzvelev subsp. sabulosus (M. Bieb.), Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link and Carex ligerica J. Gay. In such cases Galilea mucronata (L.) Parl. colonizes territories from these dune pioneers and become a major dune stabilizer. This study aims to establish the viability of this species and possible negative consequences during simulated flooding experiments and thereby to investigate its capacity as dune stabilizer. The experiments established that G. mucronata were very tolerant to immersion impact and salt stress. Whole plants stay viable longer than the flood with a maximum duration along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, and rhizomes were able to regenerate after 30 days in seawater. Statistical analysis of experimental data shows that the water itself as a defining factor increase rhizomes viability, biomass and roots to shoots allocation, whereas other factors, such as duration of immersion and temperatures of sea water have not significant effect. G. mucronata were much less tolerant to water immersion than other psammophytes, but demonstrate a high potential to be a key species for dune stabilization and could contribute to the protection of coastal sands during storms.
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