iNurture: Balancing nature between brackish and fresh

Salinity stress is an increasing problem for agricultural crops and inland vegetation, for instance in delta areas and regions with a high groundwater level. Driven by various abiotic and biotic factors the ground and surface water is salinizing leading to increasing salt concentrations in the root zone of terrestrial plant communities (see picture). During this project we aim to understand the effects of this salinity stress on terrestrial ecosystems consisting mostly of salt sensitive plant species. We want to link the ground and surface water salt concentrations to root zone salt bioavailability and the subsequent effects on plant performance and community structure & functioning. Through integration of field and laboratory data in a vegetation model we aim to better assess community characteristics under future increasing salinization and predicted climate change scenarios. Additionally, we want to create an accessible tool that can be used in adaptive water management practices.