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Sample records for salt marsh ecosystem

  1. Centuries of human-driven change in salt marsh ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Gedan, K Bromberg; Silliman, B R; Bertness, M D

    2009-01-01

    Salt marshes are among the most abundant, fertile, and accessible coastal habitats on earth, and they provide more ecosystem services to coastal populations than any other environment. Since the Middle Ages, humans have manipulated salt marshes at a grand scale, altering species composition, distribution, and ecosystem function. Here, we review historic and contemporary human activities in marsh ecosystems--exploitation of plant products; conversion to farmland, salt works, and urban land; introduction of non-native species; alteration of coastal hydrology; and metal and nutrient pollution. Unexpectedly, diverse types of impacts can have a similar consequence, turning salt marsh food webs upside down, dramatically increasing top down control. Of the various impacts, invasive species, runaway consumer effects, and sea level rise represent the greatest threats to salt marsh ecosystems. We conclude that the best way to protect salt marshes and the services they provide is through the integrated approach of ecosystem-based management. PMID:21141032

  2. Centuries of Human-Driven Change in Salt Marsh Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedan, K. Bromberg; Silliman, B. R.; Bertness, M. D.

    2009-01-01

    Salt marshes are among the most abundant, fertile, and accessible coastal habitats on earth, and they provide more ecosystem services to coastal populations than any other environment. Since the Middle Ages, humans have manipulated salt marshes at a grand scale, altering species composition, distribution, and ecosystem function. Here, we review historic and contemporary human activities in marsh ecosystems—exploitation of plant products; conversion to farmland, salt works, and urban land; introduction of non-native species; alteration of coastal hydrology; and metal and nutrient pollution. Unexpectedly, diverse types of impacts can have a similar consequence, turning salt marsh food webs upside down, dramatically increasing top down control. Of the various impacts, invasive species, runaway consumer effects, and sea level rise represent the greatest threats to salt marsh ecosystems. We conclude that the best way to protect salt marshes and the services they provide is through the integrated approach of ecosystem-based management.

  3. Salt Marsh--Estuarine Ecosystem: A Liquid Asset

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steever, E. Zell

    1977-01-01

    A comprehensive description of the salt marsh-estuarine ecosystem is provided. Topics discussed include: the general geologic history and formation of this ecosystem; physical and chemical parameters; variety; primary productivity; tidal zones; kind, sizes and abundance of vegetation; and the environmental factors influencing vegetation. (BT)

  4. Ecosystem engineers activate mycorrhizal mutualism in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Daleo, Pedro; Fanjul, Eugenia; Mendez Casariego, Agustina; Silliman, Brian R; Bertness, Mark D; Iribarne, Oscar

    2007-10-01

    Theory predicts that ecosystem engineers should have their most dramatic effects when they enable species, through habitat amelioration, to live in zones where physical and biological conditions would otherwise suppress or limit them. Mutualisms between mycorrhizal fungi and plants are key determinants of productivity and biodiversity in most terrestrial systems, but are thought to be unimportant in wetlands because anoxic sediments exclude fungal symbionts. Our field surveys revealed arbuscular mycorrhizal associations on salt marsh plant roots, but only in the presence of crabs that oxygenate soils as a by-product of burrowing. Field experiments demonstrate that fungal colonization is dependent on crab burrowing and responsible for nearly 35% of plant growth. These results highlight ecosystem engineers as ecological linchpins that can activate and maintain key mutualisms between species. Our findings align salt marshes with other important biogenic habitats whose productivity is reliant on mutualisms between the primary foundation species and micro-organisms. PMID:17845290

  5. Salt Marshes at Chincoteague Island

    Salt marshes at Chincoteague Island. The salt marshes that make up Chincoteague Island are important habitat for migrating waterfowl. In addition, they serve an important role in protecting inland ecosystems and communities from oceanic storms....

  6. Mercury Cycling in Salt Marsh Pond Ecosystems: Cape Cod, MA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganguli, P. M.; Gonneea, M. E.; Lamborg, C. H.; Kroeger, K. D.; Swarr, G.; Vadman, K. J.; Baldwin, S.; Brooks, T. W.; Green, A.

    2014-12-01

    We are measuring total mercury (HgT) and monomethylmercury (CH3Hg+ or MMHg) in pore water, surface water, and sediment cores from two salt marsh pond systems on the south shore of Cape Cod, MA to characterize the distribution of mercury species and to identify features that influence mercury speciation and transport. Sage Lot Pond is relatively undisturbed and has low nitrogen loading (12 kg ha-1 y-1). It is part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Reserve and is surrounded by undeveloped wooded uplands. In contrast, Great Pond is highly impacted. Nitrogen loading to the site is elevated (600 kg ha-1 y-1) and the marsh is adjacent to a large residential area. In both systems, a 1 to 2 m organic-rich peat layer overlies the permeable sand aquifer. Groundwater in this region is typically oxic, where pore water within salt marsh peat is suboxic to anoxic. We hypothesize that redox gradients at the transition from the root zone to peat and at the peat-sand interface may provide habitat for MMHg-producing anaerobic bacteria. Preliminary results from a 2-m nearshore depth profile at Sage Lot Pond indicate HgT in groundwater within the sand aquifer occurred primarily in the > 0.2 μm fraction, with unfiltered concentrations exceeding 100 pM. Filtered (< 0.2 μm) HgT in groundwater was substantially lower (~ 5 pM). In contrast, HgT concentrations in filtered and unfiltered pore water within the peat layer were similar and ranged from about 2 to 3 pM. Complexation between mercury and dissolved organic carbon may account for the elevated fraction of filtered HgT in peat pore water. Although MMHg in both groundwater and pore water remained around 1 pM throughout our depth profile, we observed an increase in sediment MMHg (0.3 to 1.6 μg/kg) at the peat-sand interface. MMHg comprised ~50% of the HgT concentration in pore water suggesting mercury in the salt marsh peat is biologically available.

  7. Productivity and nutrient cycling in salt marshes: Contribution to ecosystem health

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sousa, Ana I.; Lillebø, Ana I.; Pardal, Miguel A.; Caçador, Isabel

    2010-05-01

    This study aimed to assess the contribution of different salt marsh halophytes ( Spartina maritima, Scirpus maritimus, Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia fruticosa, and Sarcocornia perennis) to nutrient cycling and sequestration in warm-temperate salt marshes. Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in plant organs and rhizosediment, as well as plant biomass were monitored every two months during one year. Results show that the C retained in the rhizosediment does not seem to be species or site specific. However, some halophytes seem to have a higher contribution to retain C from external sources, namely S. perennis and S. maritima. Regarding N, halophytes colonizing the upper and middle marsh areas had the highest NBPP (net belowground primary production) as well as the retention of N in the rhizosediment. Yet, excluding S. maritimus, all halophytes seem to contribute to the retention of N from external sources. The P retained in the rhizosediment does not seem to be species or site specific. Still, only S. maritima colonizing the lower marsh areas, which also had comparatively lower NBPP, seem to have a higher contribution to retain P from external sources. Additionally, it seems that there is no relation between plants sequestration capacity for nutrients and plant photosynthetic pathway. This work shows that nutrient cycling and accumulation processes by salt marsh halophytes contribute to reduce eutrophication (N and P retention) and also to reduce atmospheric CO 2 (C retention), highlighting salt marsh ecosystems services and the crucial role of halophytes in maintaining ecosystem functions and health.

  8. An invasive species facilitates the recovery of salt marsh ecosystems on Cape Cod.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Coverdale, Tyler C

    2013-09-01

    With global increases in human impacts, invasive species have become a major threat to ecosystems worldwide. While they have been traditionally viewed as harmful, invasive species may facilitate the restoration of degraded ecosystems outside their native ranges. In New England (USA) overfishing has depleted salt marsh predators, allowing the herbivorous crab Sesarma reticulatum to denude hundreds of hectares of low marsh. Here, using multiple site surveys and field caging experiments, we show that the subsequent invasion of green crabs, Carcinus maenas, into heavily burrowed marshes partially reverses decades of cordgrass die-off. By consuming Sesarma, eliciting a nonlethal escape response, and evicting Sesarma from burrows, Carcinus reduces Sesarma herbivory and promotes cordgrass recovery. These results suggest that invasive species can contribute to restoring degraded ecosystems and underscores the potential for invasive species to return ecological functions lost to human impacts. PMID:24279265

  9. Whole ecosystem estimates of carbon exchange and storage in a New England salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbrich, I.; Giblin, A.

    2013-12-01

    Salt marshes are wetlands situated at the interface of land and ocean. They are among the most productive ecosystems worldwide and store substantial amounts of carbon as peat. Their long-term stability is dependent on sediment accretion and carbon accumulation to avoid submergence when sea level is rising. Currently, estimates of carbon storage in salt marshes are uncertain because our understanding of the coupling between marsh plant productivity and carbon release to the adjacent ocean is limited. To evaluate the capacity to store carbon as well as the resilience of the ecosystem, long-term studies of carbon cycling considering both vertical and lateral fluxes are necessary. To study the net exchange between marsh and atmosphere, we chose the non-intrusive eddy covariance which allows nearly continuous half hourly flux measurements of net ecosystem exchange (NEE) on the ecosystem scale. Since spring 2012, we have been investigating the marsh-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2) at a Spartina patens high marsh at the Plum Island Ecosystems Long-Term Ecological Research site. Seasonal dynamics of CO2 exchange during summer were controlled by the phenology of S. patens. Preliminary estimates for seasonal carbon storage range from 185 to 228 g C m-2 (5/1/2012 to 10/31/2012). During the winter months we observed small fluxes, but carbon uptake still occurred during the day. We attribute this to microalgae productivity. Winter carbon release is estimated to be approximately 130 g C m-2 (12/6/2012 to 4/30/2013), when uptake by microalgae is not taken into account. This emphasizes the relevance of transitional and cold season carbon cycling for the carbon storage capacity of northern salt marshes, since a large proportion of fixed carbon is released during these periods. Direct tidal effects on the marsh-atmosphere carbon exchange are visible especially during monthly spring tides, when both daytime carbon uptake and night time respiration were reduced during flooding. To partition the net flux into its component fluxes gross primary production (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Reco), these tidal influences have to be incorporated in the NEE model. Differences in GPP and Reco during high tide and low tide events can be used to constrain estimates of lateral carbon transport. These will need to be compared to direct measurements of tidal carbon fluxes to determine how much of the reduction in atmospheric fluxes is due to metabolic changes and how much is due to the exchange of carbon between the marsh and water.

  10. Salt Marshes at Chincoteague Island

    Salt marshes at Chincoteague Island. The salt marshes that make up Chincoteague Island are important habitat for migrating waterfowl. In addition, they serve an important role in protecting inland ecosystems and communities from oceanic storms. Mosquito point can be seen in the background where the ...

  11. Salt Marshes along Little Mosquito Creek

    Salt marshes along Little Mosquito Creek of Chincoteague Island. The salt marshes that make up Chincoteague Island are important habitat for migrating waterfowl. In addition, they serve an important role in protecting inland ecosystems and communities from oceanic storms....

  12. DEVELOPING INDICATORS OF SALT MARSH HEALTH

    EPA Science Inventory

    We relate plant zonation in salt marshes to key ecosystem services such as erosion control and wildlife habitat. Ten salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, with similar geological bedrock and sea exchange, were identified to examine plant zonation. Sub-watersheds adjacent to the salt ...

  13. Salt marsh ecosystem biogeochemical responses to nutrient enrichment: a paired 15N tracer study.

    PubMed

    Drake, D C; Peterson, Bruce J; Galván, Kari A; Deegan, Linda A; Hopkinson, Charles; Johnson, J Michael; Koop-Jakobsen, K; Lemay, Lynsey E; Picard, Christian

    2009-09-01

    We compared processing and fate of dissolved NO3- in two New England salt marsh ecosystems, one receiving natural flood tide concentrations of approximately 1-4 micromol NO3-/ L and the other receiving experimentally fertilized flood tides containing approximately 70-100 micromol NO3-/ L. We conducted simultaneous 15NO3- (isotope) tracer additions from 23 to 28 July 2005 in the reference (8.4 ha) and fertilized (12.4 ha) systems to compare N dynamics and fate. Two full tidal cycles were intensively studied during the paired tracer additions. Resulting mass balances showed that essentially 100% (0.48-0.61 mol NO3-N.ha(-1).h(-1)) of incoming NO3- was assimilated, dissimilated, sorbed, or sedimented (processed) within a few hours in the reference system when NO3- concentrations were 1.3-1.8 micromol/L. In contrast, only 50-60% of incoming NO3- was processed in the fertilized system when NO3- concentrations were 84-96 micromol/L; the remainder was exported in ebb tidewater. Gross NO3- processing was approximately 40 times higher in the fertilized system at 19.34-24.67 mol NO3-N.ha(-1).h(-1). Dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium was evident in both systems during the first 48 h of the tracer additions but <1% of incoming 15NO3- was exported as 15NH4+. Nitrification rates calculated by 15NO3- dilution were 6.05 and 4.46 mol.ha(-1).h(-1) in the fertilized system but could not be accurately calculated in the reference system due to rapid (<4 h) NO3- turnover. Over the five-day paired tracer addition, sediments sequestered a small fraction of incoming NO3-, although the efficiency of sequestration was 3.8% in the reference system and 0.7% in the fertilized system. Gross sediment N sequestration rates were similar at 13.5 and 12.6 mol.ha(-1).d(-1), respectively. Macrophyte NO3- uptake efficiency, based on tracer incorporation in aboveground tissues, was considerably higher in the reference system (16.8%) than the fertilized system (2.6%), although bulk uptake of NO3- by plants was lower in the reference system (1.75 mol NO3-.ha(-1).d(-1)) than the fertilized system (approximately 10 mol NO3-.ha(-1).d(-1)). Nitrogen processing efficiency decreased with NO3- load in all pools, suggesting that the nutrient processing capacity of the marsh ecosystem was exceeded in the fertilized marsh. PMID:19769131

  14. Experimental restoration of a salt marsh with some comments on ecological restoration of coastal vegetated ecosystems in Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koo, Bon Joo; Je, Jong Geel; Woo, Han Jun

    2011-03-01

    Since the 1980s, the coastal wetlands in Korea have been rapidly degraded and destroyed mainly due to reclamation and landfills for coastal development. In order to recover damaged coastal environments and to develop wetland restoration technologies, a 4-year study on ecological the restoration of coastal vegetated ecosystems was started in 1998. As one of a series of studies, a small-scale experiment on salt marsh restoration was carried out from April 2000 to August 2001. The experiment was designed to find effective means of ecological restoration through a comparison of the changes in environmental components and species structure between two different experimental plots created using sediment fences, one with and one without small canals. Temporal variation in surface elevation, sedimentary facies, and benthic species were measured seasonally in each plot and in the adjacent natural reference sites. Monthly exposure occurred from 330 cm to mean sea level, which represents the critical tidal level (CTL) at which salt marsh plants colonize. Vegetation, especially Suaeda japonica, colonized the site the following spring and recovered to a similar extent in the natural marshes 16 months later. The sedimentary results indicated that the sediment fences had effects on particle size and sediment accumulation, especially in the plot with small canals. This experiment also showed that tidal height, especially that exceeding the CTL, is an important factor in the recovery of the benthic fauna of salt marshes. From these results, we suggested that designs for the restoration of salt marsh ecosystems must consider the inclusion of a tidal height exceeding CTL, as this may allow reconstruction of the previous natural ecosystem without artificial transplanting.

  15. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers

    PubMed Central

    Fournier, Alexa M.; Furman, Bradley T.; Carroll, John M.

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem. PMID:25071995

  16. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Bradley J; Fournier, Alexa M; Furman, Bradley T; Carroll, John M

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem. PMID:25071995

  17. Flax pond ecosystem study: exchanges of CO/sub 2/ between a salt marsh and the atmosphere

    SciTech Connect

    Houghton, R.A.; Woodwell, G.M.

    1980-12-01

    Profiles of CO/sub 2/ concentration, windspeed, and temperature were used in the aerodynamic flux technique to calculate the CO/sub 2/ exchange between a Long Island salt marsh and the atmosphere. Uptake of CO/sub 2/ by the marsh during hours of sunlight and release during the night occurred during all times of the year. The rates of CO/sub 2/ exchange were highest during midsummer, 2.3 g CO/sub 2/.m/sup -2/.h/sup -1/ averaged over the daylight hours of July, and 1.3 g CO/sub 2/.m/sup -2/.h/sup -1/ for both uptake and release. The net 24-h exchange rates followed Spartina growth and senescence during the summer and fall, and photosynthesis of benthic algae during late winter and spring. There was a net uptake of Co/sub 2/ over 24 h by the marsh during all seasons except autumn. The net annual flow of carbon was from the atmosphere to Flax Pond (approx. = 300 g C.m/sup -2/.yr/sup -1/ averaged over the entire marsh ecosystem). This flux was larger than the net exchange of carbon between the marsh and either uplands, sediments, or coastal waters. The net uptake of CO/sub 2/ during summer was less than the net productivity of the vascular plants, indicating that some of the CO/sub 2/ assimilated by the plants came from heterotrophic respiration within the marsh. Nevertheless, respiration by the plants was by far the largest source of CO/sub 2/ from the marsh surface. Nighttime respiration of the ecosystem released a total of approx. = 510 g C.m/sup -2/.yr/sup -1/ to the atmosphere.

  18. TOWARDS DEVELOPING INDICATORS OF SALT MARSH CONDITION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Five ecosystem services: water quality maintenance, erosion and flood control, recreation and cultural use, wildlife habitat, and food production were identified from the literature as key services to characterize salt marshes of high integrity. We describe a systems approach to ...

  19. Oregon Salt Marshes: How Blue are They?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two important ecosystem services of wetlands are carbon sequestration and filtration of nutrients and particulates. We quantified the carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates in salt marshes at 135 plots distributed across eight estuaries located in Oregon, USA. Net carbon and ...

  20. Tidal pumping as a driver of groundwater discharge to a back barrier salt marsh ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carter, M. L.; Viso, R. F.; Peterson, R. N.; Hill, J. C.

    2013-12-01

    Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) typically consists of both terrestrial groundwater and recirculated seawater and has been shown to be a significant pathway of dissolved substances to the coastal zone. The fresh and saline water mixture in the subsurface creates a salinity gradient that can impact biogeochemical processes. Located along the South Atlantic Bight, Georgia's coastline is an approximately 100-mile stretch of complex primary and secondary barrier islands resulting from geologic interactions driven by long-term sea level rise and retreat, accretion, seasonal tidal events, storm overwash, and wave driven erosion. Our study site is located in the Duplin River near Sapelo Island, GA and is part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecosystem Research (GCE-LTER) program. This area is considered mesotidal (2-4m) and tidal pumping may be a dominating process in controlling SGD rates. The Duplin River is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through Doboy Sound to the south. To the north, the river terminates in extensive salt marsh and therefore has no overland freshwater input. Previous studies show a salinity gradient within the Duplin River indicating that SGD must be present as a source of brackish water. To place constraints on SGD processes, we employ a combination of geochemical and geophysical techniques to determine the magnitude of SGD in the Duplin River. Together these techniques permit a more complete understanding of the groundwater system. Three time series stations at the upper, mid and lower reaches of the Duplin River were deployed in June of 2013 to measure groundwater influences during daily and fortnightly tidal cycles. At each station, continuous radon-222 measurements were conducted at 30 minute intervals along with measurements of water level, temperature and conductivity using standard hydrological data loggers. During this period, eight time series resistivity profiles using a 56 electrode (110m long) cable were recorded to provide detailed imagery of fluid interactions at the ground/surface water interface during a tidal cycle. The resistivity profiles are presented as color contoured tomograms representing the shallow aquifer system to depths exceeding 20 meters. Measurements took place during a series of large precipitation events, including immediately before and after a tropical storm, as well as during relatively dry conditions. Taking into account the metrological variability, our initial results indicate that the SGD process is most strongly influenced by tidal pumping. Radon analysis and resistivity measurements reveal strong inverse relationships with water level. Percent difference resistivity models indicate substantial tidally controlled pore fluid flushing and mixing within the shallow aquifer system. These measurements will be further used to construct a water budget within the Duplin River and to delineate the extent of variability in salinity of shallow marsh sediments. In addition, these measurements will provide accurate rates and flow geometries useful as constraints on ongoing reactive transport modeling efforts.

  1. Responses of salt marsh ecosystems to mosquito control management practices along the Atlantic Coast (U.S.A.)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Erwin, R. Michael; Prosser, Diann J.; Taylor, Janith D.

    2012-01-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) of salt marshes modifies grid-ditched marshes by creating permanent ponds and radial ditches in the high marsh that reduce mosquito production and enhance fish predation on mosquitoes. It is preferable to using pesticides to control salt marsh mosquito production and is commonly presented as a restoration or habitat enhancement tool for grid-ditched salt marshes. Monitoring of nekton, vegetation, groundwater level, soil salinity, and bird communities before and after OMWM at 11 (six treatment and five reference sites) Atlantic Coast (U.S.A.) salt marshes revealed high variability within and among differing OMWM techniques (ditch-plugging, reengineering of sill ditches, and the creation of ponds and radial ditches). At three marshes, the dominant nekton shifted from fish (primarily Fundulidae species) to shrimp (Palaemonidae species) after manipulations and shrimp density increased at other treatment sites. Vegetation changed at only two sites, one with construction equipment impacts (not desired) and one with a decrease in woody vegetation along existing ditches (desired). One marsh had lower groundwater level and soil salinity, and bird use, although variable, was often unrelated to OMWM manipulations. The potential effects of OMWM manipulations on non-target salt marsh resources need to be carefully considered by resource planners when managing marshes for mosquito control.

  2. Mercury cycling and sequestration in salt marshes sediments: an ecosystem service provided by Juncus maritimus and Scirpus maritimus.

    PubMed

    Marques, B; Lillebø, A I; Pereira, E; Duarte, A C

    2011-07-01

    In this study two time scales were looked at: a yearlong study was completed, and a 180-day decay experiment was done. Juncus maritimus and Scirpus maritimus have different life cycles, and this seems to have implications in the Hg-contaminated salt marsh sediment chemical environment, namely Eh and pH. In addition, the belowground biomass decomposition rates were faster for J. maritimus, as well as the biomass turnover rates. Results show that all these species-specific factors have implications in the mercury dynamics and sequestration. Meaning that J. maritimus belowground biomass has a sequestration capacity for mercury per square metre approximately 4-5 times higher than S. maritimus, i.e., in S. maritimus colonized areas Hg is more extensively exchange between belowground biomass and the rhizosediment. In conclusion, J. maritimus seems to provide a comparatively higher ecosystem service through phytostabilization (Hg complexation in the rhizosediment) and through phytoaccumulation (Hg sequestration in the belowground biomass). PMID:21514707

  3. Interactions between plant traits and sediment characteristics influencing species establishment and scale-dependent feedbacks in salt marsh ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwarz, C.; Bouma, T. J.; Zhang, L. Q.; Temmerman, S.; Ysebaert, T.; Herman, P. M. J.

    2015-12-01

    The importance of ecosystem engineering and biogeomorphic processes in shaping many aquatic and semi-aquatic landscapes is increasingly acknowledged. Ecosystem engineering and biogeomorphic landscape formation involves two critical processes: (1) species establishment, and (2) scale-dependent feedbacks, meaning that organisms improve their living conditions on a local scale but at the same time worsen them at larger scales. However, the influence of organism traits in combination with physical factors (e.g. hydrodynamics, sediments) on early establishment and successive development due to scale-dependent feedbacks is still unclear. As a model system, this was tested for salt marsh pioneer plants by conducting flume experiments: i) on the influence of species-specific traits (such as stiffness) of two contrasting dominant pioneer species (Spartina alterniflora and Scirpus mariqueter) to withstand current-induced stress during establishment; and ii) to study the impact of species-specific traits (stiffness) and physical forcing (water level, current stress) on the large-scale negative feedback at established tussocks (induced scour at tussock edges) of the two model species. The results indicate that, not only do species-specific plant traits, such as stiffness, exert a major control on species establishment thresholds, but also potentially physiologically triggered plant properties, such as adapted root morphology due to sediment properties. Moreover, the results show a clear relation between species-specific plant traits, abiotics (i.e. sediment, currents) and the magnitude of the large-scale negative scale-dependent feedback. These findings suggest that the ecosystem engineering ability, resulting from physical plant properties can be disadvantageous for plant survival through promoted dislodgement (stem stiffness increases the amount of drag experienced at the root system), underlying the importance of scale-dependent feedbacks on landscape development.

  4. Exotic Spartina alterniflora invasion alters ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of CH4 and N2O and carbon sequestration in a coastal salt marsh in China.

    PubMed

    Yuan, Junji; Ding, Weixin; Liu, Deyan; Kang, Hojeong; Freeman, Chris; Xiang, Jian; Lin, Yongxin

    2015-04-01

    Coastal salt marshes are sensitive to global climate change and may play an important role in mitigating global warming. To evaluate the impacts of Spartina alterniflora invasion on global warming potential (GWP) in Chinese coastal areas, we measured CH4 and N2O fluxes and soil organic carbon sequestration rates along a transect of coastal wetlands in Jiangsu province, China, including open water; bare tidal flat; and invasive S. alterniflora, native Suaeda salsa, and Phragmites australis marshes. Annual CH4 emissions were estimated as 2.81, 4.16, 4.88, 10.79, and 16.98 kg CH4 ha(-1) for open water, bare tidal flat, and P. australis, S. salsa, and S. alterniflora marshes, respectively, indicating that S. alterniflora invasion increased CH4 emissions by 57-505%. In contrast, negative N2O fluxes were found to be significantly and negatively correlated (P < 0.001) with net ecosystem CO2 exchange during the growing season in S. alterniflora and P. australis marshes. Annual N2O emissions were 0.24, 0.38, and 0.56 kg N2O ha(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat and S. salsa marsh, respectively, compared with -0.51 kg N2O ha(-1) for S. alterniflora marsh and -0.25 kg N2O ha(-1) for P. australis marsh. The carbon sequestration rate of S. alterniflora marsh amounted to 3.16 Mg C ha(-1) yr(-1) in the top 100 cm soil profile, a value that was 2.63- to 8.78-fold higher than in native plant marshes. The estimated GWP was 1.78, -0.60, -4.09, and -1.14 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in open water, bare tidal flat, P. australis marsh and S. salsa marsh, respectively, but dropped to -11.30 Mg CO2 eq ha(-1) yr(-1) in S. alterniflora marsh. Our results indicate that although S. alterniflora invasion stimulates CH4 emissions, it can efficiently mitigate increases in atmospheric CO2 and N2O along the coast of China. PMID:25367159

  5. Nonlinear responses in salt marsh functioning to increased nitrogen addition.

    PubMed

    Vivanco, Lucía; Irvine, Irina C; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2015-04-01

    Salt marshes provide storm protection to shorelines, sequester carbon (C), and mitigate coastal eutrophication. These valuable coastal ecosystems are confronted with increasing nitrogen (N) inputs from anthropogenic sources, such as agricultural runoff, wastewater, and atmospheric deposition. To inform predictions of salt marsh functioning and sustainability in the future, we characterized the response of a variety of plant, microbial, and sediment responses to a seven-level gradient of N addition in three Californian salt marshes after 7 and 14 months of N addition. The marshes showed variable responses to the experimental N gradient that can be grouped as neutral (root biomass, sediment respiration, potential carbon mineralization, and potential net nitrification), linear (increasing methane flux, decreasing potential net N mineralization, and increasing sediment inorganic N), and nonlinear (saturating aboveground plant biomass and leaf N content, and exponentially increasing sediment inorganic and organic N). The three salt marshes showed quantitative differences in most ecosystem properties and processes rates; however, the form of the response curves to N addition were generally consistent across the three marshes, indicating that the responses observed may be applicable to other marshes in the region. Only for sediment properties (inorganic and organic N pool) did the shape of the response differ significantly between marshes. Overall, the study suggests salt marshes are limited in their ability to sequester C and N with future increases in N, even without further losses in marsh area. PMID:26230015

  6. Plant Zonation in a Salt Marsh.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Etri, Lawrence R.

    1978-01-01

    The zonation of plants within a salt marsh environment is detailed via illustrations and scientific nomeclature for purposes of encouraging outdoor educators to use the salt marsh environment as a learning laboratory. (JC)

  7. Ecogeomorphic Heterogeneity Sculpts Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonardi, N.; Fagherazzi, S.

    2014-12-01

    We present cellular automata simulations and high-resolution field measurements of five sites along the United States Atlantic Coast, to investigate the erosion of marsh boundaries by wave action. For several years, we tracked marsh contours of three sites in Plum Island Sound and two sites in the Virginia Coastal Reserve using a Real-Time-Kinematic GPS, and measurements were collected up to 20 cm apart. The cellular automata model consists of a 2D square lattice, whose elements have randomly distributed resistance. Randomly distributed resistance values are meant to take into account the variety of biological and geomorphologic processes affecting each portion of the marsh. Among others, seepage erosion, crab burrowing, vegetation and sediment cohesion make difficult to predict which portion of the marsh will collapse first. In case of high wave power, erosion proceeds uniformly because each marsh portion has similar resistance if compared to the main external driver. On the contrary, when wind waves are weak and the local marsh resistance is strong, jagged marsh boundaries form. From a statistical viewpoint, the system behaves differently for the two extreme conditions of very low and very high wave power. The frequency magnitude distribution of erosion events approaches a Gaussian distribution in case of high wave power. In case of low wave power, the frequency magnitude distribution is characterized by a long-tailed power-law distribution. For the low wave power case, a long time is required to erode very resistant cells. However, once the most resistant cells are eliminated, several weak sites remain exposed and can be rapidly removed, with consequent generation of large-scale failures. Field data confirm model results, and show the passage from a logarithmic frequency magnitude distribution of erosion events to a Gaussian distribution for increasing wave power exposure. The logarithmic frequency magnitude distribution suggests the emergence of a critical state for marsh boundaries, which would make the prediction of failure events impossible. Internal physical processes allowing salt marshes to reach self-organized criticality are geotechnical, biological, and related to the non-homogeneity of salt marshes whose material discontinuities act as stress raisers.

  8. Tidal influences on carbon assimilation by a salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kathilankal, James C.; Mozdzer, Thomas J.; Fuentes, Jose D.; D'Odorico, Paolo; McGlathery, Karen J.; Zieman, Jay C.

    2008-10-01

    Salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, and play an important role in the global carbon cycle. Net carbon dioxide (CO2) ecosystem exchanges in coastal salt marshes remain poorly investigated. In Spartina alterniflora dominated North American Atlantic coast marshes, the lack of a clear understanding of how Spartina alterniflora responds to flooding limits our current ability to understand and predict salt marsh response to sea-level rise. Here we investigate the processes influencing ecosystem-level carbon exchanges between a S. alterniflora dominated salt marsh on the eastern shore of Virginia and the atmosphere. We examined the impacts of tidal inundation on the marsh-atmosphere carbon exchanges through a combination of eddy covariance measurements and in situ photosynthetic measurements. Maximum daytime carbon fluxes were observed during the middle of the growing season (July and August) and amounted to -10 μmol CO2 m-2 s-1, and the marsh assimilated 130 gC m-2 during the 2007 growing season. Our study is the first to quantify the effects of tidal inundation on marsh plants, which caused anywhere from 3% to 91% reductions in atmospheric carbon fluxes, with a mean reduction of 46 ± 26%, when compared to non-flooded conditions.

  9. NITRATE RELEASE BY SALT MARSH PLANTS: AN OVERLOOKED NUTRIENT FLUX MECHANISM

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes provide water purification as an important ecosystem service in part by storing, transforming and releasing nutrients. This service can be quantified by measuring nutrient fluxes between marshes and surface waters. Many processes drive these fluxes, including photosy...

  10. Experimental predator removal causes rapid salt marsh die-off

    PubMed Central

    Bertness, Mark D; Brisson, Caitlin P; Coverdale, Tyler C; Bevil, Matt C; Crotty, Sinead M; Suglia, Elena R

    2014-01-01

    Salt marsh habitat loss to vegetation die-offs has accelerated throughout the western Atlantic in the last four decades. Recent studies have suggested that eutrophication, pollution and/or disease may contribute to the loss of marsh habitat. In light of recent evidence that predators are important determinants of marsh health in New England, we performed a total predator exclusion experiment. Here, we provide the first experimental evidence that predator depletion can cause salt marsh die-off by releasing the herbivorous crab Sesarma reticulatum from predator control. Excluding predators from a marsh ecosystem for a single growing season resulted in a >100% increase in herbivory and a >150% increase in unvegetated bare space compared to plots with predators. Our results confirm that marshes in this region face multiple, potentially synergistic threats. PMID:24766277

  11. Experimental predator removal causes rapid salt marsh die-off.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Brisson, Caitlin P; Coverdale, Tyler C; Bevil, Matt C; Crotty, Sinead M; Suglia, Elena R

    2014-07-01

    Salt marsh habitat loss to vegetation die-offs has accelerated throughout the western Atlantic in the last four decades. Recent studies have suggested that eutrophication, pollution and/or disease may contribute to the loss of marsh habitat. In light of recent evidence that predators are important determinants of marsh health in New England, we performed a total predator exclusion experiment. Here, we provide the first experimental evidence that predator depletion can cause salt marsh die-off by releasing the herbivorous crab Sesarma reticulatum from predator control. Excluding predators from a marsh ecosystem for a single growing season resulted in a >100% increase in herbivory and a >150% increase in unvegetated bare space compared to plots with predators. Our results confirm that marshes in this region face multiple, potentially synergistic threats. PMID:24766277

  12. Persistence and movement of atrazine in a salt marsh sediment microecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Isensee, A.R.

    1987-09-01

    Pesticides enter salt marshes in runoff from agricultural lands or through direct or near-by application. Concern has been raised that the tidal action in the salt marsh that functions to trap sediment and nutrients may also function to concentrate pesticides to harmful levels. Studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of pesticides on representative species of salt marsh ecosystems. This paper describes the use of a modified salt marsh microecosystem to evaluate persistence and movement of atrazine in salt marsh sediment under simulated tidal flux and continuous flooding conditions. Atrazine persistence was also compared under normal field conditions.

  13. Synecology of a Virginia salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kerwin, J.A.; Pedigo, R.

    1971-01-01

    In the spring and summer of 1964 a salt marsh in Gloucester County, Virginia, was analyzed using random quadrat sampling. Synthetic treatments were employed to evaluate data and were correlated with observed differences in elevation. Floristic data indicate the Virginia salt marshes show closer similarity to marshes north of Chesapeake Bay than those south of Chesapeake Bay. Correlation of floristic data with observed differences in elevation indicates that zonation in the marsh is dependent upon differences in elevation or some environmental factor correlated with elevation differences. Observations of sedimentation and erosion in localized areas indicate that the marsh is in a constant state of change, with extensive areas undergoing both succession and regression.

  14. Salt Marshes as Sources and Sinks of Silica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carey, J.; Fulweiler, R. W.

    2014-12-01

    The role of salt marshes in controlling silica exchange between terrestrial and marine environments is unclear. In some studies, large quantities of dissolved silica (DSi) appear to be exported from marshes via tidal exchange, potentially fueling future diatom production in adjacent waters. In contrast, other studies report insignificant DSi export and found instead that salt marshes appeared to be Si sinks. Further, few studies examine salt marsh Si export in relation to inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and phosphorus (DIP). We address these uncertainties by quantifying net fluxes of DSi and biogenic Si (BSi), as well as DIN and DIP during the spring and summer in a relatively undisturbed southern New England salt marsh (Narragansett Bay, USA). Our data demonstrates that during the spring, when estuarine waters are deplete in DSi, the marsh serves as a net sink of BSi (132 mol h-1) and a source of DSi (31 mol h-1) to the estuary. The spring DIN:DSi ratios of ebbing water were more than five times lower than flood waters. Most importantly, the DSi export rates (6.5 x103 mol d-1 km-2) are an order of magnitude larger than the export by rivers in the region (115 mol d-1 km-2), indicating the marsh tidal exchange is vital in supplying the Si necessary for spring diatom blooms in the estuary. Conversely, during the summer the marsh served as a net Si sink, importing on average 59 mol DSi h-1 and 39 mol BSi h-1. These data highlight that the role of salt marshes in silica cycling appears to have a strong seasonality. We hypothesize that net import of Si increases the residence time of Si in estuarine systems, providing an important and previously over-looked ecosystem service. In the absence of salt marshes, ~5.1 x 104 kmol of Si would be exported from this system during the growing season, possibly decreasing Si availability and altering phytoplankton species composition in the estuary.

  15. Final report: Initial ecosystem response of salt marshes to ditch plugging and pool creation: Experiments at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Maine)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adamowicz, S.C.; Roman, C.T.

    2002-01-01

    This study evaluates the response of three salt marshes, associated with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (Maine), to the practice of ditch plugging. Drainage ditches, originally dug to drain the marsh for mosquito control or to facilitate salt hay farming, are plugged with marsh peat in an effort to impound water upstream of the plug, raise water table levels in the marsh, and increase surface water habitat. At two study sites, Moody Marsh and Granite Point Road Marsh, ditch plugs were installed in spring 2000. Monitoring of hydrology, vegetation, nekton and bird utilization, and marsh development processes was conducted in 1999, before ditch plugging, and then in 2000 and 2001 (all parameters except nekton), after ditch plugging. Each study site had a control marsh that was monitored simultaneously with the plugged marsh, and thus, we employed a BACI study design (before, after, control, impact). A third site, Marshall Point Road Marsh, was plugged in 1998. Monitoring of the plugged and control sites was conducted in 1999 and 2000, with limited monitoring in 2001, thus there was no ?before? plug monitoring. With ditch plugging, water table levels increased toward the marsh surface and the areal extent of standing water increased. Responding to a wetter substrate, a vegetation change from high marsh species (e.g., Spartina patens) to those more tolerant of flooded conditions (e.g., Spartina alterniflora) was noted at two of the three ditch plugged sites. Initial response of the nekton community (fishes and decapod crustaceans) was evaluated by monitoring utilization of salt marsh pools using a 1m2 enclosure trap. In general, nekton species richness, density, and community structure remained unchanged following ditch plugging at the Moody and Granite Point sites. At Marshall Point, species richness and density (number of individuals per m2) were significantly greater in the experimental plugged marsh than the control marsh (<2% of the control marsh was open water habitat vs. 11% of the plugged marsh). The response of birds, categorized as waterfowl & waterbirds, shorebirds & wading birds, gulls & terns, and miscellaneous (raptors, passerines, other), was variable. Following ditch plugging, bird species richness increased at the Granite Point site (1999 pre-plug = 15.4, 2000 post-plug = 26.2, 2001 post-plug = 38.7). Because of a low sample size at Moody Marsh, reliable statements on species richness cannot be made. Density of birds (no. of birds per ha) remained unchanged with ditch plugging at Granite Point Marsh, although there was a strong, but not statistically significant, trend toward increased density. This study only reports on initial responses of marsh functions to ditch plugging. Monitoring should continue at these sites, and perhaps at additional sites, for the next decade or so. A monitoring plan is recommended. Long-term monitoring will include evaluation of salt marsh development processes using SET (surface elevation table) methodology. There is concern, although not confirmed, that as ditch-plugged marshes become wetter and marsh grass production declines their ability to keep pace with sea level rise could be jeopardized. It is suggested that ditch plugging should be considered an experimental marsh management technique. Additional monitoring on the physical and habitat responses of ditch-plugged marshes is required, along with assessments of other techniques aimed at restoring open water habitat to the marsh surface.

  16. Restoring Ecological Function to a Submerged Salt Marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stagg, C.L.; Mendelssohn, I.A.

    2010-01-01

    Impacts of global climate change, such as sea level rise and severe drought, have altered the hydrology of coastal salt marshes resulting in submergence and subsequent degradation of ecosystem function. A potential method of rehabilitating these systems is the addition of sediment-slurries to increase marsh surface elevation, thus ameliorating effects of excessive inundation. Although this technique is growing in popularity, the restoration of ecological function after sediment addition has received little attention. To determine if sediment subsidized salt marshes are functionally equivalent to natural marshes, we examined above- and belowground primary production in replicated restored marshes receiving four levels of sediment addition (29-42 cm North American Vertical Datum of 1988 [NAVD 88]) and in degraded and natural ambient marshes (4-22 cm NAVD 88). Moderate intensities of sediment-slurry addition, resulting in elevations at the mid to high intertidal zone (29-36 cm NAVD 88), restored ecological function to degraded salt marshes. Sediment additions significantly decreased flood duration and frequency and increased bulk density, resulting in greater soil drainage and redox potential and significantly lower phytotoxic sulfide concentrations. However, ecological function in the restored salt marsh showed a sediment addition threshold that was characterized by a decline in primary productivity in areas of excessive sediment addition and high elevation (>36 cm NAVD 88). Hence, the addition of intermediate levels of sediment to submerging salt marshes increased marsh surface elevation, ameliorated impacts of prolonged inundation, and increased primary productivity. However, too much sediment resulted in diminished ecological function that was equivalent to the submerged or degraded system. ?? 2010 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

  17. Methylmercury production in a Chesapeake Bay salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, Carl P. J.; Gilmour, Cynthia C.

    2008-06-01

    In a detailed study of the biogeochemical factors affecting the methylation of mercury in a Chesapeake Bay salt marsh, we examined relationships between mercury methylation and numerous variables, including sulfate reduction rates, organic carbon mineralization rates, iron and sulfur chemistry, and the character of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Our data show that salt marshes are important sites of de novo methylmercury (MeHg) production in coastal ecosystems. Some of the controls on MeHg production that have been well-described in other ecosystems also impacted MeHg production in this salt marsh, specifically the effect of sulfide accumulation on mercury bioavailability. We observed some novel biogeochemical relationships with Hg(II)-methylation and MeHg accumulation, particularly the positive association of Hg(II)-methylation with zones of microbial iron reduction. On the basis of this relationship, we suggest caution in wetland and groundwater remediation approaches involving iron additions. Aqueous phase Hg complexation appeared to be the dominant control on Hg bioavailability across the marsh sites examined, rather than Hg partitioning behavior. A detailed examination of DOM character in the marsh suggested a strong positive association between Hg(II)-methylation rate constants and increasing DOM molecular weight. Overall, our results indicate that net MeHg production is controlled by a balance between microbial activity and geochemical effects on mercury bioavailability, but that a significant zone of MeHg production can persist in near surface salt marsh soils. Production of MeHg in coastal marshes may negatively impact ecosystems via export to adjacent estuaries or through direct bioaccumulation in birds, fish and amphibians that feed in these highly productive ecosystems.

  18. Wave attenuation over coastal salt marshes under storm surge conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Möller, Iris; Kudella, Matthias; Rupprecht, Franziska; Spencer, Tom; Paul, Maike; van Wesenbeeck, Bregje K.; Wolters, Guido; Jensen, Kai; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Miranda-Lange, Martin; Schimmels, Stefan

    2014-10-01

    Coastal communities around the world face an increasing risk from flooding as a result of rising sea level, increasing storminess and land subsidence. Salt marshes can act as natural buffer zones, providing protection from waves during storms. However, the effectiveness of marshes in protecting the coastline during extreme events when water levels are at a maximum and waves are highest is poorly understood. Here we experimentally assess wave dissipation under storm surge conditions in a 300-metre-long wave flume tank that contains a transplanted section of natural salt marsh. We find that the presence of marsh vegetation causes considerable wave attenuation, even when water levels and waves are highest. From a comparison with experiments without vegetation, we estimate that up to 60% of observed wave reduction is attributed to vegetation. We also find that although waves progressively flatten and break vegetation stems and thereby reduce dissipation, the marsh substrate remained stable and resistant to surface erosion under all conditions. The effectiveness of storm wave dissipation and the resilience of tidal marshes even at extreme conditions suggest that salt marsh ecosystems can be a valuable component of coastal protection schemes.

  19. Numerical models of salt marsh evolution: ecological, geomorphic, and climatic factors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fagherazzi, Sergio; Kirwan, Matthew L.; Mudd, Simon M.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Temmerman, Stijn; D'Alpaos, Andrea; van de Koppel, Johan; Rybczyk, John; Reyes, Enrique; Craft, Chris; Clough, Jonathan

    2012-01-01

    Salt marshes are delicate landforms at the boundary between the sea and land. These ecosystems support a diverse biota that modifies the erosive characteristics of the substrate and mediates sediment transport processes. Here we present a broad overview of recent numerical models that quantify the formation and evolution of salt marshes under different physical and ecological drivers. In particular, we focus on the coupling between geomorphological and ecological processes and on how these feedbacks are included in predictive models of landform evolution. We describe in detail models that simulate fluxes of water, organic matter, and sediments in salt marshes. The interplay between biological and morphological processes often produces a distinct scarp between salt marshes and tidal flats. Numerical models can capture the dynamics of this boundary and the progradation or regression of the marsh in time. Tidal channels are also key features of the marsh landscape, flooding and draining the marsh platform and providing a source of sediments and nutrients to the marsh ecosystem. In recent years, several numerical models have been developed to describe the morphogenesis and long-term dynamics of salt marsh channels. Finally, salt marshes are highly sensitive to the effects of long-term climatic change. We therefore discuss in detail how numerical models have been used to determine salt marsh survival under different scenarios of sea level rise.

  20. Numerical models of salt marsh evolution: Ecological, geomorphic, and climatic factors

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fagherazzi, S.; Kirwan, M.L.; Mudd, S.M.; Guntenspergen, G.R.; Temmerman, S.; D'Alpaos, A.; Van De Koppel, J.; Rybczyk, J.M.; Reyes, E.; Craft, C.; Clough, J.

    2012-01-01

    Salt marshes are delicate landforms at the boundary between the sea and land. These ecosystems support a diverse biota that modifies the erosive characteristics of the substrate and mediates sediment transport processes. Here we present a broad overview of recent numerical models that quantify the formation and evolution of salt marshes under different physical and ecological drivers. In particular, we focus on the coupling between geomorphological and ecological processes and on how these feedbacks are included in predictive models of landform evolution. We describe in detail models that simulate fluxes of water, organic matter, and sediments in salt marshes. The interplay between biological and morphological processes often produces a distinct scarp between salt marshes and tidal flats. Numerical models can capture the dynamics of this boundary and the progradation or regression of the marsh in time. Tidal channels are also key features of the marsh landscape, flooding and draining the marsh platform and providing a source of sediments and nutrients to the marsh ecosystem. In recent years, several numerical models have been developed to describe the morphogenesis and long-term dynamics of salt marsh channels. Finally, salt marshes are highly sensitive to the effects of long-term climatic change. We therefore discuss in detail how numerical models have been used to determine salt marsh survival under different scenarios of sea level rise. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

  1. What's the Use of a Salt Marsh?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Van Raalte, Charlene

    1977-01-01

    Summarizes information about salt marshes, including descriptions of their development and structure, details of their values in terms of commercial fishing, stabilization of coastal zones, "reclamation" for grazing and cropfields, recreation and aesthetics. (CS)

  2. A Review of Tidal Salt Marsh Morphodynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedrichs, C. T.; Perry, J. E.

    2001-05-01

    We now understand that, morphologically, natural tidal marshes are generally near or progressing rapidly toward dynamic equilibrium with sediment supply, vegetative growth and relative sea level, rather than far out of equilibrium on a slow evolution toward geologic maturity. The last fifteen years have been marked by major advances in the observation of sedimentation and accretion patterns in tidal salt marshes which reinforce the above interpretation. This paper reviews and synthesizes advances since the late 1980s in our understanding of tidal salt marsh morphodynamics. Recent work has shown that allochthonous deposition patterns on the marsh are controlled primarily by source concentration, distance from that source, and duration of inundation (in turn determined by marsh elevation). Because deposition is proportional to inundation period, inorganic accretion tends to increase or decrease with accelerated or decelerated sea level rise, allowing the accretion rate to similarly fluctuate. Feedback between proximity to sediment source and duration of inundation causes relatively uniform accretion to be characterized by highest marsh elevations adjacent to tidal creeks. Since physical stress on vegetation increases with inundation, plant density and accretion of organic matter is reduced as inundation period increases, a pattern opposite to allochthonous deposition. Among systems dominated by allochthonous sediment, microtidal marshes are more reliant on storm and flood sedimentation and horizontally expand and retreat more quickly than macrotidal marshes, while the latter are more likely to persist during periods of accelerated sea level rise. The density, width and depth of salt marsh creeks all increase with increased tidal prism. Along barrier coastlines, greater tidal range is associated with more frequent inlet spacing, shallower channels, flood-dominance, and higher marsh elevation at equilibrium. Smaller tidal range results in greater inlet spacing, deeper channels, ebb-dominance and lower marsh elevation.

  3. Regional ontogeny of New England salt marsh die-off.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Bertness, Mark D; Altieri, Andrew H

    2013-10-01

    Coastal areas are among the world's most productive and highly affected ecosystems. Centuries of human activity on coastlines have led to overexploitation of marine predators, which in turn has led to cascading ecosystem-level effects. Human effects and approaches to mediating them, however, differ regionally due to gradients in biotic and abiotic factors. Salt marsh die-off on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (U.S.A.), triggered by a recreational-fishing-induced trophic cascade that has released herbivorous crabs from predator control, has been ongoing since 1976. Similar salt marsh die-offs have been reported in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay (U.S.A.), but the driving mechanism of these die-offs has not been examined. We used field experiments to assess trophic interactions and historical reconstructions of 24 New England marshes to test the hypotheses that recreational fishing and predator depletion are a regional trigger of salt marsh die-off in New England and that die-offs in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay are more recent than those on Cape Cod. Predator depletion was the general trigger of marsh die-off and explained differences in herbivorous crab abundance and the severity of die-off across regions. Die-offs in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay are following a trajectory similar to die-off on Cape Cod, but are approximately 20 years behind those on Cape Cod. As a result, die-off currently affects 31.2% (SE 2.2) of low-marsh areas in Long Island Sound and Narragansett Bay, less than half the severity of die-off on Cape Cod. Our results contribute to the growing evidence that recreational fishing is an increasing threat to coastal ecosystems and that studying the effects of human activity at regional scales can provide insight into local effects and aid in early detection and potential remediation. PMID:23566036

  4. Coastal Wetland Deterioration, Climate Change and Nutrient Inputs in California and Southern New England Salt Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the i...

  5. Carbon and Nitrogen Accumulation Rates in Salt Marshes in Oregon, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two important ecosystem services of wetlands are carbon sequestration and filtration of nutrients and particulates. We quantified the carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates in salt marshes at 135 plots distributed across eight estuaries located in Oregon, USA. Net carbon and ...

  6. Signatures of Biogeomorphic Feedbacks in Salt-Marsh Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, Andrea; Marani, Marco

    2015-04-01

    Salt-marsh ecosystems which play a large role in the bio-geomorphological evolution of intertidal areas. Dense stands of halophytic vegetations which populate salt marshes largely control the dynamics of these ecosystems influencing marsh hydrodynamics and sediment transport through enhanced flow resistance and settling, and direct particle capture by plant stems. Moreover, plants are also known to increase vertical accretion through direct organic accretion. Field evidence and the results of biomorphodynamic models indeed show that the interplay between physical and biological processes generates some striking biological and morphological patterns at different scales. One such pattern, vegetation zonation, consists in a mosaic of vegetation patches, of approximately uniform composition, displaying sharp transitions in the presence of extremely small topographic gradients. Here we develop a two-dimensional model which describes the mutual interaction and adjustment between tidal flows, sediment transport and morphology mediated by vegetation influence. The model allows us describe the coupled evolution of marsh platforms and channel networks cutting through them. A number of different scenarios were modelled to analyze the changes induced in bio-geomorphic patterns by plants with different characteristics, within marshes characterized by different drainage densities, or subjected to changing environmental forcing such as rates of relative sea level rise and sediment supply. Model results emphasize that zonation patterns are a signature of bio-geomorphic feedbacks with vegetation acting as a landscape constructor which feeds back on, directly alters, and contributes to shape tidal environments. In addition, model results show that biogeomorphic feedbacks critically affect the response and the resilience of salt-marsh landscapes to changes in the environmental forcing.

  7. Recent Trends in Bird Abundance on Rhode Island Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marsh habitat is under pressure from development on the landward side, and sea level rise from the seaward side. The resulting loss of habitat is potentially disastrous for salt marsh dependent species. To assess the population status of three species of salt marsh dependent...

  8. Gross production exceeds gross consumption of methyl halides in northern California salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhew, Robert; Mazéas, Olivier

    2010-09-01

    Coastal salt marshes are sources of CH3Br and CH3Cl to the atmosphere, but the wide range of reported emission rates illustrates the need to understand better the factors controlling net fluxes. Here we demonstrate the use of a stable isotope tracer method to separately evaluate gross production and consumption fluxes to determine their relative roles in the overall net flux. At two salt marshes in northern California, gross production exceeds gross consumption at all measured sites, leading to a large net source overall. Emission rates are within the range observed at other temperate salt marshes. By evaluating the consumption component separately, we explain how a typical salt marsh source might convert into a temporary net sink by exposing the ecosystem to uncharacteristically high concentrations of methyl halides. This circumstance may account for the reported net uptake of methyl chloride during the growing season at a coastal salt marsh in China.

  9. Habitat Function of a Restored Salt Marsh: Post-Larval Gulf Killifish as a Sentinel

    EPA Science Inventory

    Successful marsh restoration requires recreating conditions to ensure proper ecosystem function. One approach to monitor restoration success is using a sentinel species as a proxy integrator of salt marsh function. The gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis, Baird and Girard) is a goo...

  10. Factors controlling dimethylsulfide emission from salt marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dacey, John W. H.; Wakeham, S. G.; Howes, B. L.

    1985-01-01

    The factors that control the emission of methylated gases from salt marshes are being studied. Research focusses on dimethylsulfide (DMS) formation and the mechanism of DMS and CH4 emission to the atmosphere. The approach is to consider the plants as valves regulating the emission of methylated gases to the atmosphere with the goal of developing appropriate methods for emission measurement. In the case of CH4, the sediment is the source and transport to the atmosphere occurs primarily through the internal gas spaces in the plants. The source of DMS appears to be dimethyl sulfoniopropionate (DMSP) which may play a role in osmoregulation in plant tissues. Concentrations of DMSP in leaves are typically several-fold higher than in roots and rhizomes. Even so, the large below ground biomass of this plant means that 2/3 of the DMSP in the ecosystem is below ground on the aerial basis. Upon introduction to sediment water, DMSP rapidly decomposes to DMS and acrylic acid. The solubility of a gas (its equilibrium vapor pressure) is a fundamental aspect of gas exchange kinetics. The first comprehensive study was conducted of DMS solubility in freshwater and seawater. Data suggest that the Setchenow relation holds for H at intermediate salinities collected. These data support the concept that the concentration of DMS in the atmosphere is far from equilibrium with seawater.

  11. Long term (>100 years) Carbon Sequestration in California Coastal Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, L. N.; MacDonald, G. M.; Holmquist, J. R.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal salt marsh ecosystems rank as one of the ecosystems which sequester the most carbon (C) in the world (Chmura, 2003; Mcleod et al., 2011). California hosts multiple small marsh ecosystems outside of the San Francisco Bay that are limited in geographic extent but still contribute significantly to global soil C. This study evaluates 11 marsh sites along the California coast for annual soil C sequestration rates using 14C, 137Cs, and 210Pb chronologies. Estimates of carbon sequestration for California over the past 100 years from this study average at 49 g C m-2 yr-1. Long term estimates of soil C generally are lower because of natural decomposition of organic C, but this study indicates a persistence of high C storage capacity for coastal marsh systems. These estimates provide valuable insight into the long term capacity for coastal salt marshes to mitigate climate change through sequestration of C.

  12. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Bartlett, K.B.; Harriss, R.C.; Sebacher, D.I.

    1985-06-20

    The seasonal flux of methane to the atmosphere from salt marsh soils was examined in three different vegetation zones within a single marsh near Yorktown, Virginia. A total of 100 measurements were made over a 2-year period, with maximum rates occurring during summer and fall. Spatial and temporal variability in fluxes was high; rates ranged from -2.4 to 21.3 x 10/sup -3/ g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2//d. Estimates of annual methane losses to the atmosphere were 0.43 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for a salt meadow zone, 1.3 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for short Spartina alterniflora, and 1.2 g CH/sub 4//m/sup 2/ for tall creek-bank S. alterniflora. A total of 63 flux measurements, made in a variety of other coastal salt marshes along the east coast of the US, suggest that the Virginia site may be fairly typical for this region. In addition to diffusional losses across the air-soil interface, methane can be lost from the marsh system to the atmosphere through the lateral movement of pore waters supersaturated with methane into tidal creeks, with subsequent degassing across the water-air interface. Estimates of the magnitude of methane input to the atmosphere by this mechanism indicate it may be as important as diffusional losses across the air-soil interface. These data suggest that salt marshes of this type make only a minor contribution to global atmospheric methane.

  13. Microbial Community Analysis of a Coastal Salt Marsh Affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    Beazley, Melanie J.; Martinez, Robert J.; Rajan, Suja; Powell, Jessica; Piceno, Yvette M.; Tom, Lauren M.; Andersen, Gary L.; Hazen, Terry C.; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Zhou, Jizhong; Mortazavi, Behzad; Sobecky, Patricia A.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are highly sensitive wetland ecosystems that can sustain long-term impacts from anthropogenic events such as oil spills. In this study, we examined the microbial communities of a Gulf of Mexico coastal salt marsh during and after the influx of petroleum hydrocarbons following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Total hydrocarbon concentrations in salt marsh sediments were highest in June and July 2010 and decreased in September 2010. Coupled PhyloChip and GeoChip microarray analyses demonstrated that the microbial community structure and function of the extant salt marsh hydrocarbon-degrading microbial populations changed significantly during the study. The relative richness and abundance of phyla containing previously described hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria) increased in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments and then decreased once hydrocarbons were below detection. Firmicutes, however, continued to increase in relative richness and abundance after hydrocarbon concentrations were below detection. Functional genes involved in hydrocarbon degradation were enriched in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments then declined significantly (p<0.05) once hydrocarbon concentrations decreased. A greater decrease in hydrocarbon concentrations among marsh grass sediments compared to inlet sediments (lacking marsh grass) suggests that the marsh rhizosphere microbial communities could also be contributing to hydrocarbon degradation. The results of this study provide a comprehensive view of microbial community structural and functional dynamics within perturbed salt marsh ecosystems. PMID:22815990

  14. Microbial community analysis of a coastal salt marsh affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Beazley, Melanie J; Martinez, Robert J; Rajan, Suja; Powell, Jessica; Piceno, Yvette M; Tom, Lauren M; Andersen, Gary L; Hazen, Terry C; Van Nostrand, Joy D; Zhou, Jizhong; Mortazavi, Behzad; Sobecky, Patricia A

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are highly sensitive wetland ecosystems that can sustain long-term impacts from anthropogenic events such as oil spills. In this study, we examined the microbial communities of a Gulf of Mexico coastal salt marsh during and after the influx of petroleum hydrocarbons following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Total hydrocarbon concentrations in salt marsh sediments were highest in June and July 2010 and decreased in September 2010. Coupled PhyloChip and GeoChip microarray analyses demonstrated that the microbial community structure and function of the extant salt marsh hydrocarbon-degrading microbial populations changed significantly during the study. The relative richness and abundance of phyla containing previously described hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria) increased in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments and then decreased once hydrocarbons were below detection. Firmicutes, however, continued to increase in relative richness and abundance after hydrocarbon concentrations were below detection. Functional genes involved in hydrocarbon degradation were enriched in hydrocarbon-contaminated sediments then declined significantly (p<0.05) once hydrocarbon concentrations decreased. A greater decrease in hydrocarbon concentrations among marsh grass sediments compared to inlet sediments (lacking marsh grass) suggests that the marsh rhizosphere microbial communities could also be contributing to hydrocarbon degradation. The results of this study provide a comprehensive view of microbial community structural and functional dynamics within perturbed salt marsh ecosystems. PMID:22815990

  15. Early Salt-Marsh Development, an Example of a Turing Instability?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van de Koppel, J.

    2008-12-01

    In the past decades, regular spatial patterns have been described in a wide range of ecosystems, ranging from arid lands to boreal peat lands. Pattern formation mechanisms in many of these ecosystems are caused by scale-dependent interactions between organisms and geophysical processes, causing facilitation between organisms at small spatial scale, but inhibition at larger spatial scales. This conforms to the activation-inhibition principle laid out by Alan Turing in 1953. We present a combination of experimental and modeling studies on early salt-marsh development that indicate that similar scale-dependent interactions determine the establishment of salt-marsh vegetation and early geomorphological development of the marsh. Based on these studies, we argue that the early development of salt-marsh ecosystems is characterized by a Turing instability, placed into a complex landscape setting.

  16. [Deposition and burial of organic carbon in coastal salt marsh: research progress].

    PubMed

    Cao, Lei; Song, Jin-Ming; Li, Xue-Gang; Yuan, Hua-Mao; Li, Ning; Duan, Li-Qin

    2013-07-01

    Coastal salt marsh has higher potential of carbon sequestration, playing an important role in mitigating global warming, while coastal saline soil is the largest organic carbon pool in the coastal salt marsh carbon budget. To study the carbon deposition and burial in this soil is of significance for clearly understanding the carbon budget of coastal salt marsh. This paper summarized the research progress on the deposition and burial of organic carbon in coastal salt marsh from the aspects of the sources of coastal salt marsh soil organic carbon, soil organic carbon storage and deposition rate, burial mechanisms of soil organic carbon, and the relationships between the carbon sequestration in coastal salt marsh and the global climate change. Some suggestions for the future related researches were put forward: 1) to further study the underlying factors that control the variability of carbon storage in coastal salt marsh, 2) to standardize the methods for measuring the carbon storage and the deposition and burial rates of organic carbon in coastal salt marsh, 3) to quantify the lateral exchange of carbon flux between coastal salt marsh and adjacent ecosystems under the effects of tide, and 4) to approach whether the effects of global warming and the increased productivity could compensate for the increase of the organic carbon decomposition rate resulted from sediment respiration. To make clear the driving factors determining the variability of carbon sequestration rate and how the organic carbon storage is affected by climate change and anthropogenic activities would be helpful to improve the carbon sequestration capacity of coastal salt marshes in China. PMID:24175538

  17. Potential for Carbon Sequestration in Transplanted Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Brien, C.; Davis, J.; Currin, C.

    2014-12-01

    The photosynthetic uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by tidal salt marshes results in the long-term storage of carbon in the sediment. In recent decades, pressures such as land-use change and sea level rise have significantly reduced the global extent of salt marshes and increased the need for restoration projects. Restored salt marshes have been shown to provide many of the same ecological and economic benefits as natural marshes, including fish habitat, pollution filtration, and shoreline stabilization. Given the high carbon sequestration capacity of tidal marshes, carbon storage is likely an additional benefit of restoration; however, the degree to which restored marshes achieve equivalency with natural marshes in terms of carbon burial has not been well-defined. In this study, annual carbon sequestration rates in transplanted marshes were estimated and belowground carbon stocks were compared in transplanted versus natural marshes. Sediment cores were collected from five transplanted Spartina alterniflora marshes of known age (12-38 years old) in the Newport River Estuary, NC and from two natural marshes of unknown age. Organic matter content was estimated using the loss on ignition method and carbon content was estimated based on previously established relationships. In transplanted marshes, the rate of carbon sequestration in the top 30 cm decreased with marsh age and ranged from 76.70 g C/m2/yr (38 year old marsh) to 212.83 g C/m2/yr (12 year old marsh). The natural marshes contained significantly larger carbon stocks in the top 30 cm (4534.61 - 7790.18 g C m-2) than the transplanted marshes (1822.97 - 3798.62 g C m-2). However, the annual sequestration rates in the transplanted marshes are similar to those observed by others in natural marshes, and therefore it is likely that over time restored marshes are capable of accreting belowground carbon stocks equivalent to those found in natural marshes.

  18. Carbon Sequestration in Tidal Salt Marshes of the Northeast United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Drake, Katherine; Halifax, Holly; Adamowicz, Susan C.; Craft, Christopher

    2015-10-01

    Tidal salt marshes provide important ecological services, habitat, disturbance regulation, water quality improvement, and biodiversity, as well as accumulation and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in vegetation and soil organic matter. Different management practices may alter their capacity to provide these ecosystem services. We examined soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N), C and N pools, C sequestration and N accumulation at four marshes managed with open marsh water management (OMWM) and four marshes that were not at U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) on the East Coast of the United States. Soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N) exhibited no consistent differences among managed and non-OMWM marshes. Soil organic carbon pools (0-60-cm depth) also did not differ. Managed marshes contained 15.9 kg C/m2 compared to 16.2 kg C/m2 in non-OMWM marshes. Proportionately, more C (per unit volume) was stored in surface than in subsurface soils. The rate of C sequestration, based on 137Cs and 210Pb dating of soil cores, ranged from 41 to 152 g/m2/year. Because of the low emissions of CH4 from salt marshes relative to freshwater wetlands and the ability to sequester C in soil, protection and restoration of salt marshes can be a vital tool for delivering key ecosystem services, while at the same time, reducing the C footprint associated with managing these wetlands.

  19. Carbon Sequestration in Tidal Salt Marshes of the Northeast United States.

    PubMed

    Drake, Katherine; Halifax, Holly; Adamowicz, Susan C; Craft, Christopher

    2015-10-01

    Tidal salt marshes provide important ecological services, habitat, disturbance regulation, water quality improvement, and biodiversity, as well as accumulation and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in vegetation and soil organic matter. Different management practices may alter their capacity to provide these ecosystem services. We examined soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N), C and N pools, C sequestration and N accumulation at four marshes managed with open marsh water management (OMWM) and four marshes that were not at U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) on the East Coast of the United States. Soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N) exhibited no consistent differences among managed and non-OMWM marshes. Soil organic carbon pools (0-60-cm depth) also did not differ. Managed marshes contained 15.9 kg C/m(2) compared to 16.2 kg C/m(2) in non-OMWM marshes. Proportionately, more C (per unit volume) was stored in surface than in subsurface soils. The rate of C sequestration, based on (137)Cs and (210)Pb dating of soil cores, ranged from 41 to 152 g/m(2)/year. Because of the low emissions of CH4 from salt marshes relative to freshwater wetlands and the ability to sequester C in soil, protection and restoration of salt marshes can be a vital tool for delivering key ecosystem services, while at the same time, reducing the C footprint associated with managing these wetlands. PMID:26108413

  20. Geographic Variation in Plant Community Structure of Salt Marshes: Species, Functional and Phylogenetic Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Guo, Hongyu; Chamberlain, Scott A.; Elhaik, Eran; Jalli, Inder; Lynes, Alana-Rose; Marczak, Laurie; Sabath, Niv; Vargas, Amy; Więski, Kazimierz; Zelig, Emily M.; Pennings, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    In general, community similarity is thought to decay with distance; however, this view may be complicated by the relative roles of different ecological processes at different geographical scales, and by the compositional perspective (e.g. species, functional group and phylogenetic lineage) used. Coastal salt marshes are widely distributed worldwide, but no studies have explicitly examined variation in salt marsh plant community composition across geographical scales, and from species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. Based on studies in other ecosystems, we hypothesized that, in coastal salt marshes, community turnover would be more rapid at local versus larger geographical scales; and that community turnover patterns would diverge among compositional perspectives, with a greater distance decay at the species level than at the functional or phylogenetic levels. We tested these hypotheses in salt marshes of two regions: The southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. We examined the characteristics of plant community composition at each salt marsh site, how community similarity decayed with distance within individual salt marshes versus among sites in each region, and how community similarity differed among regions, using species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives. We found that results from the three compositional perspectives generally showed similar patterns: there was strong variation in community composition within individual salt marsh sites across elevation; in contrast, community similarity decayed with distance four to five orders of magnitude more slowly across sites within each region. Overall, community dissimilarity of salt marshes was lowest on the southern Atlantic Coast, intermediate on the Gulf Coast, and highest between the two regions. Our results indicated that local gradients are relatively more important than regional processes in structuring coastal salt marsh communities. Our results also suggested that in ecosystems with low species diversity, functional and phylogenetic approaches may not provide additional insight over a species-based approach. PMID:26010135

  1. Crenarchaeal heterotrophy in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Seyler, Lauren M; McGuinness, Lora M; Kerkhof, Lee J

    2014-07-01

    Mesophilic Crenarchaeota (also known as Thaumarchaeota) are ubiquitous and abundant in marine habitats. However, very little is known about their metabolic function in situ. In this study, salt marsh sediments from New Jersey were screened via stable isotope probing (SIP) for heterotrophy by amending with a single (13)C-labeled compound (acetate, glycine or urea) or a complex (13)C-biopolymer (lipids, proteins or growth medium (ISOGRO)). SIP incubations were done at two substrate concentrations (30-150 μM; 2-10 mg ml(-1)), and (13)C-labeled DNA was analyzed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis of 16S rRNA genes. To test for autotrophy, an amendment with (13)C-bicarbonate was also performed. Our SIP analyses indicate salt marsh crenarchaea are heterotrophic, double within 2-3 days and often compete with heterotrophic bacteria for the same organic substrates. A clone library of (13)C-amplicons was screened to find matches to the (13)C-TRFLP peaks, with seven members of the Miscellaneous Crenarchaeal Group and seven members from the Marine Group 1.a Crenarchaeota being discerned. Some of these crenarchaea displayed a preference for particular carbon sources, whereas others incorporated nearly every (13)C-substrate provided. The data suggest salt marshes may be an excellent model system for studying crenarchaeal metabolic capabilities and can provide information on the competition between crenarchaea and other microbial groups to improve our understanding of microbial ecology. PMID:24553469

  2. Plant invasion impacts on the gross and net primary production of the salt marsh on eastern coast of China: Insights from leaf to ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Guo, Hai-Qiang; Zhao, Bin; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2015-01-01

    exotic Spartina alterniflora from North America has been rapidly invading the entire Chinese coast, while the impacts of plant invasion on the gross (GPP) and net primary production (NPP) of the coastal salt marshes were less known. In this study, we investigated the photosynthetic performance, leaf characteristics, and primary production of the exotic C4 grass and the dominant native C3 grass (Phragmites australis) in two marsh mixtures (equipped with eddy covariance systems) in the Yangtze Estuary. The light-saturated photosynthetic rate and annual peak leaf area index (LAI) of S. alterniflora was higher than that of P. australis throughout the growing season. The leaf nitrogen content of P. australis declined sharper during the latter growing season than that of S. alterniflora. The leaf-to-canopy production model with species-specific (C3 and C4 types) parameterizations could reasonably simulate the daily trends and annual GPP amount against the 3 year flux measurements from 2005 to 2007, and the modeled NPP agreed with biomass measurements from the two species during 2012. The percentage contributions of GPP between S. alterniflora and P. australis were on average 5.82:1 and 2.91:1 in the two mixtures, respectively. The annual NPP amounts from S. alterniflora were higher by approximately 1.6 times than that from P. australis. Our results suggested that higher photosynthesis efficiency, higher LAI, and longer growing season resulted in greater GPP and NPP in the exotic species relative to the native species. The rapid expansion rate of S. alterniflora further made it the leading contributor of primary production in the salt marsh.

  3. Metal speciation in salt marsh sediments: Influence of halophyte vegetation in salt marshes with different morphology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pedro, Sílvia; Duarte, Bernardo; Raposo de Almeida, Pedro; Caçador, Isabel

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes provide environmental conditions that are known to affect metal speciation in sediments. The elevational gradient along the marsh and consequent differential flooding are some of the major factors influencing halophytic species distribution and coverage due to their differential tolerance to salinity and submersion. Different species, in turn, also have distinct influences on the sediment's metal speciation, and its metal accumulation abilities. The present work aimed to evaluate how different halophyte species in two different salt marshes could influence metal partitioning in the sediment at root depth and how that could differ from bare sediments. Metal speciation in sediments around the roots (rhizosediments) of Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia fruticosa and Spartina maritima was determined by sequentially extracting operationally defined fractions with solutions of increasing strength and acidity. Rosário salt marsh generally showed higher concentrations of all metals in the rhizosediments. Metal partitioning was primarily related to the type of metal, with the elements' chemistry overriding the environment's influence on fractionation schemes. The most mobile elements were Cd and Zn, with greater availability being found in non-vegetated sediments. Immobilization in rhizosediments was predominantly influenced by the presence of Fe and Mn oxides, as well as organic complexes. In the more mature of both salt marshes, the differences between vegetated and non-vegetated sediments were more evident regarding S. fruticosa, while in the younger system all halophytes presented significantly different metal partitioning when compared to that of mudflats.

  4. Response of a salt marsh microbial community to metal contamination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mucha, Ana P.; Teixeira, Catarina; Reis, Izabela; Magalhães, Catarina; Bordalo, Adriano A.; Almeida, C. Marisa R.

    2013-09-01

    Salt marshes are important sinks for contaminants, namely metals that tend to accumulate around plant roots and could eventually be taken up in a process known as phytoremediation. On the other hand, microbial communities display important roles in the salt marsh ecosystems, such as recycling of nutrients and/or degradation of organic contaminants. Thus, plants can benefit from the microbial activity in the phytoremediation process. Nevertheless, above certain levels, metals are known to be toxic to microorganisms, fact that can eventually compromise their ecological functions. In this vein, the aim of present study was to investigate, in the laboratory, the effect of selected metals (Cd, Cu and Pb) on the microbial communities associated to the roots of two salt marsh plants. Sediments colonized by Juncus maritimus and Phragmites australis were collected in the River Lima estuary (NW Portugal), and spiked with each of the metals at three different Effects Range-Median (ERM) concentrations (1, 10×, 50×), being ERM the sediment quality guideline that indicates the concentration above which adverse biological effects may frequently occur. Spiked sediments were incubated with a nutritive saline solution, being left in the dark under constant agitation for 7 days. The results showed that, despite the initial sediments colonized by J. maritimus and P. australis displayed significant (p < 0.05) differences in terms of microbial community structure (evaluated by ARISA), they presented similar microbial abundances (estimated by DAPI). Also, in terms of microbial abundance, both sediments showed a similar response to metal addition, with a decrease in number of cells only observed for the higher addition of Cu. Nevertheless, both Cu and Pb, at intermediate metals levels promote a shift in the microbial community structure, with possibly effect on the ecological function of these microbial communities in salt marshes. These changes may affect plants phytoremediation potential and further work on this subject is in need.

  5. Marsh-atmosphere CO2 exchange in a New England salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbrich, Inke; Giblin, Anne E.

    2015-09-01

    We studied marsh-atmosphere exchange of carbon dioxide in a high marsh dominated salt marsh during the months of May to October in 2012-2014. Tidal inundation at the site occurred only during biweekly spring tides, during which we observed a reduction in fluxes during day and night. We estimated net ecosystem exchange (NEE), gross primary production (GPP), and ecosystem respiration (Reco) using a modified PLIRTLE model, which requires photosynthetically active radiation, temperature, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as control variables. NDVI decreased during inundation, when the marsh canopy was submerged. Two-time series of NDVI, including and excluding effects of tidal inundation, allowed us to quantify the flux reduction during inundation. The effect of the flux reduction was small (2-4%) at our site, but is likely higher for marshes at a lower elevation. From May to October, GPP averaged -863 g C m-2, Reco averaged 591 g C m-2, and NEE averaged -291 g C m-2. In 2012, which was an exceptionally warm year, we observed an early start of net carbon uptake but higher respiration than in 2013 and 2014 due to higher-air temperature in August. This resulted in the lowest NEE during the study period (-255.9±6.9 g C m-2). The highest seasonal net uptake (-336.5±6.3 g C m-2) was observed in 2013, which was linked to higher rainfall and temperature in July. Mean sea level was very similar during all 3 years which allowed us to isolate the importance of climatic factors.

  6. Recent volumetric changes in salt marsh soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eugene Turner, R.; Milan, Charles S.; Swenson, Erick M.

    2006-09-01

    Salt marsh sediment volume decreases from organic decomposition, compaction of solids, and de-watering, and each of these processes may change with age. Variability in the vertical accretion rate within the upper 2 m was determined by assembling results from concurrent application of the 137Cs and 210Pb dating techniques used to estimate sediment age since 1963/1964, and 0 to ca 100+ years before present (yBP), respectively. The relationship between 210Pb and the 137Cs dated accretion rates (Sed 210 and Sed 137, respectively) was linear for 45 salt marsh and mangrove environments. Sed 210 averaged 75% of Sed 137 suggesting that vertical accretion over the last 100+ years is driven by soil organic matter accumulation, as shown for the pre 137Cs dated horizon. The ratio of Sed 210/Sed 137 declines with increasing mineral content. A linear multiple regression equation that includes bulk density and Sed 137 to predict Sed 210 described 97% of the variance in Sed 210. Sediments from Connecticut, Delaware and Louisiana coastal environments dated with 14C indicate a relatively constant sediment accretion rate of 0.13 cm year -1 for 1000-7000 yBP, which occurs within 2 m of today's marsh surface and equals modern sea level rise rates. Soil subsidence is not shown to be distinctly different in these vastly different coastal settings. The major reason why the Sed 137 measurements indicate higher accretion rates than do the Sed 210 measurements is because the former apply to younger sediments where the effects of root growth and decomposition are greater than in the latter. The most intense rates of change in soil volume in organic-rich salt marshes sediments is, therefore, neither in deep or old sediments (>4 m; >1000 years), but within the first several hundreds of years after accumulation. The average changes in organic and inorganic constituents downcore are nearly equal for 58 dated sediment cores from the northern Gulf of Mexico. These parallel changes downcore are best described as resulting from compaction, rather than from organic matter decomposition. Thus most of the volumetric changes in these salt marsh sediments occurs in the upper 2 m, and declines quickly with depth. Extrapolation forwards or backwards, using results from the 210Pb and the 137Cs dating technique appear to be warranted for the types of samples from the environments described here.

  7. Remote sensing of wetland conditions in West Coast salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ustin, Susan L.; Lay, Mui C.; Li, Lin

    2004-11-01

    The objective of the PEEIR (Pacific Estuarine Ecosystem Indicator Research Consortium) program is to develop new indicators for assessing wetland health or condition. As part of PEEIR program we are investigating the use of imaging spectrometry to map and characterize marsh vegetation of several estuarine systems in California. We obtained airborne Advanced Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data, an instrument which measures a detailed reflectance spectrum (400-2500nm) for each pixel, over paired tidal marshes, having either a history of exposure to pollution or no known exposure. AVIRIS image data was analyzed based on comparison to field measurements and reflectance changes measured in hydroponic experiments. We report leaf and canopy reflectance measurements of several common plant species of Pacific coast salt marshes exposed to different concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, V) and crude oil contaminants. Species exhibited differential sensitivities to specific contaminants, however in general, Salicornia virginica, the most salt tolerant species and the dominant species in these wetlands (70-90% cover) was most sensitive to metal and petroleum contaminants. Field measurements of canopy reflectance, biomass and vegetation structure were acquired across GPS-located transects at each field site. The AVIRIS data were calibrated to surface reflectance using the FLAASH radiative transfer code and geometrically registered to coordinates using the 1m USGS digital orthophoto quads. AVIRIS results show spatial patterns of plant stress indicators (e.g., reduced chlorophyll and water contents) are consistent with known patterns of contamination in these tidal wetlands.

  8. Nutrient enrichment and the role of salt marshes in the Tagus estuary (Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simas, T. C.; Ferreira, J. G.

    2007-11-01

    Eutrophication is one of the most common impacts of nutrient enrichment on coastal ecosystems. Since there is a wide ecosystem response variety in scale, intensity and impact to nutrient enrichment, the loading required to produce eutrophication symptoms to each system is also variable. In estuaries and coastal zones salt marsh primary producers have received less attention, mainly because salt marsh dominated systems are considered less sensitive to nutrient enrichment and, for that reason, their response is slower and more difficult to quantify. Salt marshes have been considered as major attenuators of the effects of nitrogen enrichment in several coastal systems, and are indicated as a measure of the system susceptibility to nutrient enrichment. The main goal of the present work is to discuss the role of salt marsh vegetation in the nutrient dynamics of coastal systems and in the nutrient enrichment process. For these purposes salt marsh vegetation growth in the Tagus estuary is described through a mathematical model which includes the simulation of the nutrient dynamics through the sediment-water interface and the uptake kinetics by the vascular plants. An analysis of the role of salt marsh vegetation on the nutrient dynamics of the Tagus estuary is carried out through the discussion of the model results and comparison with data obtained for other primary producers in the system. The results indicate that C 4 salt marsh plants have the highest productivity, followed by seaweeds. The total net production of salt marsh plants and is about 12,600 ton C yr -1, accounting for 25% of the total primary production within the system.

  9. The influence of Spartina maritima on carbon retention capacity in salt marshes from warm-temperate estuaries.

    PubMed

    Sousa, Ana I; Lillebø, Ana I; Pardal, Miguel A; Caçador, Isabel

    2010-01-01

    Salt marshes constitute highly productive systems playing an important role on ecosystem functions. The aim of this study is to compare the role of Spartina maritima salt marshes on carbon cycling. Thus, four salt marshes located in two mesotidal estuarine systems (Tagus and Mondego, two salt marshes per estuary) were studied. The S. maritima above- and belowground biomass, carbon production, decomposition rates (through a litterbag experiment) and carbon content in the sediment were estimated for a one year period in both systems and compared. In Corroios (located at the Tagus estuary) S. maritima salt marsh had the highest belowground production (1008 gC m(-2) y(-1)), slower decomposition rate (k=0.0024 d(-1)), and the highest carbon content in sediments (750 gC m(-2) y(-1)); and thus, the highest carbon retention capacity. The other three salt marshes had comparatively higher aboveground productions, higher decomposition rates and lower carbon retention capacity. Therefore, Corroios had the most important carbon cycling characteristics. As a whole, results show that differences in carbon cycling in salt marshes depend mostly on its own characteristics and maturity, rather than the system itself. The intrinsic characteristics of the salt marshes, namely the physicochemical conditions determined by the maturity of the system, are more important factors affecting the role of warm-temperate mesotidal salt marshes as carbon sinks. PMID:20304438

  10. The contribution of mangrove expansion to salt marsh loss on the Texas Gulf Coast.

    PubMed

    Armitage, Anna R; Highfield, Wesley E; Brody, Samuel D; Louchouarn, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Landscape-level shifts in plant species distribution and abundance can fundamentally change the ecology of an ecosystem. Such shifts are occurring within mangrove-marsh ecotones, where over the last few decades, relatively mild winters have led to mangrove expansion into areas previously occupied by salt marsh plants. On the Texas (USA) coast of the western Gulf of Mexico, most cases of mangrove expansion have been documented within specific bays or watersheds. Based on this body of relatively small-scale work and broader global patterns of mangrove expansion, we hypothesized that there has been a recent regional-level displacement of salt marshes by mangroves. We classified Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper images using artificial neural networks to quantify black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) expansion and salt marsh (Spartina alterniflora and other grass and forb species) loss over 20 years across the entire Texas coast. Between 1990 and 2010, mangrove area grew by 16.1 km(2), a 74% increase. Concurrently, salt marsh area decreased by 77.8 km(2), a 24% net loss. Only 6% of that loss was attributable to mangrove expansion; most salt marsh was lost due to conversion to tidal flats or water, likely a result of relative sea level rise. Our research confirmed that mangroves are expanding and, in some instances, displacing salt marshes at certain locations. However, this shift is not widespread when analyzed at a larger, regional level. Rather, local, relative sea level rise was indirectly implicated as another important driver causing regional-level salt marsh loss. Climate change is expected to accelerate both sea level rise and mangrove expansion; these mechanisms are likely to interact synergistically and contribute to salt marsh loss. PMID:25946132

  11. The Contribution of Mangrove Expansion to Salt Marsh Loss on the Texas Gulf Coast

    PubMed Central

    Brody, Samuel D.; Louchouarn, Patrick

    2015-01-01

    Landscape-level shifts in plant species distribution and abundance can fundamentally change the ecology of an ecosystem. Such shifts are occurring within mangrove-marsh ecotones, where over the last few decades, relatively mild winters have led to mangrove expansion into areas previously occupied by salt marsh plants. On the Texas (USA) coast of the western Gulf of Mexico, most cases of mangrove expansion have been documented within specific bays or watersheds. Based on this body of relatively small-scale work and broader global patterns of mangrove expansion, we hypothesized that there has been a recent regional-level displacement of salt marshes by mangroves. We classified Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper images using artificial neural networks to quantify black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) expansion and salt marsh (Spartina alterniflora and other grass and forb species) loss over 20 years across the entire Texas coast. Between 1990 and 2010, mangrove area grew by 16.1 km2, a 74% increase. Concurrently, salt marsh area decreased by 77.8 km2, a 24% net loss. Only 6% of that loss was attributable to mangrove expansion; most salt marsh was lost due to conversion to tidal flats or water, likely a result of relative sea level rise. Our research confirmed that mangroves are expanding and, in some instances, displacing salt marshes at certain locations. However, this shift is not widespread when analyzed at a larger, regional level. Rather, local, relative sea level rise was indirectly implicated as another important driver causing regional-level salt marsh loss. Climate change is expected to accelerate both sea level rise and mangrove expansion; these mechanisms are likely to interact synergistically and contribute to salt marsh loss. PMID:25946132

  12. Consequences of Climate Change, Eutrophication, and Other Anthropogenic Impacts to Coastal Salt Marshes: Multiple Stressors Reduce Resiliency and Sustainability

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the ...

  13. Impacts of Multiple Stressors on Southern New England Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the Northeastern U.S., salt marsh area is in decline. Low sediment supply combined with regionally high rates of sea level rise mean that future salt marsh survival depends primarily on biomass production and organic matter accumulation, which are impacted by high nutrient lo...

  14. Pettaquamscutt Cove Salt Marsh: Environmental Conditions and Historical Ecological Change

    EPA Science Inventory

    Using historic air photos and U.S. Coast Survey maps, historic vegetation changes were identified. Using surveys of vegetation and elevation, we measure elevation of Narrow River salt marshes, and compare it with other salt marshes in Rhode Island and neighboring states. Water ...

  15. Large methyl halide emissions from south Texas salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhew, R. C.; Whelan, M. E.; Min, D.-H.

    2014-11-01

    Coastal salt marshes are natural sources of methyl chloride (CH3Cl) and methyl bromide (CH3Br) to the atmosphere, but measured emission rates vary widely by geography. Here we report large methyl halide fluxes from subtropical salt marshes of south Texas. Sites with the halophytic plant, Batis maritima, emitted methyl halides at rates that are orders of magnitude greater than sites containing other vascular plants or macroalgae. B. maritima emissions were generally highest at midday; however, diurnal variability was more pronounced for CH3Br than CH3Cl, and surprisingly high nighttime CH3Cl fluxes were observed in July. Seasonal and intra-site variability were large, even taking into account biomass differences. Overall, these subtropical salt marsh sites show much higher emission rates than temperate salt marshes at similar times of the year, supporting the contention that low-latitude salt marshes are significant sources of CH3Cl and CH3Br.

  16. Gross nitrous oxide production drives net nitrous oxide fluxes across a salt marsh landscape.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wendy H; Silver, Whendee L

    2016-06-01

    Sea level rise will change inundation regimes in salt marshes, altering redox dynamics that control nitrification - a potential source of the potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide (N2 O) - and denitrification, a major nitrogen (N) loss pathway in coastal ecosystems and both a source and sink of N2 O. Measurements of net N2 O fluxes alone yield little insight into the different effects of redox conditions on N2 O production and consumption. We used in situ measurements of gross N2 O fluxes across a salt marsh elevation gradient to determine how soil N2 O emissions in coastal ecosystems may respond to future sea level rise. Soil redox declined as marsh elevation decreased, with lower soil nitrate and higher ferrous iron in the low marsh compared to the mid and high marshes (P < 0.001 for both). In addition, soil oxygen concentrations were lower in the low and mid-marshes relative to the high marsh (P < 0.001). Net N2 O fluxes differed significantly among marsh zones (P = 0.009), averaging 9.8 ± 5.4 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , -2.2 ± 0.9 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) , and 0.67 ± 0.57 μg N m(-2)  h(-1) in the low, mid, and high marshes, respectively. Both net N2 O release and uptake were observed in the low and high marshes, but the mid-marsh was consistently a net N2 O sink. Gross N2 O production was highest in the low marsh and lowest in the mid-marsh (P = 0.02), whereas gross N2 O consumption did not differ among marsh zones. Thus, variability in gross N2 O production rates drove the differences in net N2 O flux among marsh zones. Our results suggest that future studies should focus on elucidating controls on the processes producing, rather than consuming, N2 O in salt marshes to improve our predictions of changes in net N2 O fluxes caused by future sea level rise. PMID:26718748

  17. Complexity in salt marsh circulation for a semienclosed basin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sullivan, Jessica Chassereau; Torres, Raymond; Garrett, Alfred; Blanton, Jackson; Alexander, Clark; Robinson, Michael; Moore, Trent; Amft, Julie; Hayes, David

    2015-10-01

    The fine details of overmarsh circulation remain largely unexplored and yet they are typically assumed to control many attributes of salt marsh material cycling, transport, and accretion. We characterized the spatial and temporal variability in overmarsh circulation at a 2 km2 Georgia, USA, salt marsh using field observations, dye tracer, and numerical simulations. The marsh bathymetry was created with a high-precision Global Positioning System survey that details the geomorphic structure of intertidal creeks and salt marsh platform features greater than about 1 m in width. We assessed flow path dynamics at four spatial scales ranging from 1 m to 1000 m. Results show the development and decay of simultaneous flow divergence and convergence, concentrated flow and large-scale rotational flow, and strong differences between flood and ebb pathways. This current complexity is set by submergence and emergence of subtle salt marsh platform geomorphic structure, and it highlights the role of topography in system-wide flow processes.

  18. Hydrologic modeling as a predictive basis for ecological restoration of salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roman, C.T.; Garvine, R.W.; Portnoy, J.W.

    1995-01-01

    Roads, bridges, causeways, impoundments, and dikes in the coastal zone often restrict tidal flow to salt marsh ecosystems. A dike with tide control structures, located at the mouth of the Herring River salt marsh estuarine system (Wellfleet, Massachusetts) since 1908, has effectively restricted tidal exchange, causing changes in marsh vegetation composition, degraded water quality, and reduced abundance of fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Restoration of this estuary by reintroduction of tidal exchange is a feasible management alternative. However, restoration efforts must proceed with caution as residential dwellings and a golf course are located immediately adjacent to and in places within the tidal wetland. A numerical model was developed to predict tide height levels for numerous alternative openings through the Herring River dike. Given these model predictions and knowledge of elevations of flood-prone areas, it becomes possible to make responsible decisions regarding restoration. Moreover, tidal flooding elevations relative to the wetland surface must be known to predict optimum conditions for ecological recovery. The tide height model has a universal role, as demonstrated by successful application at a nearby salt marsh restoration site in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Salt marsh restoration is a valuable management tool toward maintaining and enhancing coastal zone habitat diversity. The tide height model presented in this paper will enable both scientists and resource professionals to assign a degree of predictability when designing salt marsh restoration programs.

  19. Threats to Marsh Resources and Mitigation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes inhabit low-energy, intertidal shorelines worldwide and are among the most abundant and productive coastal ecosystems. Salt-marsh ecosystems provide a wide array of benefits to coastal populations, including shoreline protection, fishery support, water quality impr...

  20. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bartlett, K. B.; Harriss, R. C.; Sebacher, D. I.

    1985-01-01

    It is thought that biological methanogenesis in natural and agricultural wetlands and enteric fermentation in animals are the dominant sources of global tropospheric methane. It is pointed out that the anaerobic soils and sediments, where methanogenesis occurs, predominate in coastal marine wetlands. Coastal marine wetlands are generally believed to be approximately equal in area to freshwater wetlands. For this reason, coastal marine wetlands may be a globally significant source of atmospheric methane. The present investigation is concerned with the results of a study of direct measurements of methane fluxes to the atmosphere from salt marsh soils and of indirect determinations of fluxes from tidal creek waters. In addition, measurements of methane distributions in coastal marine wetland sediments and water are presented. The results of the investigation suggest that marine wetlands provide only a minor contribution to atmospheric methane on a global scale.

  1. [Emissions of methyl halides from coastal salt marshes: A review].

    PubMed

    Xie, Wen-xia; Zhao, Quan-sheng; Cui, Yu-qian; Du, Hui-na; Ye, Si-yuan

    2015-11-01

    Methyl halides are the major carrier of halogens in the atmosphere, and they play an important role in tropospheric and stratospheric ozone depletion. Meanwhile, methyl halides can act as greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and they are also environmentally significant because of their toxicity. Coastal salt marshes, the important intertidal ecosystems at the land-ocean interface, have been considered to be a large potential natural source of methyl halides. In this paper, the research status of the natural source or sink of methyl halides, the mechanisms of their emission from coastal salt marshes and affecting factors were summarized. In view of this, the following research fields need to be strengthened in the future: 1) Long time-scale and large region-range researches about the emission of methyl halides and the evaluation of their source and sink function, 2) Accurate quantification of contribution rates of different plant species and various biological types to fluxes of methyl halides, 3) Further researches on effects of the tidal fluctuation process and flooding duration on methyl halides emission, 4) Effects of the global change and human activities on methyl halides emission. PMID:26915215

  2. TYPES OF SALT MARSH EDGE AND EXPORT OF TROPHIC ENERGY FROM MARSHES TO DEEPER HABITATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    We quantified nekton and estimated trophic export at salt marshes with both erosional and depositional edges at the Goodwin Islands (York River, Virginia, USA). At depositional-edge marshes, we examined trophic flows through quantitative sampling with 1.75 m2 drop rings, and thro...

  3. Salt marsh Claviceps purpurea in native and invaded Spartina marshes in Northern California

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The fungal pathogen Claviceps purpurea (subgroup G3) has a worldwide distribution on salt marsh Spartina species. In Northern California (US), native S. foliosa sustains high rates of infection by G3 C. purpurea in marshes north of the San Francisco Estuary. Invasive populations of S. alterniflora a...

  4. Indirect Human Impacts Reverse Centuries of Carbon Sequestration and Salt Marsh Accretion

    PubMed Central

    Coverdale, Tyler C.; Brisson, Caitlin P.; Young, Eric W.; Yin, Stephanie F.; Donnelly, Jeffrey P.; Bertness, Mark D.

    2014-01-01

    Direct and indirect human impacts on coastal ecosystems have increased over the last several centuries, leading to unprecedented degradation of coastal habitats and loss of ecological services. Here we document a two-century temporal disparity between salt marsh accretion and subsequent loss to indirect human impacts. Field surveys, manipulative experiments and GIS analyses reveal that crab burrowing weakens the marsh peat base and facilitates further burrowing, leading to bank calving, disruption of marsh accretion, and a loss of over two centuries of sequestered carbon from the marsh edge in only three decades. Analogous temporal disparities exist in other systems and are a largely unrecognized obstacle in attaining sustainable ecosystem services in an increasingly human impacted world. In light of the growing threat of indirect impacts worldwide and despite uncertainties in the fate of lost carbon, we suggest that estimates of carbon emissions based only on direct human impacts may significantly underestimate total anthropogenic carbon emissions. PMID:24675669

  5. Indirect human impacts reverse centuries of carbon sequestration and salt marsh accretion.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Brisson, Caitlin P; Young, Eric W; Yin, Stephanie F; Donnelly, Jeffrey P; Bertness, Mark D

    2014-01-01

    Direct and indirect human impacts on coastal ecosystems have increased over the last several centuries, leading to unprecedented degradation of coastal habitats and loss of ecological services. Here we document a two-century temporal disparity between salt marsh accretion and subsequent loss to indirect human impacts. Field surveys, manipulative experiments and GIS analyses reveal that crab burrowing weakens the marsh peat base and facilitates further burrowing, leading to bank calving, disruption of marsh accretion, and a loss of over two centuries of sequestered carbon from the marsh edge in only three decades. Analogous temporal disparities exist in other systems and are a largely unrecognized obstacle in attaining sustainable ecosystem services in an increasingly human impacted world. In light of the growing threat of indirect impacts worldwide and despite uncertainties in the fate of lost carbon, we suggest that estimates of carbon emissions based only on direct human impacts may significantly underestimate total anthropogenic carbon emissions. PMID:24675669

  6. A WATERSHED APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES ON STREAMS AND THEIR RECEIVING SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fresh and saltwater ecosystems have customarily been assessed separately. By taking a watershed approach, we are exploring the linkages between stream conditions, the biotic integrity of coastal salt marshes, and land use. Watersheds provide a pathway for point and nonpoint pollu...

  7. OUTLINE OF A NEW APPROACH TO EVALUATE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The integrity of coastal salt marshes can be determined from the extent to which they provide key ecosystem services: food and habitat for fish and wildlife, good water quality, erosion and flood control, and recreation and cultural use. An outline of a new approach for linking e...

  8. Oregon Salt Marshes: How Blue are They? November 12, 2015

    EPA Science Inventory

    We quantified carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates in salt marshes at 135 plots distributed across eight estuaries in Oregon, USA. Net carbon and nitrogen accumulation rates were quantified by measuring the content of these constituents in sediment that accumulated in marsh ha...

  9. Tropical salt marsh succession as sea-level indicator during Heinrich events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González, Catalina; Dupont, Lydie M.

    2009-05-01

    Centennial-millennial dynamics of tropical salt marsh vegetation are documented in the pollen record from marine core MD03-2622, Cariaco Basin, Venezuela, which spans the glacial period between 63 and 29 ka. Five rapid and abrupt expansions of salt marsh vegetation are linked with North Atlantic Heinrich events (HEs). Within each event, a recurrent pattern - starting with species of Chenopodiaceae, followed by grasses, and subsequently by Cyperaceae species - suggests a successional process that is determined by the close relationship between sea-level and community dynamics. The salt tolerant Chenopodiaceae, at the base of each sequence, indicate hypersaline intertidal environments, which were most likely promoted by extremely dry atmospheric conditions. Rapid sea-level rise characterizes the onset of HE stadials, causing erosion of marsh sediments, and continued recruitment of pioneer species (Chenopodiaceae), which are the only ones capable of tolerating the rapid rate of disturbance. Once, as sea-level drops or as rise decelerates, marsh plants are able to trap and stabilize sediments, favouring the establishment of more competitive species (graminoids). The increment of marsh height as a result of autochthonous sediment accumulation reduces the extent of hypersaline environments, and allows the establishment of mesohaline species. These results add to the scarce knowledge on tropical salt marsh ecosystems, and provide independent paleoclimatic evidence on sea-level changes occurring simultaneously with Antarctica climate variations.

  10. Tidal salt marshes of the southeast Atlantic Coast: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Wiegert, R.G.; Freeman, B.J.

    1990-09-01

    This report is part of a series of community profiles on the ecology of wetland and marine communities. This particular profile considers tidal marshes of the southeastern Atlantic coast, from North Carolina south to northern Florida. Alone among the earth's ecosystems, coastal communities are subjected to a bidirectional flooding sometimes occurring twice each day; this flooding affects successional development, species composition, stability, and productivity. In the tidally influenced salt marsh, salinity ranges from less than 1 ppt to that of seawater. Dominant plant species include cordgrasses (Spartina alterniflora and S. cynosuroides), black needlerush (Juncus romerianus), and salt marsh bulrush (Scirpus robustus). Both terrestrail and aquatic animals occur in salt marshes and include herons, egrets ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), alligators (Alligator Mississippiensis), manatees (Trichecus manatus), oysters, mussels, and fiddler crabs. Currently, the only significant direct commercial use of the tidal salt marshes is by crabbers seeking the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, but the marshes are quite important recreationally, aesthetically, and educationally. 151 refs., 45 figs., 6 tabs.

  11. The Global Carbon Sink in Tidal Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chmura, G. L.

    2004-05-01

    For decades researchers have concentrated on proving that C is exported from salt marshes to coastal waters, with limited success. Yet, the C retained in the marsh soils may be equally important. Presumptions that minor amounts of C are stored in salt marsh soils are based upon measurements of low percentages of C in many marshes. Simply measuring the organic matter content of marsh soils provides little indication of the amount or rate of C stored, as this parameter is based upon the percent by mass of the soil. The critical parameter to calculate is C density, derived from percent organic matter and bulk density. (The latter is often neglected in marsh soil studies.) Calculation of C density reveals that minerogenic soils with high bulk densities may have C densities or C storage rates equivalent to more organic soils with low bulk densities. A global average soil C density of 0.055 ± 0.004 g cm-3 has been calculated from 107 measurements reported for salt marshes around the world (Gulf of Mexico, NE and NW Atlantic, Mediterranean and NE Pacific). Assuming an average marsh soil depth of 0.5 m and using inventories of marsh area available for Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, Canada and the U.S., the C stored globally in salt marshes is greater than 430 ± 30 Tg C. The global carbon storage could be twice this as there are no marsh inventories available for Asia or South America. Rates of C storage can be calculated from 96 C density measurements where soil accretion rates also were measured. Globally, marshes sequester an average of 210 g CO2 m-2 yr-1, an order of magnitude greater than rates reported for peatlands. Salt marsh C storage can have regional importance. At a magnitude of 5 Tg C yr-1, tidal wetlands comprise 1--2 percent of the C sink (300--580 Tg C yr-1) estimated for the coterminous U.S. In the Bay of Fundy restoration of salt marshes reclaimed for agricultural land could enable sequestration of an additional 240 to 360 Gg C yr-1, equivalent to 4 to 6 percent of Canada's targeted reduction of 1990-level emissions of CO2 under the Kyoto Protocol. The C sink in salt marsh soils has advantages over those in freshwater wetlands or terrestrial soils. Presence of abundant sulfate limits release of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, which can be released in substantial quantities from freshwater wetland soils. In salt marshes, turnover of C occurs on time scales of hundreds to thousands of years, whereas the C content of terrestrial soils reaches equilibrium in decades to 100 yr. In many marshes C sequestration will continue or perhaps increase with higher rates of sea level rise accompanying global warming, as soil accretion rates will be greater. However, human impacts on many salt marshes (altering hydrological regimes or displacing sediment supplies), such as those of the Mississippi Delta, limits their sustainability in the face of higher rates of sea level rise and the future of these C sinks is threatened. Future research on C storage in salt marshes must be directed at local controls, for there is as much variability in a single region (e.g., Long Island Sound or the Bay of Fundy) as there is globally. Intensive sampling at multiple elevations in a single marsh reveals C densities to be significantly greater at higher elevations, but rates of C accumulation decline with elevation. Controlling for this variability in elevation reveals that C density decreases with average annual temperature, thus greater understanding of local processes are critical to detect global patterns.

  12. Specificity of Salt Marsh Diazotrophs for Vegetation Zones and Plant Hosts: Results from a North American marsh

    PubMed Central

    Lovell, Charles R.; Davis, Debra A.

    2012-01-01

    Salt marshes located on the east coast of temperate North America are highly productive, typically nitrogen-limited, and support diverse assemblages of free-living nitrogen fixing (diazotrophic) bacteria. This article reviews and analyzes data from North Inlet estuary (SC, USA), addressing diazotroph assemblage structure and the influence of plant host and environmental conditions on the assemblage. The North Inlet estuary is a salt marsh ecosystem in which anthropogenic influences are minimal and the distributions of diazotrophs are governed by the natural biota and dynamics of the system. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis fingerprinting and phylogenetic analyses of recovered sequences demonstrated that the distributions of some diazotrophs reflect plant host specificity and that diazotroph assemblages distributed across marsh gradients are also heavily influenced by edaphic conditions. Broadly distributed diazotrophs that are capable of maintaining populations under all environmental conditions spanning such gradients are also present in these assemblages. Statistical analyses indicate that the structures of diazotroph assemblages in different vegetation zones are significantly (p < 0.01) different. New data presented here demonstrate the heterogeneity of salt marsh rhizosphere microenvironments, and corroborate previous findings from different plant hosts growing at several locations within this estuary. The data from these collected works support the hypothesis that the biogeography of microorganisms is non-random and these biogeographic patterns are predictable. PMID:22438851

  13. Tidal regime, salinity and salt marsh plant zonation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silvestri, Sonia; Defina, Andrea; Marani, Marco

    2005-01-01

    Salt marsh morphology is known to be strongly correlated to vegetation patterns through a complex interplay of biological and physical processes. This paper presents the results of field surveys at several study salt marshes within the Venice Lagoon (Italy), which indicate that salt-marsh macrophyte species may indeed be associated with narrow ranges of soil topographic elevation. Statistical analyses show that several properties of the frequency distributions of halophytes presence are sensitive not only to variations in soil elevation, but also to the specific marsh considered. Through direct in situ sampling and by use of a finite-element hydrodynamic model the role of plant submersion duration and frequency in determining the observed variability of vegetation species is then studied. Measurements of soil salinity have also been performed at selected salt marshes to address its influence on vegetation occurrence. With implications for tidal marshes in general, the distribution of halophytes in the salt marshes considered is found not to be responding to simple rules dictated by the tidal cycle or to salinity, and that such factors, when singularly considered, cannot explain the observed spatial distribution of halophytes. On the basis of observations and modelling results it is thus concluded that a combination of multiple factors, likely dominated by saturated/unsaturated flow in the soil, may be responsible for the observed macrophyte distribution.

  14. PRODUCTION IN COASTAL SALT MARSHES OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Production ecology in southern California coastal salt marshes was investigated by harvesting macrophytes and monitoring environmental factors (substrate salinity, pH, nitrogen, redox, water content, temperature, and tide level) at four locations--Sweetwater River Estuary, Los Pe...

  15. On the Lateral Retreat of Salt Marshes: Field Monitoring in the Venice Lagoon (Italy)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solari, L.; Bendoni, M.; Mel, R.; Oumeraci, H.; Francalanci, S.; Lanzoni, S.

    2014-12-01

    Salt marshes are geomorphic structures located in ecotone environments such as lagoon and estuaries, providing lot of ecosystem services to local population. In the last decades they are disappearing due to several factors such as sea level rise, subsidence and edge erosion due to surface waves. The latter is likely the chief mechanism modeling marsh boundaries and leading to the loss of wide marsh areas. In the case of the Venice Lagoon, from the beginning of the last century, the whole salt marsh surface has more than halved and trends indicate that the salt marshes might completely disappear over the next 50 years. Here, we present a field monitoring activity that we are currently carrying out on a retreating salt marsh located in the north part of the Lagoon of Venice (Italy). The marsh is subject to North-East (Bora) wind. Marsh area loss during the last decades has been documented through the comparison of georeferenced aerial photographs showing a retreat rate of the order of 1 m/year. Field measurements started by the end of November 2013 and consist of: salt marsh bank geometry at different cross-sections and wave climate in the lagoon about 30 m in front of the salt marsh. Erosion data are obtained by means of erosion pins located horizontally on the marsh scarp; at higher banks (about 0.9 m), two pins are located along the same vertical direction, for lower banks (about 0.4m), only one pin is employed. Significant wave height has been measured during three storm surges by means of pressure transducers (Pts). The measured wave climate in front of the bank was then put into relationship with the offshore wave climate estimated using wind data (intensity and direction) and bathymetric data. Wind intensity and direction is measured hourly by several measurement stations located in the Lagoon of Venice. In this way, it is possible to extrapolate wave climate hourly at the monitored marsh and calculate the wave power that acted on the bank in a given time interval. Field survey revealed that the main retreating mechanisms are particle by particle erosion alternated to cantilever failures. Preliminary results show a linear relationship between erosion rate and wave energy flux and the existence of a critical threshold for the onset of erosion.

  16. Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Osland, Michael J; Enwright, Nicholas; Day, Richard H; Doyle, Thomas W

    2013-05-01

    We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios? We developed simple winter climate-based models to predict mangrove forest distribution and relative abundance using observed winter temperature data (1970-2000) and mangrove forest and salt marsh habitat data. Our results identify winter climate thresholds for salt marsh-mangrove forest interactions and highlight coastal areas in the southeastern United States (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida) where relatively small changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme winter events could cause relatively dramatic landscape-scale ecosystem structural and functional change in the form of poleward mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The ecological implications of these marsh-to-mangrove forest conversions are poorly understood, but would likely include changes for associated fish and wildlife populations and for the supply of some ecosystem goods and services. PMID:23504931

  17. Evaluation of salt marsh hydrology using radium as a tracer

    SciTech Connect

    Bollinger, M.S. ); Moore, W.S. )

    1993-05-01

    Radium isotopes provide unique and important information concerning water exchange in a salt marsh-tidal creek system. Seasonal radium data collected over five tidal cycles from a creek draining a South Carolina salt marsh, radium and thorium data from the adjacent marsh sediments, and interstitial water radium data from the drainage basin are modeled to yield residence times of water in the upper 10 cm of the marsh sediments ranging from less than one to twenty-six hours. Water residence times derived from chambers which directly measure the flux of Ra isotopes to the creek waters agree well with these calculated interstitial water turnover times. Dissolved radium activities in the tidal creek were greater during the summer than during other times of the year. The authors suspect that seasonal changes in the storage of organic carbon and rates of bioturbation lead to net reduction of radium carrier phases in the marsh sediments during the summer. 18 refs., 4 figs., 7 tabs.

  18. Effects of crab burrows on pore water flows in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xin, Pei; Jin, Guangqiu; Li, Ling; Barry, D. A.

    2009-03-01

    Macro-pores such as crab burrows are found commonly distributed in salt marsh sediments. Their disturbance on the soil structure is likely to influence both pore water flows and solute transport in salt marshes; however, the effects of crab burrows are not well understood. Here, a three-dimensional model simulated tidally driven pore water flows subject to the influence of crab burrows in a marsh system. The model, based on Richards' equation, considered variably saturated flow in the marsh with a two-layer soil configuration, as observed at the Chongming Dongtan wetland (Shanghai, China). The simulation results showed that crab burrows distributed in the upper low-permeability soil layer, acting as preferential flow paths, affected pore water flows in the marsh particularly when the contrast of hydraulic conductivity between the lower high-permeability soil layer and the overlying low-permeability soils was high. The burrows were found to increase the volume of tidally driven water exchange between the marsh soil and the tidal creek. The simulations also showed improvement of soil aeration conditions in the presence of crab burrows. These effects may lead to increased productivity of the marsh ecosystem and enhancement of its material exchange with coastal waters.

  19. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Salt Marsh Periwinkles (Littoraria irrorata).

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Montague, Clay L; Pennings, Steven C; Powers, Sean P; Steinhoff, Marla; Fricano, Gail; Schlemme, Claire; Zhang, Mengni; Oehrig, Jacob; Nixon, Zachary; Rouhani, Shahrokh; Michel, Jacqueline

    2016-01-19

    Deepwater Horizon was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. waters, oiling large expanses of coastal wetland shorelines. We compared marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata) density and shell length at salt marsh sites with heavy oiling to reference conditions ∼16 months after oiling. We also compared periwinkle density and size among oiled sites with and without shoreline cleanup treatments. Densities of periwinkles were reduced by 80-90% at the oiled marsh edge and by 50% in the oiled marsh interior (∼9 m inland) compared to reference, with greatest numerical losses of periwinkles in the marsh interior, where densities were naturally higher. Shoreline cleanup further reduced adult snail density as well as snail size. Based on the size of adult periwinkles observed coupled with age and growth information, population recovery is projected to take several years once oiling and habitat conditions in affected areas are suitable to support normal periwinkle life-history functions. Where heavily oiled marshes have experienced accelerated erosion as a result of the spill, these habitat impacts would represent additional losses of periwinkles. Losses of marsh periwinkles would likely affect other ecosystem processes and attributes, including organic matter and nutrient cycling, marsh-estuarine food chains, and multiple species that prey on periwinkles. PMID:26713547

  20. Degradation and resilience in Louisiana salt marshes after the BP–Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    PubMed Central

    Silliman, Brian R.; van de Koppel, Johan; McCoy, Michael W.; Diller, Jessica; Kasozi, Gabriel N.; Earl, Kamala; Adams, Peter N.; Zimmerman, Andrew R.

    2012-01-01

    More than 2 y have passed since the BP–Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, yet we still have little understanding of its ecological impacts. Examining effects of this oil spill will generate much-needed insight into how shoreline habitats and the valuable ecological services they provide (e.g., shoreline protection) are affected by and recover from large-scale disturbance. Here we report on not only rapid salt-marsh recovery (high resilience) but also permanent marsh area loss after the BP–Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Field observations, experimental manipulations, and wave-propagation modeling reveal that (i) oil coverage was primarily concentrated on the seaward edge of marshes; (ii) there were thresholds of oil coverage that were associated with severity of salt-marsh damage, with heavy oiling leading to plant mortality; (iii) oil-driven plant death on the edges of these marshes more than doubled rates of shoreline erosion, further driving marsh platform loss that is likely to be permanent; and (iv) after 18 mo, marsh grasses have largely recovered into previously oiled, noneroded areas, and the elevated shoreline retreat rates observed at oiled sites have decreased to levels at reference marsh sites. This paper highlights that heavy oil coverage on the shorelines of Louisiana marshes, already experiencing elevated retreat because of intense human activities, induced a geomorphic feedback that amplified this erosion and thereby set limits to the recovery of otherwise resilient vegetation. It thus warns of the enhanced vulnerability of already degraded marshes to heavy oil coverage and provides a clear example of how multiple human-induced stressors can interact to hasten ecosystem decline. PMID:22733752

  1. Degradation and resilience in Louisiana salt marshes after the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Silliman, Brian R; van de Koppel, Johan; McCoy, Michael W; Diller, Jessica; Kasozi, Gabriel N; Earl, Kamala; Adams, Peter N; Zimmerman, Andrew R

    2012-07-10

    More than 2 y have passed since the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, yet we still have little understanding of its ecological impacts. Examining effects of this oil spill will generate much-needed insight into how shoreline habitats and the valuable ecological services they provide (e.g., shoreline protection) are affected by and recover from large-scale disturbance. Here we report on not only rapid salt-marsh recovery (high resilience) but also permanent marsh area loss after the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Field observations, experimental manipulations, and wave-propagation modeling reveal that (i) oil coverage was primarily concentrated on the seaward edge of marshes; (ii) there were thresholds of oil coverage that were associated with severity of salt-marsh damage, with heavy oiling leading to plant mortality; (iii) oil-driven plant death on the edges of these marshes more than doubled rates of shoreline erosion, further driving marsh platform loss that is likely to be permanent; and (iv) after 18 mo, marsh grasses have largely recovered into previously oiled, noneroded areas, and the elevated shoreline retreat rates observed at oiled sites have decreased to levels at reference marsh sites. This paper highlights that heavy oil coverage on the shorelines of Louisiana marshes, already experiencing elevated retreat because of intense human activities, induced a geomorphic feedback that amplified this erosion and thereby set limits to the recovery of otherwise resilient vegetation. It thus warns of the enhanced vulnerability of already degraded marshes to heavy oil coverage and provides a clear example of how multiple human-induced stressors can interact to hasten ecosystem decline. PMID:22733752

  2. Comparative Geomorphology of Salt and Tidal Freshwater Marsh Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pasternack, G. B.

    2002-05-01

    Temperate estuaries include a spectrum of coastal marshes ranging from highly saline near the ocean to fresh in tributaries with substantial watershed drainage. While the hydrologic, sedimentary, and geomorphic dynamics of salt marshes have been thoroughly investigated, those aspects of tidal freshwater marshes have only begun to be addressed. Based on a recent burst in research on tidal freshwater systems in Chesapeake Bay by different universities, an attempt is made here to provide comparative geomorphology. In terms of similarities, both have tidal channels whose hydraulic geometry is primarily controlled by the tidal prism. Both show decreasing sedimentation and increasing organics with elevation and distance from channels. At seasonal to interannual time scales, the morphodynamics of both show similarities in the interplay among hydroperiod, vegetation, and geomorphology. Rather than simply evolving from youth to maturity, both systems exhibit strong evidence for dynamic equilibrium between process and morphology. Despite these similarities, there are key differences that motivate further research of tidal freshwater marshes. First, whereas salt marshes are limited by sediment supply, tidal fresh ones may not be limited depending on upstream basin size. E.g., fringing marshes along Pumunkey River have very low sediment supply, while deltaic marshes in Bush River and Sassafras River are not supply-limited. Instead, the growth of deltaic fresh marshes is transport limited, as winds and tides can only generate low momentum and turbulence for sediment transport. As illustrated in multiple systems, a constant availability of sediment leads to higher sedimentation in fresh marshes. Second, in high latitude salt marshes where the tidal range is large and the climate cold, ice acts as a strong erosional agent. In fresh marshes, ice serves to sequester sediment and buffer the erosional impact of autumnal vegetation dieback. Third, the high spatial variation in plant associations in fresh marshes allows for a finer control of spatial patterns in sedimentation and erosion than is possible in salt marshes. Finally, the landscape position of fresh marshes places them near riparian forests that can supply large amounts of organics thereby promoting accretion.

  3. Salt marshes: An important coastal sink for dissolved uranium

    SciTech Connect

    Church, T.M.; Sarin, M.M.; Fleisher, M.Q.; Ferdelman, T.G.

    1996-10-01

    The global budget for marine uranium demands another geochemical sink other than deep-sea systems, and the coastal environment may host some or all of this missing sink. In a previous paper, we have shown that some large subtidal estuaries are seasonal summer sinks at low salinities. In this paper, we show that intertidal salt marshes are even stronger sinks at all salinities, if for somewhat different reasons. Uranium was sampled in dissolved and particulate fractions over several tidal cycles and seasons for a lower Delaware Bay salt marsh (Canary Creek, Lewes, Delaware, USA), and uniquely, during summer months, the dissolved uranium is nonconservative. Moreover, because uranium extraction is greater on higher tides and occurs over the entire salinity gradient, this processing appears associated with surface of vegetated high marsh, We hypothesize that either (1) uranium scavenging occurs during the process of tidal mixing and attendant flocculation of humic acids and iron oxides-favoring this process is the presence of sulfonate complexes in salt marsh humic substances, and iron coprecipitation during its extensive redox cycling in the salt marsh-or (2) uranium extraction occurs at the marsh surface during extensive flooding of the salt marsh surface sediments-favoring this process is the increase in sulfuric acidity at the summer salt marsh surface that could destabilize the tetracarbonate species of U(VI). The latter option is favored by both field observations of maximum removal at the surface during the spring and summer tide conditions, and selective extraction of sediment phases where uranium is found as adsorbed and complexed forms in the ascorbate-citrate and humic acid fractions, respectively. Mass balance calculations show that under steady-state conditions, nearly two-thirds of the uranium extracted from tidal waters is retained in the sediments, while one-third is exported as U-enriched particles during ebbing tides. 41 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs.

  4. Fluoride pollution in a salt marsh: movement between soil, vegetation, and sheep

    SciTech Connect

    Baars, A.J.; van Beek, H.; Spierenburg, T.J.; de Graaf, G.J.; Beeftink, W.G.; Nieuwenhuize, J.; Boom, J.; Pekelder, J.J.

    1987-12-01

    The river Scheldt (southwestern part of The Netherlands) is responsible for a considerable pollution of its estuary with organic and inorganic waste, which becomes manifest particularly in the salt marshes. Of these marshes, the 3400 ha nature reserve of the Saeftinge sale marsh constitutes a representative example of such a valuable tidal brackish ecosystem. This marsh is partly grazed by sheep, thus contributing to its original character and assisting in the preservation of the local flora and fauna. Preceding reports indicated a significant degree of contamination with heavy metals, which were shown to enter food chains. The present study focuses on fluoride, an environmental contaminant known to be spread by water and air, and, although assumed to be beneficial in small quantities, a potential threat for plants and animals, particularly herbivores.

  5. Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse (Reithrodontomys Raviventris)

    San Francisco Bay — which has already lost the majority of its marsh habitat since the 19th Century — could lose even more marshes by the year 2100 due to sea level rise, according to a new USGS report. Animations, graphs and data from the USGS Open File Report 2013-1081 and th...

  6. Herbivory drives the spread of salt marsh die-off.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Brisson, Caitlin P; Bevil, Matthew C; Crotty, Sinead M

    2014-01-01

    Salt marsh die-off is a Western Atlantic conservation problem that has recently spread into Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, USA. It has been hypothesized to be driven by: 1) eutrophication decreasing plant investment into belowground biomass causing plant collapse, 2) boat wakes eroding creek banks, 3) pollution or disease affecting plant health, 4) substrate hardness controlling herbivorous crab distributions and 5) trophic dysfunction releasing herbivorous crabs from predator control. To distinguish between these hypotheses we quantified these variables at 14 Narragansett Bay salt marshes where die-off intensity ranged from <5% to nearly 98%. Nitrogen availability, wave intensity and plant growth did not explain any variation in die-off. Herbivory explained 73% of inter-site variation in die-off and predator control of herbivores and substrate hardness also varied significantly with die-off. This suggests that salt marsh die-off is being largely driven by intense herbivory via the release of herbivorous crabs from predator control. Our results and those from other marsh systems suggest that consumer control may not simply be a factor to consider in marsh conservation, but with widespread predator depletion impacting near shore habitats globally, trophic dysfunction and runaway consumption may be the largest and most urgent management challenge for salt marsh conservation. PMID:24651837

  7. Making and Measuring a Model of a Salt Marsh

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fogleman, Tara; Curran, Mary Carla

    2007-01-01

    Students are often confused by the difference between the terms "accuracy" and "precision." In the following activities, students explore the definitions of accuracy and precision while learning about salt march ecology and the methods used by scientists to assess salt marsh health. The activities also address the concept that the ocean supports a

  8. Making and Measuring a Model of a Salt Marsh

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fogleman, Tara; Curran, Mary Carla

    2007-01-01

    Students are often confused by the difference between the terms "accuracy" and "precision." In the following activities, students explore the definitions of accuracy and precision while learning about salt march ecology and the methods used by scientists to assess salt marsh health. The activities also address the concept that the ocean supports a…

  9. Winter climate change and coastal wetland foundation species: salt marshes vs. mangrove forests in the southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Osland, Michael J.; Day, Richard H.; Doyle, Thomas W.; Enwright, Nicholas

    2013-01-01

    We live in an era of unprecedented ecological change in which ecologists and natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to anticipate and prepare for the ecological effects of future global change. In this study, we investigated the potential effect of winter climate change upon salt marsh and mangrove forest foundation species in the southeastern United States. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What is the relationship between winter climate and the presence and abundance of mangrove forests relative to salt marshes; (2) How vulnerable are salt marshes to winter climate change-induced mangrove forest range expansion; and (3) What is the potential future distribution and relative abundance of mangrove forests under alternative winter climate change scenarios? We developed simple winter climate-based models to predict mangrove forest distribution and relative abundance using observed winter temperature data (1970–2000) and mangrove forest and salt marsh habitat data. Our results identify winter climate thresholds for salt marsh–mangrove forest interactions and highlight coastal areas in the southeastern United States (e.g., Texas, Louisiana, and parts of Florida) where relatively small changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme winter events could cause relatively dramatic landscape-scale ecosystem structural and functional change in the form of poleward mangrove forest migration and salt marsh displacement. The ecological implications of these marsh-to-mangrove forest conversions are poorly understood, but would likely include changes for associated fish and wildlife populations and for the supply of some ecosystem goods and services.

  10. Inventory and protection of salt marshes from risks of sea-level rise at Acadia National Park, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dudley, Robert W.; Nielsen, Martha G.

    2011-01-01

    Recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) climate studies in the northeastern United States have shown substantial evidence of climate-related changes during the last 100 years, including earlier snowmelt runoff, decreasing occurrence of river ice, and decreasing winter snowpack. These studies related to climate change are being expanded to include investigation of coastal wetlands that might be at risk from sealevel rise. Coastal wetlands, particularly salt marshes, are important ecosystems that provide wildlife nursery and breeding habitat, migratory bird habitat, water quality enhancement, and shoreline erosion control. The USGS is investigating salt marshes in Acadia National Park with the goal of determining which salt marshes may be threatened by sea-level rise and which salt marshes may be able to adapt to sea-level rise by migrating into adjacent low-lying lands.

  11. Microbial community analysis of an Alabama coastal salt marsh impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beazley, M. J.; Martinez, R.; Rajan, S.; Powell, J.; Piceno, Y.; Tom, L.; Andersen, G. L.; Hazen, T. C.; Van Nostrand, J. D.; Zhou, J.; Mortazavi, B.; Sobecky, P. A.

    2011-12-01

    Microbial community responses of an Alabama coastal salt marsh environment to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill were studied by 16S rRNA (PhyloChip) and functional gene (GeoChip) microarray-based analysis. Oil and tar balls associated with the oil spill arrived along the Alabama coast in June 2010. Marsh and inlet sediment samples collected in June, July, and September 2010 from a salt marsh ecosystem at Point Aux Pines Alabama were analyzed to determine if bacterial community structure changed as a result of oil perturbation. Sediment total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) concentrations ranged from below detection to 189 mg kg-1 and were randomly dispersed throughout the salt marsh sediments. Total DNA extracted from sediment and particulates were used for PhyloChip and GeoChip hybridization. A total of 4000 to 8000 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were detected in marsh and inlet samples. Distinctive changes in the number of detectable OTUs were observed between June, July, and September 2010. Surficial inlet sediments demonstrated a significant increase in the total number of OTUs between June and September that correlated with TPH concentrations. The most significant increases in bacterial abundance were observed in the phyla Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Proteobacteria, and Verrucomicrobia. Bacterial richness in marsh sediments also correlated with TPH concentrations with significant changes primarily in Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Fusobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Proteobacteria. GeoChip microarray analysis detected 5000 to 8300 functional genes in marsh and inlet samples. Surficial inlet sediments demonstrated distinctive increases in the number of detectable genes and gene signal intensities in July samples compared to June. Signal intensities increased (> 1.5-fold) in genes associated with petroleum degradation. Genes related to metal resistance, stress, and carbon cycling also demonstrated increases in oiled sediments. This study demonstrates the value of applying phylogenetic and functional gene microarray technology to characterize the extensive microbial diversity of marsh environments. Moreover, this technology provides significant insight into bacterial community responses to anthropogenic oil events.

  12. Effects of Experimental Warming on Net Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from a New England Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carey, J.; Kroeger, K. D.; Morkeski, K.; Chen, X.; Tang, J.

    2014-12-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems face a variety of anthropogenic stressors, including rising temperature, increasing rate of relative sea level rise, changing sediment loads, and increasing nitrogen loads. In this study, we focus on the role of increased temperatures in altering net greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2, CH4, N2O) in a relatively undisturbed New England salt marsh (Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, USA). Salt marshes are considered large net sinks of carbon (C), due in part to the high rates of primary production and relatively slow decomposition rates. However, increased temperature as a result of climate change may alter the net carbon balance of these ecosystems, due to changes in relative rates of respiration and photosynthesis. In addition to altering the net C balance, nitrous oxide (N2O) is produced in part via microbially-mediated processes that also respond to temperature (e.g. nitrification, denitrification). Thus, we hypothesize that higher temperatures may increase the fluxes of this potent GHG from marshes to the atmosphere. To examine the role of warming in altering net GHG fluxes, we installed six open-top-chambers (OTCs) in both the high and low marsh during July of 2014. We used the cavity ring-down spectroscopy method (Picarro and LGR) to measure in-situ fluxes of CO2, CH4, N2O monthly in light and dark conditions. We will present data demonstrating that our OTCs successfully warmed the air temperature in the plots at least 5 ?C and evaluate how this temperature increase altered GHG net ecosystem exchange in the marsh.

  13. Impacts and interactions of multiple human perturbations in a California salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Goldman Martone, Rebecca; Wasson, Kerstin

    2008-11-01

    Multiple disturbances to ecosystems can influence community structure by modifying resistance to and recovery from invasion by non-native species. Predicting how invasibility responds to multiple anthropogenic impacts is particularly challenging due to the variety of potential stressors and complex responses. Using manipulative field experiments, we examined the relative impact of perturbations that primarily change abiotic or biotic factors to promote invasion in coastal salt marsh plant communities. Specifically we test the hypotheses that nitrogen enrichment and human trampling facilitate invasion of upland weeds into salt marsh, and that the ability of salt marsh communities to resist and/or recover from invasion is modified by hydrological conditions. Nitrogen enrichment affected invasion of non-native upland plants at only one of six sites, and increased aboveground native marsh biomass at only two sites. Percent cover of native marsh plants declined with trampling at all sites, but recovered earlier at tidally flushed sites than at tidally restricted sites. Synergistic interactions between trampling and restricting tidal flow resulted in significantly higher cover of non-native upland plants in trampled plots at tidally restricted sites. Percent cover of non-native plants recovered to pre-trampling levels in fully tidal sites, but remained higher in tidally restricted sites after 22 months. Thus, perturbations that reduce biotic resistance interact with perturbations that alter abiotic conditions to promote invasion. This suggests that to effectively conserve or restore native biodiversity in altered systems, one must consider impacts of multiple human disturbances, and the interactions between them. PMID:18766384

  14. The persistence of endangered Florida Salt Marsh Voles in salt marshes of the central Florida Gulf Coast

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hotaling, A.S.; Percival, H.F.; Kitchens, W.M.; Kasbohm, J.W.

    2010-01-01

    Two endangered Microtus pennsylvanicus dukecampbelli (Florida Salt Marsh Vole) were captured at a new location, in February of 2009, at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Since the species discovery in 1979, only 43 Florida Salt Marsh Voles (hereafter FSM Vole) have been captured. Outside of the type locality, this is only the second documented location for the FSM Vole. Given the difficulty in trapping this species and the lack of information about its life history, its discovery in a new location lends itself to the possibility that it is more widespread in the Central Florida Gulf Coast than previously thought. Although much of the salt marsh in the area is in public ownership, a good deal of it has already been altered by logging or development and is threatened by global climate change. More research is needed to adequately protect and manage the habitat for the FSM Vole. A study of FSM Vole coastal salt marsh habitat could also serve as a valuable monitoring tool for subtle changes in salt marsh habitats as global climate change progresses.

  15. Remote sensing salt marsh biomass and stress detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hardisky, M. A.; Klemas, V.; Daiber, F. C.

    A hand-held radiometer was used to gather spectral radiance data simulating bands 3, 4 and 5 of the Landsat-D Thematic Mapper. Variations in biomass of the salt marsh plant Spartina alterniflora were highly correlated to changes in spectral radiance expressed as the vegetation index or the infrared index. Negative stresses like increased soil salinity and increased concentrations of copper or zinc yielded reductions in biomass which were detected spectrally. Positive stresses like freshwater and sewage effluent additions produced an increase in biomass which also were detected using spectral data. The demonstrated detection of biomass from spectral data was expanded spatially and temporally to estimate net primary productivity of a salt marsh. Remote sensing estimates of production ranged from 5 to 20% of estimates from harvest data. Future applications of this biomass estimation technique, employing data gathered from satellite platforms and from the ground, are discussed for salt marsh systems.

  16. Does vegetation prevent wave erosion of salt marsh edges?

    PubMed Central

    Feagin, R. A.; Lozada-Bernard, S. M.; Ravens, T. M.; Möller, I.; Yeager, K. M.; Baird, A. H.

    2009-01-01

    This study challenges the paradigm that salt marsh plants prevent lateral wave-induced erosion along wetland edges by binding soil with live roots and clarifies the role of vegetation in protecting the coast. In both laboratory flume studies and controlled field experiments, we show that common salt marsh plants do not significantly mitigate the total amount of erosion along a wetland edge. We found that the soil type is the primary variable that influences the lateral erosion rate and although plants do not directly reduce wetland edge erosion, they may do so indirectly via modification of soil parameters. We conclude that coastal vegetation is best-suited to modify and control sedimentary dynamics in response to gradual phenomena like sea-level rise or tidal forces, but is less well-suited to resist punctuated disturbances at the seaward margin of salt marshes, specifically breaking waves. PMID:19509340

  17. Salt marsh ecohydrological zonation due to heterogeneous vegetation - groundwater - surface water interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moffett, K. B.; Gorelick, S.; McLaren, R.; Sudicky, E. A.

    2011-12-01

    Among the most fundamental characteristics of intertidal salt marshes are distinctive vegetation zonation and tidally-forced hydrology. Vegetation zones often correlate with tidal hydrology and plant water use is significant in the wetland balance; however, specific links between vegetation zonation, plant water use, and spatiotemporally variable intertidal hydrology have eluded thorough characterization. This investigation developed the first comprehensive salt marsh ecohydrology models integrating the transient, 3D, coupled surface water and groundwater flow and plant water use of an intensively studied salt marsh field site. The physics-based modeling demonstrated that superimposing heterogeneous sediment hydraulic properties, evapotranspiration rates, and rooting depths, together with tidal dynamics, induced surprising spatial variations in root zone hydraulics: variations pronounced enough to constitute wholly different root zone habitats with different pressure heads, saturations, and vertical groundwater velocities. These diverse habitats were apparent only when both hydraulic and vegetative influences were accounted for, leading to their definition as discrete "ecohydrological zones." We distinguished five different ecohydrological zones (EHZs) by distinct combinations of sediment hydraulic properties and evapotranspiration rates and two EHZs by topography. The hydraulic variations among EHZs were masked shortly after a flooding tide, but again became prominent during prolonged marsh exposure. Boundaries between EHZs exhibited large gradients in head, saturation, and vertical flow magnitude and direction due to a combination of vegetation and sediment effects. We suggest that ecohydrological zones, combining spatially-variable topographic, sediment, and vegetation influences, are the fundamental spatial habitat units comprising the salt marsh ecosystem. This perspective contrasts with historical emphasis on vegetation zones as the foremost unit of habitat variation within salt marshes.

  18. A RAPID NON-DESTRUCTIVE METHOD FOR ESTIMATING ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS OF SALT MARSH GRASSES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Understanding the primary productivity of salt marshes requires accurate estimates of biomass. Unfortunately, these estimates vary enough within and among salt marshes to require large numbers of replicates if the averages are to be statistically meaningful. Large numbers of repl...

  19. Spatial variability of phosphorus sorption dynamics in Louisiana salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marton, John M.; Roberts, Brian J.

    2014-03-01

    Phosphorus (P) biogeochemistry has been studied in multiple wetland ecosystems, though few data exist on P sorption in U.S. Gulf Coast marshes. There also is a limited understanding of how oil spills in coastal zones can influence P dynamics in wetland soils. In this study, we measured P sorption potential, using the P sorption index (PSI), soil properties, and P saturation at increasing distances from the marsh edge in oiled and unoiled marshes in three regions along the southeastern Louisiana coast (Terrebonne Bay, western, and eastern Barataria Bay). Individual PSI values were highly variable, ranging from 19.5 to 175.6 mg P 100 g-1 and varying by at least a factor of five within each of the three regions, and did not significantly differ between regions or between oiled and unoiled marshes. Soil pH, organic matter, total N, N:P ratio, moisture content, cation exchange capacity, and P saturation differed between regions, and all soil parameters showed great variability between and within individual marshes. Extractable iron was the strongest predictor of PSI across all regions, explaining between 51 and 95% of the variability in individual regions. PSI increased with distance from marsh edge in Terrebonne Bay where other soil properties exhibited similar trends. Results suggest mineral composition of marsh soils, influenced by elevation-inundation gradients, are critical in dictating P loading to estuaries and open waters, and overall marsh functioning. Further, within 2 years of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, oiled marshes are able to sorb phosphorus at comparable levels as unoiled marshes.

  20. Remote sensing of biomass of salt marsh vegetation in France

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gross, M. F.; Klemas, V.; Levasseur, J. E.

    1988-01-01

    Spectral data (gathered using a hand-held radiometer) and harvest data were collected from four salt marsh vegetation types in Brittany, France, to develop equations predicting live aerial biomass from spectral measurements. Remote sensing estimates of biomass of the general salt marsh community (GSM) and of Spartina alterniflora can be obtained throughout the growing season if separate biomass prediction equations are formulated for different species mixtures (for the GSM) and for different canopy types (for S. alterniflora). Results suggest that remote sensing will not be useful for predicting Halimione portulacoides biomass, but can be used to estimate Puccinellia maritima biomass early in the growing season.

  1. Variability of fresh- and salt-water marshes characteristics on the west coast of France: a spatio-temporal assessment.

    PubMed

    Tortajada, Sébastien; David, Valérie; Brahmia, Amel; Dupuy, Christine; Laniesse, Thomas; Parinet, Bernard; Pouget, Frederic; Rousseau, Frederic; Simon-Bouhet, Benoit; Robin, François-Xavier

    2011-08-01

    The degradation of water quality and the multiple conflicts of interest between users make marsh restoration very important. A Water Quality Evaluation System (WQES) was developed for river systems by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Some form of biologically-based, habitat-specific reference standard seems absolutely essential for wise management and stewardship of marsh ecosystems. The goal of this study was to develop a statistical method to define and to characterize a water body typology for drained marshes of the Charente-Maritime wetlands on the French Atlantic coast, placing particular emphasis on environmental factors as hydraulic functioning, human activities and pedological substratum. The Charente-Maritime marshes represent a good field study because of his high diversity of types of marshes and of anthropogenic activities in a restrictive area thus erasing spatial climatic effect (latitude effect). The statistical method developed here had permitted to define and characterize 12 different water bodies, 7 in freshwater (F1 to F7) and 5 in salt water marshes for the Charente-Maritime area. This typology demonstrated an important link between the size catchment area, nitrate concentrations, and leaching of precipitation from cultured soils. Even though the Charente-Maritime marshes are strongly impacted by humans, they may still retain the ability to remove nitrate. The increasing gradient of water renewal in the freshwater marshes from F1 to F7 explained the decreasing gradient of eutrophication. A better management of the hydrodynamic of the marshes can avoid eutrophication risk on the coastal sea area. Reliance on the WFD parameter set necessarily placed limits on the kinds of interpretations that could be made and on the study's potential contribution to the basic science of marshes. Ecologically-based insights regarding both external flows (links between ecosystems, meta-ecosystem theory) and internal flows (structure of the planktonic food web) seem an essential prerequisite for further advances in the study of marsh ecosystems. PMID:21689837

  2. Record of the accumulation of sediment and trace metals in a Connecticut salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    McCaffrey, R.J.; Thomson, J.

    1980-12-01

    The possibility that a useful, historical record of deposition might be found in a salt marsh is investigated by considering a record of the accumulation of sediment and trace metals in a Connecticut salt marsh. Evidence of salt-marsh deposition dominated by riverine runoff is presented.

  3. EVALUATING THE INTEGRITY OF SALT MARSHES IN NARRAGANSETT BAY SUBESTUARIES USING A WATESHED APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    A watershed approach to examine measures of structure and function in salt marshes of similar geomorphology and hydrology in Narragansett Bay was used to develop a reference system for evaluating salt marsh integrity. We describe integrity as the capability of a salt marsh to pro...

  4. EVALUATING THE INTEGRITY OF SALT MARSHES IN NARRAGANSETT BAY SUB-ESTUARIES USING A WATERSHED APPROACH

    EPA Science Inventory

    A watershed approach to examine measures of structure and function in salt marshes of similar geomorphology and hydrology in Narragansett Bay is being used to develop a reference system for evaluating salt marsh integrity. We describe integrity as the capability of a salt marsh t...

  5. Hydrological controls on methylmercury flux from an intertidal salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, H.; Moffett, K. B.; Windham-Myers, L.; Gorelick, S.

    2013-12-01

    We analyzed surface water and groundwater controls on dissolved methylmercury (MeHg) flux from a San Francisco Estuary salt marsh using a combination of field measurements, geochemical analyses, and numerical modeling. Tidal stage and water chemistry were continuously measured in a marsh tidal channel over two tidal cycles in January and September 2011, and sediment and pore water samples were collected from the marsh plain. Analyses included dissolved MeHg, DOC, dissolved trace metals and inorganic water chemistry, and total dry sediment mercury (THg). Net MeHg flux was estimated using volumetric flux obtained from a 3D numerical model of the marsh accounting for surface water and groundwater dynamics. Field data and simulation results suggest that spatial and temporal variability are controlled by interacting hydrological and biogeochemical processes related to historical conditions and tides. Marsh pore water and sediments in the top 45 cm were high in Hg, consistent with historical mining in the region (mean MeHg 2.25 +/-1.41 ng/L, THg(s) 1.14 +/-0.36 ug/g). During low tide, when marsh groundwater seepage was the dominant water source, MeHg concentrations in the surface water were high (mean MeHg 0.70 +/-0.40 ng/L), DOC concentrations were low, and DOC aromaticity was high (indicating terrestrial sources). These patterns were reversed during high tide (mean MeHg 0.16 +/-0.08 ng/L), when the channels were filled with bay water. MeHg was not strongly correlated with THg in surface water, pore water, or sediments, suggesting THg availability is not a strong control on MeHg production within the marsh. Simulation results suggest that surface water-groundwater exchange, including dissolved MeHg seepage, is controlled hydrologically by: channel bank topography, marsh surface depressions, and marsh surface water balance as influenced by evapotranspiration.

  6. NUTRIENT-UPTAKE MODEL IN MARSH ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mechanistic models of nutrient dynamics in natural wetlands were developed and applied in a study of Kissimmee River (Florida) flood-plain marshes. The models describe hydrodynamics and transport diffusion in wetland basins and the ecological processes of nutrient uptake, convers...

  7. A monitoring protocol to assess tidal restoration of salt marshes on local and regional scales

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, H.A.; Dionne, M.D.; Burdick, D.M.; Roman, C.T.; Buchsbaum, R.; Hutchins, E.

    2002-01-01

    Assessing the response of salt marshes to tidal restoration relies on comparisons of ecosystem attributes between restored and reference marshes. Although this approach provides an objective basis for judging project success, inferences can be constrained if the high variability of natural marshes masks differences in sampled attributes between restored and reference sites. Furthermore, such assessments are usually focused on a small number of restoration projects in a local area, limiting the ability to address questions regarding the effectiveness of restoration within a broad region. We developed a hierarchical approach to evaluate the performance of tidal restorations at local and regional scales throughout the Gulf of Maine. The cornerstone of the approach is a standard protocol for monitoring restored and reference salt marshes throughout the region. The monitoring protocol was developed by consensus among nearly 50 restoration scientists and practitioners. The protocol is based on a suite of core structural measures that can be applied to any tidal restoration project. The protocol also includes additional functional measures for application to specific projects. Consistent use of the standard protocol to monitor local projects will enable pooling information for regional assessments. Ultimately, it will be possible to establish a range of reference conditions characterizing natural tidal wetlands in the region and to compare performance curves between populations of restored and reference marshes for assessing regional restoration effectiveness.

  8. Effects of open marsh water management on numbers of larval salt marsh mosquitoes.

    PubMed

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Ginsberg, Howard S; Erwin, R Michael; Taylor, Janith

    2009-11-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) is a commonly used approach to manage salt marsh mosquitoes than can obviate the need for pesticide application and at the same time, partially restore natural functions of grid-ditched marshes. OMWM includes a variety of hydrologic manipulations, often tailored to the specific conditions on individual marshes, so the overall effectiveness of this approach is difficult to assess. Here, we report the results of controlled field trials to assess the effects of two approaches to OMWM on larval mosquito production at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). A traditional OMWM approach, using pond construction and radial ditches was used at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, and a ditch-plugging approach was used at Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. Mosquito larvae were sampled from randomly placed stations on paired treatment and control marshes at each refuge. The proportion of sampling stations that were wet declined after OMWM at the Forsythe site, but not at the Parker River site. The proportion of samples with larvae present and mean larval densities, declined significantly at the treatment sites on both refuges relative to the control marshes. Percentage of control for the 2 yr posttreatment, compared with the 2 yr pretreatment, was >90% at both treatment sites. PMID:19960686

  9. Effects of open marsh water management on numbers of larval salt marsh mosquitoes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    James-Pirri, Mary-Jane; Ginsberg, Howard S.; Erwin, R. Michael; Taylor, Janith

    2009-01-01

    Open marsh water management (OMWM) is a commonly used approach to manage salt marsh mosquitoes than can obviate the need for pesticide application and at the same time, partially restore natural functions of grid-ditched marshes. OMWM includes a variety of hydrologic manipulations, often tailored to the specific conditions on individual marshes, so the overall effectiveness of this approach is difficult to assess. Here, we report the results of controlled field trials to assess the effects of two approaches to OMWM on larval mosquito production at National Wildlife Refuges (NWR). A traditional OMWM approach, using pond construction and radial ditches was used at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey, and a ditch-plugging approach was used at Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. Mosquito larvae were sampled from randomly placed stations on paired treatment and control marshes at each refuge. The proportion of sampling stations that were wet declined after OMWM at the Forsythe site, but not at the Parker River site. The proportion of samples with larvae present and mean larval densities, declined significantly at the treatment sites on both refuges relative to the control marshes. Percentage of control for the 2 yr posttreatment, compared with the 2 yr pretreatment, was >90% at both treatment sites.

  10. Results of Total Mercury Analysis in Salt Marsh Invertebrates

    EPA Science Inventory

    Analysis of blood samples obtained from saltmarsh sparrows revealed high levels (> 1.0 µg/g(wet)) of mercury (Hg) in sparrows inhabiting a salt marsh site in the Narrow River, RI (also known as Pettaquamscutt River). These analyses were conducted by Oksana Lane at the Biodiversit...

  11. DEGRADATION OF MALATHION BY SALT-MARSH MICROORGANISMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerous bacteria from a salt-marsh environment are capable of degrading malathion, an organophosphate insecticide, when supplied with additional nutrients as energy and carbon sources. Seven isolates exhibited ability (48-90%) to degrade malathion as a sole carbon source. Gas an...

  12. Biogeomorphically driven salt pan formation in Sarcocornia-dominated salt-marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Escapa, Mauricio; Perillo, Gerardo M. E.; Iribarne, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    Salt-marshes are under increasing threat, particularly from sea-level rise and increased wave action associated with climate change. The development and stability of these valuable habitats largely depend on complex interactions between biotic and abiotic processes operating at different scales. Also, interactions between biotic and abiotic processes drive internal morphological change in salt-marshes. In this paper we used a biogeomorphological approach to assess the impact of biological activities and interactions on salt pan formation in Sarcocornia-dominated salt marshes. Salt pans represent a key physiographic feature of salt-marshes and recent studies hypothesized that biogeomorphic processes could be related to salt pan formation in SW Atlantic salt-marshes. The glasswort Sarcocornia perennis is one of the dominant plants in the salt-marshes of the Bahía Blanca Estuary (Argentina) where they form patches up to 8 m in diameter. These salt-marshes are also inhabited in great densities by the burrowing crab Neohelice (Chasmagnathus) granulata whose bioturbation rates are among the highest reported for salt-marshes worldwide. A set of biological interactions between N. granulata and S. perennis appears to be responsible for salt pan development in these areas which has not been described elsewhere. The main objective of this work was to determine the ecological interactions occurring between plants and crabs that lead to salt pan formation by using field-based sampling and manipulative experiments. Our results showed that S. perennis facilitated crab colonization of the salt-marsh by buffering otherwise stressful physical conditions (e.g., temperature, desiccation). Crabs preferred to construct burrows underneath plants and, once they reach high densities (up to 40 burrows m- 2), the sediment reworking caused plant die-off in the central area of patches. At this state, the patches lose elevation and become depressed due to the continuous bioturbation by crabs. Thus, salt pans are generated in this case by a set of biogeomorphic processes that include pure ecological interactions such as plant facilitation of crab settlement and also indirect negative effects of crabs on plant survival. Furthermore, crab bioturbation affects sediment structure due to concentration of burrowing activity under plant canopies promoting elevation loss and leading, after a few years, to salt pan formation in a previously vegetated substrate.

  13. Mercury mobility in a salt marsh colonised by Halimione portulacoides.

    PubMed

    Válega, M; Lillebø, A I; Caçador, I; Pereira, M E; Duarte, A C; Pardal, M A

    2008-08-01

    The present study intends to increase the knowledge on the mobility of mercury in a salt marsh colonised by Halimione portulacoides. Mercury distribution in the sediment layers and its incorporation into the plant biomass were assessed, as well as the potential export of mercury from the contaminated area to the adjacent environment. Mercury pools in the sediments ranged from 560 to 943 mg m(-2) and are largely associated with the solid fraction, with just a small amount being associated with the pore waters. Estimated diffusive fluxes of reactive mercury ranged from 1.3 to 103 ng m(-2) d(-1). Despite the above ground biomass values being comparatively higher than below ground biomass values, the mercury pools were much higher in the root system (0.06-0.16 mg m(-2) and 29-102 mg m(-2), respectively). The annual bioaccumulation of mercury in above ground tissues was estimated in 0.11 mg m(-2) y(-1), while in below ground biomass the values were higher (7 2mg m(-2) y(-1)). The turnover rates of H. portulacoides biomass suggest higher mercury mobility within the plant rhizosphere. Taking into account the pools of mercury in above ground biomass, the export of mercury by macro-detritus following the "outwelling hypothesis" is not significant for the mercury balance in the studied ecosystem. The mercury accumulated in the below ground part of the plant is quite mobile, being able to return to the sediment pool throughout the mineralisation process. PMID:18555514

  14. Response of salt-marsh carbon accumulation to climate change.

    PubMed

    Kirwan, Matthew L; Mudd, Simon M

    2012-09-27

    About half of annual marine carbon burial takes place in shallow water ecosystems where geomorphic and ecological stability is driven by interactions between the flow of water, vegetation growth and sediment transport. Although the sensitivity of terrestrial and deep marine carbon pools to climate change has been studied for decades, there is little understanding of how coastal carbon accumulation rates will change and potentially feed back on climate. Here we develop a numerical model of salt marsh evolution, informed by recent measurements of productivity and decomposition, and demonstrate that competition between mineral sediment deposition and organic-matter accumulation determines the net impact of climate change on carbon accumulation in intertidal wetlands. We find that the direct impact of warming on soil carbon accumulation rates is more subtle than the impact of warming-driven sea level rise, although the impact of warming increases with increasing rates of sea level rise. Our simulations suggest that the net impact of climate change will be to increase carbon burial rates in the first half of the twenty-first century, but that carbon-climate feedbacks are likely to diminish over time. PMID:23018965

  15. The Resilience and Recovery of Salt Marshes to Landfalling Storms and Sea-Level Rise, New Jersey, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horton, B.; Nikitina, D.; Kemp, A.; Vane, C. H.; Engelhart, S. E.; Khan, N. S.

    2014-12-01

    Instrumental and observational records are too short to adequately describe the history of land-falling storms or sea-level rise, especially for extreme and rare events such as Hurricane Sandy. However, the sediment preserved beneath coastal wetlands is an archive of when storms impacted the coast and past changes in sea level, and how long it takes for wetlands recovery from such events. Here, we describe late Holocene sediments beneath the Sea Breeze salt marsh on the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay from more than 200 gouge cores positioned along seven transects. The stratigraphic record documents at least seven depositional sequences consisting of salt-marsh peat and mud couplets that represent dramatic changes in sedimentation regime. There are number of processes that could cause this salt-marsh erosion including lateral migration of tidal creeks, rapid relative sea-level rise, tsunamis, formation and expansion of salt pans, and storms. The abrupt contacts between the salt-marsh peat and overlying intertidal mud suggest that erosion of the peat was followed by rapid infilling of accommodation space. Correlation of erosional surfaces across 2.5 km suggests a common mechanism and we propose that the erosion was caused by hurricanes and/or large winter storms. Further, the changes in salt-marsh sedimentation documented at several sites on the north shore of Delaware Bay were synchronous and broadly correlate with storm over-wash deposits and historical record of hurricane landfalls in New Jersey. We estimated wetland recovery time from hurricane-induced erosion using radiocarbon dates that bracket the erosive event in the sedimentary record. Following erosion and lowering of the marsh surface into the tidal frame a low-marsh ecosystem recolonizes the site, followed by recovery to a high salt-marsh environment. We estimate that this ecological and sedimentary succession can take up to 200 years.

  16. Windows of opportunity for salt marsh vegetation establishment on bare tidal flats: The importance of temporal and spatial variability in hydrodynamic forcing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Zhan; Belzen, Jim; Wal, Daphne; Balke, Thorsten; Wang, Zheng Bing; Stive, Marcel; Bouma, Tjeerd J.

    2015-07-01

    Understanding the mechanisms limiting and facilitating salt marsh vegetation initial establishment is of widespread importance due to the many valuable services salt marsh ecosystems offer. Salt marsh dynamics have been investigated by many previous studies, but the mechanisms that enable or disable salt marsh initial establishment are still understudied. Recently, the "windows of opportunity" (WoO) concept has been proposed as a framework providing an explanation for the initial establishment of biogeomorphic ecosystems and the role of physical disturbance herein. A WoO is a sufficiently long disturbance-free period following seedling dispersal, which enables successful establishment. By quantifying the occurrence of WoO, vegetation establishment pattern can be predicted. For simplicity sake and as prove of concept, the original WoO framework considers tidal inundation as the only physical disturbance to salt marsh establishment, whereas the known disturbance from tidal currents and wind waves is ignored. In this study, we incorporate hydrodynamic forcing in the WoO framework. Its spatial and temporal variability is considered explicitly in a salt marsh establishment model. We used this model to explain the observed episodic salt marsh recruitment in the Westerschelde Estuary, Netherlands. Our results reveal that this model can significantly increase the spatial prediction accuracy of salt marsh establishment compared to a model that excludes the hydrodynamic disturbance. Using the better performing model, we further illustrate how tidal flat morphology determines salt marsh establishing elevation and width via hydrodynamic force distribution. Our model thus offers a valuable tool to understand and predict bottlenecks of salt marsh restoration and consequences of changing environmental conditions due to climate change.

  17. Radium isotopes in salt marsh and estuarine environments

    SciTech Connect

    Bollinger, M.S.

    1986-01-01

    Dissolved /sup 226/Ra, /sup 228/Ra, and /sup 224/Ra data from the tidal creeks and interstitial water and radium and thorium data from the sediments of salt marches in South Carolina, Delaware, and Massachusetts are presented. Dissolved radium activities in the tidal creeks were 2-3 times higher in the summer than at any other time because of increased bioturbation rates during the warm months. Radium activities in a tidal creek of the marsh surrounding North Inlet, SC, were 3 times higher than in the creeks of the Great Marsh, DE, and the Great Sippewissett Marsh, MA, primarily due to higher thorium activities in the southern marsh sediments. Diffusion out of the marsh sediments, drainage of pore water from creek banks near low tide, and bioturbation which brings high radium activity porewater and sediments toward the surface of the marsh and increases the surface area over which diffusion and desorption may occur control the dissolved radium activities in the tidal creeks.

  18. Seventy years of continuous encroachment substantially increases 'blue carbon' capacity as mangroves replace intertidal salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Kelleway, Jeffrey J; Saintilan, Neil; Macreadie, Peter I; Skilbeck, Charles G; Zawadzki, Atun; Ralph, Peter J

    2016-03-01

    Shifts in ecosystem structure have been observed over recent decades as woody plants encroach upon grasslands and wetlands globally. The migration of mangrove forests into salt marsh ecosystems is one such shift which could have important implications for global 'blue carbon' stocks. To date, attempts to quantify changes in ecosystem function are essentially constrained to climate-mediated pulses (30 years or less) of encroachment occurring at the thermal limits of mangroves. In this study, we track the continuous, lateral encroachment of mangroves into two south-eastern Australian salt marshes over a period of 70 years and quantify corresponding changes in biomass and belowground C stores. Substantial increases in biomass and belowground C stores have resulted as mangroves replaced salt marsh at both marine and estuarine sites. After 30 years, aboveground biomass was significantly higher than salt marsh, with biomass continuing to increase with mangrove age. Biomass increased at the mesohaline river site by 130 ± 18 Mg biomass km(-2)  yr(-1) (mean ± SE), a 2.5 times higher rate than the marine embayment site (52 ± 10 Mg biomass km(-2) yr(-1) ), suggesting local constraints on biomass production. At both sites, and across all vegetation categories, belowground C considerably outweighed aboveground biomass stocks, with belowground C stocks increasing at up to 230 ± 62 Mg C km(-2) yr(-1) (± SE) as mangrove forests developed. Over the past 70 years, we estimate mangrove encroachment may have already enhanced intertidal biomass by up to 283 097 Mg and belowground C stocks by over 500 000 Mg in the state of New South Wales alone. Under changing climatic conditions and rising sea levels, global blue carbon storage may be enhanced as mangrove encroachment becomes more widespread, thereby countering global warming. PMID:26670941

  19. Tidal circulation alteration for salt marsh mosquito control

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Resh, Vincent H.; Balling, Steven S.

    1983-01-01

    Mosquito control ditches designed to increase tidal circulation are widely used as a physical control alternative to insecticidal applications The impact of such ditching on Pacific Coast marshlands was largely unknown before this five-year study of impact in two types of San Francisco Bay salt marshes, a Salicornia virginica (pickleweed) monoculure and a mixed vegetation marsh Results of our studies suggest that ditches cause less environmental disturbance than insecticidal applications The article describes the following environmental consequences of ditching for mosquito control: increased tidal flushing of soils occurs adjacent to ditches compared with that in the open marsh, thereby reducing ground water and soil surface salinities and water table height; primary productivity of S. virginica, as determined by both the harvest method and infrared photographic analysis, is higher directly adjacent to ditches than in the open marsh, distribution of selected arthropod populations is similar at ditches and natural channels, although arthropod community response differs seasonally; aquatic invertebrate biomass is similar within ditched and natural ponds, but diversity is lower in ditched habitats, ditching increases fish diversity and density by improving fish access from tidal channels; ditches provide additional salt marsh song sparrow habitat, although ditches are less preferred than natural channels or sloughs. Management criteria can be used to design ditches that provide effective mosquito control and reduced environmental impact

  20. Accumulation, distribution and cellular partitioning of mercury in several halophytes of a contaminated salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Castro, Rita; Pereira, Sofia; Lima, Ana; Corticeiro, Sofia; Válega, Mónica; Pereira, Eduarda; Duarte, Armando; Figueira, Etelvina

    2009-09-01

    This work evaluates the role of a plant community in mercury (Hg) stabilization and mobility in a contaminated Portuguese salt marsh. With this aim, the distribution of Hg in below and aboveground tissues, as well as the metal partitioning between cellular fractions (soluble and insoluble) in four different species (Triglochin maritima L., Juncus maritimus Lam, Sarcocornia perennis (Miller) A.J. Scott, and Halimione portulacoides (L.) Aellen) was assessed. Mercury accumulation, translocation and compartmentation between organs and cellular fractions were related to the plant species. Results showed that the degree of Hg absorption and retention was influenced both by environmental parameters and metal translocation/partitioning strategies. Different plant species presented different allocation patterns, with marked differences between monocots (T. maritima and J. maritimus) and dicots (S. perennis, H. portulacoides). Overall, the two monocots, in particular T. maritima showed higher Hg retention in the belowground organs whereas the dicots, particularly S. perennis presented a more pronounced translocation to the aboveground tissues. Considering cellular Hg partitioning, all species showed a higher Hg binding to cell walls and membranes rather than in the soluble fractions. This strategy can be related to the high degree of tolerance observed in the studied species. These results indicate that the composition of salt marsh plant communities can be very important in dictating the Hg mobility within the marsh ecosystem and in the rest of the aquatic system as well as providing important insights to future phytoremediation approaches in Hg contaminated salt marshes. PMID:19595432

  1. On salt marshes retreat: Experiments and modeling toppling failures induced by wind waves

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bendoni, M.; Francalanci, S.; Cappietti, L.; Solari, L.

    2014-03-01

    Salt marshes are delicate ecosystems which are disappearing in many areas of the world, mainly due to increasing rates of sea level rise, subsidence, and anthropic pressure. The lateral erosion of the edge of salt marshes is one of the most important processes in determining changes in morphology, and wind waves have a key role in this retreat. Lateral retreat occurs by means of several types of mass failure processes, typically cantilever, sliding, and toppling. In the literature, no mechanistic models for the description of toppling failure are available. In this study, we performed a set of experiments to quantify the pressure field and the hydrodynamic forcing induced by wind waves during toppling failures of unstable blocks on a salt marsh edge. We propose a model interpreting toppling failure based on the experimental evidence as well as on the physics of the system. We model the system as a dynamic rigid block of cohesive soil, identified by the presence of a tension crack, subjected to hydrodynamic forces caused by impact of waves and resistive forces due to the block's weight and soil cohesion. The failure of the blocks occurs when the soil tensile strength is exceeded along the failure surface located at the base of the block. The model is able to reproduce failure processes observed in the laboratory. Moreover, the model reveals that the most critical conditions for marsh bank instability due to toppling failure are associated to the presence of water inside the tension crack and low water levels in front of the bank.

  2. The use of lipid markers to define sources of organic matter in sediment and food web of the intertidal salt-marsh-flat ecosystem of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meziane, Tarik; Bodineau, Laurent; Retiere, Christian; Thoumelin, Guy

    1997-12-01

    Salt marsh plants and seven surface sediment samples along a transect in the intertidal flat area of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay were analysed for fatty acids and sterols. The presence of lipid markers of halophytes (long-chain fatty acids, 18:3ω3, and phytosterols) in the surface layers of the sediment confirms the export of organic matter from the salt marsh to the intertidal flat. The spatial distribution of this organic matter over the tidal-flat area was controlled by the tidal currents and the presence of mussel beds. Lipid markers of diatoms (20:5ω3 and brassicasterol) and bacteria (18:1ω7 and odd, linear and branched, fatty acids) were also found in the surface sediments. Diatoms and benthic bacteria as well as organic matter from the salt marsh were the significant food sources available to the macrozoobenthos on the intertidal flat. The ingestion of these food types by the dominant species of the macrozoobenthos was confirmed by the presence of their respective lipid markers in the animals. The presence of these markers in animals subjected to a starvation experiment confirmed that these food types are really assimilated. The lipid composition of the starved animals indicated that the species studied were able to accumulate the fatty acid 20:5ω3 (considered to be a diatom marker), and that the annelid Nereis diversicolor supported an internal bacterial population.

  3. Vulnerability of Northeastern U.S. Salt Marshes to Climatic and Anthropogenic Stressors

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the Northeastern U.S., salt marsh area is in decline. Habitat change analysis has revealed fragmentation, displacement of high marsh by low marsh species, and marsh drowning, while development of adjacent uplands limits upslope migration. Using inundation experiments, field s...

  4. Feedbacks Between Flow, Sedimentation, and Standing Biomass on Salt-Marsh Platforms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudd, S. M.; Furbish, D. J.

    2002-12-01

    Tidally induced flood-and-ebb flows over salt-marsh platforms are modeled using a nonlinear diffusion-like equation obtained from depth-integration of continuity and momentum equations for low Reynolds number flows. The diffusivity coefficient varies locally as a function of the standing biomass on the platform due to the drag of plant stems. Sedimentation on the platform is due to particle settling and trapping by plants, and thus feedbacks exist between flow, suspended-sediment transport, sedimentation, and the standing biomass of the macrophytes (i.e. Spartina alterniflora) living on the marsh. Standing biomass is a function of the time-averaged water depth above the platform, which varies spatially, and the time of year due to seasonal growing cycles. Plant stem density is a function of standing biomass, which can be calculated using measured self-thinning curves for crowded marsh ecosystems. The stem density, in turn, affects the tidal flow through variations in drag as the flood and ebb waters make their way through the macrophyte communities. Simulations suggest that, on short timescales (annual to decadal) the elevation of the marsh surface is the dominant factor in determining average depth of flow on the salt marsh in comparison to flow impedance effects associated with variations in drag (and therefore the diffusivity) due to the plant stems. Therefore the spatial pattern of plant density on the platform surface is more sensitive to the platform elevation (including its slope) than to the details of how the flow dynamics vary with biomass. Small spatial variations in flow due to spatial variations in biomass do affect the residence time of water on the salt marsh, however, and at longer timescales the spatial variation in sedimentation due to these subtle flow effects becomes important.

  5. Diversity, composition, and geographical distribution of microbial communities in California salt marsh sediments

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cordova-Kreylos, A. L.; Cao, Y.; Green, P.G.; Hwang, H.-M.; Kuivila, K.M.; LaMontagne, M.G.; Van De Werfhorst, L. C.; Holden, P.A.; Scow, K.M.

    2006-01-01

    The Pacific Estuarine Ecosystem Indicators Research Consortium seeks to develop bioindicators of toxicant-induced stress and bioavailability for wetland biota. Within this framework, the effects of environmental and pollutant variables on microbial communities were studied at different spatial scales over a 2-year period. Six salt marshes along the California coastline were characterized using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (TRFLP) analysis. Additionally, 27 metals, six currently used pesticides, total polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chlordanes, nonachlors, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane, and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene were analyzed. Sampling was performed over large (between salt marshes), medium (stations within a marsh), and small (different channel depths) spatial scales. Regression and ordination analysis suggested that the spatial variation in microbial communities exceeded the variation attributable to pollutants. PLFA analysis and TRFLP canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) explained 74 and 43% of the variation, respectively, and both methods attributed 34% of the variation to tidal cycles, marsh, year, and latitude. After accounting for spatial variation using partial CCA, we found that metals had a greater effect on microbial community composition than organic pollutants had. Organic carbon and nitrogen contents were positively correlated with PLFA biomass, whereas total metal concentrations were positively correlated with biomass and diversity. Higher concentrations of heavy metals were negatively correlated with branched PLFAs and positively correlated with methyl- and cyclo-substituted PLFAs. The strong relationships observed between pollutant concentrations and some of the microbial indicators indicated the potential for using microbial community analyses in assessments of the ecosystem health of salt marshes. Copyright ?? 2006, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  6. Foundation species' overlap enhances biodiversity and multifunctionality from the patch to landscape scale in southeastern United States salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Angelini, Christine; van der Heide, Tjisse; Griffin, John N; Morton, Joseph P; Derksen-Hooijberg, Marlous; Lamers, Leon P M; Smolders, Alfons J P; Silliman, Brian R

    2015-07-22

    Although there is mounting evidence that biodiversity is an important and widespread driver of ecosystem multifunctionality, much of this research has focused on small-scale biodiversity manipulations. Hence, which mechanisms maintain patches of enhanced biodiversity in natural systems and if these patches elevate ecosystem multifunctionality at both local and landscape scales remain outstanding questions. In a 17 month experiment conducted within southeastern United States salt marshes, we found that patches of enhanced biodiversity and multifunctionality arise only where habitat-forming foundation species overlap--i.e. where aggregations of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) form around cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) stems. By empirically scaling up our experimental results to the marsh platform at 12 sites, we further show that mussels--despite covering only approximately 1% of the marsh surface--strongly enhance five distinct ecosystem functions, including decomposition, primary production and water infiltration rate, at the landscape scale. Thus, mussels create conditions that support the co-occurrence of high densities of functionally distinct organisms within cordgrass and, in doing so, elevate salt marsh multifunctionality from the patch to landscape scale. Collectively, these findings suggest that patterns in foundation species' overlap drive variation in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning within and across natural ecosystems.We therefore argue that foundation species should be integrated in our conceptual understanding of forces that moderate biodiversity--ecosystem functioning relationships, approaches for conserving species diversity and strategies to improve the multifunctionality of degraded ecosystems. PMID:26136442

  7. Links Between Watershed Activities and the Degradation of Coastal, Tidal Salt Marshes in Southern New England USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Human activities (e.g., land development, wastewater) in coastal watersheds in New England USA are linked with community- and system-level changes in tidal, organic-rich salt marshes. Significant relationships between various indicators of watershed activities and ecosystem stru...

  8. Soil Respiration and Belowground Carbon Stores Among Salt Marshes Subjected to Increasing Watershed Nitrogen Loadings in Southern New England

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are ecosystems located between the uplands and sea, and because of their location are subject to increasing watershed nutrient loadings and rising sea levels. Residential development along the coast is intense, and there is a significant relationship between...

  9. Seasonal variability of denitrification efficiency in northern salt marshes: an example from the St. Lawrence Estuary.

    PubMed

    Poulin, Patrick; Pelletier, Emilien; Saint-Louis, Richard

    2007-06-01

    In coastal ecosystems, denitrification is a key process in removing excess dissolved nitrogen oxides and participating in the control of eutrophication process. Little is known about the role of salt marshes on nitrogen budgets in cold weather coastal areas. Although coastal salt marshes are important sites for organic matter degradation and nutrient regeneration, bacterial-mediated nitrogen cycling processes, such as denitrification, remain unknown in northern and sub-arctic regions, especially under winter conditions. Using labelled nitrogen (15N), denitrification rates were measured in an eastern Canadian salt marsh in August, October and December 2005. Freshly sampled undisturbed sediment cores were incubated over 8h and maintained at their sampling temperatures to evaluate the influence of low temperatures on the denitrification rate. From 2 to 12 degrees C, average denitrification rate and dissolved oxygen consumption increased from 9.6 to 25.5 micromol N2 m-2 h-1 and from 1.3 to 1.8 mmol O2 m-2 h-1, respectively, with no statistical dependence of temperature (p>0.05). Nitrification has been identified as the major nitrate source for denitrification, supplying more than 80% of the nitrate demand. Because no more than 31% of the nitrate removed by sediment is estimated to be denitrified, the presence of a major nitrate sink in sediment is suspected. Among possible nitrate consumption mechanisms, dissimilatory reduction of nitrate to ammonium, metal and organic matter oxidation processes are discussed. Providing the first measurements of denitrification rate in a St. Lawrence Estuary salt marsh, this study evidences the necessity of preserving and restoring marshes. They constitute an efficient geochemical filter against an excess of nitrate dispersion to coastal waters even under cold northern conditions. PMID:17276505

  10. Assessing the Wildlife Habitat Value of New England Salt Marshes: I. Model and Application

    EPA Science Inventory

    We developed an assessment model to quantify the wildlife habitat value of New England salt marshes based on marsh characteristics and the presence of habitat types that influence habitat use by terrestrial wildlife. Applying the model to12 salt marshes located in Narragansett B...

  11. Modeling the Retreat Processes of Salt Marsh Edge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bendoni, M.; Cappietti, L.; Francalanci, S.; Rinaldi, M.; Solari, L.

    2012-12-01

    Edge erosion of salt marshes due to surface waves and tide forcing is likely the chief mechanism that models marsh boundaries and by which salt marshes in worldwide coastal areas are being lost. In order to address this problem, experimental observations in a laboratory flume and field measurements in the lagoon of Venice were conducted to understand the main processes controlling marsh edge retreat, with a focus on the erosion mechanisms caused by the action of wind and tidal waves. A physical model reproducing a salt marsh bank was built inside a long wave current flume where random surface waves were generated according to a given wave spectrum. The physical model was constructed with the original soil and plants taken in a marsh of the lagoon of Venice, while the wave climate was reproduced according to field measurements. The experiments were conducted in the case of both unvegetated and vegetated bank: a first set of experiments was carried out considering only tidal wave; in the second, bank models experienced the effect of wind waves superimposed to the tide. The following data were collected during the experiments: wave climate interacting with the bank, flow velocity measurements in the eroded quasi-equilibrium configuration, pressure distribution along bank edge and internal pressure fluctuation and damping due to wave impact. Bank geometry profile and bottom topography at different times have also been collected to characterize the erosion rate with time and the evolution of bank retreat. Subsequent to laboratory activity wave climate was measured close to a marsh edge in the Lagoon of Venice with the aim at identifying wave forcing on the bank surface during a moderate wind event and comparing results with the wave stress experienced by bank models in laboratory tests. Several pressure transducers installed close to the bed were used to collect wave height and wave direction with respect to the edge of the marsh. Laboratory data and field measurement were analyzed and interpreted in order to develop a simple preliminary model describing the retreat processes of a bank edge subjected to wave attack and tidal forcing. The model applies to cohesive banks determining their temporal evolution under specific boundary and initial conditions. It takes into account processes induced by hydrodynamic forcing such as particle by particle erosion and mass failure triggered by the presence of tension cracks, whereas long time scale processes such as deposition and compaction are not considered.

  12. Records of change in salt marshes: a radiochronological study of three Westerschelde (SW Netherlands) marshes.

    PubMed

    Dyer, F M; Thomson, J; Croudace, I W; Cox, R; Wadsworth, R A

    2002-03-01

    Three salt marshes on a 50-km transect along the north bank of the Westerschelde Estuary were investigated to determine whether salt marshes in the estuary had responded to shipping channel modifications in recent decades. Marsh accretion rates were estimated mainly from 137Cs profiles with further evidence from 241Am because changes in both rate of deposition and nature of the accreting material precluded use of standard 210Pb(excess) dating models. The 137Cs profiles usually show peaks corresponding to atmospheric deposition from the 1963 fallout maximum and sometimes from the Chernobyl accident, although intervening enhanced 137Cs activities derived from the nuclear reprocessing marine discharges of Sellafield and La Hague are clearly discernible. In all three marshes (Ritthem at the mouth of the estuary and Zuidgors and Waarde at 20 and 45 km upstream), a marked, near-coincident change in the rate of accumulation and in the grain size of material deposited occurred around 1980. This may be related to a combination of channel deepening and straightening operations undertaken in the mid-1970s and/or natural changes in winter wave climate. PMID:11918007

  13. Salt Marsh Formation in the Lower Hudson River Estuary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Merley, Michael; Peteet, Dorothy; Hansen, James E. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    Salt marshes are constant depositional environments and as a result contain accurate indicators of past relative sea level rise and salinity. The Hudson River marshes are at least twice as deep when compared to coastal marshes on either side of the mouth of the Hudson. The reason for this difference in sedimentation is unclear. This study uses macrofossil data as well as sediment stratigraphy in order to understand the formation and evolution of these marshes. The composition of seeds, roots, shoots and foraminifera, are used to indicate past sea levels. The four sites involved in this study are, from south to north, the Arthur Kill Marsh in Staten Island (40 36 N, 74 77W), Piermont marsh (N 4100; 73 55W) Croton Point (41 14 N; 73 50W) and Iona Island (41 18N, 73 58W). These are all tidally influenced but with increasing distances from the New York Bight, which gives a good spectrum of tidal influence. AMS-C14 dates on basal macrofossils will document the time of each marsh formation. Basal material from Arthur Kill (8 m) includes freshwater seeds such as Viola, Potomageton and Alnus along with Salix buds. Basal material from Croton Point (10 m) includes fibrous woody material, foraminifera and Zanichellia seeds and other brackish vegetational components. The basal material from Piermont (13.77 m) is lacking any identifiable macrofossils between 150 and 500 microns. The basal material from Iona Island (10 m) has vegetation such as Scirpus and Cyperus seeds, probably implying a brackish environment. The freshwater origin of the Arthur Kill marsh in Staten Island is significant because it predates either sea level rise or the western channel incision. Additional implications for this study include evidence for changes in river channel geomorphology. Reasons for the relatively deeper river marshes include possible basal clay compaction, high production due to river and marine nutrients as well as tectonic activity. This study provides the groundwork for more high-resolution studies of these marshes to understand the fluctuations in salinity caused by relative sea level rise, tectonic faulting and/or changes in precipitation/evaporation.

  14. Biogeochemical effects of seawater restoration to diked salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Portnoy, J.W.; Giblin, A.E.

    1997-01-01

    We conducted greenhouse microcosm experiments to examine the biogeochemical effects of restoring seawater to historically diked Cape Cod salt marshes. Peat cores from both seasonally flooded and drained diked marshes were waterlogged with seawater, and porewater chemistry was subsequently monitored for 21 mo. The addition of seawater to highly organic, seasonally flooded peat caused the death of freshwater wetland plants, 6-8 cm of sediment subsidence, and increased N and P mineralization. Also, sulfides and alkalinity increased 10-fold, suggesting accelerated decomposition by sulfate reduction. Addition of seawater to the low-organic-content acidic peat from the drained marsh increased porewater pH, alkalinity, PO4-P, and Fe(II), which we attribute to the reestablishment of SO4 and Fe(III) mineral reduction. Increased cation exchange contributed to 6-fold increases in dissolved Fe(II) and Al and 60-fold increases in NH4-N within 6 mo of sail-nation. Seawater reintroductions to seasonally flooded diked marshes will cause porewater sulfides to increase, likely reducing the success of revegetation efforts. Sulfide toxicity is of less concern in resalinated drained peats because of the abundance of Fe(II) to precipitate sulfides, and of NH4-N to offset sulfide inhibition of N uptake. Restoration of either seasonally flooded or drained diked marshes could stimulate potentially large nutrient and Fe(II) releases, which could in turn increase primary production and lower oxygen in receiving waters. These findings suggest that tidal restoration be gradual and carefully monitored.

  15. The ebb and flood of Silica: Quantifying dissolved and biogenic silica fluxes from a temperate salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieillard, Amanda M.; Fulweiler, Robinson W.; Hughes, Zoe J.; Carey, Joanna C.

    2011-12-01

    Salt marshes are widely studied due to the broad range of ecosystem services they provide including serving as crucial wildlife habitat and as hotspots for biogeochemical cycling. Nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and carbon (C) are well studied in these systems. However, salt marshes may also be important environments for the cycling of another key nutrient, silica (Si). Found at the land-sea interface, these systems are silica replete with large stocks in plant biomass, sediments, and porewater, and therefore, have the potential to play a substantial role in the transformation and export of silica to coastal waters. In an effort to better understand this role, we measured the fluxes of dissolved (DSi) and biogenic (BSi) silica into and out of two tidal creeks in a temperate, North American (Rowley, Massachusetts, USA) salt marsh. One of the creeks has been fertilized from May to September for six years allowing us to examine the impacts of nutrient addition on silica dynamics within the marsh. High-resolution sampling in July 2010 showed no significant differences in Si concentrations between the fertilized and reference creeks with dissolved silica ranging from 0.5 to 108 ?M and biogenic from 2.0 to 56 ?M. Net fluxes indicated that the marsh is a point source of dissolved silica to the estuary in the summer with a net flux of approximately 169 mol h -1, demonstrating that this system exports DSi on the same magnitude as some nearby, mid-sized rivers. If these findings hold true for all salt marshes, then these already valuable regions are contributing yet another ecosystem service that has been previously overlooked; by exporting DSi to coastal receiving waters, salt marshes are actively providing this important nutrient for coastal primary productivity.

  16. Connectivity Among Salt Marsh Subhabitats: Residency and Movements of the Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus)

    EPA Science Inventory

    We examined connectivity among marsh subhabitats to determine the structural limits and important components of a polyhaline salt marsh by studying the patterns of abundance, residency, and movement of a numerically and ecologically dominant nektonic fish (mummichog, Fundulus het...

  17. Effects of livestock species and stocking density on accretion rates in grazed salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolte, Stefanie; Esselink, Peter; Bakker, Jan P.; Smit, Christian

    2015-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems, such as salt marshes, are threatened by accelerated sea-level rise (SLR). Salt marshes deliver valuable ecosystem services such as coastal protection and the provision of habitat for a unique flora and fauna. Whether salt marshes in the Wadden Sea area are able to survive accelerated SLR depends on sufficient deposition of sediments which add to vertical marsh accretion. Accretion rate is influenced by a number of factors, and livestock grazing was recently included. Livestock grazing is assumed to reduce accretion rates in two ways: (a) directly by increasing soil compaction through trampling, and (b) indirectly by affecting the vegetation structure, which may lower the sediment deposition. For four years, we studied the impact of two livestock species (horse and cattle) at two stocking densities (0.5 and 1.0 animal ha-1) on accretion in a large-scale grazing experiment using sedimentation plates. We found lower cumulative accretion rates in high stocking densities, probably because more animals cause more compaction and create a lower canopy. Furthermore, a trend towards lower accretion rates in horse-compared to cattle-grazed treatments was found, most likely because (1) horses are more active and thus cause more compaction, and (2) herbage intake by horses is higher than by cattle, which causes a higher biomass removal and shorter canopy. During summer periods, negative accretion rates were found. When the grazing and non-grazing seasons were separated, the impact of grazing differed among years. In summer, we only found an effect of different treatments if soil moisture (precipitation) was relatively low. In winter, a sufficiently high inundation frequency was necessary to create differences between grazing treatments. We conclude that stocking densities, and to a certain extent also livestock species, affect accretion rates in salt marshes. Both stocking densities and livestock species should thus be taken into account in management decisions of salt marshes. In our study accretion rates were higher than the current SLR. Further research is needed to include grazing effects into sedimentation models, given the importance of grazing management in the Wadden Sea area.

  18. Gross nitrous oxide production and consumption along a salt marsh redox gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, W. H.; Silver, W. L.

    2012-12-01

    Coastal wetlands denitrify nitrate (NO3-)-rich urban and agricultural runoff, and thus decrease anthropogenic nitrogen loading on downslope aquatic ecosystems. Elevation gradients in coastal wetlands likely create redox gradients that result in a range of denitrification dynamics. Our objective was to determine if this redox gradient could elucidate the controls on nitrous oxide (N2O) production and consumption in a salt marsh bordering Tomales Bay, CA. We installed soil equilibration chambers to measure soil oxygen (O2) at 10 cm depth along a transect in each of three marsh zones: high, mid, and low (n=4 per zone). We used the stable isotope trace gas pool dilution technique to measure gross rates of N2O production and consumption over three hour sampling periods at low tide when the surface soils were not saturated. Intact soil cores (0-10 cm depth) taken from the flux chamber footprints were extracted for ammonium, NO3-, and ferric and ferrous iron (Fe(III) and Fe(II)) concentrations as well as assayed for denitrifying enzyme activity (DEA). We sampled on four dates to characterize N2O dynamics across a range of environmental conditions. Bulk soil O2 concentrations in the soil equilibration chambers were higher in the high marsh than in the mid and low marshes (p<0.001, n=44). Soil NO3- concentrations were significantly lower and HCl-extractable Fe(II) concentrations were significantly higher in the low marsh compared to the high and mid marshes (NO3- p<0.001, Fe(II) p<0.001, n=44). Despite differences in redox among the marsh zones, neither gross rates of N2O production (Figure 1a) nor consumption (Figure 1b) varied significantly among the zones. DEA also did not differ among marsh zones, with averages ranging from 136 ± 30 ng-N g-1 h-1 in the mid marsh to 550 ± 121 ng-N g-1 h-1 in the low marsh. Overall, this salt marsh was neither an N2O source nor sink, with net N2O fluxes averaging 51 ± 40 μg-N m-2 d-1 across all marsh zones and sampling dates. However, net N2O fluxes were negative in 29 out of 44 measurements. Sub-atmospheric soil N2O concentrations at 10 cm depth together with the quantification of significant gross N2O consumption rates suggest that the net uptake of atmospheric N2O by the soil occurred in all marsh zones. Boxplots of (1) gross N2O production rates and (2) gross N2O consumption rates along a salt marsh elevation gradient. The y-axes are shown on log10 scale.

  19. Groundwater controls ecological zonation of salt marsh macrophytes.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Alicia M; Evans, Tyler; Moore, Willard; Schutte, Charles A; Joye, Samantha B; Hughes, Andrea H; Anderson, Joseph L

    2015-03-01

    Ecological zonation of salt marsh macrophytes is strongly influenced by hydrologic factors, but these factors are poorly understood. We examined groundwater flow patterns through surficial sediments in two saltmarshes in the southeastern United States to quantify hydrologic differences between distinct ecological zones. Both sites included tall- or medium-form Spartina alterniflora near the creek bank; short-form Spartina alterniflora in the mid-marsh; salt flats and Salicornia virginica in the high marsh; and Juncus roemarianus in brackish-to-fresh areas adjacent to uplands. Both sites had relatively small, sandy uplands and similar stratigraphy consisting of marsh muds overlying a deeper sand layer. We found significant hydrologic differences between the four ecological zones. In the zones colonized by S. alterniflora, the vertical flow direction oscillated with semi-diurnal tides. Net flow (14-day average) through the tall S. alterniflora zones was downward, whereas the short S. alterniflora zones included significant periods of net upward groundwater flow. An examination of tidal efficiency at these sites suggested that the net flow patterns rather than tidal damping controlled the width of the tall S. alterniflora zone. In contrast to the S. alterniflora zones, hypersaline zones populated by S. virginica were characterized by sustained periods (days) of continuous upward flow of saline water during neap tides. The fresher zone populated by J. roemarianus showed physical flow patterns that were similar to the hypersaline zones, but the upwelling porewaters were fresh rather than saline. These flow patterns were influenced by the hydrogeologic framework of the marshes, particularly differences in hydraulic head between the upland water table and the tidal creeks. We observed increases in hydraulic head of approximately 40 cm from the creek to the upland in the sand layers below both marshes, which is consistent with previous observations that sandy aquifers below fine-grained marsh soils act as conduits for flow from uplands to tidal creeks. This hydrologic framework supports relatively good drainage near the creek, increased waterlogging in the mid-marsh, and the development of hypersalinity adjacent to the freshwater upland. These hydrologic differences in turn support distinct ecological zones. PMID:26236879

  20. Identification and characterisation of radioactive particles in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sajih, Mustafa; Livens, F. R.

    2010-03-01

    Radionuclides from authorized low level radioactive effluent discharges from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at Sellafield, UK, are present in the Irish Sea sediments. The distribution of radionuclides in salt marsh sediment profiles can be related to the discharge history from Sellafield. Radioactive particles, from the intertidal salt marsh sediments in the Esk estuary (10 km from Sellafield), have been isolated and investigated. Autoradiography and heavy liquid density separation were used to find and isolate these particles. Scanning electron microscopy, combined with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM-EDX), was used to obtain information on the morphology and elemental composition of the particles, and alpha spectrometry for radionuclide composition. Particles are typically 1 — 20 μm size. Elemental analysis suggests that they are composed mainly of uranium. Alpha spectrometry shows that they have been irradiated, and transuranium nuclides (Pu, Am, Cm) can be identified in them.

  1. Response of a salt marsh microbial community to antibiotic contamination.

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Joana P; Almeida, C Marisa R; Basto, M Clara P; Mucha, Ana P

    2015-11-01

    Salt marsh plants and associated microorganisms can have an important role in contaminant removal from estuaries, through bioremediation processes. Nevertheless, the interaction between emerging contaminants, namely antibiotics, and plant-microorganism associations in estuarine environment are still scarcely known. In this vein, the aim of the present study was to evaluate, in controlled conditions, the response of a salt marsh plant-microorganism association to a contamination with a veterinary antibiotic. For that a salt marsh plant (Phragmites australis) and its respective rhizosediment were collected in a temperate estuary (Lima estuary, NW Portugal) and exposed for 7 days to enrofloxacin (ENR) under different nutritional conditions in sediment elutriates. Response was evaluated in terms of ENR removal and changes in microbial community structure (evaluated by ARISA) and abundance (estimated by DAPI). In general, no significant changes were observed in microbial abundance. Changes in bacterial richness and diversity were observed but only in unplanted systems. However, multivariate analysis of ARISA profiles showed significant effect of both the presence of plant and type of treatment on the microbial community structure, with significant differences among all treatment groups. In addition, plants and associated microorganisms presented a potential for antibiotic removal that, although highly dependent on their nutritional status, can be a valuable asset to recover impacted areas such as estuarine ones. PMID:26081732

  2. Distribution and metabolism of quaternary amines in salt marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Gary M.

    1985-01-01

    Quaternary amines such as glycine betaine (GBT) are common osmotically active solutes in much of the marine biota. GBT is accumulated by various bacteria, algae, higher plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates in response to salinity or water stresses; in some species, GBT occurs at tens to hundreds of millimolar concentrations and can account for a significant fraction of total nitrogen. Initial studies suggest that GBT is readily converted to two potential methane precursors, trimethylamine (TMA) and acetate, in anoxic sediments. TMA is apparently the most important methane precursor in surface sediments containing sulfate reducing bacteria. In salt marshes, the bulk of the methane formed may be due to the metabolism of TMA rather than other substrates. Current research is focussed on testing this hypothesis and on determining the role of quaternary amino osmoregulatory solutes in methane fluxes from marine environments. Preliminary studies have dealt with several problems: (1) determination of GBT concentrations in the dominant flora and fauna of salt marshes; (2) synthesis of radiolabelled GBT for metabolic studies; and (3) determination of fates of BGT in marine sediments using radiotracers. Both GC and HPLC techniques have been used to assay GBT concentrations in plant and animal tissues. S. alterniflora is probably the only significant source of GBT (and indirectly of methane) since the biomass and distribution of most other species is limited. Current estimates suggest that S. alterniflora GBT could account for most of the methane efflux from salt marshes.

  3. Modeling the Effects of Changes to Physical, Hydrological, and Biological Processes on Porewater Salinity Distributions in a Southeastern Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miklesh, D.; Meile, C. D.

    2014-12-01

    Coastal wetlands provide many important ecosystem services, which include carbon and nitrogen sequestration and transformations, the provision of habitats, and the reduction of erosion by the vegetation. Coastal wetlands will be affected by projected climate change and sea level rise and may fail to provide such services, prompting a need to understand the environmental controls on marsh and vegetation distribution. Therefore, as part of the Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research project, an integrated modeling approach is being developed to simulate how changes in salinity and inundation may change marsh ecosystem services, by coupling a hydrodynamic with a soil and a plant model. In coastal marsh ecosystems, porewater salinity strongly determines vegetation distribution and productivity. We will present the development of the soil model, which is based on mass conservation for water and salt and links physical, hydrological, and biological processes that determine porewater salinity, including precipitation, evapotranspiration, salt exchange between surface and subsurface, drainage, groundwater exchange, tidal inundation, and surface runoff, with the lateral exchange controlled by marsh topography. The model is applied to the Duplin River marsh, Sapelo Island, Georgia. Model validation is performed by comparing model-estimated salinities to porewater salinity measurements taken in different vegetation classes and over a range of marsh elevations. Modeled variability in porewater salinities will be presented over spring-neap, seasonal, and annual time scales. To discuss potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise, a sensitivity analysis will be presented that demonstrates the effect precipitation intensity, evapotranspiration, permeability, and marsh elevation have on porewater salinities.

  4. Disturbance and Recovery of Salt Marsh Arthropod Communities following BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    McCall, Brittany D.; Pennings, Steven C.

    2012-01-01

    Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration activities that historically have impacted intertidal habitats such as salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the terrestrial arthropod community and marine invertebrates found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes. Sampling occurred in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails were unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods had largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy. PMID:22412916

  5. Disturbance and recovery of salt marsh arthropod communities following BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    McCall, Brittany D; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-01-01

    Oil spills represent a major environmental threat to coastal wetlands, which provide a variety of critical ecosystem services to humanity. The U.S. Gulf of Mexico is a hub of oil and gas exploration activities that historically have impacted intertidal habitats such as salt marsh. Following the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we sampled the terrestrial arthropod community and marine invertebrates found in stands of Spartina alterniflora, the most abundant plant in coastal salt marshes. Sampling occurred in 2010 as oil was washing ashore and a year later in 2011. In 2010, intertidal crabs and terrestrial arthropods (insects and spiders) were suppressed by oil exposure even in seemingly unaffected stands of plants; however, Littoraria snails were unaffected. One year later, crab and arthropods had largely recovered. Our work is the first attempt that we know of assessing vulnerability of the salt marsh arthropod community to oil exposure, and it suggests that arthropods are both quite vulnerable to oil exposure and quite resilient, able to recover from exposure within a year if host plants remain healthy. PMID:22412916

  6. Aerial survey of a salt marsh: Ice rafting to the lower intertidal zone*1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hardwick-Witman, Morgan N.

    1986-03-01

    An aerial photographic survey was conducted using an ultralight aircraft to assess both the extent and the directionality of ice rafted salt marsh pear in a northern New England salt marsh. To address the extent of ice rafting, a map was constructed from aerial photographs to determine the number, area and percentage of the tidal flat covered by accumulated ice rafted peat islands. Seven percent of the tidal flat or 117·4 m 2 of the salt marsh embayment was covered by 202 transported peat islands. To address the direction of ice rafting, an ice tagging experiment tested the hypothesis that salt marsh peat is transported from the high to the low intertidal. Eighty-eight percent of the recovered ice rafted peat islands were transported to lower intertidal elevations. Thus, the ice rafting process is an important physical disturbance in this north temperate salt marsh and has the potential to impact the salt marsh peat community.

  7. Differentiating salt marsh species using foreground/background analysis

    SciTech Connect

    Zhang, M.; Pinzon, J.; Ustin, S.L.; Rejmankova, E.

    1996-10-01

    Three California salt marsh plant species have distinctive morphologies that could be remotely sensed by airborne spectrometers because the architectures create differences in canopy reflectance characteristics. This paper presents a method to differentiate wetland species using a modified spectral mixture analysis termed hierarchical foreground and background analysis (HFBA). To validate this approach, the method was applied to field spectral data from several salt marshes. Foreground and background analysis allows the user to direct analysis along a specified axis of variance by identifying vectors through the n-dimensional spectral volume by identifying vectors that comprise the information of selected subset of spectra which emphasizes the presence of a discriminative signature of interest. The goal of FBA is to project spectral variation along the most relevant axis of variance that maximizes spectral differences between groups, while minimizing spectral variation within each group. For this work, we selected a training set that allowed us to create HFBA vectors which efficiently discriminate species based on canopy spectral characteristics. Results indicated that the dominant species in these salts marshes could be clearly differentiated with greater than 90% certainty from field collected canopy spectrometer data. Hundred percent of Spartina and 79% of Salicornia were correctly classified at the first level of classification. The accuracy of classification for Salicornia improved to 87% in the second level of classification. The unclassified spectral samples were related to extraordinary conditions within the wetlands such as extreme biomass, salinity and nitrogen conditions. These patterns were apparent in AVIRIS (Airborne Visible/infrared Imaging Spectrometer) images which showed distinct zonation corresponding to the distributions of these species in the marsh. Results were confirmed by field reconnaissance. 19 refs., 3 figs., 4 tabs.

  8. Mercury Speciation, Retention and Genomics in Fertilized Salt Marsh Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collins, C. W.; Lamborg, C. H.; Whalen, K.; Mincer, T.; Buchanan, W.; Huber, J. A.; Swarr, G.; Ganguli, P. M.; Bernhard, A.

    2014-12-01

    Recent studies have demonstrated that increased nutrient loading and eutrophication can impact the production of monomethylmercury (MMHg) in marine systems. Experimental plots in Great Sippewisset Marsh (GSM), Falmouth, Massachusetts USA, have been chronically treated with a mixed fertilizer during the growing season since 1971, providing nutrients and other elements, including mercury (Hg) to the salt marsh. To assess the retention, release and methylation of Hg in these marsh sediments in response to fertilization, we collected cores from control, low, high, and extra high fertilization plots across low and high marsh settings. We determined total mercury (HgT) and MMHg concentration and accumulation rates and compared them to those of atmospheric deposition and the loading from the mixed fertilizer. Environmental DNA was extracted from the core sub-samples and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect three genes of interest: merA (Hg(II) reducing), hgcA (Hg(II) methylating) and dsrAB (dissimilatory sulfite reduction). Quantitative PCR (qPCR) will be performed in order to overlay the abundance and diversity of the three genes to the Hg profiles and speciation metadata. By comparing the genomic data to the geochemical patterns within the treatment plots we can develop a greater sense of how Hg cycling has changed as a result of fertilization and the overall response of GSM to long-term nutrient loading.

  9. Salt marsh hydrology data web site facilitates research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gardner, L. R.; Reeves, H. W.

    The interface between maritime forests and inter-tidal salt marshes along the southeastern coast of the United States is a major ecological boundary characterized by a sequence of botanical zones that typically consist of pine/ oak forest>Iva>Juncus>Salicornia>Spartina. In addition to questions regarding the physical and chemical factors that govern this ecotone, this interface is of interest because of the potential for groundwater flow to transfer nutrients and pollutants from developed uplands to the adjacent marshes. The interface is also of interest because it is presumably migrating upslope as a result of ongoing sea level rise and concomitant aquifer salinization.A new Web site, http://links.baruch.sc.edu/data/GRNDWATER/data/data.htm, contains long-term and spatially dense measurements of groundwater heads and salinity from a network of nested piezometers that has been installed along three forest-marsh transects across the Crab Haul Creek finger marsh basin at the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Georgetown County South Carolina (Figure 1).

  10. Consequences of climate change, eutrophication, and other anthropogenic impacts to coastal salt marshes: multiple stressors reduce resiliency and sustainability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watson, E. B.; Wigand, C.; Nelson, J.; Davey, E.; Van Dyke, E.; Wasson, K.

    2011-12-01

    Coastal salt marshes provide a wide variety of ecosystem services, including habitat for protected vertebrates and ecologically valuable invertebrate fauna, flood protection, and improvements in water quality for adjacent marine and estuarine environments. Here, we consider the impacts of future sea level rise combined with other anthropogenic stressors to salt marsh sustainability through the implementation of field and laboratory mesocosms, manipulative experiments, correlative studies, and predictive modeling conducted in central California and southern New England salt marshes. We report on measurements of soil respiration, decomposition, sediment accumulation, and marsh elevation, which considered jointly suggest an association between nitrate input and marsh elevation loss resulting from mineralization of soil organic matter. Furthermore, use of imaging techniques (CT scans) has shown differences in belowground root and rhizome structure associated with fertilization, resulting in a loss of sediment cohesion promoted by fine root structure. Additionally, field and greenhouse mesocosm experiments have provided insight into the specific biogeochemical processes responsible for plant mortality at high immersion or salinity levels. In conclusion, we have found that poor water quality (i.e. eutrophication) leads to enhanced respiration and decomposition of soil organic matter, which ultimately contributes to a loss of salt marsh sustainability. However, marsh deterioration studied at field sites (Jamaica Bay, NY and Elkhorn Slough, CA) is associated not only with enhanced nutrient loads, but also increased immersion due to tidal range increases resulting from dredging. To ensure the continuation of the ecosystem services provided by tidal wetlands and to develop sustainable management strategies that provide favorable outcomes under a variety of future sea level rise and land use scenarios, we need to develop a better understanding of the relative impacts of the various stressors leading to salt marsh loss. Without this understanding, costly remediation may unintentionally lead to continued marsh deterioration. More research is needed to carefully document the positive and negative aspects of nutrient loading to coastal marsh sustainability in order to ensure that coastal watersheds are managed in a way that minimizes detrimental impacts to adjacent coastal habitats, while not interfering unnecessarily with important and needed public interest activities such as agriculture and wastewater discharge.

  11. Temperate mangrove and salt marsh sediments are a small methane and nitrous oxide source but important carbon store

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Livesley, Stephen J.; Andrusiak, Sascha M.

    2012-01-01

    Tidal saline wetlands (TSW), such as mangrove and salt marsh systems, provide many valuable ecosystem services, but continue to suffer disturbance, degradation and deforestation. Tropical mangroves perform a critical role in the exchange and storage of terrestrial-marine carbon but can function as a source of methane (CH 4) and nitrous oxide (N 2O). However, little is known of biogeochemical processes in temperate mangrove and salt marsh systems in the southern hemisphere. In this study, the soil/sediment exchange of CO 2, CH 4 and N 2O was measured seasonally along a natural transition from melaleuca woodland, salt marsh and into mangroves along the Mornington Peninsula edge of Westernport Bay, Victoria, Australia. Soil/sediment physiochemical properties and sediment C density were measured concurrently. The melaleuca woodland soil was a constant CH 4 sink of approximately -25 ?g C m -2 h -1 but along the transect this rapidly switched to a weak CH 4 source (<5 ?g C m -2 h -1) in the salt marsh which increased further in the mangrove sediments where emissions of up to 375 ?g C m -2 h -1 were measured in summer. Sediment CH 4 exchange correlated with salinity, pneumatophore number and the redox potential of sediment water at depth. All three ecosystems were a small N 2O source of <10 ?g N m -2 h -1. Soil-atmosphere exchange was dominated by CO 2 which showed a significant response according to ecosystem and season along with soil temperature and salinity. Sediment C density was significantly greater in the salt marsh than the mangrove. Salt marsh sediment C density was 168 Mg C ha -1 which is comparable with that measured globally, whereas the mangrove sediment C density of 145 Mg C ha -1 is among the lowest reported. Contrary to global patterns in terrestrial soil C content and salt marsh sediment C content, data from our study indicate that mangrove sediments from a cooler, drier temperate latitude may store less C than mangroves in warmer and wetter tropical latitudes. Understanding both C storage and the greenhouse gas balance of TSWs will help us to better value these vulnerable ecosystems and manage them accordingly.

  12. Distribution of cosmogenic /sup 7/Be in salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Casey, W.H.; Larsen, I.L.; Olsen, C.R.

    1986-04-01

    Two related factors affect the vertical distribution and inventory of /sup 7/Be (53-day half life) in salt marsh sediments: (1) the movement of pore water, and (II) the vegetation. Infiltration of rainwater into unsaturated sediment distributes /sup 7/Be over several centimeters depth without disturbing the sediment fabric. The sediment inventory of /sup 7/Be expected from its atmospheric flux could only be accounted for in vegetated areas where foliage traps /sup 7/Be from rainfall and surface flow. These factors lead to hetero-geneous vertical and lateral distributions of /sup 7/Be throughout the marsh, and may also affect the sediment distribution of the other trace substances, such as /sup 210/Pb, /sup 137/Cs, and heavy metals.

  13. The distribution of cosmogenic 7BE in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Casey, William H.; Larsen, Ingvar L.; Olsen, Curtis R.

    1986-04-01

    Two related factors affect the vertical distribution and inventory of 7Be (53-day half life) in salt marsh sediments: (i) the movement of pore water, and (ii) the presence of vegetation. Infiltration of rainwater into unsaturated sediment distributes 7Be over several centimeters depth without disturbing the sediment fabric. The sediment inventory of 7Be expected from its atmospheric flux could only be accounted for in vegetated areas where foliage traps 7Be from rainfall and surface flow. These factors lead to heterogeneous vertical and lateral distributions of 7Be throughout the marsh, and may also affect the sediment distribution of other trace substances, such as 210Pb, 137Cs, and heavy metals.

  14. Vulnerability of Northeastern U.S. Salt Marshes to Climatic and Anthropogenic Stressors (AGU)

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the Northeastern U.S., salt marsh area is in decline. Habitat change analysis has revealed fragmentation, displacement of high marsh by low marsh species, and ecological drowning, while development of adjacent uplands limits upslope migration. Using inundation experiments, fi...

  15. Man's Impact on the Environment: The Freshwater Marsh as an Ecosystem.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brevard County School Board, Cocoa, FL.

    This teaching guide deals with the ecological composition of a marsh and the ecological effects certain changes might have on a marsh. This study focuses on the fresh water marsh found in the Florida Everglades which can furnish the student with several examples of past, present, and possible future ecological changes which impact this ecosystem.…

  16. Effects of warming and altered precipitation on plant and nutrient dynamics of a New England salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Charles, Heather; Dukes, Jeffrey S

    2009-10-01

    Salt marsh structure and function, and consequently ability to support a range of species and to provide ecosystem services, may be affected by climate change. To better understand how salt marshes will respond to warming and associated shifts in precipitation, we conducted a manipulative experiment in a tidal salt marsh in Massachusetts, USA. We exposed two plant communities (one dominated by Spartina patens-Distichlis spicata and one dominated by short form Spartina alternifora) to five climate manipulations: warming via passive open-topped chambers, doubled precipitation, warming and doubled precipitation, extreme drought via rainout shelter, and ambient conditions. Modest daytime warming increased total aboveground biomass of the S. alterniflora community (24%), but not the S. patens-D. spicata community. Warming also increased maximum stem heights of S. alterniflora (8%), S. patens (8%), and D. spicata (15%). Decomposition was marginally accelerated by warming in the S. alternifora community. Drought markedly increased total biomass of the S. alterniflora community (53%) and live S. patens (69%), perhaps by alleviating waterlogging of sediments. Decomposition was accelerated by increased precipitation and slowed by drought, particularly in the S. patens-D. spicata community. Flowering phenology responded minimally to the treatments, and pore water salinity, sulfide, ammonium, and phosphate concentrations showed no treatment effects in either plant community. Our results suggest that these salt marsh communities may be resilient to modest amounts of warming and large changes in precipitation. If production increases under climate change, marshes will have a greater ability to keep pace with sea-level rise, although an increase in decomposition could offset this. As long as marshes are not inundated by flooding due to sea-level rise, increases in aboveground biomass and stem heights suggest that marshes may continue to export carbon and nutrients to coastal waters and may be able to increase their carbon storage capability by increasing plant growth under future climate conditions. PMID:19831068

  17. Microbial Aldicarb Transformation in Aquifer, Lake, and Salt Marsh Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Kazumi, J.; Capone, D. G.

    1995-01-01

    The microbial transformation of [N-methyl-(sup14)C]aldicarb, a carbamate pesticide, occurred in aquifer, lake, and salt marsh sediments. Microbial degradation of aldicarb took place within 21 days in aquifer sediments from sites previously exposed to aldicarb (Jamesport, Long Island, N.Y.) but did not occur in sediments which were not previously exposed (Connetquot State Park, Long Island, N.Y.). At the Jamesport sites, higher aldicarb transformation rates occurred in deep, anoxic sediments than in shallow, oxic sediments. There was a significant negative relationship (P < 0.05) between transformation rates and ambient dissolved O(inf2) levels. Aldicarb hydrolysis rates in Jamesport sediments were 10- to 1,000-fold lower than rates previously reported for soils. In addition, aldicarb degradation rates were not significantly correlated with measurements of bacterial activity and density previously determined in the same sediments. Substantially higher aldicarb degradation rates were found in anoxic lake and salt marsh than in aquifer sediments. Furthermore, we investigated the anaerobic microbial processes involved in aldicarb transformation by adding organic substrates (acetate, glucose), an alternative electron acceptor (nitrate), and microbial inhibitors (molybdate, 2-bromoethanesulfonic acid) to anoxic aquifer, lake, and salt marsh sediments. The results suggest that a methanogenic consortium was important in aldicarb transformation or in the use of aldicarb-derived products such as methylamine. In addition, microbial aldicarb transformation proceeded via different pathways under oxic and anoxic conditions. In the presence of O(inf2), aldicarb transformation was mainly via an oxidation pathway, while in the absence of O(inf2), degradation took place through a hydrolytic pathway (including the formation of methylamine precursors). Under anoxic conditions, therefore, aldicarb can be transformed by microbial consortia to yield products which can be of direct benefit to natural populations of methanogens present in sediments. PMID:16535090

  18. Salt Marsh as a Coastal Filter for the Oceans: Changes in Function with Experimental Increases in Nitrogen Loading and Sea-Level Rise

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Joanna L.; Zavaleta, Erika S.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marshes are among Earth's most productive ecosystems and provide a number of ecosystem services, including interception of watershed-derived nitrogen (N) before it reaches nearshore oceans. Nitrogen pollution and climate change are two dominant drivers of global-change impacts on ecosystems, yet their interacting effects at the land-sea interface are poorly understood. We addressed how sea-level rise and anthropogenic N additions affect the salt marsh ecosystem process of nitrogen uptake using a field-based, manipulative experiment. We crossed simulated sea-level change and ammonium-nitrate (NH4NO3)-addition treatments in a fully factorial design to examine their potentially interacting effects on emergent marsh plants in a central California estuary. We measured above- and belowground biomass and tissue nutrient concentrations seasonally and found that N-addition had a significant, positive effect on a) aboveground biomass, b) plant tissue N concentrations, c) N stock sequestered in plants, and d) shoot:root ratios in summer. Relative sea-level rise did not significantly affect biomass, with the exception of the most extreme sea-level-rise simulation, in which all plants died by the summer of the second year. Although there was a strong response to N-addition treatments, salt marsh responses varied by season. Our results suggest that in our site at Coyote Marsh, Elkhorn Slough, coastal salt marsh plants serve as a robust N trap and coastal filter; this function is not saturated by high background annual N inputs from upstream agriculture. However, if the marsh is drowned by rising seas, as in our most extreme sea-level rise treatment, marsh plants will no longer provide the ecosystem service of buffering the coastal ocean from eutrophication. PMID:22879873

  19. Loss of ‘Blue Carbon’ from Coastal Salt Marshes Following Habitat Disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Macreadie, Peter I.; Hughes, A. Randall; Kimbro, David L.

    2013-01-01

    Increased recognition of the global importance of salt marshes as ‘blue carbon’ (C) sinks has led to concern that salt marshes could release large amounts of stored C into the atmosphere (as CO2) if they continue undergoing disturbance, thereby accelerating climate change. Empirical evidence of C release following salt marsh habitat loss due to disturbance is rare, yet such information is essential for inclusion of salt marshes in greenhouse gas emission reduction and offset schemes. Here we investigated the stability of salt marsh (Spartinaalterniflora) sediment C levels following seagrass (Thallasiatestudinum) wrack accumulation; a form of disturbance common throughout the world that removes large areas of plant biomass in salt marshes. At our study site (St Joseph Bay, Florida, USA), we recorded 296 patches (7.5 ± 2.3 m2 mean area ± SE) of vegetation loss (aged 3-12 months) in a salt marsh meadow the size of a soccer field (7 275 m2). Within these disturbed patches, levels of organic C in the subsurface zone (1-5 cm depth) were ~30% lower than the surrounding undisturbed meadow. Subsequent analyses showed that the decline in subsurface C levels in disturbed patches was due to loss of below-ground plant (salt marsh) biomass, which otherwise forms the main component of the long-term ‘refractory’ C stock. We conclude that disturbance to salt marsh habitat due to wrack accumulation can cause significant release of below-ground C; which could shift salt marshes from C sinks to C sources, depending on the intensity and scale of disturbance. This mechanism of C release is likely to increase in the future due to sea level rise; which could increase wrack production due to increasing storminess, and will facilitate delivery of wrack into salt marsh zones due to higher and more frequent inundation. PMID:23861964

  20. Loss of 'blue carbon' from coastal salt marshes following habitat disturbance.

    PubMed

    Macreadie, Peter I; Hughes, A Randall; Kimbro, David L

    2013-01-01

    Increased recognition of the global importance of salt marshes as 'blue carbon' (C) sinks has led to concern that salt marshes could release large amounts of stored C into the atmosphere (as CO2) if they continue undergoing disturbance, thereby accelerating climate change. Empirical evidence of C release following salt marsh habitat loss due to disturbance is rare, yet such information is essential for inclusion of salt marshes in greenhouse gas emission reduction and offset schemes. Here we investigated the stability of salt marsh (Spartinaalterniflora) sediment C levels following seagrass (Thallasiatestudinum) wrack accumulation; a form of disturbance common throughout the world that removes large areas of plant biomass in salt marshes. At our study site (St Joseph Bay, Florida, USA), we recorded 296 patches (7.5 ± 2.3 m(2) mean area ± SE) of vegetation loss (aged 3-12 months) in a salt marsh meadow the size of a soccer field (7 275 m(2)). Within these disturbed patches, levels of organic C in the subsurface zone (1-5 cm depth) were ~30% lower than the surrounding undisturbed meadow. Subsequent analyses showed that the decline in subsurface C levels in disturbed patches was due to loss of below-ground plant (salt marsh) biomass, which otherwise forms the main component of the long-term 'refractory' C stock. We conclude that disturbance to salt marsh habitat due to wrack accumulation can cause significant release of below-ground C; which could shift salt marshes from C sinks to C sources, depending on the intensity and scale of disturbance. This mechanism of C release is likely to increase in the future due to sea level rise; which could increase wrack production due to increasing storminess, and will facilitate delivery of wrack into salt marsh zones due to higher and more frequent inundation. PMID:23861964

  1. Topsoil morphology indicates bio-effective redox conditions in Venice salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lang, Friederike; von der Lippe, Moritz; Schimpel, Susanne; Scozzafava-Jaeger, Tiberio; Straub, Wolfgang

    2010-03-01

    Visual traces of iron reduction and oxidation are linked to the redox status of soils and have been used to characterise the quality of agricultural soils. We tested whether this feature could also be used to explain the spatial pattern of the natural vegetation of tidal habitats. If so, an easy assessment of the effect of rising sea level on tidal ecosystems would be possible. Our study was conducted at the salt marshes of the northern lagoon of Venice, which are strongly threatened by erosion and rising sea level and are part of the world heritage "Venice and its lagoon". We analysed the abundance of plant species at 255 sampling points along a land-sea gradient. In addition, we surveyed the redox morphology (presence/absence of red iron oxide mottles in the greyish topsoil horizons) of the soils and the presence of disturbances. We used indicator species analysis, correlation trees and multivariate regression trees to analyse relations between soil properties and plant species distribution. Plant species with known sensitivity to anaerobic conditions (e.g. Halimione portulacoides) were identified as indicators for oxic soils (showing iron oxide mottles within a greyish soil matrix). Plant species that tolerate a low redox potential (e.g. Spartina maritima) were identified as indicators for anoxic soils (greyish matrix without oxide mottles). Correlation trees and multivariate regression trees indicate the dominant role of the redox morphology of the soils in plant species distribution. In addition, the distance from the mainland and the presence of disturbances were identified as tree-splitting variables. The small-scale variation of oxygen availability plays a key role for the biodiversity of salt marsh ecosystems. Our results suggest that the redox morphology of salt marsh soils indicates the plant availability of oxygen. Thus, the consideration of this indicator may enable an understanding of the heterogeneity of biological processes in oxygen-limited systems and may be a sensitive and easy-to-use tool to assess human impacts on salt marsh ecosystems.

  2. Rhizosphere heterogeneity shapes abundance and activity of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in vegetated salt marsh sediments

    PubMed Central

    Thomas, François; Giblin, Anne E.; Cardon, Zoe G.; Sievert, Stefan M.

    2014-01-01

    Salt marshes are highly productive ecosystems hosting an intense sulfur (S) cycle, yet little is known about S-oxidizing microorganisms in these ecosystems. Here, we studied the diversity and transcriptional activity of S-oxidizers in salt marsh sediments colonized by the plant Spartina alterniflora, and assessed variations with sediment depth and small-scale compartments within the rhizosphere. We combined next-generation amplicon sequencing of 16S rDNA and rRNA libraries with phylogenetic analyses of marker genes for two S-oxidation pathways (soxB and rdsrAB). Gene and transcript numbers of soxB and rdsrAB phylotypes were quantified simultaneously, using newly designed (RT)-qPCR assays. We identified a diverse assemblage of S-oxidizers, with Chromatiales and Thiotrichales being dominant. The detection of transcripts from S-oxidizers was mostly confined to the upper 5 cm sediments, following the expected distribution of root biomass. A common pool of species dominated by Gammaproteobacteria transcribed S-oxidation genes across roots, rhizosphere, and surrounding sediment compartments, with rdsrAB transcripts prevailing over soxB. However, the root environment fine-tuned the abundance and transcriptional activity of the S-oxidizing community. In particular, the global transcription of soxB was higher on the roots compared to mix and rhizosphere samples. Furthermore, the contribution of Epsilonproteobacteria-related S-oxidizers tended to increase on Spartina roots compared to surrounding sediments. These data shed light on the under-studied oxidative part of the sulfur cycle in salt marsh sediments and indicate small-scale heterogeneities are important factors shaping abundance and potential activity of S-oxidizers in the rhizosphere. PMID:25009538

  3. Salt marsh vegetation promotes efficient tidal channel networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kearney, W. S.; Fagherazzi, S.

    2014-12-01

    Tidal channel networks mediate the exchange of water, nutrients and sediment between an estuary and marshes and mudflats. Biology feeds back into channel morphodynamics through vegetation's influence on the cohesive strength of channel banks. Understanding the morphology of a tidal channel network is thus essential to understanding both the biological functioning of intertidal ecosystems and the topographic signature of life. A critical measure of the morphology of a channel network is the unchanneled path length, which is characteristic of the efficiency with which a network dissects the marsh platform. However, the processes which control the formation and maintenance of an efficient tidal channel network remain unclear. Here we show that an unvegetated marsh platform (Estero La Ramada, Baja California, Mexico) is dissected by a less efficient channel network than a vegetated one (Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States). The difference in geometric efficiency reflects a difference in the branching and meandering characteristics of the network, characteristics controlled by the density of vegetation on the channel banks. Our results suggest a feedback between network geometry and vegetation, mediated by fluxes of nutrients and salinity through the channel network, maintains the observed network geometries. An efficient network can support a denser vegetation community which stabilizes channel banks, leading to an efficient meandering geometry.

  4. Quantifying vegetation and nekton response to tidal restoration of a New England salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Roman, C.T.; Raposa, K.B.; Adamowicz, S.C.; James-Pirri, M.J.; Catena, J.G.

    2002-01-01

    Tidal flow to salt marshes throughout the northeastern United States is often restricted by roads, dikes, impoundments, and inadequately sized culverts or bridge openings, resulting in altered ecological structure and function. In this study we evaluated the response of vegetation and nekton (fishes and decapod crustaceans) to restoration of full tidal flow to a portion of the Sachuest Point salt marsh, Middletown, Rhode Island. A before, after, control, impact study design was used, including evaluations of the tide-restricted marsh, the same marsh after reintroduction of tidal flow (i.e., tide-restored marsh), and an unrestricted control marsh. Before tidal restoration vegetation of the 3.7-ha tide-restricted marsh was dominated by Phragmites australis and was significantly different from the adjacent 6.3-ha Spartina -dominated unrestricted control marsh (analysis of similarities randomization test, p < 0.001). After one growing season vegetation of the tide-restored marsh had changed from its pre-restoration condition (analysis of similarities randomization test, p < 0.005). Although not similar to the unrestricted control marsh, Spartina patens and S. alterniflora abundance increased and abundance and height of Phragmites significantly declined, suggesting a convergence toward typical New England salt marsh vegetation. Before restoration shallow water habitat (creeks and pools) of the unrestricted control marsh supported a greater density of nekton compared with the tide-restricted marsh (analysis of variance, p < 0.001), but after one season of restored tidal flow nekton density was equivalent. A similar trend was documented for nekton species richness. Nekton density and species richness from marsh surface samples were similar between the tide-restored marsh and unrestricted control marsh. Fundulus heteroclitus and Palaemonetes pugio were the numerically dominant fish and decapod species in all sampled habitats. This study provides an example of a quantitative approach for assessing the response of vegetation and nekton to tidal restoration.

  5. IMPACTS OF NITROGEN LOADING ON SALT MARSH INTEGRITY IN NEW ENGLAND, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marsh habitat integrity is linked with the ability to provide good water quality and high biodiversity. We measured high denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) in ten coastal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (seasonal means ranging from 7,476 - 53,494 kg N-1ha-...

  6. COASTAL SALT MARSH COMMUNITY CHANGE IN NARRAGANSETT BAY IN RESPONSE TO CULTURAL EUTROPHICATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are susceptible to cultural eutrophication, particularly the over-enrichment of nitrogen, because they are often located where surface water and groundwater discharge into estuaries. In this report, the current areal extent of coastal salt marshes in Narrag...

  7. 20 Years of sea-levels, accretion, and vegetation on two Long Island Sound salt marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    The long-term 1939-2013 rate of RSLR (Relative Sea-Level Rise) at the New London, CT tide gauge is ~2.6 mm/yr, near the maximum rate of salt marsh accretion reported in eastern Long Island Sound salt marshes. Consistent with recent literature RSLR at New London has accelerated si...

  8. Relationships Between Watershed Emergy Flow and Coastal New England Salt Marsh Structure, Function, and Condition

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study evaluated the link between watershed activities and salt marsh structure, function, and condition using spatial emergy flow density (areal empower density) in the watershed and field data from 10 tidal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, RI. The field-collected data wer...

  9. Assessing Wildlife Habitat Value of New England Salt Marshes: II. Model Testing and Validation

    EPA Science Inventory

    We test a previously described model to assess the wildlife habitat value of New England salt marshes by comparing modeled habitat values and scores with bird abundance and species richness at sixteen salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island USA. Assessment scores ranged f...

  10. DENITRIFICATION ENZYME ACTIVITY OF FRINGE SALT MARSHES IN NEW ENGLAND (USA)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes are a buffer between the uplands and adjacent coastal waters in New England (USA). With increasing N loads from developed watersheds, salt marshes could play an important role in the water quality maintenance of coastal waters. In this study we examined seaso...

  11. Vulnerability of Rhode Island Salt Marshes to Sea Level Rise and Poor Water Quality

    EPA Science Inventory

    Across the northeastern Unites States, salt marshes are losing ground. Edges are eroding, tidal channel networks are expanding, and new ponds are forming and expanding within salt marshes. This leaves shorelines - and in some cases houses - more vulnerable to nor'easters and tr...

  12. New England salt marsh pools: A quantitative analysis of geomorphic and geographic features

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Adamowicz, S.C.; Roman, C.T.

    2005-01-01

    New England salt marsh pools provide important wildlife habitat and are the object of on-going salt marsh restoration projects; however, they have not been quantified in terms of their basic geomorphic and geographic traits. An examination of 32 ditched and unditched salt marshes from the Connecticut shore of Long Island Sound to southern Maine, USA, revealed that pools from ditched and unditched marshes had similar average sizes of about 200 m2, averaged 29 cm in depth, and were located about 11 m from the nearest tidal flow. Unditched marshes had 3 times the density (13 pools/ha), 2.5 times the pool coverage (83 m pool/km transect), and 4 times the total pool surface area per hectare (913 m2 pool/ha salt marsh) of ditched sites. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that an increasing density of ditches (m ditch/ha salt marsh) was negatively correlated with pool density and total pool surface area per hectare. Creek density was positively correlated with these variables. Thus, it was not the mere presence of drainage channels that were associated with low numbers of pools, but their type (ditch versus creek) and abundance. Tidal range was not correlated with pool density or total pool surface area, while marsh latitude had only a weak relationship to total pool surface area per hectare. Pools should be incorporated into salt marsh restoration planning, and the parameters quantified here may be used as initial design targets.

  13. Ionic alkylleads in salt marsh periwinkles (Littorina irrorata)

    SciTech Connect

    Krishnan, K.; Marshall, W.D.; Hatch, W.I.

    1988-07-01

    Salt marsh periwinkles (Littorina irrorata), from six sites in Maryland and Virginia, were examined to determine ionic alkyllead concentrations and possible alkyllead sources in lower Chesapeake Bay. Different sources of ethylleads and trimethyllead to this species were demonstrated by statistical comparisons of the concentrations of individual analytes from different sites. These comparisons also indicated (1) that environmentally mediated methylation of Pb/sup 2 +/ contributes appreciably to Me/sub 3/Pb/sup +/ concentrations in snails and (2) that the relative concentrations of individual analytes were consistent with an environmental methylation of ethyllead salts. Compared to females, males were characterized by significantly higher concentrations of several of the alkyllead analytes. In addition, an unknown lead-containing compound was present in all samples.

  14. Biogeochemical drivers of phosphatase activity in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Freitas, Joana; Duarte, Bernardo; Caçador, Isabel

    2014-10-01

    Although nitrogen has become a major concern for wetlands scientists dealing with eutrophication problems, phosphorous represents another key element, and consequently its biogeochemical cycling has a crucial role in eutrophication processes. Microbial communities are a central component in trophic dynamics and biogeochemical processes on coastal systems, since most of the processes in sediments are microbial-mediated due to enzymatic action, including the mineralization of organic phosphorus carried out by acid phosphatase activity. In the present work, the authors investigate the biogeochemical sediment drivers that control phosphatase activities. Authors also aim to assess biogeochemical factors' influence on the enzyme-mediated phosphorous cycling processes in salt marshes. Plant rhizosediments and bare sediments were collected and biogeochemical features, including phosphatase activities, inorganic and organic phosphorus contents, humic acids content and pH, were assessed. Acid phosphatase was found to give the highest contribution for total phosphatase activity among the three pH-isoforms present in salt marsh sediments, favored by acid pH in colonized sediments. Humic acids also appear to have an important role inhibiting phosphatase activity. A clear relation of phosphatase activity and inorganic phosphorous was also found. The data presented reinforces the role of phosphatase in phosphorous cycling.

  15. Estimates of future inundation of salt marshes in response to sea-level rise in and around Acadia National Park, Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nielsen, Martha G.; Dudley, Robert W.

    2013-01-01

    Salt marshes are ecosystems that provide many important ecological functions in the Gulf of Maine. The U.S. Geological Survey investigated salt marshes in and around Acadia National Park from Penobscot Bay to the Schoodic Peninsula to map the potential for landward migration of marshes using a static inundation model of a sea-level rise scenario of 60 centimeters (cm; 2 feet). The resulting inundation contours can be used by resource managers to proactively adapt to sea-level rise by identifying and targeting low-lying coastal areas adjacent to salt marshes for conservation or further investigation, and to identify risks to infrastructure in the coastal zone. For this study, the mapping of static inundation was based on digital elevation models derived from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) topographic data collected in October 2010. Land-surveyed control points were used to evaluate the accuracy of the LiDAR data in the study area, yielding a root mean square error of 11.3 cm. An independent accuracy assessment of the LiDAR data specific to salt-marsh land surfaces indicated a root mean square error of 13.3 cm and 95-percent confidence interval of ± 26.0 cm. LiDAR-derived digital elevation models and digital color aerial photography, taken during low tide conditions in 2008, with a pixel resolution of 0.5 meters, were used to identify the highest elevation of the land surface at each salt marsh in the study area. Inundation contours for 60-cm of sea-level rise were delineated above the highest marsh elevation for each marsh. Confidence interval contours (95-percent,± 26.0 cm) were delineated above and below the 60-cm inundation contours, and artificial structures, such as roads and bridges, that may present barriers to salt-marsh migration were mapped. This study delineated 114 salt marshes totaling 340 hectares (ha), ranging in size from 0.11 ha (marshes less than 0.2 ha were mapped only if they were on Acadia National Park property) to 52 ha, with a median size of 1.0 ha. Inundation contours were mapped at 110 salt marshes. Approximately 350 ha of low-lying upland areas adjacent to these marshes will be inundated with 60 cm of sea-level rise. Many of these areas are currently freshwater wetlands. There are potential barriers to marsh migration at 27 of the 114 marshes. Although only 23 percent of the salt marshes in the study are on ANP property, about half of the upland areas that will be inundated are within ANP; most of the predicted inundated uplands (approximately 170 ha) include freshwater wetlands in the Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh areas. Most of the salt marshes analyzed do not have a significant amount of upland area available for migration. Seventy-five percent of the salt marshes have 20 meters or less of adjacent upland that would be inundated along most of their edges. All inundation contours, salt marsh locations, potential barriers, and survey data are stored in geospatial files for use in a geographic information system and are a part of this report.

  16. Heavily Oiled Salt Marsh following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Ecological Comparisons of Shoreline Cleanup Treatments and Recovery.

    PubMed

    Zengel, Scott; Bernik, Brittany M; Rutherford, Nicolle; Nixon, Zachary; Michel, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected hundreds of kilometers of coastal wetland shorelines, including salt marshes with persistent heavy oiling that required intensive shoreline "cleanup" treatment. Oiled marsh treatment involves a delicate balance among: removing oil, speeding the degradation of remaining oil, protecting wildlife, fostering habitat recovery, and not causing further ecological damage with treatment. To examine the effectiveness and ecological effects of treatment during the emergency response, oiling characteristics and ecological parameters were compared over two years among heavily oiled test plots subject to: manual treatment, mechanical treatment, natural recovery (no treatment, oiled control), as well as adjacent reference conditions. An additional experiment compared areas with and without vegetation planting following treatment. Negative effects of persistent heavy oiling on marsh vegetation, intertidal invertebrates, and shoreline erosion were observed. In areas without treatment, oiling conditions and negative effects for most marsh parameters did not considerably improve over two years. Both manual and mechanical treatment were effective at improving oiling conditions and vegetation characteristics, beginning the recovery process, though recovery was not complete by two years. Mechanical treatment had additional negative effects of mixing oil into the marsh soils and further accelerating erosion. Manual treatment appeared to strike the right balance between improving oiling and habitat conditions while not causing additional detrimental effects. However, even with these improvements, marsh periwinkle snails showed minimal signs of recovery through two years, suggesting that some ecosystem components may lag vegetation recovery. Planting following treatment quickened vegetation recovery and reduced shoreline erosion. Faced with comparable marsh oiling in the future, we would recommend manual treatment followed by planting. We caution against the use of intensive treatment methods with lesser marsh oiling. Oiled controls (no treatment "set-asides") are essential for judging marsh treatment effectiveness and ecological effects; we recommend their use when applying intensive treatment methods. PMID:26200349

  17. Heavily Oiled Salt Marsh following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Ecological Comparisons of Shoreline Cleanup Treatments and Recovery

    PubMed Central

    Zengel, Scott; Bernik, Brittany M.; Rutherford, Nicolle; Nixon, Zachary; Michel, Jacqueline

    2015-01-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected hundreds of kilometers of coastal wetland shorelines, including salt marshes with persistent heavy oiling that required intensive shoreline “cleanup” treatment. Oiled marsh treatment involves a delicate balance among: removing oil, speeding the degradation of remaining oil, protecting wildlife, fostering habitat recovery, and not causing further ecological damage with treatment. To examine the effectiveness and ecological effects of treatment during the emergency response, oiling characteristics and ecological parameters were compared over two years among heavily oiled test plots subject to: manual treatment, mechanical treatment, natural recovery (no treatment, oiled control), as well as adjacent reference conditions. An additional experiment compared areas with and without vegetation planting following treatment. Negative effects of persistent heavy oiling on marsh vegetation, intertidal invertebrates, and shoreline erosion were observed. In areas without treatment, oiling conditions and negative effects for most marsh parameters did not considerably improve over two years. Both manual and mechanical treatment were effective at improving oiling conditions and vegetation characteristics, beginning the recovery process, though recovery was not complete by two years. Mechanical treatment had additional negative effects of mixing oil into the marsh soils and further accelerating erosion. Manual treatment appeared to strike the right balance between improving oiling and habitat conditions while not causing additional detrimental effects. However, even with these improvements, marsh periwinkle snails showed minimal signs of recovery through two years, suggesting that some ecosystem components may lag vegetation recovery. Planting following treatment quickened vegetation recovery and reduced shoreline erosion. Faced with comparable marsh oiling in the future, we would recommend manual treatment followed by planting. We caution against the use of intensive treatment methods with lesser marsh oiling. Oiled controls (no treatment “set-asides”) are essential for judging marsh treatment effectiveness and ecological effects; we recommend their use when applying intensive treatment methods. PMID:26200349

  18. Influence of Spartina alterniflora on the mobility of heavy metals in salt marsh sediments of the Yangtze River Estuary, China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yongjie; Zhou, Limin; Zheng, Xiangmin; Qian, Peng; Wu, Yonghong

    2013-03-01

    Using bio-disturbed sulphide to trace the mobility and transformation of Cu, Pb, Ni and Zn in the sediments of the Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh in the Yangtze River Estuary, measurements were made of the seasonal variations of acid-volatile sulphide (AVS) and of the simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) in the rhizosphere sediments. Microcosm incubation experiments recreating flooding conditions were conducted to evaluate the effect of AVS and other metal binding phases upon the dynamics of Cu, Pb, Ni and Zn in the salt marsh sediments. The results demonstrate that the ratio values of SEM/AVS have a significant seasonal variation in the rhizosphere sediments and that the anoxic conditions in the sediments were likely enhanced by S. alterniflora during the summer and autumn compared with the anoxic conditions resulting from the native species Phragmites australis and Scirpus mariqueter. The incubation experiments suggest that Fe(III) and Mn(IV/III) (hydr)oxides provide important binding sites for heavy metals under oxic conditions, and sulphide provides important binding sites for the Cu and Pb under anoxic conditions. Our observations indicate that the mobility of heavy metals in the salt marsh sediments is strongly influenced by biogeochemical redox processes and that the invasive S. alterniflora may increase the seasonal fluctuation in heavy metal bioavailability in the salt marsh ecosystem. PMID:22821343

  19. Comparison of wetland structural characteristics between created and natural salt marshes in southwest Louisiana, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Edwards, K.R.; Proffitt, C.E.

    2003-01-01

    The use of dredge material is a well-known technique for creating or restoring salt marshes that is expected to become more common along the Gulf of Mexico coast in the future. However, the effectiveness of this restoration method is still questioned. Wetland structural characteristics were compared between four created and three natural salt marshes in southwest Louisiana, USA. The created marshes, formed by the pumping of dredge material into formerly open water areas, represent a chronosequence, ranging in age from 3 to 19 years. Vegetation and soil structural factors were compared to determine whether the created marshes become more similar over time to the natural salt marshes. Vegetation surveys were conducted in 1997, 2000, and 2002 using the line-intercept technique. Site elevations were measured in 2000. Organic matter (OM) was measured in 1996 and 2002, while bulk density and soil particle-size distribution were determined in 2002 only. The natural marshes were dominated by Spartina alterniflora, as were the oldest created marshes; these marshes had the lowest mean site elevations ( 35 cm NGVD) and became dominated by high marsh (S. patens, Distichlis spicata) and shrub (Baccharis halimifolia, Iva frutescens) species. The higher elevation marsh seems to be following a different plant successional trajectory than the other marshes, indicating a relationship between marsh elevation and species composition. The soils in both the created and natural marshes contain high levels of clays (30-65 %), with sand comprising < 1 % of the soil distribution. OM was significantly greater and bulk density significantly lower in two of the natural marshes when compared to the created marshes. The oldest created marsh had significantly greater OM than the younger created marshes, but it may still take several decades before equivalency is reached with the natural marshes. Vegetation structural characteristics in the created marshes take only a few years to become similar to those in the natural marshes, just so long as the marshes are formed at a proper elevation. This agrees with other studies from North Carolina and Texas. However, it will take several decades for the soil characteristics to reach equivalency with the natural marshes, if they ever will.

  20. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes.

    PubMed

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans. PMID:26699461

  1. A linear relationship between wave power and erosion determines salt-marsh resilience to violent storms and hurricanes

    PubMed Central

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Ganju, Neil K.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh losses have been documented worldwide because of land use change, wave erosion, and sea-level rise. It is still unclear how resistant salt marshes are to extreme storms and whether they can survive multiple events without collapsing. Based on a large dataset of salt marsh lateral erosion rates collected around the world, here, we determine the general response of salt marsh boundaries to wave action under normal and extreme weather conditions. As wave energy increases, salt marsh response to wind waves remains linear, and there is not a critical threshold in wave energy above which salt marsh erosion drastically accelerates. We apply our general formulation for salt marsh erosion to historical wave climates at eight salt marsh locations affected by hurricanes in the United States. Based on the analysis of two decades of data, we find that violent storms and hurricanes contribute less than 1% to long-term salt marsh erosion rates. In contrast, moderate storms with a return period of 2.5 mo are those causing the most salt marsh deterioration. Therefore, salt marshes seem more susceptible to variations in mean wave energy rather than changes in the extremes. The intrinsic resistance of salt marshes to violent storms and their predictable erosion rates during moderate events should be taken into account by coastal managers in restoration projects and risk management plans. PMID:26699461

  2. Seasonal habitat-use patterns of nekton in a tide-restricted and unrestricted New England salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Raposa, K.B.; Roman, C.T.

    2001-01-01

    Many New England salt marshes remain tide-restricted or are undergoing tidal restoration. Hydrologic manipulation of salt marshes affects marsh biogeochemistry and vegetation patterns, but responses by fishes and decapod crustaceans (nekton) remain unclear, This study examines nekton habitat-use patterns in the tide-restricted Hatches Harbor salt marsh (Provincetown, Massachusetts) relative to a downstream, unrestricted marsh. Nekton assemblages were sampled in tidal creek, marsh pool, and salt marsh surface habitats. Pools and creeks were sampled every two weeks for one year to account for seasonal variability, and the marsh surface was sampled at two-week intervals in summer and fall. Density, richness, and community composition of nekton in creek and marsh surface habitats were similar between the unrestricted and restricted marsh, but use of pools differed drastically on the two sides of the tide-restricting dike. In 95% of the cases tested, restricted marsh habitats provided equal or greater habitat value for nekton than the same habitat in the unrestricted marsh (based on density), suggesting that the restricted marsh did not provide a degraded habitat for most species. For some species, the restricted marsh provided nursery, breeding, and overwintering habitat during different seasons, and tidal restoration of this salt marsh must be approached with care to prevent losses of these valuable marsh functions.

  3. Salt Marsh Sediment Mixing Following Petroleum Hydrocarbon Exposure from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hatch, R. S.; Yeager, K. M.; Brunner, C. A.; Wade, T. L.; Briggs, K. B.; Schindler, K. J.

    2013-12-01

    Tidal marshes support valuable ecosystems, but their coastal locations make them susceptible to oil spills. Oil spilled in the ocean is easily transported via tidal and wind-driven currents to the shore and incorporated into sediments. The primary goal of this research was to determine how deeply oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill has penetrated sediments along the Gulf Coast, and whether oil has quantifiably affected benthic ecosystems at these sites. Sediment cores were taken from three marsh environments at sites classified as unoiled, lightly oiled, and heavily oiled based on data from NOAA's Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA). These classifications have been verified by measurements of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ([TPAH] without perylene). Bioturbators, such as polychaetes and oligochaetes, constantly rework sediments as they burrow into them. In this way, bioturbators can play a role in the fate of organic contaminants, either by allowing for natural remediation of contaminants via enhanced microbial degradation, or by mixing oil from the surface deeper into the sediment column. The constant fallout radionuclide 7Be was measured to determine short-term sediment mixing depths. However, there was a conspicuous absence of 7Be at most sites. This could be due to sediment composition constraints on 7Be sorption (coarse-grained sediment, high organic matter contents), or rapid erosion of the marsh surface. Instead, minimum mixing depths were derived from 234Thxs profiles. Thorium-234 is a lithogenic isotope that has widely been used to trace particle mixing on short time scales near that of its mean life (36 days). Penetration depths of 234Thxs ranged between 0.25 and 4.5 cm. Sediment accumulation rates will be determined using 210Pb, with verification from an independent tracer, 137Cs, in selected cores. Preliminary results from 210Pb profiles reveal thorough, long-term (decadal) sediment mixing to at least 40 cm at all sites. Salt marsh sediments of Bay Jimmy, Louisiana were significantly impacted by the DWH oil spill, as indicated by TPAH concentrations up to 18,279 ppb. This is not only well above what is considered to be the upper limit background for this area (1,500 ppb), but also far exceeds the level at which adverse biological effects occur (Effects Range-Low = 4,022 ppb). In addition, benthic foraminifera responded to the heavy oiling at Bay Jimmy by decreases to both standing stock and depth of habitation relative to unoiled sites. Deformed specimens were also found at this site. These data clearly show that oil can be quickly incorporated into salt marsh sediments via mixing, with demonstrable impacts on indigenous benthos.

  4. Sulfur isotope ratios as evidence of dissolved sulfur uptake by salt marsh cordgrass. [Spartina alterniflora

    SciTech Connect

    Carlson, P.R. Jr.; Forrest, J.

    1985-06-01

    The difference in stable sulfur isotope ratios of sulfate and sulfide in marsh porewater was used to verify the uptake of hydrogen sulfide by the salt marsh cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora, in North Carlina salt marsh. Most of the plant sulfur derived from porewater sulfide was recovered as sulfate indicating that the sulfide had been oxidized within the plant. The analysis of sulfur isotope ratios of other marsh halophytes is suggested as a technique to determine whether sulfide is taken up by plants. 15 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  5. Consumer trait variation influences tritrophic interactions in salt marsh communities

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Anne Randall; Hanley, Torrance C; Orozco, Nohelia P; Zerebecki, Robyn A

    2015-01-01

    The importance of intraspecific variation has emerged as a key question in community ecology, helping to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution. Although much of this work has focused on plant species, recent syntheses have highlighted the prevalence and potential importance of morphological, behavioral, and life history variation within animals for ecological and evolutionary processes. Many small-bodied consumers live on the plant that they consume, often resulting in host plant-associated trait variation within and across consumer species. Given the central position of consumer species within tritrophic food webs, such consumer trait variation may play a particularly important role in mediating trophic dynamics, including trophic cascades. In this study, we used a series of field surveys and laboratory experiments to document intraspecific trait variation in a key consumer species, the marsh periwinkle Littoraria irrorata, based on its host plant species (Spartina alterniflora or Juncus roemerianus) in a mixed species assemblage. We then conducted a 12-week mesocosm experiment to examine the effects of Littoraria trait variation on plant community structure and dynamics in a tritrophic salt marsh food web. Littoraria from different host plant species varied across a suite of morphological and behavioral traits. These consumer trait differences interacted with plant community composition and predator presence to affect overall plant stem height, as well as differentially alter the density and biomass of the two key plant species in this system. Whether due to genetic differences or phenotypic plasticity, trait differences between consumer types had significant ecological consequences for the tritrophic marsh food web over seasonal time scales. By altering the cascading effects of the top predator on plant community structure and dynamics, consumer differences may generate a feedback over longer time scales, which in turn influences the degree of trait divergence in subsequent consumer populations. PMID:26257878

  6. Consumer trait variation influences tritrophic interactions in salt marsh communities.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Anne Randall; Hanley, Torrance C; Orozco, Nohelia P; Zerebecki, Robyn A

    2015-07-01

    The importance of intraspecific variation has emerged as a key question in community ecology, helping to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution. Although much of this work has focused on plant species, recent syntheses have highlighted the prevalence and potential importance of morphological, behavioral, and life history variation within animals for ecological and evolutionary processes. Many small-bodied consumers live on the plant that they consume, often resulting in host plant-associated trait variation within and across consumer species. Given the central position of consumer species within tritrophic food webs, such consumer trait variation may play a particularly important role in mediating trophic dynamics, including trophic cascades. In this study, we used a series of field surveys and laboratory experiments to document intraspecific trait variation in a key consumer species, the marsh periwinkle Littoraria irrorata, based on its host plant species (Spartina alterniflora or Juncus roemerianus) in a mixed species assemblage. We then conducted a 12-week mesocosm experiment to examine the effects of Littoraria trait variation on plant community structure and dynamics in a tritrophic salt marsh food web. Littoraria from different host plant species varied across a suite of morphological and behavioral traits. These consumer trait differences interacted with plant community composition and predator presence to affect overall plant stem height, as well as differentially alter the density and biomass of the two key plant species in this system. Whether due to genetic differences or phenotypic plasticity, trait differences between consumer types had significant ecological consequences for the tritrophic marsh food web over seasonal time scales. By altering the cascading effects of the top predator on plant community structure and dynamics, consumer differences may generate a feedback over longer time scales, which in turn influences the degree of trait divergence in subsequent consumer populations. PMID:26257878

  7. Geophysical and stratigraphic analysis of a southeastern salt marsh, North Inlet, SC

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montane, Juana Maria

    Salt marshes are recognized as among the most dynamic, productive and important ecosystems today. This study presents new evidence of a low sea level stand within the North Inlet-Winyah Bay salt marsh system on the South Carolina coast between 4000-6500 yrs BP as well as the first use of high-resolution seismic reflection surveys to map the surficial and sub-bottom geology of this dynamic system. Facies maps based on sediment stratigraphy, lead-210 analyses and radiocarbon dates show the direct impact of sea level on the formation, evolution and stability of a low gradient saltmarsh system. Parallel to this geological investigation, an evaluation was conducted of Lidar (Light Detecting and Ranging) topographic data accuracy against a statistically representative array of Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS data on the marsh platform. Although airborne Lidar is able to measure micro-topographic features in difficult settings rapidly and accurately, Lidar data were found to overestimate the RTK GPS topographic data by an overall average of 7 cm. Additionally, these data showed little effect from the dominant macrophyte vegetation within the Lidar footprint. From this evaluation, 7 cm appears to be an appropriate vertical adjustment factor for using Lidar data in low gradient salt marshes. However, local ground control will continue to be crucial in studies of intertidal environments incorporating airborne laser data collection. Reflection surfaces were recorded from the channel bottom to as deep as 25 m below surface. These data were acquired utilizing innovative methodology to investigate the unconsolidated sedimentary lensc from a floating platform. Isopach surfaces derived from interpreted horizons and the present day surface including the RTK GPS/Lidar topographic assessment illustrate quantitatively the spatial and temporal residual control paleo-surfaces have on their latter counterparts. Analysis of these data reveal the integral role that antecedent geology and subsurface topography has played in the area's geomorphological evolution. By defining the shallow-subsurface geologic framework, we hope to provide a foundation for future process-orientated and modeling studies of the evolution of coastal marshes.

  8. Geochemical Evidence of Cryptic Sulfur Cycling in Salt Marsh Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mills, J. V.; Antler, G.; Turchyn, A. V.

    2014-12-01

    In modern marine and marginal marine sediments, bacterial sulfate reduction dominates the subsurface oxidation of organic carbon due to the abundance of sulfate in many surface environments. While bacterial sulfate reduction may control anaerobic organic carbon oxidation, there is increasing evidence that iron redox chemistry may be intimately linked to sulfur redox chemistry in the anoxic subsurface, with iron species acting as catalysts or electron shuttles for the microbial use of sulfur, and vice versa. We use stable isotope and geochemical techniques to explore the coupling of the iron and sulfur cycles in salt marsh sediments in North Norfolk, UK. Unique among previously studied environments, these sediments contain high concentrations of both sulfate (20-40mM) and ferrous iron (1-3mM). High ferrous iron concentrations require extended regions of bacterial iron reduction. Within these zones of iron reduction we would predict no sulfate reduction, and lack of change in sulfur isotopes and no loss of sulfate suggest that there is no net sulfate reduction in this zone. However, coincident with the increase in ferrous iron concentrations, the δ18Osulfate exhibits significant increases of up to 5‰. The decoupling of the sulfur and oxygen isotopes of sulfate is suggestive of a cryptic sulfur cycle in which sulfate is reduced to an intermediate valence state sulfur species and subsequently reoxidized to sulfate; this cycle must by quasi-quantitative to produce the suite of geochemical observations. We further explore the nature of this cycling through a series of batch reactor incubation experiments. When sediments are incubated in 18O-enriched water, significant shifts (>15‰) in the δ18Osulfate are observed with no corresponding shift in sulfur isotopes. This provides direct evidence that microbial assemblages in these salt marsh sediments facilitate a cryptic cycling of sulfur, potentially mediated by iron species in the zone of iron reduction. We contrast this with incubations where labile organic carbon is added; in these incubations sulfate is depleted within one month and methane is produced. We suggest that the cryptic iron-sulfur cycle observed could play a part in keeping these salt marsh sediments poised at iron reduction and thus prevent these vast areas from becoming sources of methane.

  9. Relationships between sedimentation, plant species, and the proximity to tidal channels in coastal salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mudd, S. M.; Howell, S. M.; Furbish, D. J.; Morris, J. T.

    2006-12-01

    Deposition of sediment on vegetated salt marshes enables these marshes to maintain their elevation relative to rising sea level. It has been found that deposition rates of suspended sediment on vegetated salt marshes are highest near tidal channels. This is due to the reduction in turbulence as flows from the tidal channel encounter the stems of the macrophytes that live on the marsh. Despite the presence of levees along some tidal channels, many marsh surfaces paradoxically slope gently upward away from tidal creeks, despite the reduction of deposition of suspended sediment distal from the salt marsh creek. We explore the effect of different marsh species on deposition rates in order to explain this apparent paradox. In the Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, Spartina alterniflora tends to grow at low elevations near tidal channels, whereas Juncus roemerianus occupies higher elevations distal from the tidal channels. Juncus roemerianus tends to have greater biomass and stem density; this causes it to be more effective at trapping suspended sediment, and may lead Juncus roemerianus to have a higher rate of organogenic sedimentation compared to Spartina alterniflora. We explore how these two effects may allow the portion of the marsh populated by Juncus roemerianus to remain at a higher elevation than the portion of the marsh occupied by Spartina alterniflora, despite the greater rate of deposition due to the settling of suspended sediment in portions of the marsh near the tidal channels.

  10. Rapid shoreward encroachment of salt marsh cordgrass in response to accelerated sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    Donnelly, J P; Bertness, M D

    2001-12-01

    The distribution of New England salt marsh communities is intrinsically linked to the magnitude, frequency, and duration of tidal inundation. Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) exclusively inhabits the frequently flooded lower elevations, whereas a mosaic of marsh hay (Spartina patens), spike grass (Distichlis spicata), and black rush (Juncus gerardi) typically dominate higher elevations. Monitoring plant zonal boundaries in two New England salt marshes revealed that low-marsh cordgrass rapidly moved landward at the expense of higher-marsh species between 1995 and 1998. Plant macrofossils from sediment cores across modern plant community boundaries provided a 2,500-year record of marsh community composition and documented the migration of cordgrass into the high marsh. Isotopic dating revealed that the initiation of cordgrass migration occurred in the late 19th century and continued through the 20th century. The timing of the initiation of cordgrass migration is coincident with an acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise recorded by the New York tide gauge. These results suggest that increased flooding associated with accelerating rates of sea-level rise has stressed high-marsh communities and promoted landward migration of cordgrass. If current rates of sea-level rise continue or increase slightly over the next century, New England salt marshes will be dominated by cordgrass. If climate warming causes sea-level rise rates to increase significantly over the next century, these cordgrass-dominated marshes will likely drown, resulting in extensive losses of coastal wetlands. PMID:11724926

  11. Microbial Indicators of Oil-Rich Salt Marsh Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Hood, M. A.; Bishop, W. S.; Bishop, F. W.; Meyers, S. P.; Whelan, T.

    1975-01-01

    Selected microbial parameters were monitored in sediments from a pristine and an oil-field salt marsh. Although numbers of hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria and fungi were significantly greater in the oil field, the values did not show a strong correlation with levels of hydrocarbons (r = 0.43 and r = 0.49, respectively). However, a high correlation was noted between ratios of hydrocarbonoclastic and total aerobic heterotrophic bacteria and levels of hydrocarbons as well as the relative concentration of hydrocarbons (ratio of hydrocarbons to chloroform extractables) (r = 0.87 and r = 0.77, respectively). Data suggest that this first ratio is a more valid microbial indicator of hydrocarbon abundance than other factors examined. Significant differences in the ratio of pigmented to total colony-forming units, the ratio of different to total colony-forming units, and the diversity index were noted between the natural and oil-field marsh. It is suggested that the presence of hydrocarbons alters the relative abundance of the most predominant aerobic heterotrophic bacteria. PMID:16350047

  12. Acetate concentrations and oxidation in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    Acetate concentrations and rates of acetate oxidation and sulfate reduction were measured in S. alterniflora sediments in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Pore water extracted from cores by squeezing or centrifugation contained in greater than 0.1 mM acetate and, in some instances, greater than 1.0 mM. Pore water sampled nondestructively contained much less acetate, often less than 0.01 mM. Acetate was associated with roots, and concentrations varied with changes in plant physiology. Acetate turnover was very low whether whole core or slurry incubations were used. Radiotracers injected directly into soils yielded rates of sulfate reduction and acetate oxidation not significantly different from core incubation techniques. Regardless of incubation method, acetate oxidation did not account for a substantial percentage of sulfate reduction. These results differ markedly from data for unvegetated coastal sediments where acetate levels are low, oxidation rate constants are high, and acetate oxication rates greatly exceed rates of sulfate reduction. The discrepancy between rates of acetate oxidation and sulfate reduction in these marsh soils may be due either to the utilization of substrates other than acetate by sulfate reducers or artifacts associated with measurements of organic utilization by rhizosphere bacteria. Care must be taken when interpreting data from salt marsh sediments since the release of material from roots during coring may affect the concentrations of certain compounds as well as influencing results obtained when sediment incubations are employed.

  13. Phylogenetic Analysis of Culturable Dimethyl Sulfide-Producing Bacteria from a Spartina-Dominated Salt Marsh and Estuarine Water

    PubMed Central

    Ansede, John H.; Friedman, Robert; Yoch, Duane C.

    2001-01-01

    Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), an abundant osmoprotectant found in marine algae and salt marsh cordgrass, can be metabolized to dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and acrylate by microbes having the enzyme DMSP lyase. A suite of DMS-producing bacteria isolated from a salt marsh and adjacent estuarine water on DMSP agar plates differed markedly from the pelagic strains currently in culture. While many of the salt marsh and estuarine isolates produced DMS and methanethiol from methionine and dimethyl sulfoxide, none appeared to be capable of producing both methanethiol and DMS from DMSP. DMSP, and its degradation products acrylate and β-hydroxypropionate but not methyl-3-mecaptopropionate or 3-mercaptopropionate, served as a carbon source for the growth of all the α- and β- but only some of the γ-proteobacterium isolates. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that all of the isolates were in the group Proteobacteria, with most of them belonging to the α and γ subclasses. Only one isolate was identified as a β-proteobacterium, and it had >98% 16S rRNA sequence homology with a terrestrial species of Alcaligenes faecalis. Although bacterial population analysis based on culturability has its limitations, bacteria from the α and γ subclasses of the Proteobacteria were the dominant DMS producers isolated from salt marsh sediments and estuaries, with the γ subclass representing 80% of the isolates. The α-proteobacterium isolates were all in the Roseobacter subgroup, while many of the γ-proteobacteria were closely related to the pseudomonads; others were phylogenetically related to Marinomonas, Psychrobacter, or Vibrio species. These data suggest that DMSP cleavage to DMS and acrylate is a characteristic widely distributed among different phylotypes in the salt marsh-estuarine ecosystem. PMID:11229912

  14. Season changes of cadmium and copper levels in stem-boring larvae of Agapanthia villosoviridescens (coleoptera) on salt marshes of the Westerschelde estuary

    SciTech Connect

    Hemminga, M.A.; Nieuwenhuize, J.; Poley-Vos, C.H.; van Soelen, J. )

    1989-11-01

    Analyses of heavy metals in insects, including their developmental stages, have been widely used to monitor the penetration of these pollutants in various ecosystems. There are few reports dealing with seasonal changes in heavy metal content of insects. The seasonal pattern found in one herbivorous insect closely followed seasonal trends in metal contamination levels in the local vegetation. No data are available on season changes in insect larvae. To obtain more detailed information on seasonal changes of heavy metal levels in insects and their relation with the seasonally changing conditions in the habitat, the authors studied the time course of cadmium and copper concentrations in larvae of the longhorn beetle Agapanthia villosoviridescens. These live as stem-borers in the salt marsh halophyte Aster tripolium. The authors collected larvae from three salt marshes along the Westerschelde estuary. This estuary is severely polluted by heavy metals originating mainly from upstream sources; a large fraction of these metals is retained within the estuary. The fringing salt marsh soils, which are a sink for trace metals, show a gradient in pollution, with levels of heavy metals generally increasing in upstream direction. Salt marsh halophytes growing on these marshes show uptake of metals from the soil. Further transfers of heavy metals through the natural food chains on these salt marshes have not been investigated sofar.

  15. Lignocellulose-responsive bacteria in a southern California salt marsh identified by stable isotope probing

    PubMed Central

    Darjany, Lindsay E.; Whitcraft, Christine R.; Dillon, Jesse G.

    2014-01-01

    Carbon cycling by microbes has been recognized as the main mechanism of organic matter decomposition and export in coastal wetlands, yet very little is known about the functional diversity of specific groups of decomposers (e.g., bacteria) in salt marsh benthic trophic structure. Indeed, salt marsh sediment bacteria remain largely in a black box in terms of their diversity and functional roles within salt marsh benthic food web pathways. We used DNA stable isotope probing (SIP) utilizing 13C-labeled lignocellulose as a proxy to evaluate the fate of macrophyte-derived carbon in benthic salt marsh bacterial communities. Overall, 146 bacterial species were detected using SIP, of which only 12 lineages were shared between enriched and non-enriched communities. Abundant groups from the 13C-labeled community included Desulfosarcina, Spirochaeta, and Kangiella. This study is the first to use heavy-labeled lignocellulose to identify bacteria responsible for macrophyte carbon utilization in salt marsh sediments and will allow future studies to target specific lineages to elucidate their role in salt marsh carbon cycling and ultimately aid our understanding of the potential of salt marshes to store carbon. PMID:24917856

  16. Lignocellulose-responsive bacteria in a southern California salt marsh identified by stable isotope probing.

    PubMed

    Darjany, Lindsay E; Whitcraft, Christine R; Dillon, Jesse G

    2014-01-01

    Carbon cycling by microbes has been recognized as the main mechanism of organic matter decomposition and export in coastal wetlands, yet very little is known about the functional diversity of specific groups of decomposers (e.g., bacteria) in salt marsh benthic trophic structure. Indeed, salt marsh sediment bacteria remain largely in a black box in terms of their diversity and functional roles within salt marsh benthic food web pathways. We used DNA stable isotope probing (SIP) utilizing (13)C-labeled lignocellulose as a proxy to evaluate the fate of macrophyte-derived carbon in benthic salt marsh bacterial communities. Overall, 146 bacterial species were detected using SIP, of which only 12 lineages were shared between enriched and non-enriched communities. Abundant groups from the (13)C-labeled community included Desulfosarcina, Spirochaeta, and Kangiella. This study is the first to use heavy-labeled lignocellulose to identify bacteria responsible for macrophyte carbon utilization in salt marsh sediments and will allow future studies to target specific lineages to elucidate their role in salt marsh carbon cycling and ultimately aid our understanding of the potential of salt marshes to store carbon. PMID:24917856

  17. The ecology of New England high salt marshes: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Nixon, S.W. . Graduate School of Oceanography)

    1982-03-01

    The high salt marshes of New England have evolved in response to sea-level rises through accretion of sediments entrapped by marsh vegetation. Early theories of marsh development are traced and are reconciled in Redfield's synthesis accounting for marsh growth by aggradation over sand and mud flats as well as by accretion on existing marsh surfaces. The shape and appearance of high marshes result from unique, complex interactions of local topography and bathymetry, sea-level rise, tides, sediment supply and vegetation. These factors, particularly the major influences of tides and short-term changes in sea-level, are incorporated in short-term processes that define and mold the ecology of the high marsh. Short- and long-term mechanisms have produced approximate zonation of vegetation in the high marsh. High marshes are contrasted to Spartina-dominated low marsh in terms of plant and animal species and the relative importance of the dynamics of production, export, decomposition, and accumulation of materials in the sediments. High marshes have been subjected to man's activities since earliest English settlement. This history of New Englanders' impact on this community is traced from their use of marshes as hay fields to depositories of pollutants. Habitat management considerations today include mosquito control and sewage sludge treatment. 154 refs., 29 figs., 14 tabs.

  18. Vulnerability of Northeastern U.S. Salt Marshes to Climatic and Anthropogenic Stressors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watson, E. B.; Oczkowski, A. J.; Hanson, A.; Davey, E. W.; Crosby, S. C.; Johnson, R. L.

    2014-12-01

    In the Northeastern U.S., salt marsh area is in decline. Habitat change analysis has revealed fragmentation, displacement of high marsh by low marsh species, and ecological drowning, while development of adjacent uplands limits upslope migration. Using inundation experiments, field surveys, and LiDAR datasets, we developed an elevation-productivity relationship for Spartina alterniflora specific to the U.S. Northeast states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts and located current salt marsh orthometric heights on this curve. We determined that 89% of salt marshes in these Northeastern states are located at elevations where growth is limited by inundation, suggesting links between current salt marsh loss patterns and sea level rise. By manipulating water column nutrients, precipitation, and elevation, we further found that altered precipitation receipt was associated with significant reductions in biomass, and that nutrient enrichment adversely impacts organic matter accumulation and peat formation. These results provide evidence that Northeastern U.S. marshes are vulnerable to the effects of accelerated sea level rise, and that neither precipitation changes, nor cultural eutrophication, will contribute positively to long-term salt marsh survival.

  19. Distribution patterns of salt marsh vegetation on Parramore Island, Virginia Coast Reserve

    SciTech Connect

    Hegnauer, E.A.; Furman, T. . Dept. of Environmental Sciences)

    1994-03-01

    The Virginia Coast Reserve is a classic example of an estuarine-barrier island complex, and is dominated physiographically by tidal salt marshes. Marsh vegetation includes Spartina alterniflora and patens, Juncus romerianus, Disticlis spicata and Salicornia virginica; these species occur in a random mosaic pattern throughout the salt marsh. Previous work has shown that porewater salinity and flooding frequency control plant distributions at a gross scale (daily tidal inundation versus occasional flooding), but variations in these parameters are extremely subtle in the Parramore marshes. The goal of this research is to document and monitor small-scale physical factors that control spatial distribution of marsh species. The results of this study have serious implications for development of artificial wetlands. Topographic variations on the order of < 10 cm are significant in determining both flooding history and water table salinity, and therefore affect the colonization and growth of marsh plant species dramatically.

  20. Silica uptake by Spartina-evidence of multiple modes of accumulation from salt marshes around the world.

    PubMed

    Carey, Joanna C; Fulweiler, Robinson W

    2014-01-01

    Silicon (Si) plays a critical role in plant functional ecology, protecting plants from multiple environmental stressors. While all terrestrial plants contain some Si, wetland grasses are frequently found to have the highest concentrations, although the mechanisms driving Si accumulation in wetland grasses remain in large part uncertain. For example, active Si accumulation is often assumed to be responsible for elevated Si concentrations found in wetland grasses. However, life stage and differences in Si availability in the surrounding environment also appear to be important variables controlling the Si concentrations of wetland grasses. Here we used original data from five North American salt marshes, as well as all known published literature values, to examine the primary drivers of Si accumulation in Spartina, a genus of prolific salt marsh grasses found worldwide. We found evidence of multiple modes of Si accumulation in Spartina, with passive accumulation observed in non-degraded marshes where Spartina was native, while rejective accumulation was found in regions where Spartina was invasive. Evidence of active accumulation was found in only one marsh where Spartina was native, but was also subjected to nutrient over-enrichment. We developed a conceptual model which hypothesizes that the mode of Si uptake by Spartina is dependent on local environmental factors and genetic origin, supporting the idea that plant species should be placed along a spectrum of Si accumulation. We hypothesize that Spartina exhibits previously unrecognized phenotypic plasticity with regard to Si accumulation, allowing these plants to respond to changes in marsh condition. These results provide new insight regarding how salt marsh ecosystems regulate Si exchange at the land-sea interface. PMID:24904599

  1. Silica uptake by Spartina—evidence of multiple modes of accumulation from salt marshes around the world

    PubMed Central

    Carey, Joanna C.; Fulweiler, Robinson W.

    2014-01-01

    Silicon (Si) plays a critical role in plant functional ecology, protecting plants from multiple environmental stressors. While all terrestrial plants contain some Si, wetland grasses are frequently found to have the highest concentrations, although the mechanisms driving Si accumulation in wetland grasses remain in large part uncertain. For example, active Si accumulation is often assumed to be responsible for elevated Si concentrations found in wetland grasses. However, life stage and differences in Si availability in the surrounding environment also appear to be important variables controlling the Si concentrations of wetland grasses. Here we used original data from five North American salt marshes, as well as all known published literature values, to examine the primary drivers of Si accumulation in Spartina, a genus of prolific salt marsh grasses found worldwide. We found evidence of multiple modes of Si accumulation in Spartina, with passive accumulation observed in non-degraded marshes where Spartina was native, while rejective accumulation was found in regions where Spartina was invasive. Evidence of active accumulation was found in only one marsh where Spartina was native, but was also subjected to nutrient over-enrichment. We developed a conceptual model which hypothesizes that the mode of Si uptake by Spartina is dependent on local environmental factors and genetic origin, supporting the idea that plant species should be placed along a spectrum of Si accumulation. We hypothesize that Spartina exhibits previously unrecognized phenotypic plasticity with regard to Si accumulation, allowing these plants to respond to changes in marsh condition. These results provide new insight regarding how salt marsh ecosystems regulate Si exchange at the land-sea interface. PMID:24904599

  2. A Dynamic Nutrient Budget of Subsystem Interactions in a Salt Marsh Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Childers, Daniel L.; McKellar, Henry N.; Dame, Richard F.; Sklar, Fred H.; Blood, Elizabeth R.

    1993-02-01

    In tidal salt marsh estuaries, the different habitats of the ecosystem interact primarily through the tidal creek water column. These interactions include nutrient and materials exchanges with the salt marsh, oyster reefs, creek bottoms, and adjacent uplands. Nutrient budgets are often used to synthesize these kinds of subsystem exchange data, and are usually based on annual totals without accounting for nutrient variability at finer temporal resolutions. In this paper, we present a dynamic budget of carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) for the North Inlet estuary, South Carolina that synthesizes subsystem flux data in a new way. We have developed a dynamic budget that uses a tidal hydrology model to generate daily areas of inundated intertidal habitat (i.e. vegetated marsh and oyster reef) from tidal heights calculated hourly and combines them with flux data to determine a net daily input to, or removal from, the water column. Daily surpluses or deficits of each nutrient were compared with daily rates of change in observed tidally-averaged nutrient concentrations. Particular emphasis was placed on evaluating budget output from the intertidal subsystems. We compared our total annual budgets to values from syntheses of two North Inlet flux studies. Although areas of marsh inundated were 150-200 times greater than areas of oyster reef inundated, interactions per unit volume of estuarine water column were comparable in magnitude for soluble reactive P (SRP), particulate organic C (POC), and dissolved organic C (DOC). The marsh dominated the ammonium (NH +4) and nitrate + nitrite (NN) exchanges in the summer but the NH +4 and POC output were particularly sensitive to changes in oyster reef area. Winter and spring DOC release by the marsh coincided closely (in timing and magnitude) with the peak in DOC concentrations observed in the North Inlet estuary, suggesting that forest stream inputs of DOC are not nearly as important as has been hypothesized. Comparison of our budget predictions to a previous synthesis of the same subsytem flux data confirmed the power of using tidal hydrology to estimate subsystem interactions between sampling times. These comparisons also emphasized the importance of (1) water column processes to NH +4 dynamics (2) subtidal benthic fluxes to DOC dynamics, and (3) external inputs to NN dynamics. By incorporating our best current knowledge of estuary-wide subsystem areas, the dynamic budget also allowed us to link subsystem flux data to the results of a study quantifying exchanges between the estuary and the coastal ocean. That comparison indicated the shortcomings of any site-specific extrapolation to whole-system conclusions where a homogeneous ecosystem must be assumed. We used the differences between our total annual C, N, and P budgets and reported exports of those constituents from the system to generate hypotheses and suggest future research efforts both at North Inlet and southeastern salt marsh estuaries in general.

  3. Tidal flushing restores the physiological condition of fish residing in degraded salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Dibble, Kimberly L; Meyerson, Laura A

    2012-01-01

    Roads, bridges, and dikes constructed across salt marshes can restrict tidal flow, degrade habitat quality for nekton, and facilitate invasion by non-native plants including Phragmites australis. Introduced P. australis contributes to marsh accretion and eliminates marsh surface pools thereby adversely affecting fish by reducing access to intertidal habitats essential for feeding, reproduction, and refuge. Our study assessed the condition of resident fish populations (Fundulus heteroclitus) at four tidally restricted and four tidally restored marshes in New England invaded by P. australis relative to adjacent reference salt marshes. We used physiological and morphological indicators of fish condition, including proximate body composition (% lipid, % lean dry, % water), recent daily growth rate, age class distributions, parasite prevalence, female gravidity status, length-weight regressions, and a common morphological indicator (Fulton's K) to assess impacts to fish health. We detected a significant increase in the quantity of parasites infecting fish in tidally restricted marshes but not in those where tidal flow was restored to reduce P. australis cover. Using fish length as a covariate, we found that unparasitized, non-gravid F. heteroclitus in tidally restricted marshes had significantly reduced lipid reserves and increased lean dry (structural) mass relative to fish residing in reference marshes. Fish in tidally restored marshes were equivalent across all metrics relative to those in reference marshes indicating that habitat quality was restored via increased tidal flushing. Reference marshes adjacent to tidally restored sites contained the highest abundance of young fish (ages 0-1) while tidally restricted marshes contained the lowest. Results indicate that F. heteroclitus residing in physically and hydrologically altered marshes are at a disadvantage relative to fish in reference marshes but the effects can be reversed through ecological restoration. PMID:23029423

  4. Tidal Flushing Restores the Physiological Condition of Fish Residing in Degraded Salt Marshes

    PubMed Central

    Dibble, Kimberly L.; Meyerson, Laura A.

    2012-01-01

    Roads, bridges, and dikes constructed across salt marshes can restrict tidal flow, degrade habitat quality for nekton, and facilitate invasion by non-native plants including Phragmites australis. Introduced P. australis contributes to marsh accretion and eliminates marsh surface pools thereby adversely affecting fish by reducing access to intertidal habitats essential for feeding, reproduction, and refuge. Our study assessed the condition of resident fish populations (Fundulus heteroclitus) at four tidally restricted and four tidally restored marshes in New England invaded by P. australis relative to adjacent reference salt marshes. We used physiological and morphological indicators of fish condition, including proximate body composition (% lipid, % lean dry, % water), recent daily growth rate, age class distributions, parasite prevalence, female gravidity status, length-weight regressions, and a common morphological indicator (Fulton’s K) to assess impacts to fish health. We detected a significant increase in the quantity of parasites infecting fish in tidally restricted marshes but not in those where tidal flow was restored to reduce P. australis cover. Using fish length as a covariate, we found that unparasitized, non-gravid F. heteroclitus in tidally restricted marshes had significantly reduced lipid reserves and increased lean dry (structural) mass relative to fish residing in reference marshes. Fish in tidally restored marshes were equivalent across all metrics relative to those in reference marshes indicating that habitat quality was restored via increased tidal flushing. Reference marshes adjacent to tidally restored sites contained the highest abundance of young fish (ages 0–1) while tidally restricted marshes contained the lowest. Results indicate that F. heteroclitus residing in physically and hydrologically altered marshes are at a disadvantage relative to fish in reference marshes but the effects can be reversed through ecological restoration. PMID:23029423

  5. Measuring the Role of Ecological Shift and Environmental Change on Organic Carbon Stocks in Salt Marshes and Mangrove Dominated Wetlands from the Texas Gulf Coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norwood, M. J.; Louchouarn, P.; Armitage, A. R.; HighField, W.; Brody, S.; White, N.

    2014-12-01

    Texas coastal wetlands are dynamic marsh-mangrove ecotones that play an important role in fishery recruitment, storm buffering, and carbon storage. Historically, C4 salt marsh plants, such as Spartina alterniflora, have dominated the Texas Gulf Coast. For the past 2-3 decades, some of these ecosystems have experienced community shifts with woody tropical plants (Avicennia germinans) competing for resources. This study presents new results on the carbon sequestration potential following such ecological shifts as well as coastal development and wetland loss along the coast of Texas. The recorded change from native grass-dominated C4 salt marshes to wood-dominated C3 mangroves over the last 20 years (1990-2010: 4,660 km2) leads to a non-significant loss in aboveground organic carbon (OC) stocks (-6.5.106 g OC). The most substantial loss of aboveground OC in Texas coastal salt marshes is due to the transformation of these wetlands into tidal flats and open water (-7.53.108 g OC). Similarly, the largest losses in aboveground OC stocks from mangrove ecosystems (-1.57.107 g OC) are due to replacement by open water. Along with the decrease in aboveground OC stocks, we identified a significant decrease in sedimentary OC inventories due to the loss of salt marsh and mangrove coverage (-3.69.109 g OC and 5.71.107 g OC, respectively). In contrast, mangrove expansion into mudflat and salt marsh environments led to a positive addition in aboveground OC stocks (2.78.108 g OC) and increased OC sedimentary inventories (2.32.109 g OC). Mangrove expansion offsets only 70% of the total calculated OC loss (-4.51.109 g OC) in coastal wetlands along the Texas gulf coast over the 20-year study period. This deficit loss is primarily attributed to environmental pressures on coastal salt marshes (i.e., sea level rise, urban and coastal development, erosion).

  6. Salt Marsh Sediment Biogeochemical Response to the Deep Water Horizon BP Oil Spill (Skiff Island, LA, and Cat Island, Marsh Point, and Salt Pan Island, MS)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guthrie, C. L.; McNeal, K. S.; Mishra, D. R.; Blakeney, G. A.

    2012-12-01

    The large scale impact of the Deep Water Horizon BP Oil Spill on biological communities can be better predicted by developing an understanding of how carbon loading from the spill is affecting the microbial and biological communities of salt marshes along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coast. Sediment biogeochemical processes that degrade enriched carbon pools through sulfate reduction are primarily responsible for the biological breakdown of spilled hydrocarbons (Shin et al., 2000). Determination of sulfide concentration in contaminated areas, therefore, allows for an assessment of the oil spill impact on salt marsh at Skiff Island, LA, and Marsh Point, Cat Island, and Salt Pan Island, MS. As a result of carbon loading, porewater hydrogen sulfide (H2S) concentrations are expected to show an increase in the largely anoxic wetland sediment, making the sediment more toxic and inhospitable to marsh vegetation (Alber et al., 2008). High sulfide levels due to carbon loading in hydrocarbon contaminated salt marshes cause microbial activity to increase at the plant rhizospere, leading to plant browning and die back (Eldridge and Morse 2000). Preliminary analysis of the Marsh Point study area was conducted in Fall 2010. Sediment cores indicated that sulfate reducing bacteria are significantly more active in contaminated sediments, producing sulfide concentrations 20x higher than in non-contaminated sediments. The difference in the sediment biogeochemistry between the contaminated site and non-contaminated site at Marsh Point, MS indicated that the effects of hydrocarbon contamination on sulfur cycling in salt marshes should be more spatially explored. In Fall 2011, the study was expanded to include Skiff Island, LA, and Cat Island, and Salt Pan Island, MS in addition to Marsh Point, MS. Sediment electrode profiles (H2S, O2, pH, and Eh), degree of hydrocarbon contamination (GC), grain size analysis, microbial community substrate level carbon utilization profiles, and total organic carbon results will be presented on these four locations in order to explore the potential sedimentary geochemical processes impacting salt marsh dieback, which may be enhanced as a result of the Deep Water Horizon BP Oil Spill.

  7. Response of salt marsh and mangrove wetlands to changes in atmospheric CO2, climate, and sea-level

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mckee, Karen L.; Rogers, Kerrylee; Saintilan, Neil

    2012-01-01

    Coastal salt marsh and mangrove ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and associated climate and climate-induced changes. We provide a review of the literature detailing theoretical predictions and observed responses of coastal wetlands to a range of climate change stressors, including CO2, temperature, rainfall, and sea-level rise. This review incorporates a discussion of key processes controlling responses in different settings and thresholds of resilience derived from experimental and observational studies. We specifically consider the potential and observed effects on salt marsh and mangrove vegetation of changes in (1) elevated [CO2] on physiology, growth, and distribution; (2) temperature on distribution and diversity; (3) rainfall and salinity regimes on growth and competitive interactions; and (4) sea level on geomorphological, hydrological, and biological processes.

  8. Marine fungal diversity: a comparison of natural and created salt marshes of the north-central Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Walker, Allison K; Campbell, Jinx

    2010-01-01

    Marine fungal communities of created salt marshes of differing ages were compared with those of two reference natural salt marshes. Marine fungi occurring on the lower 30 cm of salt marsh plants Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus were inventoried with morphological and molecular methods (ITS T-RFLP analysis) to determine fungal species richness, relative frequency of occurrence and ascomata density. The resulting profiles revealed similar fungal communities in natural salt marshes and created salt marshes 3 y old and older with a 1.5 y old created marsh showing less fungal colonization. A 26 y old created salt marsh consistently exhibited the highest fungal species richness. Ascomata density of the dominant fungal species on each host was significantly higher in natural marshes than in created marshes at all three sampling dates. This study indicates marine fungal saprotroph communities are present in these manmade coastal salt marshes as early as 1 y after marsh creation. The lower regions of both plant hosts were dominated by a small number of marine ascomycete species consistent with those species previously reported from salt marshes of the East Coast of USA. PMID:20524584

  9. Effects of Tide Stage on the Use of Salt Marshes by Wading Birds in Rhode Island

    EPA Science Inventory

    To determine how tide stage affects wading bird abundance, behavior, and foraging in three Narragansett Bay salt marshes (RI), we conducted surveys at 10-min intervals—across the full tidal range—during six days at each marsh in July/September of 2006. The wading bird community ...

  10. Effects of Tide Stage on the Use of Salt Marshes by Wading Birds in Rhode Island

    EPA Science Inventory

    To determine how tide stage affects wading bird abundance, behavior, and foraging in three Narragansett Bay salt marshes (RI), we conducted surveys at 10-min intervalsacross the full tidal rangeduring six days at each marsh in July/September of 2006. The wading bird community ...

  11. Effects of salinity variations on pore water flow in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, Chengji; Jin, Guangqiu; Xin, Pei; Kong, Jun; Li, Ling

    2015-06-01

    Spatial and temporal salinity variations in surface water and pore water commonly exist in salt marshes under the combined influence of tidal inundation, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and inland freshwater input. Laboratory experiments and numerical simulations were conducted to investigate how density gradients associated with salinity variations affect pore water flow in the salt marsh system. The results showed that upward salinity (density) gradients could lead to flow instability and the formation of salt fingers. These fingers, varying in size with the distance from the creek, modified significantly the pore water flow field, especially in the marsh interior. While the flow instability enhanced local salt transport and mixing considerably, the net effect was small, causing only a slight increase in the overall mass exchange across the marsh surface. In contrast, downward salinity gradients exerted less influence on the pore water flow in the marsh soil and slightly weakened the surface water and groundwater exchange across the marsh surface. Numerical simulations revealed similar density effects on pore water flow at the field scale under realistic conditions. These findings have important implications for studies of marsh soil conditions concerning plant growth as well as nutrient exchange between the marsh and coastal marine system.

  12. Comparison of Bottomless Lift Nets and Breder Traps for Sampling Salt-Marsh Nekton

    EPA Science Inventory

    Vegetated salt-marsh surfaces provide refuge, forage, and spawning habitat for estuarine nekton, yet are threatened by accelerating rates of sea-level rise in southern New England and elsewhere. Nekton responses to ongoing marsh surface changes need to be evaluated with effective...

  13. Northeastern Salt Marshes: Elevation Capital and Resilience to Sea Level Rise

    EPA Science Inventory

    Stable tidal salt marshes exist at an elevation that is supra-optimal relative to peak biomass production, which for Spartina alterniflora, and other marsh macrophytes, follows a parabolic distribution as a function of elevation, as a surrogate for inundation frequency. In order...

  14. Salt marshes. (Latest citations from Oceanic abstracts). Published Search

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-03-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning the environmental protection of coastal marshes. The citations explore the fauna and flora of the marshes, geological and ecological processes, and the effects of marine pollution. Seasonal and environmental variations, the effects of erosion, and stabilization techniques of marshes are also considered. (Contains 250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  15. Test of salt marsh as a site of production and export of fish biomass with implications for impoundment management and restoration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stevens, Philip W.

    2002-01-01

    Salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, and although they are thought to enhance the productivity of open estuarine waters, the mechanism by which energy transfer occurs has been debated for decades. One possible mechanism is the transfer of saltmarsh production to estuarine waters by vagile fishes and invertebrates. Saltmarsh impoundments in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, that have been reconnected to the estuary by culverts provide unique opportunities for studying marsh systems with respect to aquatic communities. The boundaries between salt marshes and the estuary are clearly defined by a system of dikes that confine fishes into a known area, and the exchange of aquatic organisms are restricted to culverts where they may be easily sampled. A multi-gear approach was used monthly to estimate fish standing stock, fish ingress/egress, and predation. Changes in saltmarsh fish abundance, and exchange with the estuary reflected the seasonal pattern of marsh flooding in the xv northern Indian River Lagoon system. During a six month period of marsh flooding, saltmarsh fishes had continuous access to marsh food resources. Piscivorous fishes regularly entered the marsh via creeks and ditches to prey upon marsh fishes, and piscivorous birds aggregated following major fish migrations to the marsh surface or to deep habitats. As water levels receded in winter, saltmarsh fishes concentrated into deep habitats and migration to the estuary ensued. The monthly estimates of fish standing stock, net fish ingress, and predation were used to develop a biomass budget to estimate annual production of fishes and the relative yield to predatory fish, birds, and direct migration to the estuary. Annual production of saltmarsh fishes was estimated to be 17.7 g·m-2 salt marsh, which falls within the range of previously reported values for estuarine fish communities. The relative yields were at least 21% to piscivorous fishes, 14% to piscivorous birds, and 32% to export. Annual export of fish biomass was 5.6 g fish·m-2 salt marsh, representing about 2% of saltmarsh primary production. Saltmarsh fishes convert marsh production to high quality vagile biomass (fishes concentrate energy, protein, and nutrients as body mass) and move this readily useable production to the estuary, providing an efficient link between salt marshes and estuarine predators.

  16. DENITRIFICATION IN FRINGING SALT MARSHES OF NARRAGANSETT BAY, RHODE ISLAND, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the past century, loading of terrestrial inorganic nitrogen to coastal receiving waters has increased dramatically. Salt marshes, because of their location between upland regions and coastal waters and their recognized role as nutrient transformers, have the potential to ameli...

  17. The ecology of regularly flooded salt marshes of New England: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Teal, J.M.

    1986-06-01

    The current state-of-the-art in scientific knowledge about intertidal salt marshes is presented, but restricted to one habitat in New England, specifically Great Sippewissett at Falmouth, Massachusetts. (PSB)

  18. Two New Murals by John Biggers: Salt Marsh and Nubia, Origins of Business and Commerce.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Theisen, Olive Jensen

    2001-01-01

    Provides background information on the life and career of muralist John Biggers. Focuses on two of his murals, offering a description and information about each: (1) "Salt Marsh;" and (2) "Nubia, the Origins of Business and Commerce." (CMK)

  19. Rhode Island Salt Marshes: Elevation Capital and Resilience to Sea Level Rise

    EPA Science Inventory

    Tidal salt marsh is especially sensitive to deterioration due to the effects of accelerated sea level rise when combined with other anthropogenically linked stressors, including crab herbivory, changes in tidal hydrology, nutrient loading, dam construction, changes in temperature...

  20. Biotic interactions mediate the expansion of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) into salt marshes under climate change.

    PubMed

    Guo, Hongyu; Zhang, Yihui; Lan, Zhenjiang; Pennings, Steven C

    2013-09-01

    Many species are expanding their distributions to higher latitudes due to global warming. Understanding the mechanisms underlying these distribution shifts is critical for better understanding the impacts of climate changes. The climate envelope approach is widely used to model and predict species distribution shifts with changing climates. Biotic interactions between species, however, may also influence species distributions, and a better understanding of biotic interactions could improve predictions based solely on climate envelope models. Along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast, USA, subtropical black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) at the northern limit of its distribution grows sympatrically with temperate salt marsh plants in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. In recent decades, freeze-free winters have led to an expansion of black mangrove into salt marshes. We examined how biotic interactions between black mangrove and salt marsh vegetation along the Texas coast varied across (i) a latitudinal gradient (associated with a winter-temperature gradient); (ii) the elevational gradient within each marsh (which creates different marsh habitats); and (iii) different life history stages of black mangroves (seedlings vs. juvenile trees). Each of these variables affected the strength or nature of biotic interactions between black mangrove and salt marsh vegetation: (i) Salt marsh vegetation facilitated black mangrove seedlings at their high-latitude distribution limit, but inhibited black mangrove seedlings at lower latitudes; (ii) mangroves performed well at intermediate elevations, but grew and survived poorly in high- and low-marsh habitats; and (iii) the effect of salt marsh vegetation on black mangroves switched from negative to neutral as black mangroves grew from seedlings into juvenile trees. These results indicate that the expansion of black mangroves is mediated by complex biotic interactions. A better understanding of the impacts of climate change on ecological communities requires incorporating context-dependent biotic interactions into species range models. PMID:23580161

  1. Changes in Connecticut salt-marsh vegetation as revealed by historical aerial photographs and computer-assisted cartographics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Civco, Daniel L.; Kennard, William C.; Lefor, Michael W.

    1986-03-01

    Procedures are discussed for the interpretation of historical aerial photographs for salt-marsh vegetation mapping, as are techniques for computer-assisted analysis of digital vegetation maps. The mappings indicate an increase in the coverage by the low marsh species Spartina alterniflora Loisel. at three marsh sites studied in photographs from the period 1934 1981. It is hypothesized that changes in salt-marsh vegetation may be in response to natural tidal fluctuations or to management practices.

  2. Restoring marsh elevation in a rapidly subsiding salt marsh by thin-layer deposition of dredged material

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ford, M.A.; Cahoon, D.R.; Lynch, J.C.

    1999-01-01

    Thin-layer deposition of dredged material on coastal marsh by means of high-pressure spray dredging (Jet-Spray??2) technology has been proposed as a mechanism to minimize wetland impacts associated with traditional bucket dredging technologies and to restore soil elevations in deteriorated marshes of the Mississippi River delta. The impact of spray dredging on vegetated marsh and adjacent shallow-water habitat (formerly vegetated marsh that deteriorated to open water) was evaluated in a 0.5-ha Spartina alterniflora-dominated salt marsh in coastal Louisiana. The thickness of dredged sediment deposits was determined from artificial soil marker horizons and soil elevation change was determined from sedimentation-erosion tables (SET) established prior to spraying in both sprayed and reference marshes. The vertical accretion and elevation change measurements were made simultaneously to allow for calculation of shallow (~5 m depth) subsidence (accretion minus elevation change). Measurements made immediately following spraying in July 1996 revealed that stems of S. alterniflora were knocked down by the force of the spray and covered with 23 mm of dredged material. Stems of S. alterniflora soon recovered, and by July 1997 the percent cover of S. alterniflora had increased three-fold over pre-project conditions. Thus, the layer of dredged material was thin enough to allow for survival of the S. alterniflora plants, with no subsequent colonization by plant species typical of higher marsh zones. By February 1998, 62 mm of vertical accretion accumulated at this site, and little indication of disturbance was noted. Although not statistically significant, soil elevation change was greater than accretion on average at both the spray and reference marshes, suggesting that subsurface expansion caused by increased root biomass production and/or pore water storage influence elevation in this marsh region. In the adjacent shallow water pond, 129 mm of sediment was deposited in July 1996 as a result of spraying, and despite initial shallow subsidence and continual erosion through February 1998, water bottom elevation was raised sufficiently to allow S. alterniflora to invade via rhizome growth from the adjacent marsh. Hence, thin-layer deposition of dredged material at this site was effective at restoring and maintaining marsh elevation after 1.5 years. However, if the open water sediment deposits are not soon completely stabilized via further vegetative colonization, erosion may eventually lower elevations to the level where emergent vegetation cannot persist.

  3. Salt Marshes as Monitors of Late Holocene Outlet Glacier Retreat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, L. M.; Woodroffe, S.; Long, A. J.; Milne, G. A.

    2014-12-01

    New proxy sea-level records extracted from salt marshes in the vicinity of Jakobshavn Isbrae (Pakitsoq; 69.51°N, 50.74°W) and at previous sites in central western Greenland (Sisimiut; 66.47°N, 53.61°W and Aasiaat; 68.69°N, 52.88°W) are analyzed with respect to their ability to act as proximal tide gauges detecting mass balance changes in nearby outlet glaciers associated with the transition from the Little Ice Age ("LIA", 1400-1850AD) to the Industrial Period (>1850AD). Data at Pakitsoq demonstrate that sea-level rose at a rate of 3.5 ±1.7 mm/yr prior to 1850AD and slowed to 0.3 ±0.6mm/yr thereafter, producing a slowdown in sea level of 3.2 ± 1.8 mm/yr. A similar slowdown, occurring at 1600AD, is observed at Aasiaat and Sisimiut. We interpret these observed changes using a glacial isostatic adjustment model of sea-level change truncated at degree and order 4096, with an aim to determine if the sea-level data can be used to place constraints on changes in Jakobshavn Isbrae and/or Kangiata Nunaata Sermia (Nuuk fjord) during this period. Modelled sea level at Pakitsoq is insensitive to the location of thickening (thinning) associated with grounding line advance (retreat) and the rate of advance and retreat but is sensitive to the change point in time between periods of growth associated with LIA expansion (sea level rise) and the onset of 19th century recession (sea level fall) of Jakobshavn Isbrae. We conclude that the change in sea-level rate observed at Pakitsoq circa 1850AD marks the onset of post LIA retreat of this outlet glacier. Conversely, the modelled sea-level response to the retreat of Kangiata Nunaata Sermia from its LIA maximum at ca. 1761AD is below the detection threshold of the salt marsh record at Sisimiut.

  4. Accumulation and transport of Cd, Cu, and Pb in an estuarine salt marsh surface microlayer

    SciTech Connect

    Lion, L.W.; Leckie, J.O.

    1982-01-01

    Dissolved and particulate Cd, Cu, and Pb were measured in bulk solution and surface microlayer samples from an intertidal salt marsh in south San Francisco Bay. The phase distribution (dissolved vs. particulate) of metals was consistent with their calculated speciation in computer-simulated sea-salt matrices. Trace metal enrichment at the microlayer corresponded with physical events at the sample site. Advective exchange of Cd, Cu, and Pb between the estuary and marsh systems was dominated by transport of bulk suspended particulate metals, with an apparent net export from the marsh to the bay.

  5. What happens to soil organic carbon as coastal marsh ecosystems change in response to increasing salinity? An exploration using ramped pyrolysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, Elizabeth K.; Rosenheim, Brad E.

    2015-07-01

    Coastal wetlands store vast amounts of organic carbon, globally, and are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of anthropogenic sea level rise. To understand the effect of sea level rise on organic carbon fate and preservation in this global sink, it is necessary to characterize differences in the biogeochemical stability of coastal wetland soil organic carbon (SOC). Here we use ramped pyrolysis/oxidation decomposition characteristics as proxies for SOC stability to understand the fate of carbon storage in coastal wetlands comprising the Mississippi River deltaic plain, undergoing rapid rates of local sea level rise. Soils from three wetland types (fresh, brackish, and salt marshes) along a salinity gradient were subjected to ramped pyrolysis analysis to evaluate decomposition characteristics related to thermochemical stability of SOC. At equivalent soil depths, we observed that fresh marsh SOC was more stable than brackish and salt marsh SOC. Depth, isotopic, elemental, and chemical compositions, bulk density, and water content of SOC all exhibited different relationships with SOC stability across the marsh salinity gradient, indicative of different controls on SOC stability within each marsh type. The differences in stability imply stronger preservation potential of fresh marsh soil carbon, compared to that of salt and brackish marshes. Considering projected marsh ecosystem responses to sea level rise, these observed stability differences are important in planning and implementing coastal wetland carbon-focused remediation and improving climate model feedbacks with the carbon cycle. Specifically, our results imply that ecosystem changes associated with sea level rise will initiate the accumulation of less stable carbon in coastal wetlands.

  6. High Frequency Monitoring of the Quantity and Quality of Dissolved Organic Matter Flux Between Salt Marshes and Plum Island Sound, MA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Y.; Raymond, P.

    2012-12-01

    Salt marshes are highly productive continental margin ecosystems, due to abundant solar radiation, water, and nutrients provided by tidal water. The unique bi-directional water movement introduced by tidal effect has a major impact on the formation and productivity of salt marsh and the material exchange between salt marsh and adjacent estuary. As a major term in carbon, energy, and nutrient budget for aquatic ecosystem, dissolved organic matter (DOM) has broad impact on food webs, carbon cycle, and nutrient retention/release. The frequency and period of DOM measurement is greatly increased by the use of reagent-free, low-cost, and reliable measurement with fluorescent and UV sensors measuring the chromophoric fraction of total DOM. Although fluorescent sensors can only measure concentration, UV absorbance in a wide spectral range (200nm-380nm) could potentially provide information on DOM composition. With the help of accurate direct real time water flux measurement and lab analysis of lability, DON, and 3D excitation emission matrix spectroscopy (EEMs), a database of DOM quantity and quality exchanged between several comparative salt marshes and Plum Island Sound, MA could be established to study the dynamics of DOM behavior in the salt marsh-estuary system. Understanding DOM source and fate is very important for evaluating the role of salt marsh in the carbon cycle and food web in coastal and global scale because coastal carbon cycling represents up to 21% of the ocean's primary production (Jahnke 2008). In addition, the approaches outlined in this proposal have broad applicability to study DOM quantity and quality in the material exchange theme between systems.

  7. Native-Invasive Plants vs. Halophytes in Mediterranean Salt Marshes: Stress Tolerance Mechanisms in Two Related Species.

    PubMed

    Al Hassan, Mohamad; Chaura, Juliana; López-Gresa, María P; Borsai, Orsolya; Daniso, Enrico; Donat-Torres, María P; Mayoral, Olga; Vicente, Oscar; Boscaiu, Monica

    2016-01-01

    Dittrichia viscosa is a Mediterranean ruderal species that over the last decades has expanded into new habitats, including coastal salt marshes, ecosystems that are per se fragile and threatened by human activities. To assess the potential risk that this native-invasive species represents for the genuine salt marsh vegetation, we compared its distribution with that of Inula crithmoides, a taxonomically related halophyte, in three salt marshes located in "La Albufera" Natural Park, near the city of Valencia (East Spain). The presence of D. viscosa was restricted to areas of low and moderate salinity, while I. crithmoides was also present in the most saline zones of the salt marshes. Analyses of the responses of the two species to salt and water stress treatments in controlled experiments revealed that both activate the same physiological stress tolerance mechanisms, based essentially on the transport of toxic ions to the leaves-where they are presumably compartmentalized in vacuoles-and the accumulation of specific osmolytes for osmotic adjustment. The two species differ in the efficiency of those mechanisms: salt-induced increases in Na(+) and Cl(-) contents were higher in I. crithmoides than in D. viscosa, and the osmolytes (especially glycine betaine, but also arabinose, fructose and glucose) accumulated at higher levels in the former species. This explains the (slightly) higher stress tolerance of I. crithmoides, as compared to D. viscosa, established from growth inhibition measurements and their distribution in nature. The possible activation of K(+) transport to the leaves under high salinity conditions may also contribute to salt tolerance in I. crithmoides. Oxidative stress level-estimated from malondialdehyde accumulation-was higher in the less tolerant D. viscosa, which consequently activated antioxidant responses as a defense mechanism against stress; these responses were weaker or absent in the more tolerant I. crithmoides. Based on these results, we concluded that although D. viscosa cannot directly compete with true halophytes in highly saline environments, it is nevertheless quite stress tolerant and therefore represents a threat for the vegetation located on the salt marshes borders, where several endemic and threatened species are found in the area of study. PMID:27148301

  8. Native-Invasive Plants vs. Halophytes in Mediterranean Salt Marshes: Stress Tolerance Mechanisms in Two Related Species

    PubMed Central

    Al Hassan, Mohamad; Chaura, Juliana; López-Gresa, María P.; Borsai, Orsolya; Daniso, Enrico; Donat-Torres, María P.; Mayoral, Olga; Vicente, Oscar; Boscaiu, Monica

    2016-01-01

    Dittrichia viscosa is a Mediterranean ruderal species that over the last decades has expanded into new habitats, including coastal salt marshes, ecosystems that are per se fragile and threatened by human activities. To assess the potential risk that this native-invasive species represents for the genuine salt marsh vegetation, we compared its distribution with that of Inula crithmoides, a taxonomically related halophyte, in three salt marshes located in “La Albufera” Natural Park, near the city of Valencia (East Spain). The presence of D. viscosa was restricted to areas of low and moderate salinity, while I. crithmoides was also present in the most saline zones of the salt marshes. Analyses of the responses of the two species to salt and water stress treatments in controlled experiments revealed that both activate the same physiological stress tolerance mechanisms, based essentially on the transport of toxic ions to the leaves—where they are presumably compartmentalized in vacuoles—and the accumulation of specific osmolytes for osmotic adjustment. The two species differ in the efficiency of those mechanisms: salt-induced increases in Na+ and Cl− contents were higher in I. crithmoides than in D. viscosa, and the osmolytes (especially glycine betaine, but also arabinose, fructose and glucose) accumulated at higher levels in the former species. This explains the (slightly) higher stress tolerance of I. crithmoides, as compared to D. viscosa, established from growth inhibition measurements and their distribution in nature. The possible activation of K+ transport to the leaves under high salinity conditions may also contribute to salt tolerance in I. crithmoides. Oxidative stress level—estimated from malondialdehyde accumulation—was higher in the less tolerant D. viscosa, which consequently activated antioxidant responses as a defense mechanism against stress; these responses were weaker or absent in the more tolerant I. crithmoides. Based on these results, we concluded that although D. viscosa cannot directly compete with true halophytes in highly saline environments, it is nevertheless quite stress tolerant and therefore represents a threat for the vegetation located on the salt marshes borders, where several endemic and threatened species are found in the area of study. PMID:27148301

  9. Herbivory affects salt marsh succession dynamics by suppressing the recovery of dominant species.

    PubMed

    Daleo, Pedro; Alberti, Juan; Pascual, Jesús; Canepuccia, Alejandro; Iribarne, Oscar

    2014-05-01

    Disturbance can generate heterogeneous environments and profoundly influence plant diversity by creating patches at different successional stages. Herbivores, in turn, can govern plant succession dynamics by determining the rate of species replacement, ultimately affecting plant community structure. In a south-western Atlantic salt marsh, we experimentally evaluated the role of herbivory in the recovery following disturbance of the plant community and assessed whether herbivory affects the relative importance of sexual and clonal reproduction on these dynamics. Our results show that herbivory strongly affects salt marsh secondary succession by suppressing seedlings and limiting clonal colonization of the dominant marsh grass, allowing subordinate species to dominate disturbed patches. These results demonstrate that herbivores can have an important role in salt marsh community structure and function, and can be a key force during succession dynamics. PMID:24549938

  10. Remote sensing of biomass and annual net aerial primary productivity of a salt marsh

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hardisky, M. A.; Klemas, V.; Daiber, F. C.; Roman, C. T.

    1984-01-01

    Net aerial primary productivity is the rate of storage of organic matter in above-ground plant issues exceeding the respiratory use by the plants during the period of measurement. It is pointed out that this plant tissue represents the fixed carbon available for transfer to and consumption by the heterotrophic organisms in a salt marsh or the estuary. One method of estimating annual net aerial primary productivity (NAPP) required multiple harvesting of the marsh vegetation. A rapid nondestructive remote sensing technique for estimating biomass and NAPP would, therefore, be a significant asset. The present investigation was designed to employ simple regression models, equating spectral radiance indices with Spartina alterniflora biomass to nondestructively estimate salt marsh biomass. The results of the study showed that the considered approach can be successfully used to estimate salt marsh biomass.

  11. Hydrodynamic modeling for river delta salt marshes using lidar topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hodges, Ben R.

    2014-05-01

    Topographic data from lidar and multi-beam sonar create new challenges for hydrodynamic models of estuaries, tidelands, and river deltas. We now can readily obtain detailed elevation data on 1 m scales and finer, but solving hydrodynamics with model grid cells at these small scales remains computationally prohibitive (primarily because of the small time step required for small grid cells). Practical estuarine models for the next decade or so will likely have grid scales in the range of 5 to 15 m. So how should we handle known subgrid-scale features? Simply throwing out known data does not seem like a good idea, but there is no consensus on how best to incorporate knowledge of subgrid topography into either hydrodynamic or turbulence models. This presentation discusses both the theoretical foundations for modeling subgrid-scale features and the challenges in applying these ideas in the salt marshes of a river delta. The subgrid problem highlights some important areas for field and laboratory research to provide calibration parameters for new models that upscale the effects of known subgrid features.

  12. Tidal events and salt-marsh structure influence black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) recruitment across an ecotone.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Jennifer M; Bell, Susan S

    2012-07-01

    Field experiments were conducted at a black mangrove-salt-marsh ecotone in southwest Florida (U.S.A.) to investigate retention of propagules of the black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, by salt-marsh plants as a mechanism of facilitation operating on recruitment success at landward boundaries. Buoyant A. germinans propagules are dispersed by tides, and stranding is required for establishment; therefore, processes that enable stranding should facilitate mangrove recruitment. We expected the physical structure of salt-marsh vegetation to define propagule retention capacity, and we predicted that salt-marsh plants with distinct growth forms would differentially retain propagules. Experimental monoculture plots (1 m2) of salt-marsh plants with different growth forms (Sporobolus virginicus [grass], Sesuvium portulacastrum [succulent forb], and Batis maritima [succulent scrub]) were created, and A. germinans propagules were emplaced into these plots and monitored over time. For comparison, propagules were also placed into natural polyculture plots (1 m2). Polyculture plots contained at least two of the salt-marsh plant taxa selected for monoculture treatments, and S. virginicus was always present within these polyculture plots. Natural polyculture plots retained 59.3% +/- 11.0% (mean +/- SE) of emplaced propagules. Monocultures varied in their propagule retention capacities with plots of S. virginicus retaining on average 65.7% +/- 11.5% of transplanted propagules compared to 7.2% +/- 1.8% by B. maritima and 5.0% +/- 1.9% by S. portulacastrum. Plots containing S. virginicus retained a significantly greater percentage of emplaced propagules relative to the two succulent salt-marsh taxa. Furthermore, propagule entrapment, across all treatments, was strongly correlated with salt-marsh structure (r2 = 0.6253, P = 0.00001), which was estimated using an indirect quantitative metric (lateral obstruction) calculated from digital images of plots. Overall, our findings imply that entrapment of propagules by salt-marsh plants may be facilitative if propagules are dispersed beyond the established tree line by spring or storm tides, and that facilitation may be sustained over time. We conclude that salt-marsh ecotone permeability may modulate landward encroachment by A. germinans, and that interactions among the early life history stages of black mangroves and neighboring plants may direct community responses to climate change. PMID:22919911

  13. A Salt Marsh Erosion Model: Interplay Between Biotic and Physical Factors at the Seaward Edge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiner, M. E.; Gilbert, L. A.; Alves, C. L.; Poole, P. A.; Schleicher, S.

    2014-12-01

    We present a new model to monitor the cycle of erosion occurring on the seaward edge of salt marshes as sea level rises. In our model, a southern New England salt marsh edge is stable when the bank edge exhibits a normal slope, is fringed by the low-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora, and the ribbed mussel Guekensia demissa is abundant. As erosion proceeds, the seaward bank becomes vertical (Stage 1), then undercut (Stage 2), then slumped (Stage 3), and finally a detached island (Stage 4) to expose a new vertical bank. If erosion progresses relatively slowly, S. alterniflora will dominate and G. demissa will be abundant. We applied this model to four sites at the Barn Island Salt Marsh in southeastern Connecticut. The central headland of the heavily mosquito-ditched Headquarters Marsh appears to be the most rapidly retreating: from 2006 to 2014, the seaward bank advanced two erosional stages and lost 3 m horizontally. This headland is dominated by low-marsh S. alterniflora, with mid-marsh grasses Distichlis spicata and Spartina patens also present on the seaward edge. By comparison, the nearby seaward edge of Wequetequock Point has only S. alterniflora and bare patches with no mid-marsh species. Wequetequock Point also appears more stable, with about one quarter of the seaward bank on a normal slope and abundant mussels (mean 4,500 m-2; max 20,000 m-2). Repeat surveys since 2006 show mussel vacancy rate is related to the rate of erosion. Open holes appear in normal slope banks due to wave erosion of rocks and other material embedded in the exposed peat. Banks that remain in the same erosion stage for multiple years show increased mussel occupation of these holes. In contrast, rapidly eroding banks at Barn Island Marsh have very few mussels (<100 m-2) and are typically fringed by grasses other than S. alterniflora. Much of the Barn Island Marsh bank is eroding too rapidly for mussel settlement and growth and normal marsh grass succession. In addition to documenting the recent rates and mechanisms of marsh loss, using a model that combines multiple indicators of marsh edge stability can help us assess the vulnerability of salt marshes to sea level rise and storms.

  14. Role of salt-marsh erosion in barrier island evolution and deterioration in coastal Louisiana

    SciTech Connect

    Reed, D.J. )

    1989-09-01

    Barrier shoreline erosion in Louisiana reaches over 10 m/year, and island area decreased by 40% between 1880 and 1979. Salt-marsh erosion is an important factor in evolutionary barrier shoreline development and is presently contributing, both directly and indirectly, to the deterioration of Louisiana's barrier islands. The marshes originally developed as fresh marshes associated with regression of Mississippi River delta lobes. After abandonment, salinity gradually increased and natural habitat change occurred as subsidence of deltaic sediments and transgression of the coastline by marine processes proceeded. The marsh surface is subjected to relative sea level rise and unless there is sufficient sedimentation to maintain marsh elevation, erosional processes become dominant. Increased inundation of marsh vegetation stresses even halophytic vegetation and leads to plant death. Examination of variations in marsh topography over an area of approximately 1 ha. revealed marked variations in the frequency and duration of tidal inundation. Increased flooding of lower areas can be sufficient to cause plant death and the opening of marsh ponds. As small ponds expand and coalesce to form larger areas of open water, wave action becomes important in eroding pond banks and mobilizing sediment from the bed causing pond deepening. Fragmentation of the marsh by these subsidence-induced processes is part of the evolution of morphostratigraphic forms in the Mississippi deltaic plain from erosional headland with flanking barriers to barrier island arc.

  15. Stratigraphic response of salt marshes to slow rates of sea-level change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daly, J.; Bell, T.

    2006-12-01

    Conventional models of salt-marsh development show an idealized spatial relationship between salt-marsh floral and foraminiferal zones, where the landward margin of the marsh gradually migrates inland in response to sea-level rise. This model predicts that transgression will result in persistent and possibly expanded salt marshes at the surface, depending on a variety of factors including sediment supply, hydrologic conditions, tidal range, and rate of sea-level rise. However, in areas with abundant sediment supply and slow rates of sea- level rise, the extent of back-barrier salt marshes may decline over time as the barrier-spits mature. Sea level around the northeast coast of Newfoundland is rising at a very slow rate during the late Holocene (<0.5 mm/yr). Sandy barrier-spits and tombolos are common coastal features, but salt marshes are rare. The generalized stratigraphy of dutch cores collected in back-barrier settings in this region is a surface layer of sphagnum peat with abundant woody roots, underlain by sedge-dominated peat that transitions gradually to a thin layer of Juncus sp. peat with agglutinated foraminifera, dominantly Jadammina macrescens and Balticammina pseudomacrescens. These basal peats are interpreted as salt-marsh peats, characterized by the presence of foraminifera that are absent in overlying peat units. This sequence indicates that salt marshes developed in back-barrier environments during the initial stages of barrier progradation, then gradually transitioned to environments increasingly dominated by freshwater flora. These transitions are interpreted to reflect the progradation of the spit, decreased tidal exchange in the back-barrier, and increased influence of freshwater streams discharging into the back-barrier setting. Decreased marine influence on the back-barrier environment leads to a floral and faunal shift associated with a regressive stratigraphy in an area experiencing sea-level rise. For studies of Holocene sea-level change requiring salt-marsh stratigraphic records, it is necessary to account for changing micro-environments to locate sites appropriate for study; salt marshes may play an important role in defining the record, but may not exist at the surface to guide investigation.

  16. Implications of Vegetation Shifts on Greenhouse Gas Production in a Coastal Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ouni, S.; Corbett, J. E.; Peteet, D. M.

    2014-12-01

    Methane production in salt marshes is understudied, although these anaerobic environments store vast amounts of carbon and may release large quantities as climate shifts. Studies show ranges of salt marsh methane emissions that vary widely from 0.4-160 g CH4 m-2 y-1. CH4 production in salt marshes is governed by several variables. Due to high sulfate concentrations in these environments, less CH4 is expected to form and escape from the subsurface. However, vascular plants allow greater amounts of CH4 escape from subsurface porewater and produce more labile organic carbon substrates, which support higher rates of microbial decomposition. Coastal salt marshes are also dominated by various vascular plant species both native and invasive which may allow for greater amounts of CH4 formation and escape than previously thought. To better understand CH4 dynamics in coastal salt marshes, pore water samples were collected from various depths in Piermont salt marsh, NY (40 ̊00' N, 73 ̊55'W), a tidal wetland that has been invaded in the last century by Phragmites australis. Dissolved organic carbon lability was measured, previously developed isotope-mass balance equations were utilized, and root depth and density were analyzed from several vegetation zones. Areas dominated by invasive Phragmites australis vegetation contain deeper and denser root zones and are expected to produce more subsurface methane and release more methane than areas dominated by native vegetation types. This study will allow us to identify zones more likely to contribute greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and increase knowledge of CH4 production and release in coastal salt marshes.

  17. Elevation dynamics in a restored versus a submerging salt marsh in Long Island Sound

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anisfeld, Shimon C.; Hill, Troy D.; Cahoon, Donald R.

    2016-03-01

    Accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) poses the threat of salt marsh submergence, especially in marshes that are relatively low-lying. At the same time, restoration efforts are producing new low-lying marshes, many of which are thriving and avoiding submergence. To understand the causes of these different fates, we studied two Long Island Sound marshes: one that is experiencing submergence and mudflat expansion, and one that is undergoing successful restoration. We examined sedimentation using a variety of methods, each of which captures different time periods and different aspects of marsh elevation change: surface-elevation tables, marker horizons, sediment cores, and sediment traps. We also studied marsh hydrology, productivity, respiration, nutrient content, and suspended sediment. We found that, despite the expansion of mudflat in the submerging marsh, the areas that remain vegetated have been gaining elevation at roughly the rate of SLR over the last 10 years. However, this elevation gain was only possible thanks to an increase in belowground volume, which may be a temporary response to waterlogging. In addition, accretion rates in the first half of the twentieth century were much lower than current rates, so century-scale accretion in the submerging marsh was lower than SLR. In contrast, at the restored marsh, accretion rates are now averaging about 10 mm yr-1 (several times the rate of SLR), much higher than before restoration. The main cause of the different trajectories at the two marshes appeared to be the availability of suspended sediment, which was much higher in the restored marsh. We considered and rejected alternative hypotheses, including differences in tidal flooding, plant productivity, and nutrient loading. In the submerging marsh, suspended and deposited sediment had relatively high organic content, which may be a useful indicator of sediment starvation.

  18. Environmental contamination by heavy metals and fluoride in the Saeftinge salt marsh (The Netherlands) and its effect on sheep.

    PubMed

    Baars, A J; van Beek, H; Spierenburg, T J; Beeftink, W G; Nieuwenhuize, J; Pekelder, J J; Boom, J

    1988-04-01

    The Saeftinge salt marsh in the Westerschelde estuary (southwestern part of the Netherlands) represents one of the very few tidal brackish marsh ecosystems in Western Europe. From May 1983 to May 1985 the local pollution of this marsh with metals and fluoride was investigated. Samples from soil and vegetation were analysed monthly for cadmium, lead, copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and fluoride. The amount of these substances in the soil appeared to be related to both the percentage of clay particles and organic matter in the soil and to the frequency of tidal submergences. In vegetation, the pollutants clearly showed a seasonal variation. Adherent clay, deposited on the plants during submergences, contributed considerably to the total amount of these elements. Sheep grazing in the marsh were investigated for renal and faecal excretion of these elements, but no relation between these samples and the seasonal variation in vegetation was found. Presumably sheep consumed vegetation selectively, avoiding the more contaminated plants. Regular clinical inspections of the sheep revealed no signs of acute or chronic intoxication. The organs of sheep that died during the investigation showed increased levels of cadmium in the liver and kidney, and iron in the liver, but not enough to cause alarm. Fluoride found in the rib material, although slightly increased, did not indicate fluorosis. In conclusion, contamination with metals and fluoride, as observed in the salt marsh, apparently does not impair the health of locally grazing sheep. This may be due to selective consumption behaviour of the sheep, their stabling during the winter, limited biological availability of the elements studied, and a sheep management adapted to the local circumstances. PMID:3413975

  19. The role of research in coastal westlands management: Salt Marshes of Santoña and Noja (Spain).

    PubMed

    Castillo-Lopez, Elena; Valle, Alberto

    2012-01-01

    Coastal environments, such as marshes, dunes, or estuaries, are characterized by their high natural values that usually cause them to be subjected to high protection levels, affecting activities taking place within them. This is why the action in these spaces must be based on the use of proper techniques and approaches, which integrate ecology with practical engineering necessities. In this context, the Department of Sciences and Techniques of the Water and Environment of the University of Cantabria, through methods developed in the natural reserve of the Salt Marshes of Santoña and Noja, proposes the use of a working methodology based on the discipline of "ecosystem management" combined with the "adaptive management" methodologies; the application of mathematical, statistical, and specific predictive instruments; and the utilization of an "ecologic niche" as a union between the scientific knowledge of the littoral environments and the true actuation scale of the projects and activities carried out within them. PMID:21400243

  20. Hydrogeochemical zonation in intertidal salt marsh sediments: evidence of positive plant-soil feedback?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moffett, K. B.; Dittmar, J.; Seyfferth, A.; Fendorf, S.; Gorelick, S.

    2012-12-01

    Surface and subsurface environments are linked by the biogeochemical activity in near-surface sediment and by the hydrological fluxes that mobilize its reagents and products. A particularly dynamic and interesting setting to study near-surface hydrogeochemistry is the intertidal zone. Here, the very strong tidal hydraulic forcing is often thought to dominate water and solute transport. However, we demonstrated the importance of two additional subsurface drivers: groundwater flow and plant root water uptake. A high-resolution, coupled surface water-groundwater model of an intertidal salt marsh in San Francisco Bay, CA showed that these three drivers vary over different spatial scales: tidal flooding varies over 10's of meters; groundwater flow varies over meters, particularly within channel banks; and plant root water uptake varies in 3D at the sub-meter scale. Expanding on this third driver, we investigated whether the spatial variations in soil-water-plant hydraulic interactions that occur due to vegetation zonation also cause distinct geochemical zonation in salt marsh sediment pore waters. The existence of such geochemical zonation was verified and mapped by detailed field observations of the chemical composition of sediments, pore waters, surface waters, and vegetation. The field data and the coupled hydrologic model were then further analyzed to evaluate potential causal mechanisms for the geochemical zonation, including testing the hypothesis that the vegetation affects pore water geochemistry via a positive feedback beneficial to itself. If further supported by future studies, this geochemical feedback may complement known physical ecosystem engineering mechanisms to help stabilize and organize intertidal wetlands.

  1. Further data on elevational changes and water circulation in a Cumbrian salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, A. P.; Blackley, M. W. L.

    1987-01-01

    A further year's elevational data has been obtained from creek profiles at a salt marsh site on the north side of the Esk estuary, Cumbria. Comparative sections were taken on the south shore. The 'seasonality' found previously on the north shore and again recorded was less well defined at the southern site probably reflecting smaller proportions of clay minerals and greater exposure. Porewater pressure data from an upper salt marsh location showed a similar situation to that obtained previously from a lower marsh site, i.e. when tides overtopped the marsh surface the uppermost transducers responded first. Neap tides were only registered by the lowest transducers (or not at all) with upper sensors showing draining except during periods of precipitation. Only low quantities of artificial radionuclides were measured but their distribution appears to reflect the proportions of fine sediment present and the water circulation pattern.

  2. Classification mapping and species identification of salt marshes based on a short-time interval NDVI time-series from HJ-1 optical imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, Chao; Liu, Yongxue; Zhao, Saishuai; Zhou, Minxi; Yang, Yuhao; Li, Feixue

    2016-03-01

    Salt marshes are seen as the most dynamic and valuable ecosystems in coastal zones, and in these areas, it is crucial to obtain accurate remote sensing information on the spatial distributions of species over time. However, discriminating various types of salt marsh is rather difficult because of their strong spectral similarities. Previous salt marsh mapping studies have focused mainly on high spatial and spectral (i.e., hyperspectral) resolution images combined with auxiliary information; however, the results are often limited to small regions. With a high temporal and moderate spatial resolution, the Chinese HuanJing-1 (HJ-1) satellite optical imagery can be used not only to monitor phenological changes of salt marsh vegetation over short-time intervals, but also to obtain coverage of large areas. Here, we apply HJ-1 satellite imagery to the middle coast of Jiangsu in east China to monitor changes in saltmarsh vegetation cover. First, we constructed a monthly NDVI time-series to classify various types of salt marsh and then we tested the possibility of using compressed time-series continuously, to broaden the applicability of this particular approach. Our principal findings are as follows: (1) the overall accuracy of salt marsh mapping based on the monthly NDVI time-series was 90.3%, which was ∼16.0% higher than the single-phase classification strategy; (2) a compressed time-series, including NDVI from six key months (April, June-September, and November), demonstrated very little reduction (2.3%) in overall accuracy but led to obvious improvements in unstable regions; and (3) a simple rule for Spartina alterniflora identification was established using a scene solely from November, which may provide an effective way for regularly monitoring its distribution.

  3. Hyperspectral remote sensing of salt marsh vegetation, morphology and soil topography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silvestri, Sonia; Marani, Marco; Marani, Alessandro

    The present paper deals with the relationship between vegetation patterns and salt marsh morphology in the Venice lagoon and with the use of remote sensing to infer salt marsh morphologic characteristics from vegetation mapping. Field measurements indicate that salt marsh vegetation species (halophytes) are reliable indicators of ground elevation and live within typical elevation ranges characterised by standard deviations of less than 5 cm. A model is then developed which uses vegetation as a morphological indicator of soil topography to estimate ground elevation from fractional cover values of each vegetation type. The use of data from an airborne remote hyperspectral sensor is presented as a means of discriminating between different salt marsh vegetation communities. Vegetation maps obtained from unmixing techniques have then been used to produce digital elevation maps (DEM) of salt marsh areas. The DEM based on halophytes cover estimates and extracted from high spatial and spectral resolution data allows a high estimation accuracy, with an error standard deviation of a few centimetres in the considered study area within the Venice lagoon. The accuracy and resolution attainable through this method are comparable and often superior to those obtained through state of the art laser altimetry.

  4. Diversity of the Ring-Cleaving Dioxygenase Gene pcaH in a Salt Marsh Bacterial Community

    PubMed Central

    Buchan, Alison; Neidle, Ellen L.; Moran, Mary Ann

    2001-01-01

    Degradation of lignin-related aromatic compounds is an important ecological process in the highly productive salt marshes of the southeastern United States, yet little is known about the mediating organisms or their catabolic pathways. Here we report the diversity of a gene encoding a key ring-cleaving enzyme of the β-ketoadipate pathway, pcaH, amplified from bacterial communities associated with decaying Spartina alterniflora, the salt marsh grass that dominates these coastal systems, as well as from enrichment cultures with aromatic substrates (p-hydroxybenzoate, anthranilate, vanillate, and dehydroabietate). Sequence analysis of 149 pcaH clones revealed 85 unique sequences. Thirteen of the 53 amino acid residues compared were invariant in the PcaH proteins, suggesting that these residues have a required catalytic or structural function. Fifty-eight percent of the clones matched sequences amplified from a collection of 36 bacterial isolates obtained from seawater, marine sediments, or senescent Spartina. Fifty-two percent of the pcaH clones could be assigned to the roseobacter group, a marine lineage of the class α-Proteobacteria abundant in coastal ecosystems. Another 6% of the clones matched genes retrieved from isolates belonging to the genera Acinetobacter, Bacillus, and Stappia, and 42% of the clones could not be assigned to a cultured bacterium based on sequence identity. These results suggest that the diversity of the genes encoding a single step in aromatic compound degradation in the coastal marsh examined is high. PMID:11722937

  5. Assessing the sedimentation deficit problem in Louisiana's coastal salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Reed, D.J.

    1990-09-01

    The imbalance between relative sea-level rise and vertical marsh accretion is frequently cited as a major factor in the problem of wetland loss in coastal Louisiana. Relative sea-level rise rates are high, compared to the rest of the Gulf coast, owing to subsidence of Holocene Mississippi deltaic plain sediments, and although marsh accretion rates are also high, in comparison with other coastal areas of the US, they are usually insufficient to maintain the relative elevation of the marsh surface. This situation is commonly referred to as a sedimentation deficit. One of the problems with evaluating the magnitude of the sedimentation deficit problem in Louisiana, and its spatial variation, is that measurements of subsidence and marsh accretion or sedimentation are rarely made on similar time scales. Subsidence affecting the marsh surface is composed of a number of factors, including compaction of recently deposited sediments, regional downwarping, and diagenesis of underlying Pleistocene and earlier sediments. The total effect of these factors, in combination with eustatic sea-level rise, is frequently obtained from tide gauge measurements over the last 50 years or so. Subsidence is also measured by dating sedimentary horizons of known depth that characterize surface environments. Carbon-14 is a common tool for this type of study and subsidence is then averaged over periods of up to several thousand years. In comparison, marsh accretion or sediment deposition can be measured over periods from several hundred years, using Lead-210 dating, to several days, using marsh surface sediment traps. The many techniques available for measuring the sedimentary status of the marsh surface can provide a variety of information concerning the processes responsible for sediment deposition and vertical accretion.

  6. Relationships between watershed emergy flow and coastal New England salt marsh structure, function, and condition.

    PubMed

    Brandt-Williams, Sherry; Wigand, Cathleen; Campbell, Daniel E

    2013-02-01

    This study evaluated the link between watershed activities and salt marsh structure, function, and condition using spatial emergy flow density (areal empower density) in the watershed and field data from 10 tidal salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, RI, USA. The field-collected data were obtained during several years of vegetation, invertebrate, soil, and water quality sampling. The use of emergy as an accounting mechanism allowed disparate factors (e.g., the amount of building construction and the consumption of electricity) to be combined into a single landscape index while retaining a uniform quantitative definition of the intensity of landscape development. It expanded upon typical land use percentage studies by weighting each category for the intensity of development. At the RI salt marsh sites, an impact index (watershed emergy flow normalized for marsh area) showed significant correlations with mudflat infauna species richness, mussel density, plant species richness, the extent and density of dominant plant species, and denitrification potential within the high salt marsh. Over the 4-year period examined, a loading index (watershed emergy flow normalized for watershed area) showed significant correlations with nitrite and nitrate concentrations, as well as with the nitrogen to phosphorus ratios in stream discharge into the marshes. Both the emergy impact and loading indices were significantly correlated with a salt marsh condition index derived from intensive field-based assessments. Comparison of the emergy indices to calculated nitrogen loading estimates for each watershed also produced significant positive correlations. These results suggest that watershed emergy flow is a robust index of human disturbance and a potential tool for rapid assessment of coastal wetland condition. PMID:22535367

  7. Radionuclides transfer into halophytes growing in tidal salt marshes from the Southwest of Spain.

    PubMed

    Luque, Carlos J; Vaca, Federico; García-Trapote, Ana; Hierro, Almudena; Bolívar, Juan P; Castellanos, Eloy M

    2015-12-01

    Estuaries are sinks of materials and substances which are released directly into them or transported from rivers that drain the basin. It is usual to find high organic matter loads and fine particles in the sediments. We analyzed radionuclide concentrations ((210)Po, (230)Th, (232)Th, (234)U, (238)U, (226)Ra, (228)Th, (228)Ra, (40)K) in sediments and three different organs (roots, stems and leaves) of three species of halophytes plants (Spartina maritima, Spartina densiflora and Sarcocornia perennis). The study was carried out in two tidal salt marshes, one polluted by U-series radionuclides and another nearby that was unpolluted and was used as a control (or reference) area. The Tinto River salt marsh shows high levels of U-series radionuclides coming from mining and industrial discharges. On the contrary, the unperturbed Piedras River salt marsh is located about 25 km from the Tinto marsh, and shows little presence of contaminants and radionuclides. The results of this work have shown that natural radionuclide concentrations (specially the U-isotopes) in the Tinto salt marsh sediments are one order of magnitude higher than those in the Piedras marsh. These radionuclide enhancements are reflected in the different organs of the plants, which have similar concentration increases as the sediments where they have grown. Finally, the transfer factor (TF) of the most polluted radionuclides (U-isotopes and (210)Po) in the Tinto area are one order of magnitude higher than in the Piedras area, indicating that the fraction of each radionuclide in the sediment originating from the pollution is more available for the plants than the indigenous fraction. This means that the plants of the salt marshes are unhelpful as bioindicators or for the phytoremediation of radionuclides. PMID:26334596

  8. Evolving Landscapes: the Effect of Genetic Variation on Salt Marsh Erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernik, B. M.; Blum, M. J.

    2014-12-01

    Ecogeomorphic studies have demonstrated that biota can exert influence over geomorphic processes, such as sediment transport, which in turn have biotic consequences and generate complex feedbacks. However, little attention has been paid to the potential for feedback to arise from evolutionary processes as population genetic composition changes in response to changing physical landscapes. In coastal ecosystems experiencing land loss, for example, shoreline erosion entails reduced plant survival and reproduction, and thereby represents a geomorphic response with inherent consequences for evolutionary fitness. To get at this topic, we examined the effect of genetic variation in the saltmarsh grass Spartina alterniflora, a renowned ecosystem engineer, on rates of shoreline erosion. Field transplantation studies and controlled greenhouse experiments were conducted to compare different genotypes from both wild and cultivated populations. Plant traits, soil properties, accretion/subsidence, and rates of land loss were measured. We found significant differences in rates of erosion between field plots occupied by different genotypes. Differences in erosion corresponded to variation in soil properties including critical shear stress and subsidence. Plant traits that differed across genotypes included belowground biomass, root tensile strength, and C:N ratios. Our results demonstrate the importance of genetic variation to salt marsh functioning, elucidating the relationship between evolutionary processes and ecogeomorphic dynamics in these systems. Because evolutionary processes can occur on ecological timescales, the direction and strength of ecogeomorphic feedbacks may be more dynamic than previously accounted for.

  9. Middle to Late Holocene Fluctuations of C3 and C4 Vegetation in a Northern New England Salt Marsh, Sprague Marsh, Phippsburg Maine

    SciTech Connect

    Johnson, B J; Moore, K A; Lehmann, C; Bohlen, C; Brown, T A

    2006-05-26

    A 3.1 meter sediment core was analyzed for stable carbon isotope composition of organic matter and higher plant leaf wax (HPLW) lipid biomarkers to determine Holocene shifts in C{sub 3} (higher high marsh) and C{sub 4} (low and/or high marsh) plant deposition at the Sprague River Salt Marsh, Phippsburg, Maine. The carbon isotope composition of the bulk sediment and the HPLW parallel each other throughout most of the core, suggesting that terrestrial plants are an important source of organic matter to the sediments, and diagenetic alteration of the bulk sediments is minimal. The current salt marsh began to form 2500 cal yr BP. Low and/or high C{sub 4} marsh plants dominated deposition at 2000 cal yr BP, 700 cal yr BP, and for the last 200 cal yr BP. Expansion of higher high marsh C{sub 3} plants occurred at 1300 and 600 cal yr BP. These major vegetation shifts result from a combination of changes in relative sea-level rise and sediment accumulation rates. Average annual carbon sequestration rates for the last 2500 years approximate 40 g C yr{sup -1} m{sup -2}, and are in strong agreement with other values published for the Gulf of Maine. Given that Maine salt marshes cover an area of {approx}79 km{sup 2}, they represent an important component of the terrestrial carbon sink. More detailed isotopic and age records from a network of sediment cores at Sprague Marsh are needed to truly evaluate the long term changes in salt marsh plant communities and the impact of more recent human activity, including global warming, on salt marsh vegetation.

  10. Anthropogenic ecological change and impacts on mosquito breeding and control strategies in salt-marshes, Northern Territory, Australia.

    PubMed

    Jacups, Susan; Warchot, Allan; Whelan, Peter

    2012-06-01

    Darwin, in the tropical north of Australia, is subject to high numbers of mosquitoes and several mosquito-borne diseases. Many of Darwin's residential areas were built in close proximity to tidally influenced swamps, where long-term storm-water run-off from nearby residences into these swamps has led to anthropogenic induced ecological change. When natural wet-dry cycles were disrupted, bare mud-flats and mangroves were transformed into perennial fresh to brackish-water reed swamps. Reed swamps provided year-round breeding habitat for many mosquito species, such that mosquito abundance was less predictable and seasonally dependent, but constant and often occurring in plague proportions. Drainage channels were constructed throughout the wetlands to reduce pooled water during dry-season months. This study assesses the impact of drainage interventions on vegetation and mosquito ecology in three salt-marshes in the Darwin area. Findings revealed a universal decline in dry-season mosquito abundance in each wetland system. However, some mosquito species increased in abundance during wet-season months. Due to the high expense and potentially detrimental environmental impacts of ecosystem and non-target species disturbance, large-scale modifications such as these are sparingly undertaken. However, our results indicate that some large scale environmental modification can assist the process of wetland restoration, as appears to be the case for these salt marsh systems. Drainage in all three systems has been restored to closer to their original salt-marsh ecosystems, while reducing mosquito abundances, thereby potentially lowering the risk of vector-borne disease transmission and mosquito pest biting problems. PMID:22476689

  11. Trace metal concentrations in Spartina densiflora and associated soil from a Patagonian salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Idaszkin, Yanina L; Bouza, Pablo J; Marinho, Carmen H; Gil, Mónica N

    2014-12-15

    The objectives of this study were to (i) assess in situ trace metal concentrations in soil and in Spartina densiflora in a Patagonian salt marsh (Rawson, Chubut, Argentina) and (ii) investigate the relationship between trace metal concentrations in soils and in plants to improve our knowledge regarding the ability of S. densiflora to take up and accumulate trace metals from the soil within its native region. Our results indicate that the soil and S. densiflora exhibit low metal concentrations in the Rawson salt marsh. S. densiflora accumulates Zn in below- and above-ground plant structures and Cr in below-ground parts. These results suggest at the time of this study there is scarce human impact associated with metals in the Rawson salt marsh. PMID:25457812

  12. Cable bacteria associated with long-distance electron transport in New England salt marsh sediment.

    PubMed

    Larsen, Steffen; Nielsen, Lars Peter; Schramm, Andreas

    2015-04-01

    Filamentous Desulfobulbaceae have been proposed as 'cable bacteria', which electrically couple sulfide oxidation and oxygen reduction in marine sediment and thereby create a centimetre-deep suboxic zone. We incubated New England salt marsh sediment and found long-distance electron transport across 6 mm and 16S rRNA genes identical to those of previously observed cable bacteria in Aarhus Bay sediment incubations. Cable bacteria density in sediment cores was quantified by fluorescence in situ hybridization. In contrast to the coastal, subtidal sediments with short-termed blooms of cable bacteria based on rapidly depleted iron sulfide pools, the salt marsh cable community was based on ongoing sulfate reduction and therefore probably more persistent. Previously observed seasonal correlation between Desulfobulbaceae dominance and extensive reduced sulfur oxidation in salt marshes suggest that cable bacteria at times may have an important role in situ. PMID:25224178

  13. Size and species diversity of zooplankton communities in fluctuating Mediterranean salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brucet, Sandra; Boix, Dani; López-Flores, Rocío; Badosa, Anna; Quintana, Xavier D.

    2006-04-01

    Differences in size and species diversity were analysed in a zooplankton community of a Mediterranean salt marsh (Empordà wetlands, NE Iberian Peninsula), where the dominance of a single species was frequent. In the permanent salt marsh, species diversity and size diversity had similar patterns along zooplankton succession. In the temporary salt marsh species diversity was high after flooding and diminished once water inputs ceased. As species diversity declined size diversity increased. Eventually, one species of calanoid dominated the zooplankton community. The high size diversity in situations of calanoid dominance was possibly due to the co-occurrence of different developmental stages, each of which have different diets. Size diversity would thus indicate trophic niche segregation among different sizes. The combined use of species and size diversity values allows the identification of the successional phases.

  14. Relating salt marsh pore water geochemistry patterns to vegetation zones and hydrologic influences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moffett, Kevan B.; Gorelick, Steven M.

    2016-03-01

    Physical, chemical, and biological factors influence vegetation zonation in salt marshes and other wetlands, but connections among these factors could be better understood. If salt marsh vegetation and marsh pore water geochemistry coorganize, e.g., via continuous plant water uptake and persistently unsaturated sediments controlling vegetation zone-specific pore water geochemistry, this could complement known physical mechanisms of marsh self-organization. A high-resolution survey of pore water geochemistry was conducted among five salt marsh vegetation zones at the same intertidal elevation. Sampling transects were arrayed both parallel and perpendicular to tidal channels. Pore water geochemistry patterns were both horizontally differentiated, corresponding to vegetation zonation, and vertically differentiated, relating to root influences. The geochemical patterns across the site were less broadly related to marsh hydrology than to vegetation zonation. Mechanisms contributing to geochemical differentiation included: root-induced oxidation and nutrient (P) depletion, surface and creek-bank sediment flushing by rainfall or tides, evapotranspiration creating aerated pore space for partial sediment flushing in some areas while persistently saturated conditions hindered pore water renewal in others, and evapoconcentration of pore water solutes overall. The concentrated pore waters draining to the tidal creeks accounted for 41% of ebb tide solutes (median of 14 elements), including being a potentially toxic source of Ni but a slight sink for Zn, at least during the short, winter study period in southern San Francisco Bay. Heterogeneous vegetation effects on pore water geochemistry are not only significant locally within the marsh but may broadly influence marsh-estuary solute exchange and ecology.

  15. Wetland loss patterns and inundation-productivity relationships prognosticate widespread salt marsh loss for southern New England

    EPA Science Inventory

    Tidal salt marsh is a key defense against, yet is especially vulnerable to, the effects of accelerated sea level rise. To determine whether salt marshes in southern New England will be stable given increasing inundation over the coming decades, we examined current loss patterns, ...

  16. Does livestock grazing affect sediment deposition and accretion rates in salt marshes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nolte, Stefanie; Müller, Frauke; Schuerch, Mark; Wanner, Antonia; Esselink, Peter; Bakker, Jan P.; Jensen, Kai

    2013-12-01

    Accretion rates, defined as the vertical growth of salt marshes measured in mm per year, may be influenced by grazing livestock in two ways: directly, by increasing soil compaction through trampling, and indirectly, by reducing aboveground biomass and thus decreasing sediment deposition rates measured in g/m² per year. Although accretion rates and the resulting surface elevation change largely determine the resilience of salt marshes to sea-level rise (SLR), the effect of livestock grazing on accretion rates has been little studied. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of livestock grazing on salt-marsh accretion rates. We hypothesise that accretion will be lower in grazed compared to ungrazed salt marshes. In four study sites along the mainland coast of the Wadden Sea (in the south-eastern North Sea), accretion rates, sediment deposition rates, and soil compaction of grazed and ungrazed marshes were analysed using the 137Cs radionuclide dating method. Accretion rates were on average 11.6 mm yr-1 during recent decades and thus higher than current and projected rates of SLR. Neither accretion nor sediment deposition rates were significantly different between grazing treatments. Meanwhile, soil compaction was clearly affected by grazing with significantly higher dry bulk density on grazed compared to ungrazed parts. Based on these results, we conclude that other factors influence whether grazing has an effect on accretion and sediment deposition rates and that the effect of grazing on marsh growth does not follow a direct causal chain. It may have a great importance when interacting with other biotic and abiotic processes on the marsh.

  17. Critical bifurcation of shallow microtidal landforms in tidal flats and salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Fagherazzi, Sergio; Carniello, Luca; D'Alpaos, Luigi; Defina, Andrea

    2006-05-30

    Shallow tidal basins are characterized by extensive tidal flats and salt marshes that lie within specific ranges of elevation, whereas intermediate elevations are less frequent in intertidal landscapes. Here we show that this bimodal distribution of elevations stems from the characteristics of wave-induced sediment resuspension and, in particular, from the reduction of maximum wave height caused by dissipative processes in shallow waters. The conceptual model presented herein is applied to the Venice Lagoon, Italy, and demonstrates that areas at intermediate elevations are inherently unstable and tend to become either tidal flats or salt marshes. PMID:16707583

  18. Critical bifurcation of shallow microtidal landforms in tidal flats and salt marshes

    PubMed Central

    Fagherazzi, Sergio; Carniello, Luca; D'Alpaos, Luigi; Defina, Andrea

    2006-01-01

    Shallow tidal basins are characterized by extensive tidal flats and salt marshes that lie within specific ranges of elevation, whereas intermediate elevations are less frequent in intertidal landscapes. Here we show that this bimodal distribution of elevations stems from the characteristics of wave-induced sediment resuspension and, in particular, from the reduction of maximum wave height caused by dissipative processes in shallow waters. The conceptual model presented herein is applied to the Venice Lagoon, Italy, and demonstrates that areas at intermediate elevations are inherently unstable and tend to become either tidal flats or salt marshes. PMID:16707583

  19. Lithium in the brines of Fish Lake Valley and Columbus Salt Marsh, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, C.L.; Meier, Allen L.; Downey, H.D.

    1977-01-01

    Analyses of waters-from springs in Nevada have led to the identification of an area containing anomalous amounts of lithium northwest of the Clayton Valley-area. Fish Lake Valley and Columbus Salt Marsh contain waters having, relatively high lithium and potassium concentrations. At least a part of these waters is probably derived from the leaching of Tertiary rocks containing saline minerals. The high-lithium waters at Columbus Salt Marsh could be derived not only by the leaching of rocks with a high soluble lithium ands, potassium content but also by subsurface outflow from Fish Lake Valley.

  20. Geochemistry of selenium in a coastal salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    Velinsky, D.J.; Cutter, G.A. )

    1991-01-01

    The cycling of sedimentary selenium was examined over a one-year period in the Great Marsh, Delaware (USA). While total selenium and elemental selenium decrease with depth in the sediments at similar rates, Se(IV + VI) exhibits pronounced seasonality related to the redox conditions of the marsh. Porewater selenium reflects the diagenetic cycling of Se(IV + VI) in the sediments and suggests that a partial remobilization of sedimentary selenium occurs when the upper sediments become oxidizing. Diagenetic and mass-balance models indicate that the major sources of selenium to the marsh are creek waters and atmospheric deposition, while total selenium may be removed from the sediments via the flux of volatile selenium compounds.

  1. Long-term salt marsh vertical accretion in a tidal bay with reduced sediment supply

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ma, Zhigang; Ysebaert, Tom; van der Wal, Daphne; de Jong, Dick J.; Li, Xiuzhen; Herman, Peter M. J.

    2014-06-01

    Because of damming and intensive human activities, the sediment supply to many estuaries and deltas is dramatically decreasing. In the Oosterschelde (southwest Netherlands), a storm surge barrier (SSB) and two compartmentalization dams were built in the 1980s to protect the densely inhabited inland against flooding. After these constructions, the tidal range and mean high water level in the Oosterschelde decreased by about 12% and suspended sediment concentrations in the channels dropped by 52-70% compared to the pre-barrier conditions. The vertical accretion rates of the three largest salt marshes (Rattekaai, Sint Annaland and Slaak) in the Oosterschelde in response to this decreased sediment supply were investigated. There was a general accreting trend over the entire post-barrier period (1988-2011) in all three marshes. The predicted slowdown in accretion rates by De Jong et al. (1994) did not persist, although accretion rates were lower than in the pre-barrier period. More than 20 year observations from kaoline markers showed variation of accretion rates within and among marshes. Year-to-year variation in accretion rates was large, but only weakly (not significantly) related to the duration and frequency of marsh overflow and over-marsh extreme flooding events. However, storm events are hypothesized to be responsible for the observed trends, but our observations lack the temporal resolution to identify specific storm events. Salt marshes in the Oosterschelde are expected to survive under the present sea level rise rate and subsidence rate scenarios.

  2. Modern salt-marsh and tidal-flat foraminifera from Sitkinak and Simeonof Islands, southwestern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kemp, Andrew C.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Culver, Stephen J.; Nelson, Alan R.; Briggs, Richard W.; Haeussler, Peter J.

    2013-01-01

    We describe the modern distribution of salt-marsh and tidal-flat foraminifera from Sitkinak Island (Trinity Islands) and Simeonof Island (Shumagin Islands), Alaska, to begin development of a dataset for later use in reconstructing relative sea-level changes caused by great earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Dead foraminifera were enumerated from a total of 58 surface-sediment samples collected along three intertidal transects around a coastal lagoon on Sitkinak Island and two intertidal transects on Simeonof Island. Two distinctive assemblages of salt-marsh foraminifera were recognized on Sitkinak Island. Miliammina fusca dominated low-marsh settings and Balticammina pseudomacrescens dominated the high marsh. These two species make up >98% of individuals. On Simeonof Island, 93% of individuals in high-marsh settings above mean high water were B. pseudomacrescens. The tidal flat on Simeonof Island was dominated by Cibicides lobatulus (60% of individuals), but the lower limit of this species is subtidal and was not sampled. These results indicate that uplift or subsidence caused by repeated earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone could be reconstructed in coastal sediments using alternating assemblages of near monospecific B. pseudomacrescens and low-marsh or tidal-flat foraminifera.

  3. Acute salt marsh dieback in the Mississippi River deltaic plain: A drought-induced phenomenon?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, K.L.; Mendelssohn, I.A.; Materne, M.D.

    2004-01-01

    Aims Extensive dieback of salt marsh dominated by the perennial grass Spartina alterniflora occurred throughout the Mississippi River deltaic plain during 2000. More than 100,000 ha were affected, with 43,000 ha severely damaged. The aim of this work was to determine if sudden dieback could have been caused by a coincident drought and to assess the significance of this event with respect to long-term changes in coastal vegetation. Location Multiple dieback sites and reference sites were established along 150 km of shoreline in coastal Louisiana, USA. Methods Aerial and ground surveys were conducted from June 2000 to September 2001 to assess soil conditions and plant mortality and recovery. Results Dieback areas ranged in size from???300 m2-5 km2 in area with 50-100% mortality of plant shoots and rhizomes in affected zones. Co-occurring species such as Avicennia germinans (black mangrove) and Juncus roemerianus (needlegrass rush) were unaffected. Historical records indicate that precipitation, river discharge, and mean sea level were unusually low during the previous year. Although the cause of dieback is currently unknown, plant and soil characteristics were consistent with temporary soil desiccation that may have reduced water availability, increased soil salinity, and/or caused soil acidification (via pyrite oxidation) and increased uptake of toxic metals such as Fe or Al. Plant recovery 15 months after dieback was variable (0-58% live cover), but recovering plants were vigorous and indicated no longlasting effects of the dieback agent. Main conclusions These findings have relevance for global change models of coastal ecosystems that predict vegetation responses based primarily on long-term increases in sea level and submergence of marshes. Our results suggest that large-scale changes in coastal vegetation may occur over a relatively short time span through climatic extremes acting in concert with sea-level fluctuations and pre-existing soil conditions. ?? 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  4. The Role of Phragmites australis in Mediating Inland Salt Marsh Migration in a Mid-Atlantic Estuary

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Joseph A. M.

    2013-01-01

    Many sea level rise adaptation plans emphasize the protection of adjacent uplands to allow for inland salt marsh migration, but little empirical information exists on this process. Using aerial photos from 1930 and 2006 of Delaware Estuary coastal habitats in New Jersey, I documented the rate of coastal forest retreat and the rate of inland salt marsh migration across 101.1 km of undeveloped salt marsh and forest ecotone. Over this time, the amount of forest edge at this ecotone nearly doubled. In addition, the average amount of forest retreat was 141.2 m while the amount of salt marsh inland migration was 41.9 m. Variation in forest retreat within the study area was influenced by variation in slope. The lag between the amount of forest retreat and salt marsh migration is accounted for by the presence of Phragmites australis which occupies the forest and salt marsh ecotone. Phragmites expands from this edge into forest dieback areas, and the ability of salt marsh to move inland and displace Phragmites is likely influenced by salinity at both an estuary-wide scale and at the scale of local subwatersheds. Inland movement of salt marsh is lowest at lower salinity areas further away from the mouth of the estuary and closer to local heads of tide. These results allow for better prediction of salt marsh migration in estuarine landscapes and provide guidance for adaptation planners seeking to prioritize those places with the highest likelihood of inland salt marsh migration in the near-term. PMID:23705031

  5. Effects of nitrogen loading on greenhouse gas emissions in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, J.; Moseman-Valtierra, S.; Kroeger, K. D.; Morkeski, K.; Mora, J.; Chen, X.; Carey, J.

    2014-12-01

    Salt marshes play an important role in global and regional carbon and nitrogen cycling. We tested the hypothesis that anthropogenic nitrogen loading alters greenhouse gas (GHG, including CO2, CH4, and N2O) emissions and carbon sequestration in salt marshes. We measured GHG emissions biweekly for two growing seasons across a nitrogen-loading gradient of four Spartina salt marshes in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts. In addition, we conducted nitrogen addition experiments in a pristine marsh by adding low and high nitrate to triplicate plots bi-weekly during the summer. The GHG flux measurements were made in situ with a state-of-the-art mobile gas measurement system using the cavity ring down technology that consists of a CO2/CH4 analyzer (Picarro) and an N2O/CO analyzer (Los Gatos). We observed strong seasonal variations in greenhouse gas emissions. The differences in gas emissions across the nitrogen gradient were not significant, but strong pulse emissions of N2O were observed after nitrogen was artificially added to the marsh. Our results will facilitate model development to simulate GHG emissions in coastal wetlands and support methodology development to assess carbon credits in preserving and restoring coastal wetlands.

  6. Accumulation of plant nutrients and heavy metals through sedimentation processes and accretion in a Louisiana salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    Reddy, C.N.; Delaune, R.D.; Patrick, W.H.

    1981-12-01

    The accumulation of selected plant nutrients and heavy metals in a rapidly accreting Louisiana salt marsh was examined. Sedimentation processes were shown to be supplying large amounts of plant nutrients to the marsh. Accumulation of heavy metals was low and appeared to be associated with the natural heavy metal content of incoming sediment rather than from a pollution source. A large portion of organic carbon from primary production remained in the marsh, contributing to the aggradation process of vertical marsh accretion. Nitrogen accumulated in the marsh at rates as great as 21 g per m/sup 2/ per yr.

  7. Relationships of salt-marsh plant distributions to tidal levels in Connecticut, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Lefor, M.W.; Kennard, W.C.; Civco, D.L.

    1987-01-01

    A three-year study of Connecticut, USA, salt-marsh vegetation was undertaken to determine the relationship of its distribution on the marsh surface to tidal levels, particularly mean high water (MHW) as measured on each of three sites representing different tidal amplitudes. Elevations and species present were measured on 1-m/sup 2/ grids in 10 x 70-m belt transects at each site. After the data were subjected to discriminant analysis and other standard statistical procedures, the results showed that 98.4% of all observations of Spartina alterniflora Loisel. occurred at or below MHW. The data can aid in salt-marsh restoration by offering a reliable indicator of what species should be planted when restored elevations and on-site MHW are known.

  8. Importance of biogeomorphic and spatial properties in assessing a tidal salt marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L.; Wylie, Glenn D.; Perry, William M.; Takekawa, John Y.

    2014-01-01

    We evaluated the biogeomorphic processes of a large (309 ha) tidal salt marsh and examined factors that influence its ability to keep pace with relative sea-level rise (SLR). Detailed elevation data from 1995 and 2008 were compared with digital elevation models (DEMs) to assess marsh surface elevation change during this time. Overall, 37 % (113 ha) of the marsh increased in elevation at a rate that exceeded SLR, whereas 63 % (196 ha) of the area did not keep pace with SLR. Of the total area, 55 % (169 ha) subsided during the study period, but subsidence varied spatially across the marsh surface. To determine which biogeomorphic and spatial factors contributed to measured elevation change, we collected soil cores and determined percent and origin of organic matter (OM), particle size, bulk density (BD), and distance to nearest bay edge, levee, and channel. We then used Akaike Information Criterion (AICc) model selection to assess those variables most important to determine measured elevation change. Soil stable isotope compositions were evaluated to assess the source of the OM. The samples had limited percent OM by weight (-3, indicating that the soils had high mineral content with a relatively low proportion of pore space. The most parsimonious model with the highest AICc weight (0.53) included distance from bay's edge (i.e., lower intertidal) and distance from levee (i.e., upper intertidal). Close proximity to sediment source was the greatest factor in determining whether an area increased in elevation, whereas areas near landward levees experienced subsidence. Our study indicated that the ability of a marsh to keep pace with SLR varied across the surface, and assessing changes in elevation over time provides an alternative method to long-term accretion monitoring. SLR models that do not consider spatial variability of biogeomorphic and accretion processes may not correctly forecast marsh drowning rates, which may be especially true in modified and urbanized estuaries. In light of SLR, improving our understanding of elevation change in these dynamic marsh systems will play a crucial role in forecasting potential impacts to their sustainability and the survival of these ecosystems.

  9. High site fidelity and low site connectivity in temperate salt marsh fish populations: a stable isotope approach.

    PubMed

    Green, Benjamin C; Smith, David J; Grey, Jonathan; Underwood, Graham J C

    2012-01-01

    Adult and juvenile fish utilise salt marshes for food and shelter at high tide, moving into adjacent sublittoral regions during low tide. Understanding whether there are high levels of site fidelity for different species of coastal fish has important implications for habitat conservation and the design of marine protected areas. We hypothesised that common salt marsh fish species would demonstrate a high site fidelity, resulting in minimal inter-marsh connectivity. Carbon ((13)C) and nitrogen ((15)N) stable isotope ratios of larvae and juveniles of five common salt marsh fish (Atherina presbyter, Chelon labrosus, Clupea harengus, Dicentrarchus labrax, Pomatoschistus microps), seven types of primary producer and seven secondary consumer food sources were sampled in five salt marshes within two estuary complexes along the coast of south-east England. Significant differences in (13)C and (15)N signatures between salt marshes indicated distinct sub-populations utilising the area of estuary around each salt marsh, and limited connectivity, even within the same estuary complex. (15)N ratios were responsible for the majority of inter-marsh differences for each species and showed similar site-specific patterns in ratios in primary producers, secondary consumers and fish. Fish diets (derived from isotope mixing models) varied between species but were mostly consistent between marsh sites, indicating that dietary shifts were not the source of variability of the inter-marsh isotopic signatures within species. These results demonstrate that for some common coastal fish species, high levels of site fidelity result in individual salt marshes operating as discrete habitats for fish assemblages. PMID:21786154

  10. Classification of salt marsh vegetation using edaphic and remote sensing-derived variables

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hladik, Christine; Alber, Merryl

    2014-03-01

    Salt marsh plant communities are known for their striking patterns of vertical zonation. Two of the most important edaphic parameters that affect species distribution patterns are soil salinity and waterlogging, both of which are related to topographical variations and distance to the water. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate whether information on elevation and distance derived through remote sensing could be used to predict plant distributions in a southeastern United States salt marsh. We classified four marsh vegetation classes (tall Spartina alterniflora, medium S. alterniflora/short S. alterniflora, marsh meadow, and Borrichia frutescens/Juncus roemerianus) based on landscape metrics obtained from a light detection and ranging (LIDAR)-derived digital elevation model (DEM) and compared results to a classification based on field-collected edaphic variables. Our secondary objective was to compare the performance of linear discriminant analysis (LDA) with non-parametric classification and regression trees (CART) for these classifications. Models based on the edaphic variables soil water content, salinity, and redox potential attained accuracies of 0.62 and 0.71 with LDA and CART, respectively. When the remote sensing-derived variables DEM elevation, slope, distance to the mean high water line, and distance to upland area were used, classification accuracies improved to 0.78 for LDA and 0.79 for CART. Our results suggest that remote sensing-derived metrics can capture edaphic gradients effectively, which makes them especially suited to landscape level analyses of salt marsh plant habitats, with potential application for predicting the effects of sea level rise on salt marsh plant distribution.

  11. Fish utilization of a salt marsh intertidal creek in the Yangtze River estuary, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jin, Binsong; Fu, Cuizhang; Zhong, Junsheng; Li, Bo; Chen, Jiakuan; Wu, Jihua

    2007-07-01

    The structure and temporal variations of the fish community in salt marshes of Chinese estuaries are poorly understood. Fish utilization of a salt marsh intertidal creek in the Yangtze River estuary was studied based on quarterly sampling surveys in July and November, 2004, and February and May, 2005. Fishes were collected by consecutive day and night samplings using fyke nets during the ebbing spring tides. A total of 25,010 individuals were caught during the study. 17 families and 33 species were documented, and the most species-rich family was Gobiidae. Three species, Synechogobius ommaturus, Chelon haematocheilus and Lateolabrax maculatus together comprised 95.65% of the total catch, which were also the most important commercial fishery species in the Yangtze River estuary. The fish community was dominated by juvenile individuals of estuarine resident species. Time of year significantly affected fish use of salt marshes, but no significant effects of diel periodicity on the fish community were found except for fish sampling in July. These findings indicate that salt marshes in the Yangtze River estuary may play important nursery roles for fish community.

  12. Using Nitrogen Stable Isotope Tracers to Track Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    Climate change impacts on coastal salt marshes are predicted to be complex and multi-faceted. In addition to rising sea level and warmer water temperatures, regional precipitation patterns are also expected to change. At least in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S., more severe s...

  13. GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ON THE BIOREMEDIATION OF OIL-CONTAMINATED SALT MARSHES.

    EPA Science Inventory

    A comprehensive guidance document that includes all known information about the implementation of bioremediation for cleanup of oil-contaminated coastal salt marshes was developed and the project completed. The document is the second in a series of two that has been produced. The...

  14. WATER LEVEL AND OXYGEN DELIVERY/UTILIZATION IN POROUS SALT MARSH SEDIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Increasing terrestrial nutrient inputs to coastal waters is a global water quality issue worldwide, and salt marshes may provide a valuable nutrient buffer, either by direct removal or by smoothing out pulse inputs between sources and sensitive estuarine habitats. A major challen...

  15. LINKING PLANT TRAITS TO SPECIES PERFORMANCE IN REMNANT AND RESTORED INLAND SALT MARSH COMMUNITIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    This research will build upon prior efforts where regression was used to model salt marsh species persistence and productivity along hydrologic and edaphic gradients at the SWB. Upcoming results will enable the optimization of planting combinations at a given salinity leve...

  16. HEMIPARASITES GENERATE ENVIRONMENTAL HETEROGENEITY AND ENHANCE SPECIES COEXISTENCE IN SALT MARSHES

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Tidal inundation and salinity are considered to be controlling factors in salt marsh species distributions. Parasitic plants may also influence community organization as parasite – host interactions may play a functional role in stress amelioration due to physiological mechanisms for salinity toler...

  17. Is Residential Development Adjacent to Salt Marshes Causing Declines in Seaside Sparrows?

    EPA Science Inventory

    To assess the possible effects of residential development on nesting populations of Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus), we repeated a 1982 survey conducted by Stoll and Golet. In June and July 2007, 23 RI salt marshes were surveyed in their entirety for the presenc...

  18. Crabs mediate interactions between native and invasive salt marsh plants: a mesocosm study.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiao-Dong; Jia, Xin; Chen, Yang-Yun; Shao, Jun-Jiong; Wu, Xin-Ru; Shang, Lei; Li, Bo

    2013-01-01

    Soil disturbance has been widely recognized as an important factor influencing the structure and dynamics of plant communities. Although soil reworkers were shown to increase habitat complexity and raise the risk of plant invasion, their role in regulating the interactions between native and invasive species remains unclear. We proposed that crab activities, via improving soil nitrogen availability, may indirectly affect the interactions between invasive Spartina alterniflora and native Phragmites australis and Scirpus mariqueter in salt marsh ecosystems. We conducted a two-year mesocosm experiment consisting of five species combinations, i.e., monocultures of three species and pair-wise mixtures of invasive and native species, with crabs being either present or absent for each combination. We found that crabs could mitigate soil nitrogen depletion in the mesocosm over the two years. Plant performance of all species, at both the ramet-level (height and biomass per ramet) and plot-level (density, total above- and belowground biomass), were promoted by crab activities. These plants responded to crab disturbance primarily by clonal propagation, as plot-level performance was more sensitive to crabs than ramet-level. Moreover, crab activities altered the competition between Spartina and native plants in favor of the former, since Spartina was more promoted than native plants by crab activities. Our results suggested that crab activities may increase the competition ability of Spartina over native Phragmites and Scirpus through alleviating soil nitrogen limitation. PMID:24023926

  19. Dynamics of bacterial community succession in a salt marsh chronosequence: evidences for temporal niche partitioning.

    PubMed

    Dini-Andreote, Francisco; de Cássia Pereira e Silva, Michele; Triadó-Margarit, Xavier; Casamayor, Emilio O; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Salles, Joana Falcão

    2014-10-01

    The mechanisms underlying community assembly and promoting temporal succession are often overlooked in microbial ecology. Here, we studied an undisturbed salt marsh chronosequence, spanning over a century of ecosystem development, to understand bacterial succession in soil. We used 16S rRNA gene-based quantitative PCR to determine bacterial abundance and multitag 454 pyrosequencing for community composition and diversity analyses. Despite 10-fold lower 16S rRNA gene abundances, the initial stages of soil development held higher phylogenetic diversities than the soil at late succession. Temporal variations in phylogenetic β-diversity were greater at initial stages of soil development, possibly as a result of the great dynamism imposed by the daily influence of the tide, promoting high immigration rates. Allogenic succession of bacterial communities was mostly driven by shifts in the soil physical structure, as well as variations in pH and salinity, which collectively explained 84.5% of the variation concerning community assemblage. The community assembly data for each successional stage were integrated into a network co-occurrence analysis, revealing higher complexity at initial stages, coinciding with great dynamism in turnover and environmental variability. Contrary to a spatial niche-based perspective of bacterial community assembly, we suggest temporal niche partitioning as the dominant mechanism of assembly (promoting more phylotype co-occurrence) in the initial stages of succession, where continuous environmental change results in the existence of multiple niches over short periods of time. PMID:24739625

  20. Dynamics of bacterial community succession in a salt marsh chronosequence: evidences for temporal niche partitioning

    PubMed Central

    Dini-Andreote, Francisco; de Cássia Pereira e Silva, Michele; Triadó-Margarit, Xavier; Casamayor, Emilio O; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Salles, Joana Falcão

    2014-01-01

    The mechanisms underlying community assembly and promoting temporal succession are often overlooked in microbial ecology. Here, we studied an undisturbed salt marsh chronosequence, spanning over a century of ecosystem development, to understand bacterial succession in soil. We used 16S rRNA gene-based quantitative PCR to determine bacterial abundance and multitag 454 pyrosequencing for community composition and diversity analyses. Despite 10-fold lower 16S rRNA gene abundances, the initial stages of soil development held higher phylogenetic diversities than the soil at late succession. Temporal variations in phylogenetic β-diversity were greater at initial stages of soil development, possibly as a result of the great dynamism imposed by the daily influence of the tide, promoting high immigration rates. Allogenic succession of bacterial communities was mostly driven by shifts in the soil physical structure, as well as variations in pH and salinity, which collectively explained 84.5% of the variation concerning community assemblage. The community assembly data for each successional stage were integrated into a network co-occurrence analysis, revealing higher complexity at initial stages, coinciding with great dynamism in turnover and environmental variability. Contrary to a spatial niche-based perspective of bacterial community assembly, we suggest temporal niche partitioning as the dominant mechanism of assembly (promoting more phylotype co-occurrence) in the initial stages of succession, where continuous environmental change results in the existence of multiple niches over short periods of time. PMID:24739625

  1. Temporal changes and spatial variation of soil oxygen consumption, nitrification and denitrification rates in a tidal salt marsh of the Lagoon of Venice, Italy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eriksson, P. G.; Svensson, J. M.; Carrer, G. M.

    2003-12-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate seasonal and spatial patterns of soil oxygen consumption, nitrification, denitrification and fluxes of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in a tidal salt marsh of the Lagoon of Venice, Italy. In the salt marsh, intact soil cores including overlying water were collected monthly at high tide from April to October in salt marsh creeks and in areas covered by the dominant vegetation, Limonium serotinum. In May, cores were also collected in areas with vegetation dominated by Juncus maritimus and Halimione portulacoides. In laboratory incubations at in situ temperature in the dark, flux rates of oxygen and DIN were monitored in the overlying water of the intact cores. 15N-nitrate was added to the overlying water and nitrification and denitrification were measured using isotope-dilution and -pairing techniques. The results show that highest soil oxygen consumption coincided with the highest water temperature in June and July. The highest denitrification rates were recorded in spring and autumn coinciding with the highest nitrate concentrations. Soil oxygen consumption and nitrification rates differed between sampling sites, but denitrification rates were similar among the different vegetation types. The highest rates were recorded in areas covered with L. serotinum. Burrowing soil macrofauna enhanced oxygen consumption, nitrification and denitrification in April and May. The data presented in this study indicate high temporal as well as spatial variations in the flux of oxygen and DIN, and nitrogen transformations in the tidal salt marshes of the Venice lagoon during the growth season. The results identify the salt marshes of the Venice lagoon as being metabolically very active ecosystems with a high capacity to process nitrogen.

  2. Man's Impact on the Environment: The Freshwater Marsh as an Ecosystem. Update.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brevard County School Board, Cocoa, FL.

    This environmental education program emphasizes the cause and effect of change in a freshwater marsh ecosystem with special attention given to man and his role in environmental change. Concepts are employed from the natural and social sciences to investigate environmental problems. Unit activities are inquiry oriented and answer these questions:…

  3. Recommended design for more accurate duplication of natural conditions in salt marsh creation.

    PubMed

    Darnell, T M; Smith, E H

    2002-06-01

    Construction of 653 ha of salt marsh habitat from dredged material near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas, has been proposed, with the goal of increasing the area of habitat available to endangered whooping cranes ( Grus americana). We assessed prototype created wetlands, and their similarity to natural reference sites, in terms of topography, vegetation, and hydrology. The created sites were steeply sloped relative to natural sites and were dominated by monotypic stands of Spartina alterniflora. Natural sites were dominated by vegetation more tolerant of desiccation and hypersalinity and by unvegetated salt pans. Differences in vegetation communities and distributions of habitat types resulted from efforts to enhance habitat diversity in created marsh cells through manipulation of marsh topography. However, the scale at which this diversity occurred in natural marsh of the study area was not considered. When constructing wetlands in cellular configurations, we recommend creation of large complexes of adjoining, hydrologically linked, cells wherein the desired habitat diversity is created at the scale of the entire complex, rather than within a single cell. Suggested design modifications would increase the similarity of created marshes to natural reference sites, potentially improving habitat function. PMID:11992173

  4. Evaluating a portable cylindrical bait trap to capture diamondback terrapins in salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Henry, Paula F.; Haramis, Michael; Day, Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) are currently in decline across much of their historical range, and demographic data on a regional scale are needed to identify where their populations are at greatest risk. Because terrapins residing in salt marshes are difficult to capture, we designed a cylindrical bait trap (CBT) that could be deployed in shallow tidal waters. From 2003 to 2006, trials were conducted with CBTs in the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland (USA) to determine terrapin sex, size, and age distribution within 3 salt marsh interior habitats—open bays, tidal guts, and broken marshes—using 15 traps/habitat. Analyses based on 791 total captures with CBTs indicate that smaller terrapins, (i.e., adult male and subadult) were more prevalent within the transecting tidal guts and broken marshes, whereas the adult females were more evenly distributed among habitats, including open bays. Subadult females made up the largest percent of catch in the CBTs deployed within the 3 marsh interior habitats. During a 12-day trial in which we compared capture performance of CBTs and modified fyke nets along open shorelines during the nesting season, fyke nets outperformed CBTs by accounting for 95.2% of the 604 terrapin captures. Although the long drift leads of the fyke nets proved more effective for intercepting along-shore travel of adult female terrapins during the nesting season, CBTs provided a more effective means of live-trapping terrapins within the shallow interior marshes.

  5. Does the invasive plant Elymus athericus modify fish diet in tidal salt marshes?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laffaille, P.; Pétillon, J.; Parlier, E.; Valéry, L.; Ysnel, F.; Radureau, A.; Feunteun, E.; Lefeuvre, J.-C.

    2005-12-01

    The invasion of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay salt marshes (France) by a grass species ( Elymus athericus) has led to important changes in vegetation cover, which is likely to modify the habitat for many invertebrates. Some of them constitute the main food items for several fish species, such as young sea bass ( Dicentrarchus labrax) and sand goby ( Pomatoschistus minutus), that feed in salt marsh creeks during high tides. As a result, fish nursery functions of salt marshes could be modified by the E. athericus invasion. In order to test this hypothesis, gut contents of the two most abundant fish species (sea bass and sand goby) were compared before and after E. athericus invasion in the same salt marsh creek and using the same methodology. The accessibility and availability of the main food item, the semi-terrestrial amphipod Orchestia gammarella, were estimated and compared between invaded (dominated by E. athericus) and original areas (dominated by Atriplex portulacoides). Gut content analysis showed a significantly greater percentage of fish leaving with empty guts from E. athericus areas than from A. portulacoides areas. The sea bass diet composition study showed a major shift in the relative importance of the main food items: before E. athericus invasion, diets were dominated by the semi-terrestrial species O. gammarella, whereas after the E. athericus invasion they were dominated by a marine mysid Neomysis integer. The same trend was found for sand gobies, with a shift of the main food item from O. gammarella before invasion to the polychaete Hediste diversicolor after invasion. These trophic changes may be explained by the lower accessibility and availability of O. gammarella in invaded communities than in natural ones. The E. athericus invasion, observed throughout northern Europe, is thus likely to disturb trophic function of natural salt marshes for fish. This preliminary study of the E. athericus invasion is also an illustration that invasive species are an urgent problem in conservation biology.

  6. The use of chlorate, nitrate, and perchlorate to promote crude oil mineralization in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Brundrett, Maeghan; Horita, Juske; Anderson, Todd; Pardue, John; Reible, Danny; Jackson, W Andrew

    2015-10-01

    Due to the high volume of crude oil released by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the salt marshes along the gulf coast were contaminated with crude oil. Biodegradation of crude oil in salt marshes is primarily limited by oxygen availability due to the high organic carbon content of the soil, high flux rate of S(2-), and saturated conditions. Chlorate, nitrate, and perchlorate were evaluated for use as electron acceptors in comparison to oxygen by comparing oil transformation and mineralization in mesocosms consisting of oiled salt marsh sediment from an area impacted by the BP Horizon oil spill. Mineralization rates were determined by measuring CO2 production and δ (13)C of the produced CO2 and compared to transformation evaluated by measuring the alkane/hopane ratios over a 4-month period. Total alkane/hopane ratios decreased (~55-70 %) for all treatments in the following relative order: aerated ≈ chlorate > nitrate > perchlorate. Total CO2 produced was similar between treatments ranging from 550-700 mg CO2-C. The δ (13)C-CO2 values generally ranged between the indigenous carbon and oil values (-17 and -27‰, respectively). Oil mineralization was greatest for the aerated treatments and least for the perchlorate amended. Our results indicate that chlorate has a similar potential as oxygen to support oil mineralization in contaminated salt marshes, but nitrate and perchlorate were less effective. The use of chlorate as a means to promote oil mineralization in situ may be a promising means to remediate contaminated salt marshes while preventing unwanted secondary impacts related to nutrient management as in the case of nitrate amendments. PMID:25854211

  7. A mixing-model approach to quantifying sources of organic matter to salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowles, K. M.; Meile, C. D.

    2010-12-01

    Salt marshes are highly productive ecosystems, where autochthonous production controls an intricate exchange of carbon and energy among organisms. The major sources of organic carbon to these systems include 1) autochthonous production by vascular plant matter, 2) import of allochthonous plant material, and 3) phytoplankton biomass. Quantifying the relative contribution of organic matter sources to a salt marsh is important for understanding the fate and transformation of organic carbon in these systems, which also impacts the timing and magnitude of carbon export to the coastal ocean. A common approach to quantify organic matter source contributions to mixtures is the use of linear mixing models. To estimate the relative contributions of endmember materials to total organic matter in the sediment, the problem is formulated as a constrained linear least-square problem. However, the type of data that is utilized in such mixing models, the uncertainties in endmember compositions and the temporal dynamics of non-conservative entitites can have varying affects on the results. Making use of a comprehensive data set that encompasses several endmember characteristics - including a yearlong degradation experiment - we study the impact of these factors on estimates of the origin of sedimentary organic carbon in a saltmarsh located in the SE United States. We first evaluate the sensitivity of linear mixing models to the type of data employed by analyzing a series of mixing models that utilize various combinations of parameters (i.e. endmember characteristics such as δ13COC, C/N ratios or lignin content). Next, we assess the importance of using more than the minimum number of parameters required to estimate endmember contributions to the total organic matter pool. Then, we quantify the impact of data uncertainty on the outcome of the analysis using Monte Carlo simulations and accounting for the uncertainty in endmember characteristics. Finally, as biogeochemical processes can alter endmember characteristics over time, we investigate the effect of early diagenesis on chosen parameters, an analysis that entails an assessment of the organic matter age distribution. Thus, estimates of the relative contributions of phytoplankton, C3 and C4 plants to bulk sediment organic matter depend not only on environmental characteristics that impact reactivity, but also on sediment mixing processes.

  8. Long-term changes and historical uses of one of the largest French salt-marshes since 1705

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godet, Laurent; Pourinet, Laurent; Decaulne, Armelle

    2014-05-01

    The salt-marshes of the Baie de l'Aiguillon (Western France) are among the largest of Western Europe. Thanks to exceptional historical data, including old maps, manuscripts and aerial photographs, we propose one of the first long-term accurate cartographies of such a large salt-marsh, dating back to the beginning of the 18th century. Like other salt-marshes in Western Europe, including those of the Mont Saint-Michel Bay (France), we found that they are expanding for the three last decades. However, our historical analysis also reveals that the area of these salt-marshes shrinked by two thirds over the last three centuries, due to massive land-reclamations starting from the mid-17th century. As revealed by historical testimonies and archeological remains, we also demonstrated that these salt-marshes were actively mowed as soon as the 1700s. In consequence, the oldest and the non-used parts of such salt-marshes correspond to very restricted patches that may present a high conservation stake. In the context of massive land-use and land-cover changes along the European coastal zones, historical analyses exploring long-term changes and historical uses of coastal habitats may help to identify old and natural patches of coastal habitats. Salt-marshes, that are easy to map and monitor, are good candidates for such investigations.

  9. Influences of Salinity Variations on Pore-water Flow in Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shen, C.; Jin, G.; Xin, P.; Li, L.

    2013-12-01

    Salt marshes are important wetlands at the ocean-land interface with various ecological functions, serving as essential habitats for intertidal fauna, affecting the productivity of coastal waters through nutrient exchange, moderating the greenhouse gas emission and global warming. They are influenced by various physical and biogeochemical processes, among which the pore-water flow and associated solute transport processes play an important role in determining the material exchange between marsh soils and coastal water. Previous studies have examined such processes under the solo or combined effects of tidal fluctuation, evapotranspiration, stratigraphy, inland freshwater input, and topography. However, these investigations have neglected the spatial and temporal salinity variations in surface water and pore-water, which commonly exist in salt marshes due to the impacts of tidal inundation, precipitation and evapotranspiration. The density contrast between the surface water and pore-water may lead to significant modifications of the pore-water flow. Based on results from laboratory experiments and numerical simulations, we will demonstrate that: (1) under upward salinity gradients, flow instabilities in the form of fingers occur once the salinity contrast reaches a certain level, whereas under downward salinity gradients the system is stable; (2) because of the strong tidally-induced advective process occurring near the creek, both the number and size of fingers change gradually from the near-creek zone to the marsh interior; and (3) both upward and downward salinity gradients enhance the exchange between the surface water and pore-water in the marsh sediments. Keywords: Salt marshes; density effect; salinity gradient; pore-water flow; fingers. Instabilities under upward salinity gradient Stable system under downward salinity gradient

  10. Comparison of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in plants from disturbed and adjacent undisturbed regions of a coastal salt marsh in Clinton, Connecticut, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, John C.; Lefor, Michael W.

    1990-01-01

    Roots of salt marsh plant species Spartina alterniflora, S. patens, Distichlis spicata, and others were examined for the presence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi. Samples were taken from introduced planted material in a salt marsh restoration project and from native material in adjacent marsh areas along the Indian River, Clinton, Connecticut, USA. After ten years the replanted area still has sites devoid of vegetation. The salt marsh plants introduced there were devoid of VAM fungi, while high marsh species from the adjacent undisturbed region showed consistent infection, leading the authors to suggest that VAM fungal infection of planting stocks may be a factor in the success of marsh restoration.

  11. The influence of mosquito control recirculation ditches on plant biomass, production and composition in two San Francisco Bay salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balling, Steven S.; Resh, Vincent H.

    1983-02-01

    Vegetation of two San Francisco Bay, California, U.S.A. tidal marshes was examined to determine the effects of recirculation ditches designed to eliminate mosquito-breeding. Salicornia virginica L. biomass and production in Petaluma Marsh and plant species composition in Suisun Marsh were measured with respect to distance from ditches and natural channels. In Petaluma Marsh, both annual above-ground production estimates and infrared aerial photographs indicated that S. virginica growth rates were higher near ditches than in the open marsh. In the floristically diverse, less saline Suisun Marsh, there was a displacement of the more salt tolerant S. virginica by the less tolerant Juncus balticus Willd. and a significantly greater number of species near the ditches. Results in both marshes are correlated with low groundwater salinities near ditches and suggest that tidal circulation within ditches locally ameliorates extremes in soil conditions.

  12. Impacts of salt marsh plants on tidal channel initiation and inheritance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwarz, Christian; Ye, Qinghua; van der Wal, Daphne; Zhang, Liquan; Ysebaert, Tom; Herman, Peter MJ

    2013-04-01

    Tidal channel networks are the most prominent and striking features visible in tidal wetlands. They serve as major pathways for the exchange of water, sediments, nutrients and contaminants between the wetland and the adjacent open water body. Previous studies identified topography guided sheet flows, as the predominate process for tidal channel initiation. Guided through differences in local topography, sheet flows are able to locally exceed bottom shear stress thresholds, initiating scouring and incision of tidal channels, which then further grow through head ward erosion. The fate of these channels after plant colonization is described in literature as being inherited into the salt marsh through vegetation induced bank stabilization (further referred to as vegetation stabilized channel inheritance). In this study we present a combination of flume experiments and modelling simulations elucidating the impact of vegetation on tidal channel initiation. We first studied the impact of plant properties (stiff: Spartina alterniflora versus flexible: Scirpus mariqueter) on local sediment transport utilizing a flume experiment. Then a coupled hydrodynamic morphodynamic plant growth model was set up to simulate plant colonization by these two different species in the pioneer zone at the mudflat - salt marsh transition. Based on the model we investigated the ramifications of interactions between vegetation, sediment and flow on tidal channel initiation. We specifically compared the effect of vegetation properties (such as stiffness, growth velocity and stress tolerance) on emerging channel patterns, hypothesizing that vegetation mediated channel incision (vegetation induced flow routing and differential sedimentation/erosion patterns leading to tidal channel incision) plays an active role in intertidal landscape evolution. We finally extended our model simulation by imposing pre-existing mudflat channels with different maximum depths, to investigate the impact of existing channels on vegetation mediated channel incision. This simulated landscape development was then compared to aerial photographs from the Scheldt estuary (the Netherlands) and the Yangtze estuary (China). Our results suggest a significant impact of plant properties on tidal channel network emergence, specifically in respect to network drainage density and channel width. This emphasizes the repercussions of vegetation mediated channel incision on estuarine landscape development. Further do our results point to the existence of a threshold in pre-existing mudflat channel depth favoring either vegetation stabilized channel inheritance or vegetation mediated channel incision processes. Increasing depth in mudflat channels favors flow routing via these channels, leaving less flow and momentum remaining for the interaction between vegetation, sediment and flow and therefore vegetation mediated channel incision. This threshold will be influenced by field specific parameters such as hydrodynamics (tidal range, waves, and flow), sediments and predominant plant species. Hence our study not only demonstrates to importance of plant properties on landscape development it also shows that vegetation stabilized channel inheritance or vegetation mediated channel incision are two occurring mechanisms depending on ecosystem properties, adding important information for salt marsh management and conservation.

  13. Using Projections of Tidal Marsh Ecosystem Response to Sea-Level Rise to Guide Adaptation Planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veloz, S.; Nur, N.; Salas, L. A.; Stralberg, D.; Jongsomjit, D.; Wood, J.; Liu, L.; Ballard, G.

    2011-12-01

    The large uncertainty associated with estimating the effects of sea-level rise and climate change on tidal marsh ecosystems exacerbates the difficulty in planning for their effective conservation. To address this uncertainty, we modeled the distribution and abundance of tidal marsh bird species in the San Francisco Estuary for the period 2010 to 2110 in relation to projected changes in sea-level rise, salinity, and sediment availability using four future scenarios with assumptions of low or high suspended sediment concentrations and low or high rates of sea-level rise (0.52 or 1.65 m/100 yr). We used the projections of bird populations the modeled uncertainty to develop spatially explicit priorities for conservation and restoration using Zonation conservation planning software. In our models, marsh bird population generally declined from current levels due to the conversion of high and mid-marsh habitat to low-marsh and mudflats and changes in spring and summer salinity. High sea-level rise scenarios had the biggest impact on bird populations, although the effects were muted under high sediment availability scenarios. There was considerable variation in bird population projections among the four future scenarios we tested and the uncertainty tended to increase from 2030 to 2110. Because so little tidal marsh habitat currently remains in the San Francisco Estuary, the spatial prioritization found that all areas currently open to tidal influence were high priorities for conservation. We repeated this prioritization exercise with all barriers to tidal flow (e.g. levees) removed and identified important locations in which restoration by breaching levees would most efficiently provide long-term benefit to tidal marsh bird populations. The projected species distributions and changes in tidal marsh elevations are available in the form of interactive maps and downloadable GIS layers at: www.prbo.org/sfbayslr. This website can help managers plan effective conservation and restoration strategies to foster adaptation to the effects of future climate change.

  14. Ecology of irregularly flooded salt marshes of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico: a community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Stout, J.P.

    1984-12-01

    The salt marshes of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico are distinguished by irregular flooding, low energy wave and tidal action, and long periods of exposure. The plant community is most often dominated by black needlerush (Juncus roemerianus), the species of focus in this synthesis. Distinct marsh zones include those dominated by Juncus and Spartina alterniflora at low elevations, sparsely vegetated salt flats, and higher elevation salt meadows of Juncus and Spartina patens. A diverse microbial and algal assemblage is also present. A diverse fauna has adapted to the physical rigors of these marshes. Zooplankton are dominated by the larvae of fiddler crabs and other decapods. The meiofauna consist primarily of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods. Macroinvertebrates are represented by crustaceans (especially mollusks and crabs), annelids, and insects. Grass shrimp, blue crabs, and other crustaceans are seasonally abundant in marsh creeks, as are a number of resident and migratory fish species. Birds comprise one of the larger herbivore groups and are also significant at higher tropic levels as top carnivores. Muskrat and nutria are important mammals. 43 figs., 38 tabs.

  15. The Effect of Nitrogen Enrichment on C1-Cycling Microorganisms and Methane Flux in Salt Marsh Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Irvine, Irina C.; Vivanco, Lucía; Bentley, Peris N.; Martiny, Jennifer B. H.

    2012-01-01

    Methane (CH4) flux from ecosystems is driven by C1-cycling microorganisms – the methanogens and the methylotrophs. Little is understood about what regulates these communities, complicating predictions about how global change drivers such as nitrogen enrichment will affect methane cycling. Using a nitrogen addition gradient experiment in three Southern California salt marshes, we show that sediment CH4 flux increased linearly with increasing nitrogen addition (1.23 μg CH4 m−2 day−1 for each g N m−2 year−1 applied) after 7 months of fertilization. To test the reason behind this increased CH4 flux, we conducted a microcosm experiment altering both nitrogen and carbon availability under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Methanogenesis appeared to be both nitrogen and carbon (acetate) limited. N and C each increased methanogenesis by 18%, and together by 44%. In contrast, methanotrophy was stimulated by carbon (methane) addition (830%), but was unchanged by nitrogen addition. Sequence analysis of the sediment methylotroph community with the methanol dehydrogenase gene (mxaF) revealed three distinct clades that fall outside of known lineages. However, in agreement with the microcosm results, methylotroph abundance (assayed by qPCR) and composition (assayed by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis) did not vary across the experimental nitrogen gradient in the field. Together, these results suggest that nitrogen enrichment to salt marsh sediments increases methane flux by stimulating the methanogen community. PMID:22470369

  16. Feedbacks underlie the resilience of salt marshes and rapid reversal of consumer-driven die-off.

    PubMed

    Altieri, Andrew H; Bertness, Mark D; Coverdale, Tyler C; Axelman, Eric E; Herrmann, Nicholas C; Szathmary, P Lauren

    2013-07-01

    Understanding ecosystem resilience to human impacts is critical for conservation and restoration. The large-scale die-off of New England salt marshes was triggered by overfishing and resulted from decades of runaway crab grazing. In 2009, however, cordgrass began to recover, decreasing die-off -40% by 2010. We used surveys and experiments to test whether plant-substrate feedbacks underlie marsh resilience. Initially, grazer-generated die-off swept through the cordgrass, creating exposed, stressful peat banks that inhibited plant growth. This desertification cycle broke when banks eroded and peat transitioned into mud with fewer herbivores, less grazing, and lower physical stress. Cordgrass reestablished in these areas through a feedback where it engineered a recovery zone by further ameliorating physical stresses and facilitating additional revegetation. Our results reveal that feedbacks can play a critical role in rapid, reversible ecosystem shifts associated with human impacts, and that the interplay of facilitative and consumer interactions should be incorporated into resilience theory. PMID:23951724

  17. The new CutSprof sampling tool and method for micromorphological and microfacies analyses of subsurface salt marsh sediments, Algarve, Portugal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Araújo-Gomes, João; Ramos-Pereira, Ana

    2015-02-01

    A new tool and method for collecting undisturbed subsurface samples in estuarine environments by means of trenching, timbering and sectioning is presented. Smoothing of sidewalls is achieved by a so-called cutting sediment profiler (CutSprof), while water draining into the trench is cleared by pumping. From smoothed sidewall sections, undisturbed thin sediment slices can then be collected for micromorphological and microfacies analyses. Results demonstrating the successful application of this procedure are presented for salt marshes of the Bensafrim River estuary (Lagos, Algarve, Portugal). In addition to palaeo-reconstructions in salt marsh settings, the CutSprof would be highly suitable in various other research domains as well as for environmental management purposes, particularly where sampling below the groundwater table is desirable to explore, for example, animal-sediment relationships in tidal-flat and mangrove ecosystems as well as the dynamics of coastal wetlands today threatened by ever-increasing anthropogenic influence.

  18. Spartina alterniflora genotype influences facilitation and suppression of high marsh species colonizing an early successional salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Proffitt, C.E.; Chiasson, R.L.; Owens, A.B.; Edwards, K.R.; Travis, S.E.

    2005-01-01

    1. Genetically based phenotypic and ecotypic variation in a dominant plant species can influence ecological functions and patterns of recruitment by other species in plant communities. However, the nature and degree of importance of genotypic differences is poorly understood in most systems. 2. The dominant salt marsh species, Spartina alterniflora, is known to induce facultative and competitive effects in different plant species, and the outcomes of interactions can be affected by nutrients and flooding stress. Clonal genotypes, which maintained their different plant architecture phenotypes throughout 31 months of a field experiment, underwent considerable genet-specific senescence in their centres over the last 12 months. 3. Different clonal genotypes and different locations (robust edges vs. senescent centres) permitted significantly different levels of light penetration of the canopy (14.8-77.6%), thus establishing spatial heterogeneity for this important environmental factor. 4. S. alterniflora clonal genotype influenced the degree of suppression of the previously dominant Salicornia bigelovii as well as facilitation of recruitment and growth by other plant species. Aster subulatus and Atriplex, patula performed better in Spartina clone centres, and experienced reduced growth in Salicornia-dominated areas. 5. Four other high marsh species (Borrichia frutescens, Aster tenuifolius, Iva frutescens and Limonium carolinianum) colonized only into Spartina clones but not into the Salicornia-dominated area. 6. These results suggest that differences in clone size, centre senescence, stem density, height, total stem length and biomass in different genotypes of a dominant marsh plant species can influence recruitment and growth of other plant species. The spatial pattern of habitat heterogeneity is, at least in part, dependent on the genotypic diversity, and possibly the genetic diversity, of such foundation species. 7. We hypothesize that as genotypic diversity increases in populations of a dominant plant species like S. alterniflora, the number and diversity of interactions with other species will increase as well. ?? 2005 British Ecological Society.

  19. Influence of halophytes and metal contamination on salt marsh macro-benthic communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinagre, C.; Cabral, H. N.; Caçador, I.

    2008-03-01

    Since an important fraction of the organic matter produced by salt marshes is decomposed in situ, macro-benthic communities are particularly exposed to the trace metals retained by these systems. Yet, few studies have investigated the macro-benthic communities using the between-root sediment habitat of the salt marsh halophytes (salt-tolerant plants), or the effect of trace metal pollution on its population dynamics. In the present study, samples were collected in vegetated and unvegetated sediment, in three salt marshes in the Tagus estuary, for trace metal concentration determination in the sediment and in the halophytes roots, grain size determination and macro-benthic organism identification. Data analysis revealed that the distribution of macro-benthic organisms is mainly determined by metal contamination, metal type and by the presence/absence of halophytes, not by the halophyte species. Five different associations were identified: resistant organisms were associated with the highest concentrations of lead (sediment); tolerant organisms with zinc, copper (sediment and roots) and lead (roots); cadmium in the sediment with a lack of macro-benthic life; sensitive organisms with low levels of metals except for cadmium in the roots; and macro-benthos typical of intertidal mudflats with unvegetated areas with low metal contamination.

  20. Effect of local variability in erosional resistance on large-scale morphodynamic response of salt marshes to wind waves and extreme events

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonardi, Nicoletta; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2015-07-01

    We use field data and a cellular automata model to investigate salt marsh response to wave action under different wave energy conditions and frequency of extreme events. Our results suggest that salt marsh response to wind waves is tied to their local properties. In case of low-wave-energy conditions, local variability in marsh resistance might lead to the unpredictable failure of large marsh portions with respect to average erosion rates. High-wave-energy conditions, while overall leading to faster marsh deterioration, produce constant and predictable erosion rates. A high occurrence of extreme events leads to smoother and more uniformly deteriorating marsh boundary profiles. Salt marshes subject to weak wave energy conditions are the most susceptible to variations in the frequency of extreme events. This suggests that variations in time in the morphology of salt marsh boundaries could be used to infer changes in frequency and magnitude of external agents.

  1. Practical proxies for tidal marsh ecosystem services: application to injury and restoration.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Charles H; Able, Kenneth W; Dejong, Christin Frieswyk; Piehler, Michael F; Simenstad, Charles A; Zedler, Joy B

    2008-01-01

    Tidal marshes are valued, protected and restored in recognition of their ecosystem services: (1) high productivity and habitat provision supporting the food web leading to fish and wildlife, (2) buffer against storm wave damage, (3) shoreline stabilization, (4) flood water storage, (5) water quality maintenance, (6) biodiversity preservation, (7) carbon storage and (8) socio-economic benefits. Under US law, federal and state governments have joint responsibility for facilitating restoration to compensate quantitatively for ecosystem services lost because of oil spills and other contaminant releases on tidal marshes. This responsibility is now met by choosing and employing metrics (proxies) for the suite of ecosystem services to quantify injury and scale restoration accordingly. Most injury assessments in tidal marshes are triggered by oil spills and are limited to: (1) documenting areas covered by heavy, moderate and light oiling; (2) estimating immediate above-ground production loss (based on stem density and height) of the dominant vascular plants within each oiling intensity category and (3) sampling sediments for chemical analyses and depth of contamination, followed by sediment toxicity assays if sediment contamination is high and likely to persist. The percentage of immediate loss of ecosystem services is then estimated along with the recovery trajectory. Here, we review potential metrics that might refine or replace present metrics for marsh injury assessment. Stratifying plant sampling by the more productive marsh edge versus the less accessible interior would improve resolution of injury and provide greater confidence that restoration is truly compensatory. Using microphytobenthos abundance, cotton-strip decomposition bioassays and other biogeochemical indicators, or sum of production across consumer trophic levels fails as a stand-alone substitute metric. Below-ground plant biomass holds promise as a potential proxy for resiliency but requires further testing. Under some conditions, like chronic contamination by organic pollutants that affect animals but not vascular plants, benthic infaunal density, toxicity testing, and tissue contamination, growth, reproduction and mortality of marsh vertebrates deserve inclusion in the assessment protocol. Additional metrics are sometimes justified to assay microphytobenthos, use by nekton, food and habitat for reptiles, birds and mammals, or support of plant diversity. Empirical research on recovery trajectories in previously injured marshes could reduce the largest source of uncertainty in quantifying cumulative service losses. PMID:18929066

  2. Sediment quality assessment in tidal salt marshes in northern California, USA: An evaluation of multiple lines of evidence approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hwang, Hyun-Min; Carr, Robert S.; Cherr, Gary N.; Green, Peter G.; Grosholz, Edwin G.; Judah, Linda; Morgan, Steven G.; Ogle, Scott; Rashbrook, Vanessa K.; Rose, Wendy L.; Teh, Swee J.; Vines, Carol A.; Anderson, Susan L.

    2013-01-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of integrating a traditional sediment quality triad approach with selected sublethal chronic indicators in resident species in assessing sediment quality in four salt marshes in northern California, USA. These included the highly contaminated (Stege Marsh) and relatively clean (China Camp) marshes in San Francisco Bay and two reference marshes in Tomales Bay. Toxicity potential of contaminants and benthic macroinvertebrate survey showed significant differences between contaminated and reference marshes. Sublethal responses (e.g., apoptotic DNA fragmentation, lipid accumulation, and glycogen depletion) in livers of longjaw mudsucker (Gillichthys mirabilis) and embryo abnormality in lined shore crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes) also clearly distinguished contaminated and reference marshes, while other responses (e.g., cytochrome P450, metallothionein) did not. This study demonstrates that additional chronic sublethal responses in resident species under field exposure conditions can be readily combined with sediment quality triads for an expanded multiple lines of evidence approach. This confirmatory step may be warranted in environments like salt marshes in which natural variables may affect interpretation of toxicity test data. Qualitative and quantitative integration of the portfolio of responses in resident species and traditional approach can support a more comprehensive and informative sediment quality assessment in salt marshes and possibly other habitat types as well.

  3. Sediment quality assessment in tidal salt marshes in northern California, USA: an evaluation of multiple lines of evidence approach.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Hyun-Min; Carr, R Scott; Cherr, Gary N; Green, Peter G; Grosholz, Edwin D; Judah, Linda; Morgan, Steven G; Ogle, Scott; Rashbrook, Vanessa K; Rose, Wendy L; Teh, Swee J; Vines, Carol A; Anderson, Susan L

    2013-06-01

    The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of integrating a traditional sediment quality triad approach with selected sublethal chronic indicators in resident species in assessing sediment quality in four salt marshes in northern California, USA. These included the highly contaminated (Stege Marsh) and relatively clean (China Camp) marshes in San Francisco Bay and two reference marshes in Tomales Bay. Toxicity potential of contaminants and benthic macroinvertebrate survey showed significant differences between contaminated and reference marshes. Sublethal responses (e.g., apoptotic DNA fragmentation, lipid accumulation, and glycogen depletion) in livers of longjaw mudsucker (Gillichthys mirabilis) and embryo abnormality in lined shore crab (Pachygrapsus crassipes) also clearly distinguished contaminated and reference marshes, while other responses (e.g., cytochrome P450, metallothionein) did not. This study demonstrates that additional chronic sublethal responses in resident species under field exposure conditions can be readily combined with sediment quality triads for an expanded multiple lines of evidence approach. This confirmatory step may be warranted in environments like salt marshes in which natural variables may affect interpretation of toxicity test data. Qualitative and quantitative integration of the portfolio of responses in resident species and traditional approach can support a more comprehensive and informative sediment quality assessment in salt marshes and possibly other habitat types as well. PMID:23542672

  4. Ecomorphodynamic evolution of salt marshes: Experimental observations of bank retreat processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Francalanci, S.; Bendoni, M.; Rinaldi, M.; Solari, L.

    2013-08-01

    This paper addresses the problem of the erosion of salt marsh edges. Flume laboratory experiments were carried out aimed at reproducing the instability and retreat of the scarps that typically delimit the salt marshes under the attack of wind waves during the tidal cycle. The bank model and hydrodynamic forcing in the flume were such as to simulate the conditions observed in the field in Venice Lagoon. Experiments were conducted for the same hydrodynamic forcing in the case of two identical banks but with and without the inclusion of the vegetation. Experimental results show that bank retreat involves a variety of processes (including particle erosion, cantilever and slide failures). The effect of the vegetation was to produce a delay in the mass failures, related to a certain growth of plant roots, thus providing an overall stabilizing effect. Bank instability was related to the formation of tension cracks at the bank top and to the impulsive effects associated with wave energy dissipation.

  5. Calcite-accumulating large sulfur bacteria of the genus Achromatium in Sippewissett Salt Marsh.

    PubMed

    Salman, Verena; Yang, Tingting; Berben, Tom; Klein, Frieder; Angert, Esther; Teske, Andreas

    2015-11-01

    Large sulfur bacteria of the genus Achromatium are exceptional among Bacteria and Archaea as they can accumulate high amounts of internal calcite. Although known for more than 100 years, they remain uncultured, and only freshwater populations have been studied so far. Here we investigate a marine population of calcite-accumulating bacteria that is primarily found at the sediment surface of tide pools in a salt marsh, where high sulfide concentrations meet oversaturated oxygen concentrations during the day. Dynamic sulfur cycling by phototrophic sulfide-oxidizing and heterotrophic sulfate-reducing bacteria co-occurring in these sediments creates a highly sulfidic environment that we propose induces behavioral differences in the Achromatium population compared with reported migration patterns in a low-sulfide environment. Fluctuating intracellular calcium/sulfur ratios at different depths and times of day indicate a biochemical reaction of the salt marsh Achromatium to diurnal changes in sedimentary redox conditions. We correlate this calcite dynamic with new evidence regarding its formation/mobilization and suggest general implications as well as a possible biological function of calcite accumulation in large bacteria in the sediment environment that is governed by gradients. Finally, we propose a new taxonomic classification of the salt marsh Achromatium based on their adaptation to a significantly different habitat than their freshwater relatives, as indicated by their differential behavior as well as phylogenetic distance on 16S ribosomal RNA gene level. In future studies, whole-genome characterization and additional ecophysiological factors could further support the distinctive position of salt marsh Achromatium. PMID:25909974

  6. Evaluation of alternative oil spill cleanup techniques in a Spartina alterniflora salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Kiesling, R W; Alexander, S K; Webb, J W

    1988-01-01

    Three oil spill situations which cause long-term impact were simulated in 1 m(2) salt marsh plots to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative cleanup techniques at removing oil and reducing damage to Spartina alterniflora. Cleanup techniques, implemented 18-24 h after oiling, were not effective at removing oil after sediment penetration. When oil remained on the sediment surface, flushing techniques were most effective at removal, reducing levels of added oil by 73% to 83%. The addition of dispersant to the flushing stream only slightly enhanced oil removal. Clipping of vegetation followed by sorbent pad application to sediment was moderately effective, reducing added oil by 36% to 44%. In contrast to flushing and clipping, burning increased the amount of oil in sediment by 27% to 72%. Although flushing and clipping were effective at oil removal, neither technique reduced initial damage to plants or enhanced long-term recovery. While flushed plots sustained no additional plant damage due to cleanup, clipped and burned plots sustained additional initial plant damage. Based on these results, first considerations should be given to natural tidal flushing as the means to remove oil, especially in salt marshes subject to ample tidal inundation. Although our results do not support cleanup in salt marshes with ample tidal inundation, low pressure flushing may be warranted when fuel oils or large quantities of crude oil impact salt marshes subject to reduced tidal flushing. Flushing, when warranted, should be initiated prior to oil penetration into the substrate. Clipping may be considered as a cleanup response only when heavy oil cannot be effectively removed from vegetation by flushing. Burning is not recommended because it enhances oil penetration into sediment and causes substantial initial plant damage. PMID:15092503

  7. Spatially structured environmental filtering of collembolan traits in late successional salt marsh vegetation.

    PubMed

    Widenfalk, Lina A; Bengtsson, Jan; Berggren, Åsa; Zwiggelaar, Krista; Spijkman, Evelien; Huyer-Brugman, Florrie; Berg, Matty P

    2015-10-01

    Both the environment and the spatial configuration of habitat patches are important factors that shape community composition and affect species diversity patterns. Species have traits that allow them to respond to their environment. Our current knowledge on environment to species traits relationships is limited in spite of its potential importance for understanding community assembly and ecosystem function. The aim of our study was to examine the relative roles of environmental and spatial variables for the small-scale variation in Collembola (springtail) communities in a Dutch salt marsh. We used a trait-based approach in combination with spatial statistics and variance partitioning, between environmental and spatial variables, to examine the important ecological factors that drive community composition. Turnover of trait diversity across space was lower than for species diversity. Most of the variation in community composition was explained by small-scale spatial variation in topography, on a scale of 4-6 m, most likely because it determines the effect of inundation, which restricts where habitat generalists can persist. There were only small pure spatial effects on species and trait diversity, indicating that biotic interactions or dispersal limitation probably were less important for structuring the community at this scale. Our results suggest that for springtails, life form (i.e. whether they live in the soil or litter or on the surface/in vegetation) is an important and useful trait to understand community assembly. Hence, using traits in addition to species identity when analysing environment-organism relationships results in a better understanding of the factors affecting community composition. PMID:26001605

  8. Evaluation of the ability of two plants for the phytoremediation of Cd in salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nunes da Silva, Marta; Mucha, Ana P.; Rocha, A. Cristina; Silva, Carla; Carli, Carolina; Gomes, Carlos R.; Almeida, C. Marisa R.

    2014-03-01

    Several salt marsh plant species have shown to be able to uptake and concentrate metals in their tissues, showing potential for metal phytoremediation. However, studies in controlled conditions, mimicking as much as possible the plants natural environment, are needed to confirm this potential. For the present study, Juncus maritimus and Phragmites australis were collected in an estuary together with the sediment surrounding their roots, put in vessels and maintained in greenhouses under estuarine tidal simulation. After 3 weeks of acclimation, vessels were spiked with two different cadmium concentrations. After 2 months, cadmium was assessed in plant tissues and sediments. Results indicate that both plant species were able to uptake and translocate cadmium into their tissues, contributing also to retain it in rhizosediments and thus reducing the available amount of metal in the environment. Metal was preferentially accumulated in belowground structures, in concentrations not directly proportional to the amount of cadmium present in the sediment. Although no visual toxicity signs were observed, some defence mechanisms were triggered as observed by the changes in carotenoids, lignin, total soluble phenolic compounds and thiolic compounds levels, this response differing between plant species. This work shows that these two salt marsh plants can contribute for the retention of cadmium in salt marshes being useful for the phytostabilization of this metal in estuarine environments.

  9. Salt marsh vegetation as a carbonyl sulfide (COS) source to the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whelan, Mary E.; Min, Dong-Ha; Rhew, Robert C.

    2013-07-01

    Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is the most abundant and longest-lived reduced sulfur compound in the atmosphere; changes in its atmospheric concentration could significantly affect global climate and the biogeochemical sulfur cycle. The largest sink of COS in the troposphere is its destruction in plant leaves by the enzymes involved in photosynthesis. In this study, net fluxes of COS were measured from a coastal salt marsh on a subtropical barrier island on the Texas shore of the Gulf of Mexico. We find net emissions from sites with the common salt marsh plant Batis maritima compared to the net uptake from vegetated plots of most previously investigated biomes. The magnitude of the COS production from vegetated plots in this study was twice the emissions of soil-only salt marsh plots. This is the first time that emissions of COS have been found to be significantly enhanced by the presence of vegetation compared to soil alone. COS fluxes exceeded +110 pmol m-2 s-1 for non-inundated plots during daytime hours and were correlated with soil temperature at the depth of 5 cm. Tidal flooding inhibited soil COS exchange; however, we found continued net emissions from emergent B. maritima. This study suggests that emissions of COS resulted from interactions with the plants themselves, which would mean that B. maritima can mediate the production of atmospheric COS.

  10. 137Cs in the Danish Wadden Sea: contrast between tidal flats and salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Pedersen, Jørn B T; Bartholdy, Jesper; Christiansen, Christian

    2007-01-01

    The 137Cs activity of salt marsh and tidal flat sediments of the northern part of the European Wadden Sea was studied based on a comprehensive dataset of 210Pb dated cores. The 137Cs inventory of salt marsh sediments shows a major peak corresponding to the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and a minor peak located in the late 1960s interpreted as the combined effect of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. Emissions from the nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield are not reflected as peaks in 137Cs activity, but may contribute to the rising 137Cs activity in the years prior to 1986. The 137Cs activity of tidal flat sediments differs from salt marsh sediment in two respects. First, the activity is much lower and, second, the major peak in the 1980s is located in the beginning instead of in the middle of the decade. The differences in 137Cs inventory between the two environments are interpreted to result from repeated cycles of deposition/resuspension and mixing on tidal flats. A simple model illustrating the consequence of mixings returns an apparent shift of major peaks in 137Cs activities backwards in time corresponding to the mixing depth divided by the deposition rate. PMID:17449152

  11. Pyrite formation and the measurement of sulfate reduction in salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Howarth, R.W.; Merkel, S.

    1984-05-01

    A new method was used to study the formation of pyrite plus elemental sulfur during /sup 35/SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/ reduction experiments in salt marsh sediments: the reduction with chromium(II) of pyrite and elemental sulfur to hydrogen sulfide. It is both more specific and more sensitive than the previous method, the oxidation of pyrite and elemental sulfur to sulfate by aqua regia, which measures the formation of refractory organic sulfur compounds as well as pyrite and elemental sulfur. A direct comparison of the two methods in salt marsh sediments in Georgia and in Massachusetts showed that they compare very well. The chromium(II) reduction method, combined with the authors' previous results, conclusively shows that pyrite is the major product of /sup 35/SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/ reduction measurements in these sediments. The agreement between the two methods indicates that the formation of /sup 35/S-labeled, refractory organic matter is a minor process if it occurs at all. The authors' results suggest that both the aqua regia oxidation method and the chromium(II) reduction method, if used with care, are suitable for measuring incorporation of /sup 35/S into pyrite and elemental sulfur during /sup 35/SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/ reduction measurements in salt marsh sediments. Failure to explicitly measure the formation of /sup 35/S-labeled pyrite can result in the rate of sulfate reduction being underestimated by 2-fold to 10-fold or more.

  12. Implication of salt marsh foraminiferal assemblages in Suncheon Bay, South Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jeong, Da Un; Lee, Yeon Gyu; Kang, Sora; Kim, Shin; Lee, Jung Sick

    2016-03-01

    Analyses of the compositions of benthic foraminifera and sediment, observations of tidal level and salinity, and a geographic survey of the tidal salt marsh in Suncheon Bay were conducted to examine the vertical distribution of foraminifera and evaluate their potential use for sea level studies. The salt marsh is composed mainly of fine-grained silty clay sediment and its salinity is below approximately 11 psu. The tidal current flows in the southwest-tonortheast direction with an average velocity of 26.57 cm/s. A total of 33 species of foraminifera (17 agglutinated and 16 calcareoushyaline) belonging to 24 genera was identified. The species diversity (1.1 on average) was relatively low. Dominant species were Ammonia beccarii, Miliammina fusca, Haplophragmoides wilberti, and Jadammina macrescens. Calcareous foraminifera (29.5%) were dominantly represented by the Ammonia beccarii assemblage, which characterized the region between mean tide level and mean low high water (MLHW). Agglutinated species (70.5%) were represented mostly by Miliammina fusca, Miliammina fusca-Haplophragmoides wilberti, and Haplophragmoides wilberti assemblages, which characterized the MLHW-mean high water (MHW), MHW-mean highest high water (MHHW), and MHHW-Approx. highest high water tide levels, respectively. In particular, the Haplophragmoides wilberti assemblage is believed to represent the highest elevation zone of foraminifera in the salt marshes of Suncheon Bay and is considered to be a reliable indicator of sea level as a result of its narrow vertical range.

  13. The flux of methyl chloride along an elevational gradient of a coastal salt marsh, Eastern China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jinxin; Li, Rongjin; Guo, Yingyan; Qin, Pei; Sun, Shucun

    Salt marshes have been suggested to be a large potential source for methyl chloride (CH 3Cl) that is the major natural carrier of chlorine to the stratosphere. However, the global budget of this trace gas is uncertain, and the empirical field data are still lacking. In this study, CH 3Cl fluxes were measured seasonally using static flux chambers from April 2004 to January 2005, along an elevational gradient of a coastal salt marsh in eastern China. To estimate the contribution of higher plants to the flux, plant aboveground biomass was experimentally removed and the flux difference between the treatment and the intact was examined. In addition, the flux was analyzed in relation to soil and weather conditions. Along the elevational gradient, the salt marsh generally functioned as a net sink in the growing season (from April to October 2004). The flux of CH 3Cl ranged between -1.27 and -29.33 μmol m -2 d -1 (positive for emission and negative for consumption), and the maximum negative rates occurred at the mudflat and the cordgrass ( Spartina alterniflora) marsh. However, the measurements made during inundation indicated that the mudflat was a net source of the gas. In the non-growing season (from November to March), the vegetated flat, when frozen, was a minor source of methyl chloride, with an emission rate ranging from 0.27 to 9.13 μmol m -2 d -1. However, the measurements made during non-frozen periods indicate that the mudflat was a minor sink of methyl chloride. Overall, the study marsh was a large net sink for the gas because the magnitude of the consumption rates was lager than that of emission, and because the duration of the growing season was longer than that of the non-growing season. Plant aboveground biomass had a great effect on the flux. Comparative analyses showed that higher plants were present as an important source of CH 3Cl, and it could balance 17.26-67.66% of the soil consumption. The net CH 3Cl consumption rate was negatively correlated to soil dissolved salt content and light intensity, but it was positively correlated to soil temperature, soil organic matter content, and ambient atmospheric concentration of CH 3Cl. This suggests that the overall net consumption of CH 3Cl observed in the study marsh may result from the high ambient atmospheric concentration that ranged between 1.3 and 58.5 ppb, and enriched soil organic matter that feed the soil microorganisms using CH 3Cl as a sole source for both carbon and energy.

  14. Tidal Flooding and Vegetation Patterns in a Salt Marsh Tidal Creek Imaged by Low-altitude Balloon Aerial Photography

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, S. M.; Madsen, E.

    2013-12-01

    Inundation of marsh surfaces by tidal creek flooding has implications for the headward erosion of salt marsh creeks, effect of rising sea levels, biological zonation, and marsh ecosystem services. The hydroperiod; as the frequency, duration, depth and flux of water across the marsh surface; is a key factor in salt marsh ecology, but remains poorly understood due to lack of data at spatial scales relevant to tracking the spatial movement of water across the marsh. This study examines how hydroperiod, drainage networks, and tidal creek geomorphology on the vegetation at Crab Haul Creek. Crab Haul Creek is the farthest landward tidal basin in North Inlet, a bar-built estuary in South Carolina. This study measures the hydroperiod in the headwaters Crab Haul Creek with normal and near-IR photos from a helium balloon Helikite at 75-100 m altitude. Photos provide detail necessary to resolve the waterline and delineate the hydroperiod during half tidal cycles by capturing the waterline hourly from the headwaters to a piezometer transect 260 meters north. The Helikite is an ideal instrument for local investigations of surface hydrology due to its maneuverability, low cost, ability to remain aloft for extended time over a fixed point, and ability to capture high-resolution images. Photographs taken from aircraft do not provide the detail necessary to determine the waterline on the marsh surface. The near-IR images make the waterline more distinct by increasing the difference between wet and dry ground. In the headwaters of Crab Haul Creek, individual crab burrows are detected by automated image classification and the number of crab burrows and their spatial density is tracked from January-August. Crab burrows are associated with the unvegetated region at the creek head, and we relate their change over time to the propagation of the creek farther into the tidal basin. Plant zonation is influenced by the hydroperiod, but also may be affected by salinity, water table depth, and soil water content. These other factors are all directly affected by the hydroperiod, creating a complex system of feedbacks. Inundation frequencies show a pronounced relationship to zonation. Creek bank height and the hydroperiod have a curvilinear relationship at low bank heights such that small decreases in creek bank height can result in large increases in inundation frequency. Biological zonation is not simply a result of bank height and inundation frequency, other contributing factors include species competition, adaptability, and groundwater flow. Vegetation patterns delineated by a ground-based GPS survey and image classification from the aerial photos show that not all changes in eco-zonation are a direct function of elevation. Some asymmetry across the creek is observed in plant habitat, and eliminating topography (and thereby tidal inundation) as a factor, we attribute the remaining variability to groundwater flow.

  15. Biogeochemical and hydrological controls on fate and distribution of trace metals in oiled Gulf salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Keevan, J.; Natter, M.; Lee, M.; Keimowitz, A.; Okeke, B.; Savrda, C.; Saunders, J.

    2011-12-01

    On April 20, 2010, the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the release of approximately 5 million barrels of crude oil into the environment. Oil and its associated trace metals have been demonstrated to have a detrimental effect on coastal wetland ecosystems. Wetlands are particularly susceptible to oil contamination because they are composed largely of fine-grained sediments, which have a high capacity to adsorb organic matter and metals. The biogeochemical cycling of trace metals can be strongly influenced by microbial activity, specifically those of sulfate- and iron-reducing bacteria. Microbial activity may be enhanced by an increase in amounts of organic matter such as oil. This research incorporates an assessment of levels of trace metals and associated biogeochemical changes from ten coastal marshes in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. These sampling sites range in their pollution levels from pristine to highly contaminated. A total digestion analysis of wetland sediments shows higher concentrations of certain trace metals (e.g., Ni, Cu, Pb, Zn, Sr, Co, V, Ba, Hg, As) in heavily-oiled areas compared to less-affected and pristine sites. Due to chemical complexation among organic compounds and metals, crude oils often contain elevated levels (up to hundreds of mg/kg) of trace metals At the heavily-oiled Louisiana sites (e.g., Bay Jimmy, Bayou Dulac, Bay Batiste), elevated levels of metals and total organic carbon have been found in sediments down to depths of 30 cm. Clearly the contamination is not limited to shallow sediments and oil, along with various associated metals, may be invading into deeper (pre-industrial) portions of the marsh sediments. Pore-waters extracted from contaminated sediments are characterized by very high levels of reduced sulfur (up to 80 mg/kg), in contrast to fairly low ferrous iron concentrations (<0.02 mg/kg). The influx of oil into the wetlands might provide the initial substrate and carbon source for stimulating sulfate-reducing bacteria. The high sulfur levels, coupled with the low levels of iron, indicate that iron-reducing bacteria are outcompeted by sulfate reducers in oiled salt marshes. Moreover, pore-water pH values show a general increasing trend (ranging from 6.6 to 8.0) with depth, possibly reflecting the combined effects of bacterial sulfate reduction and saltwater intrusion at depth. Despite high levels of trace metals in bulk sediments, concentrations of trace metals dissolved in pore-waters are generally low. It is very likely that high organic matter content and bacterially-mediated sulfate reduction promote metal retention through the formation of sulfide solids. Framboidal pyrites, as well as other sulfides, have been identified, and are currently undergoing XRD, SEM, and EDAX analyses. Continued research is needed to monitor possible re-mobilization of trace metals in changing redox and biogeochemical conditions.

  16. MARSH DATA FOR SOUTH FLORIDA ECOSYSTEM ASSESSMENT PROJECT

    EPA Science Inventory

    The South Florida Ecosystem Assessment Project is an innovative, large-scale monitoring and assessment program designed to measure current and changing conditions of ecological resources in South Florida using an integrated holistic approach. This data set contains results for f...

  17. Impact of exposure of crude oil and dispersant (COREXIT® EC 9500A) on denitrification and organic matter mineralization in a Louisiana salt marsh sediment.

    PubMed

    Shi, Rujie; Yu, Kewei

    2014-08-01

    In response to the 2010 oil spill from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, this experiment aims to study the ecological impact of the crude oil and dispersant (COREXIT® EC 9500A) in a coastal salt marsh ecosystem. The marsh sediment was incubated under an anaerobic condition with exposure to the crude oil or/and dispersant. The experiments were conducted in two continuous phases of nitrate addition to study denitrification potential using acetylene blockage technique and organic matter mineralization potential indicated by CO2 production in the sediment. Results show that the oil slightly (with no statistical significance p>0.05) increased both the denitrification and organic matter mineralization activities, likely due to oil components serving as additional organic matter. In contrast, the dispersant significantly (p<0.05) inhibited denitrification, but stimulated organic matter mineralization activities in the sediment due to unknown mechanisms. As a consequence, redox potentials (Eh) were much lower in the dispersant treated systems. The ecological impacts from the dispersant exposure may come from two fronts. First, loss of organic matter from the coastal marsh will threaten the long-term stability of the ecosystem, and the decrease in denitrification activity will weaken the N removal efficiency. Secondly, more reducing conditions developed by the dispersant exposure will likely preserve the oil in the ecosystem for an extended period of time due to weaker oil biodegradation under anaerobic conditions. PMID:24582034

  18. Early diagenesis of lignin-associated phenolics in the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haddad, R. I.; Newell, S. Y.; Martens, C. S.; Fallon, R. D.

    1992-10-01

    The predepositional stability of lignin in the salt marsh cordgrass Spartina alterniflora was examined in two different degradation studies: one was a traditional litterbag study carried out using post-senescent brown leaves in a North Carolina marsh creek, and the other was a study in which senescing, standing plants were tagged and allowed to undergo in situ degradation in a Sapelo Island, Georgia, salt marsh. Based on results from lignin oxidation product (LOP) analysis of leaves, lignin in the S. alterniflora was shown to be significantly degraded in both studies, with 13 ± 2% and 25 ± 12% of the total lignin mass loss occurring over the 496-day litterbag and 146-day tagged studies, respectively. A comparison of the results from both studies suggests that most of the calculated lignin loss (> 90%) occurs early in the degradation history of the plant, with a significant portion occurring while the plant is still standing in the salt marsh. Further detailed evaluation of this loss demonstrates that selective lignin degradation occurs in S. alterniflora, deriving from the preferential loss of labile lignin moieties. The most labile component, trans-ferulic acid, accounted for 57% and 82% of the total lignin loss in the litterbag and tagged studies, respectively, based on normalization to syringyl-phenol concentrations. Comparison of these two data sets supports the following approximate lignin stability sequence for S. alterniflora:S ≅ Ca ≅ V > P > Fa. Based on measured changes in both the lignin mass loss and the LOP acid/aldehyde ratio, as well as evidence suggesting that degradation occurred under oxic conditions, it is proposed that aromatic ring cleavage was the predominant mechanism of lignin degradation in both studies. In light of these results and those from other recent lignin degradation studies, we discuss the geochemical consequences regarding the usefulness of lignin oxidation products as quantitative tracers of vascular plant-derived organic matter being transported, deposited, and buried in aquatic environments.

  19. Early diagenesis of lignin-associated phenolics in the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora

    SciTech Connect

    Haddad, R.I.; Martens, C.S. ); Newell, S.Y. ); Fallon, R.D. )

    1992-10-01

    The predepositional stability of lignin in the salt marsh cordgrass Spartina alterniflora was examined in two different degradation studies: one was a traditional litterbag study carried out using post-senescent brown leaves in a North Carolina marsh creek, and the other was a study in which senescing, standing plants were tagged and allowed to undergo in situ degradation in a Sapelo Island, Georgia, salt marsh. Based on results from lignin oxidation product (LOP) analysis of leaves, lignin in the S. alterniflora was shown to be significantly degraded in both studies, with 13 [plus minus] 2% and 25 [plus minus] 12% of the total lignin mass loss occurring over the 496-day litterbag and 146-day tagged studies, respectively. A comparison of the results from both studies suggests that most of the calculated lignin loss (> 90%) occurs early in the degradation history of the plant, with a significant portion occurring while the plant is still standing in the salt marsh. Further detailed evaluation of this loss demonstrates that selective lignin degradation occurs in S. alterniflora, deriving from the preferential loss of labile lignin moieties. Based on measured changes in both the lignin mass loss and the LOP acid/aldehyde ratio, as well as evidence suggesting that degradation occurred under oxic conditions, it is proposed that aromatic ring cleavage was the predominant mechanism of lignin degradation in both studies. In light of these results and those from other recent lignin degradation studies, the authors discuss the geochemical consequences regarding the usefulness of lignin oxidation products as quantitative tracers of vascular plant-derived organic matter being transported, deposited, and buried in aquatic environments.

  20. Effects of petroleum pollution on epiphytic salt marsh N{sub 2}-fixing communities

    SciTech Connect

    Piehler, M.; Swistak, J.; Pinckney, J.; Paerl, H.

    1995-12-31

    Increasing human activity in and around coastal waters of the US had led to elevations in both acute and chronic petroleum pollution. Petroleum inputs may have significant effects on Spartina altemiflora marshes, which are widespread on the east coast of the US and play an integral role in coastal nutrient cycling and trophodynamics. Because productivity and decomposition are often N limited in these systems, N{sub 2}-fixation may be an important source of erogenous N. Epiphytic N{sub 2}-fixing cyanobacterial communities occur on Spartina stems throughout coastal salt marshes. Short-term (3 hour) incubations of standing dead Spartina stems in creek water amended with weathered diesel fuel led to a reduction in N{sub 2}-fixation rates relative to natural rates. Lower level diesel fuel additions (between 0.33% and 0.0167% v/v) had either no significant effect or led to increases in acetylene reduction rates. Reduction of epiphytic N{sub 2}-fixation on Spartina stems by acute petroleum pollution could have several implications for salt marsh functioning including, reduction in prey for resident macrofauna and magnification of N limitation in the system. The fact that N{sub 2}-fixation is not completely inhibited, even at high levels of petroleum pollution, should be considered when formulating remedial strategies for petroleum spills in salt marshes. Removal of Spartina by burning or cutting may be counter-productive in that it eliminates an important functional component of the microbial community that may facilitate pollution assimilation. Efforts are currently underway to assess the effect of chronic petroleum pollution on this N{sub 2}-fixing community.

  1. Response of carbon sequestration in salt marshes to changes in nitrogen loading and sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vadman, K. J.; Gonneea, M. E.; Kroeger, K. D.; Tang, J.; Moseman-Valtierra, S.

    2014-12-01

    Carbon uptake and storage in marine and terrestrial systems is a topic of considerable importance, given the current rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. This project investigates how sea level rise and nutrient enrichment impact salt marsh accretion in the Waquoit Bay Estuary on the southwest coast of Cape Cod, MA, USA. The region is a recognized hot spot of sea level rise over the past 25 years, and it has experienced accelerated nitrogen enrichment related to population growth over the past 60 years. Eleven piston cores were collected from four marshes experiencing a gradient in nutrient enrichment. Preliminary results are based on a 90 cm core from Sage Lot Pond that spans approximately 490 years. Sediment accretion rates, determined from 137Cs and 210Pb, indicate an acceleration in marsh vertical growth since 1950. Concurrent evaluation of bulk carbon content shows increased carbon burial over the same time period. Additionally, sediment nitrogen content has increased while δ15N values became heavier, potentially indicative of anthropogenic nitrogen loading. These data will contribute to our understanding of the capacity of the marshes to contribute to carbon burial while responding to changes in climate and land use.

  2. Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Salt Marshes Exposed to Chronic Nutrient Enrichment.

    PubMed

    Chmura, Gail L; Kellman, Lisa; van Ardenne, Lee; Guntenspergen, Glenn R

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the impact of nutrient additions on greenhouse gas fluxes using dark static chambers in a microtidal and a macrotidal marsh along the coast of New Brunswick, Canada approximately monthly over a year. Both were experimentally fertilized for six years with varying levels of N and P. For unfertilized, N and NPK treatments, average yearly CO2 emissions (which represent only respiration) at the microtidal marsh (13, 19, and 28 mmoles CO2 m-2 hr-1, respectively) were higher than at the macrotidal marsh (12, 15, and 19 mmoles m-2 hr-1, respectively, with a flux under the additional high N/low P treatment of 21 mmoles m-2 hr-1). Response of CH4 to fertilization was more variable. At the macrotidal marsh average yearly fluxes were 1.29, 1.26, and 0.77 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 with control, N, and NPK treatments, respectively and 1.21 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. At the microtidal marsh CH4 fluxes were 0.23, 0.16, and -0.24 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 in control, N, and NPK and treatments, respectively. Fertilization changed soils from sinks to sources of N2O. Average yearly N2O fluxes at the macrotidal marsh were -0.07, 0.08, and 1.70, μmol N2O m-2 hr-1 in control, N, NPK and treatments, respectively and 0.35 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. For the control, N, and NPK treatments at the microtidal marsh N2O fluxes were -0.05, 0.30, and 0.52 μmol N2O m-2 hr-1, respectively. Our results indicate that N2O fluxes are likely to vary with the source of pollutant nutrients but emissions will be lower if N is not accompanied by an adequate supply of P (e.g., atmospheric deposition vs sewage or agricultural runoff). With chronic fertilization the global warming potential of the increased N2O emissions may be enough to offset the global cooling potential of the C sequestered by salt marshes. PMID:26914333

  3. Greenhouse Gas Fluxes from Salt Marshes Exposed to Chronic Nutrient Enrichment

    PubMed Central

    Chmura, Gail L.; Kellman, Lisa

    2016-01-01

    We assessed the impact of nutrient additions on greenhouse gas fluxes using dark static chambers in a microtidal and a macrotidal marsh along the coast of New Brunswick, Canada approximately monthly over a year. Both were experimentally fertilized for six years with varying levels of N and P. For unfertilized, N and NPK treatments, average yearly CO2 emissions (which represent only respiration) at the microtidal marsh (13, 19, and 28 mmoles CO2 m-2 hr-1, respectively) were higher than at the macrotidal marsh (12, 15, and 19 mmoles m-2 hr-1, respectively, with a flux under the additional high N/low P treatment of 21 mmoles m-2 hr-1). Response of CH4 to fertilization was more variable. At the macrotidal marsh average yearly fluxes were 1.29, 1.26, and 0.77 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 with control, N, and NPK treatments, respectively and 1.21 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. At the microtidal marsh CH4 fluxes were 0.23, 0.16, and -0.24 μmol CH4 m-2 hr-1 in control, N, and NPK and treatments, respectively. Fertilization changed soils from sinks to sources of N2O. Average yearly N2O fluxes at the macrotidal marsh were -0.07, 0.08, and 1.70, μmol N2O m-2 hr-1 in control, N, NPK and treatments, respectively and 0.35 μmol m-2 hr-1 under high N/low P treatment. For the control, N, and NPK treatments at the microtidal marsh N2O fluxes were -0.05, 0.30, and 0.52 μmol N2O m-2 hr-1, respectively. Our results indicate that N2O fluxes are likely to vary with the source of pollutant nutrients but emissions will be lower if N is not accompanied by an adequate supply of P (e.g., atmospheric deposition vs sewage or agricultural runoff). With chronic fertilization the global warming potential of the increased N2O emissions may be enough to offset the global cooling potential of the C sequestered by salt marshes. PMID:26914333

  4. Alterations to Tidal Marsh Carbon Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Exchange in Response to Sea-Level and Salt-Water Intrusion (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weston, N. B.

    2013-12-01

    Tidal marshes are highly productive ecosystems with the potential to sequester large amounts of carbon. However, tidal wetlands may be sources of the powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are produced via microbial metabolic processes. As global climate changes it is increasingly important to understand the factors that control ecosystem productivity, GHG fluxes, and potential feedbacks between global change factors, C cycling, and marsh resilience to sea-level rise (SLR). Field measurements were undertaken to quantify rates of GHG (CO2 and CH4) exchange rates, plant biomass, microbial sulfate reduction and methanogenesis rates, and soil biogeochemistry at three tidal wetland sites along the salinity gradient in the Delaware River Estuary over four years. Despite similar plant productivity between marsh types, differences in microbial processes largely determined the GHG source/sink status of the wetland types. Mesohaline salt-marshes consistently sequestered C (~300 g C m-2 yr-1), and due to negligible CH4 release, were also a GHG sink (~1350 g CO2-eq m-2 yr-1). In contrast, the TFM sequestered C (~350 g C m-2 yr-1) but because of appreciable release of CH4 from freshwater wetland soils was GHG neutral. The oligohaline marsh site experienced significant seasonal salt-water intrusion (SWI) in the late summer during the four year study period, resulting in major alterations to marsh C cycling. The oligohaline marsh did not sequester C (loss of ~45 g C m-2 yr-1) in part due to surprisingly high rates of CH4 release (190 g CH4 m-2 yr-1). The oligohaline marsh undergoing SWI was therefore a significant source of GHG to the atmosphere (~4000 g CO2-eq m-2 yr-1). These results indicate that SWI alters C cycling and GHG exchange in marsh systems, and may accelerate the decomposition of organic matter limiting the ability of marshes to accrete material and keep pace with SLR. The impacts of SWI on TFM soil C cycling were further investigated in a one year laboratory experiment. Microbial organic matter mineralization to CO2 increased following simulated SWI. This was linked to greater availability of sulfate (SO42-) and higher rates of microbial sulfate reduction, resulting in significantly greater flux of CO2 from TFM soils. Rates of CH4 release were also significantly greater from soils following SWI, and microbial acetoclastic methanogensis was not inhibited by the introduction of salt-water, supporting findings from the field measurements. Higher rates of microbial organic matter mineralization via both sulfate reduction and methanogenesis resulted in declining soil organic matter following SWI. A multi-year field manipulation utilizing modified marsh ';organs' to examine the interactive effects of both SWI and SLR indicated that, while N2O emissions decreased with flooding (-0.3 g m-2 yr-1 cm-1), rates of CH4 flux increased with flooding (2.3 g m-2 yr-1 cm-1) corresponding to measured increases in microbial methanogenesis and resulting in a net increase in GHG release. There were complex interactions between changes in plant production and microbial organic matter decomposition with both SLR and SWI, and TFMs experiencing both SLR and SWI simultaneously had reduced C sequestration and increased GHG release. SLR and SWI therefore limit the vertical accretion potential of TFMs, put TFMs at risk of permanent submergence, and produce a feedback to atmospheric GHG concentrations.

  5. Examining effects of sea level rise and marsh crabs on Spartina patens using mesocosms

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal salt marshes provide essential ecosystem services but face increasing threats from habitat loss, eutrophication, changing precipitation patterns, and accelerating rates of sea level rise (SLR). Recent studies have suggested that herbivory and burrowing by native salt mars...

  6. Long-term biological effects of petroleum residues on fiddler crabs in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Culbertson, Jennifer B; Valiela, Ivan; Peacock, Emily E; Reddy, Christopher M; Carter, Anna; VanderKruik, Rachel

    2007-07-01

    In September 1969, the Florida barge spilled 700,000L of No. 2 fuel oil into the salt marsh sediments of Wild Harbor (Buzzards Bay, MA). Today the aboveground environment appears unaffected, but a substantial amount of moderately degraded petroleum still remains 8-20cm below the surface. The salt marsh fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax, burrow into the sediments at depths of 5-25cm, and are chronically exposed to the spilled oil. Behavioral studies conducted with U. pugnax from Wild Harbor and a control site, Great Sippewissett marsh, found that crabs exposed to the oil avoided burrowing into oiled layers, suffered delayed escape responses, lowered feeding rates, and achieved lower densities. The oil residues are therefore biologically active and affect U. pugnax populations. Our results add new knowledge about long-term consequences of spilled oil, a dimension that should be included when assessing oil-impacted areas and developing management plans designed to restore, rehabilitate, or replace impacted areas. PMID:17448504

  7. Potential uses of TerraSAR-X for mapping herbaceous halophytes over salt marsh and tidal flats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, Yoon-Kyung; Park, Jeong-Won; Choi, Jong-Kuk; Oh, Yisok; Won, Joong-Sun

    2012-12-01

    This study presents a method and application results of mapping different halophytes over tidal flats and salt marshes using high resolution space-borne X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that has been rarely used for salt marsh mapping. Halophytes in a salt marshes are sensitive to sea-level changes, sedimentation, and anthropogenic modifications. The alteration of the demarcations among halophyte species is an indicator of sea level and environmental changes within a salt marsh. The boundary of an herbaceous halophyte patch is, however, difficult to determine using remotely sensed data because of its sparseness. We examined the ecological status of the halophytes and their distribution changes using TerraSAR-X and optical data. We also determined the optimum season for halophyte mapping. An annual plant, Suaeda japonica (S. japonica), and a typical perennial salt marsh grass, Phragmites australis (P. australis), were selected for halophyte analysis. S. japonica is particularly sensitive to sea level fluctuation. Seasonal variation for the annual plant was more significant (1.47 dB standard deviation) than that for the perennial grass, with a pattern of lower backscattering in winter and a peak in the summer. The border between S. japonica and P. australis was successfully determined based on the distinctive X-band radar backscattering features. Winter is the best season to distinguish between the two different species, while summer is ideal for analyzing the distribution changes of annual plants in salt marshes. For a single polarization, we recommend using HH polarization, because it produces maximum backscattering on tidal flats and salt marshes. Our results show that high resolution SAR, such as TerraSAR-X and Cosmo-SkyMed, is an effective tool for mapping halophyte species in tidal flats and monitoring their seasonal variations.

  8. The history of metals pollution in Narragansett Bay as recorded by salt-marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Bricker, S.B.

    1990-01-01

    Sediment cores from 5 salt marshes from the head to the mouth of Narragansett Bay and an additional core from a lagoon on Block Island Sound were analyzed for [sup 210]Pb and for Fe, Mn, Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn, Ag, and Ni in order to examine the long-term variation of metal inputs to Narragansett Bay. The [sup 210]Pb results were used to determine accretion rates for each core. Distributions of Fe and Mn were used as indicators of chemical conditions of sediment cores and Cu, Pb, Cr, Zn, Ag, and Ni distributions with time were compared with known or estimated source inputs to examine the long-term variation of pollutant metal inputs to Narragansett Bay. At one location, duplicate cores were sampled to look at variability within a marsh. At another location, a high marsh, receiving predominantly atmospheric inputs and a low marsh, receiving waterborne and atmospheric inputs, were sampled so that atmospheric and tidal contributions could be determined. A comparison was made of the distributions of metals in bay cores and in the lagoon core. All the Rhode Island marshes accrete at rates equal to or greater than the local rise in sea level. Based on the [sup 210]Pb chronologies, pollutant metals began to increase in the mid to late 1800s, corresponding to coal burning emissions to the atmosphere. Steeper increases in the 1900s reflect industrial and sewage discharges. Maximum concentrations were reached in the 1950s and have declined almost continuously since then. Observed reductions were attributable to implementation of and improvements to sewage treatment, and controls on atmospheric emissions.

  9. Estimating shallow subsidence in microtidal salt marshes of the southeastern United States: Kaye and Barghoorn revisited

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cahoon, D.R.; Reed, D.J.; Day, J.W., Jr.

    1995-01-01

    Simultaneous measurements of vertical accretion and change in surface elevation relative to a shallow (3-5 m) subsurface datum were made in selected coastal salt marshes of Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina to quantitatively test Kaye and Barghoorn's contention that vertical accretion is not a good surrogate for surface elevation change because of autocompaction of the substrate. Rates of subsidence of the upper 3-5 m of marsh substrate were calculated for each marsh as the difference between vertical accretion and elevation change measured with feldspar marker horizons and a sedimentation-erosion table. Surface elevation change was significantly lower than vertical accretion at each site after 2 years, indicating a significant amount of shallow subsidence had occurred, ranging from 0.45 to 4.90 cm. The highest rate of shallow subsidence occurred in the Mississippi delta. Results confirm Kaye and Barghoorn's contention that vertical accretion is not generally a good surrogate for elevation change because of processes occurring in the upper few meters of the substrate, including not only compaction but also apparently shrink-swell from water storage and/or plant production--decomposition at some sites. Indeed, surface elevation change was completely decoupled from vertical accretion at the Florida site. The assumption of a 1:1 relationship between accretionary and substrate processes. Consequently, the potential for coastal marsh submergence should be expressed as an elevation deficit based on direct measures of surface elevation change rather than accretion deficits. These findings also indicate the need for greater understanding of the influence of subsurface and small-scale hydrologic processes on marsh surface elevation.

  10. Polychlorinated biphenyls in two salt marsh sediments of the Venice Lagoon.

    PubMed

    Mugnai, Cristian; Giuliani, Silvia; Bellucci, Luca G; Carraro, Claudio; Favotto, Maurizio; Frignani, Mauro

    2011-10-01

    Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were measured in two dated salt marsh cores of the Venice Lagoon to assess their input chronology and to evaluate the importance of atmospheric deposition as a source. Sampling sites were chosen in order to evidence the differences between areas located leeward and windward with respect to inputs originating in both the city of Venice and the industrial area. Concentrations of PCB indicators (0.13-15.6 ng g⁻¹) increased gradually from the 1930s, reached maxima from the 1950s to the late 1970s, and then decreased. PCB loadings to marshes are driven by both the atmospheric deposition and the resuspension of subtidal sediments, this latter being more important for heavier congeners. The downwind marsh recorded higher fluxes (0.06-9.72 ng cm⁻² year⁻¹) than the upwind one (0.01-0.53 ng cm⁻² year⁻¹). Recent fluxes are rather consistent with bulk deposition measurements. A higher contribution of CB-101 and CB-118 was detected in the intermediate layers of the downwind site, suggesting a different PCB source for the corresponding time interval. In the other marsh, PCBs showed a rather constant composition at all levels (mostly CB-153, CB-138 and CB-180), accounting for a regional influence. Deep layers showed an enrichment of higher chlorinated congeners at both sites, whereas recent samples conserve the patterns typical of surficial and subsurficial subtidal sediments. The scientific approach adopted in this research can be considered as a sort of methodological procedure for the determination of fluxes and pathways of PCBs through the study of marsh cores. PMID:21165695

  11. Multitemporal spectroradiometry-guided object-oriented classification of salt marsh vegetation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Civco, Daniel L.; Gilmore, Martha S.; Wilson, Emily H.; Barrett, Nels; Prisloe, Sandy; Hurd, James D.; Chadwick, Cary

    2008-10-01

    This study addresses the use of multitemporal field spectral data, satellite imagery, and LiDAR top of canopy data to classify and map common salt marsh plant communities. Visible to near-infrared (VNIR) reflectance spectra were measured in the field to assess the phenological variability of the dominant species - Spartina patens, Phragmites australis and Typha spp. The field spectra and single date LiDAR canopy height data were used to define an objectoriented classification methodology for the plant communities in multitemporal QuickBird imagery. The classification was validated using an extensive field inventory of marsh species. Overall classification accuracies were 97% for Phragmites, 63% for Typha spp. and 80% for S. patens meadows. Using a fuzzy assessment analysis, these accuracies were 97%, 76%, and 92%, respectively, for the three major species.

  12. Long-term variation of fiddler crab populations in North Carolina salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Cammen, L.M.; Seneca, E.D.; Stroud, L.M.

    1984-06-01

    As part of the environmental monitoring of possible effects of the Brunswick nuclear power plant fiddle crab populations were sampled in several salt marshes in the lower Cape Fear River estuary, North Carolina for five years. Total biomass of the fiddler crabs Uca Pugnax and U. minax in four Spartina marshes declined by 65 to 70% between the summers of 1974-1975 and 1976-1977 with no significant decrease in population density; there was evidence of a recovery in summer of 1978 to the 1974-1975 levels. The cause of these fluctuations is unknown, but such a degree of variability in intertidal populations emphasizes the need for caution in using one or two-year baseline studies to evalute potential environmental impacts. 1 figure, 2 table.

  13. Effect of root metabolism on the post-depositional mobilization of mercury in salt marsh soils

    SciTech Connect

    Marins, R.V. |; Lacerda, L.D.; Goncalves, G.O.; Paiva, E.C. de

    1997-05-01

    Salt marsh soils are an efficient sink for trace metals associated with particulate material in tidal waters and have been proposed as monitors for trace metal contamination in coastal areas, on the basis that vertical profiles provide a record of loading rates. However, the complex nature of the biogeochemical processes occurring in these soils, may prevent this use, since post-depositional mobilization of some trace metals may occur, resulting in their release to pore water, vertical movement through the soil column and exchange with overlying waters. This paper presents and compares the vertical profiles of mercury in soil cores taken under a Spartina altermilflora marsh and in adjacent mod flats without plant cover to characterize the role played by this plant on the post-depositional movement of mercury through the soil and on the possibility of using such profiles as indicators of mercury loading rates in coastal areas. 19 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  14. Alteration of a salt marsh bacterial community by fertilization with sewage sludge

    SciTech Connect

    Hamlett, N.V.

    1986-10-01

    The effects of long-term fertilization with sewage sludge on the aerobic, chemoheterotrophic portion of a salt marsh bacterial community were examined. The study site in the Great Sippewissett Marsh, Cap Cod, Mass., consisted of experimental plots that were treated with different amounts of commercial sewage sludge fertilizer or with urea and phosphate. The number of CFUs, percentage of mercury- and cadmium-resistant bacteria, and percentage of antibiotic-resistant bacteria were all increased in the sludge-fertilized plots. Preliminary taxonomic characterization showed fertilization markedly altered the taxonomic distribution and reduced diversity within both the total heterotrophic and the mercury-resistant communities. In control plots, the total heterotrophic community was fairly evenly distributed among taxa and the mercury-resistant community was dominated by Pseudomonas spp. In sludge-fertilized plots, both the total and mercury-resistant communities were dominated by a single Cytophaga sp.

  15. Salt marsh retreat induced by wind waves: experiments, field and modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solari, L.; Francalanci, S.; Bendoni, M.; Cappietti, L.

    2013-12-01

    Edge erosion of salt marshes due to surface waves and tide forcing is likely the chief mechanism that models marsh boundaries and by which salt marshes in worldwide areas are being lost. To address this problem, an experimental investigation in a laboratory flume and field measurements collected in the lagoon of Venice were conducted to understand the main processes controlling marsh edge retreat with a focus on the erosion mechanisms caused by the impact of wind waves in the case of various tidal levels. A physical model reproducing a salt marsh bank was built inside a long wave current flume where random surface waves have been generated according to a given wave spectrum. The physical model was constructed with the original soil of salt marshes from the Venice Lagoon, while the wave climate was reproduced according to field measurements. In order to reveal the effect of vegetation on bank stability, two identical banks were built but for the inclusion of halophytic plants. A first set of experiments was conducted reproducing only tidal waves, a second set with wind waves superimposed to the tide. A third set o f experiments were aimed to investigate the dynamic impact and transmission of the waves on and within the bank. The following quantities were collected during the experiments: water content and pore water pressure inside the bank, water levels and velocities at various distances from the bank, dynamic pressures on the bank edge surface and internal pressure fluctuations due to wave impact. Bank geometry profile and bottom topography at different times have also been collected to characterize the erosion rate with time and the evolution of bank retreat. Two types of mass failures were observed during the experiments: slides and toppling failures. The latter were most frequently observed failures, consisting in the toppling of blocks and were often the consequence of the presence of deep tension cracks. In most cases the impact of wind waves caused the overturning of the block. In both the unvegetated and vegetated experiments, mass failures occurred in the first part of the experiment whereas the remaining part was characterized by particle by particle erosion. Effect of vegetation lead to a delay in block failures due the presence of roots, although the total eroded volume differed slightly between the two scenarios. The field measurements were aimed at quantifying the erosion characteristics of marsh soil and the wave climate close to the bank edge during a moderate wind event. Several pressure transducers installed 0.15 m above the bed and adequately spaced were used to collect wave height and wave direction with respect to the edge of the marsh. Then, on the base of experimental and field evidence, a new toppling model is proposed and test against laboratory data: a block of cohesive material at incipient failing condition is attached to the underlying layer and identified by the presence of tension crack; it behaves as a dynamical system subjected to several forces, until the tensile strength of the material is exceed. Test of the model showed its capability at reproducing the failure process and it highlighted which are the most crucial conditions in promoting the failure of a bank edge subjected to wave attack and tide forcing.

  16. Avian response to early tidal salt marsh restoration at former commercial salt evaporation ponds in San Francisco Bay, California, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Athearn, Nicole D.; Takekawa, John Y.; Shinn, Joel

    2009-01-01

    Restoration of former commercial salt evaporation ponds in the San Francisco Bay estuary is intended to reverse a severe decline (>79%) in tidal salt marshes. San Francisco Bay is a critical migratory stopover site and wintering area for shorebirds and waterfowl, and salt ponds are important high tide roosting and foraging areas. Conservation of past bird abundance is a stated goal of area restoration projects, and early adaptive management will be critical for achieving this objective. However, initial avian response at sites restored to tidal flow may not be indicative of long-term results. For example, winter shorebirds at a 529 ha pond breached in 2002 showed a marked increase in shorebird abundance following breaching. Shorebirds comprised 1% of area totals during 1999-2002 and increased to 46% during 2003-2008. These changes accompanied increased tidal range and sedimentation, but minimal vegetation establishment. Conversely, a fully vegetated, restored 216 ha pond in the same system consistently supported less than 2% of all waterbirds in the region. Early restoration may temporarily increase habitat, but managed ponds will be needed for long-term waterbird abundance within a restored pond-marsh system.

  17. Temporal factors influencing killifish abundance and recruitment in Gulf of Mexico salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lipcius, Romuald N.; Subrahmanyam, C. B.

    1986-01-01

    Killifish ( Fundulus grandis and F. similis ) were seined monthly for two years near the mounths of three tidal creeks in each of two north Florida salt marshes. Abundance patterns were identified by a combination of multivariate analyses and quantitative graphical techniques. Abundance (numbers and biomass) peaked in the summer and fall as successive waves of juveniles accumulated. Relative abundance of age groups that reached their second breeding and growing seasons was low; the largest individuals of both species were less than two years old. Most killifish reproduced frequently in their first year of life. Temporal abundance patterns were regulated significantly by tidal phase, water depth, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen, but not by salinity or percent cloud cover. There were no significant differences between populations in the various creeks and marshes. Killifish apparently moved over submerged marsh surfaces at high tide, then retreated to tidal creeks at low tide, resulting in high abundance near creek mouths at low tide. However, these tidal movements were modulated by water depth; regardless of tidal phase, abundance at creek mouths was correlated negatively with water depth, indicating that killifish remained in the salt marsh when its surface was inundated. Thus, tidal movements of killifish were flexible and influenced by environmental conditions producing variation in water depth (e.g. wind-driven effects). Abundance correlated positively with water temperature and dissolved oxygen, reflecting juvenile recruitment peaks during warmer seasons and increased recruitment in year 2 of this study when dissolved oxygen values were higher. In both abundance and recruitment, Fundulus grandis and F. similis responded similarly to varying temporal environmental conditions. Fundulus similis is now considered to be F. majalis by some authors (e.g. Relyea, 1983).

  18. Application of a linear unmixing algorithm to selected lipids of recent salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Kornder, S.C.; Carpenter, J.R.

    1985-01-01

    The normal alkanes (C/sub 15/-C/sub 33/), pristane, phytane and the fatty acids (C/sub 10/-C/sub 28/) of 14 surface and 30 subsurface sediment samples from a salt marsh at the University of South Carolina Baruch Field laboratory, near Georgetown, South Carolina were separated and analyzed by gas chromatography. The peak areas of selected alkane and fatty acid fractions were normalized separately and combined to form a single pattern for each sample. These combined patterns were then submitted to an unmixing algorithm developed by Klovan and Imbrie (1971) and modified by Miesch (1971), Klovan and Miesch (1976), Full, Ehrlich and Klovan (1981) and Full, Ehrlich and Bezdek (1982) for large multivariate data sets. The procedure indicates that the salt marsh sediment patterns could be explained by various contributions of end members composed of the combined alkane and fatty acid fractions. These end members patterns are similar to patterns produced by above ground marsh plants, algae and bacteria. Proportioning of the sediment between end members suggest the alkane and fatty acid patterns reflect contributions from surface vegetation as well as direct input from algae and bacteria. At depth, results suggest further modification by bacteria and demonstrate the complex nature of the organic material in the marsh subsurface. The ability of the algorithm to determine rapidly the patterns of specific organic source suggests that it may be a possible alternative to the use of biomarkers for some situations. In fact, results of the algorithm can be used to determine specific components or groups of components which may be used to separate organic sources.

  19. Primary production of edaphic algal communities in a Mississippi salt marsh

    SciTech Connect

    Sullivan, M.J.; Moncreiff, C.A.

    1988-03-01

    Primary production rates of edaphic algae associated with the sediments beneath four monospecific canopies of vascular plants were determined over an annual cycle in a Mississippi salt marsh. The edaphic algal flora was dominated by small, motile pennate diatoms. Algal production (as measured by /sup 14/C uptake) was generally highest in spring-early summer and lowest in fall. Hourly rates ranged from a low of 1.4 mg C/m/sup 2/ in Juncus roemerianus Scheele to a high of 163 mg C/m/sup 2/ beneath the Scirpus olneyi Gray canopy. Stepwise multiple regressions identified a soil moisture index and chlorophyll a as the best environmental predictors of hourly production; light energy reaching the marsh surface and sediment and air temperature proved of little value. Adding the relative abundances of 33 diatom taxa to the set of independent variables only slightly increased R/sup 2/; however, virtually all variables selected were diatom taxa. R/sup 2/ was only 0.38 for the Spartina alterniflora Loisel. habitat but ranged from 0.70 to 0.87 for the remaining three vascular plant zones. Annual rates of algal production (g C/m/sup 2/) were estimated as follows: Juncus (28), Spartina (57), Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene (88), and Scirpus (151). The ratio of annual edaphic algal production to vascular plant net aerial production (EAP/VPP) was 10-12% for the first three habitats and 61% for Scirpus. Chlorophyll a concentrations, annual algal production rates, and EAP/VPP values were comparable to those determined in Texas, Delaware, and Massachusetts salt marshes but lower than those reported for Georgia and particularly California marshes.

  20. Accumulation of COGEMA-La Hague-derived reprocessing wastes in French salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Cundy, Andrew B; Croudace, Ian W; Warwick, Phillip E; Oh, Jung-Suk; Haslett, Simon K

    2002-12-01

    Over the past five decades, authorized low-level discharges from coastal nuclear facilities have released significant quantities of artificial radionuclides into the marine environment. In northwest Europe, the majority of the total discharge has derived from nuclear reprocessing activities at Sellafield in the United Kingdom and COGEMA-La Hague in France. At the Sellafield site, a significant amount of the discharges has been trapped in offshore fine sediment deposits, and notably in local coastal and estuarine sediments, and much research has been focused on understanding the distribution, accumulation, and reworking of long-lived radionuclides in these deposits. In contrast, there are few high-resolution published data on the vertical distribution of radionuclides in fine-grained estuarine sediments near, and downstream of, COGEMA-La Hague. This paper therefore examines the vertical distribution of a range of anthropogenic radionuclides in dated salt marsh cores from two estuaries, one adjacent to, and the other downstream of, the COGEMA-La Hague discharge point (the Havre de Carteret at Barneville-Carteret and the Baie de Somme, respectively). The radionuclides examined show a vertical distribution which predominantly reflects variations in input from COGEMA-La Hague (albeit much more clearly at Barneville-Carteret than at the Baie de Somme site), and Pu isotopic ratios are consistent with a La Hague, rather than weapons' fallout, source. Because of sediment mixing, the marshes apparently retain an integrated record of the La Hague discharges, rather than an exact reproduction of the discharge history. Sorption of radionuclides increases in the order 90Sr < 137Cs < 60Co < 239,240Pu, which is consistent with Kd values reported in the literature. In general, the radionuclide activities observed at the sites studied are low (particularly in comparison with salt marsh sediments near the Sellafield facility), but are similar to those found in areas of fine sedimentation in the central Channel. These marshes are not major sinks for discharged reprocessing wastes. PMID:12523411

  1. Assessing the wildlife habitat value of New England salt marshes: II. Model testing and validation.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Richard A; Charpentier, Michael A; Wigand, Cathleen

    2009-07-01

    We tested a previously described model to assess the wildlife habitat value of New England salt marshes by comparing modeled habitat values and scores with bird abundance and species richness at sixteen salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island USA. As a group, wildlife habitat value assessment scores for the marshes ranged from 307-509, or 31-67% of the maximum attainable score. We recorded 6 species of wading birds (Ardeidae; herons, egrets, and bitterns) at the sites during biweekly survey. Species richness (r (2)=0.24, F=4.53, p=0.05) and abundance (r (2)=0.26, F=5.00, p=0.04) of wading birds significantly increased with increasing assessment score. We optimized our assessment model for wading birds by using Akaike information criteria (AIC) to compare a series of models comprised of specific components and categories of our model that best reflect their habitat use. The model incorporating pre-classification, wading bird habitat categories, and natural land surrounding the sites was substantially supported by AIC analysis as the best model. The abundance of wading birds significantly increased with increasing assessment scores generated with the optimized model (r (2)=0.48, F=12.5, p=0.003), demonstrating that optimizing models can be helpful in improving the accuracy of the assessment for a given species or species assemblage. In addition to validating the assessment model, our results show that in spite of their urban setting our study marshes provide substantial wildlife habitat value. This suggests that even small wetlands in highly urbanized coastal settings can provide important wildlife habitat value if key habitat attributes (e.g., natural buffers, habitat heterogeneity) are present. PMID:18597178

  2. Variability of intertidal foraminferal assemblages in a salt marsh, Oregon, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Milker, Yvonne; Horton, Benjamin P.; Nelson, Alan R.; Engelhart, Simon E.; Witter, Robert C.

    2015-01-01

    We studied 18 sampling stations along a transect to investigate the similarity between live (rose Bengal stained) foraminiferal populations and dead assemblages, their small-scale spatial variations and the distribution of infaunal foraminifera in a salt marsh (Toms Creek marsh) at the upper end of the South Slough arm of the Coos Bay estuary, Oregon, USA. We aimed to test to what extent taphonomic processes, small-scale variability and infaunal distribution influence the accuracy of sea-level reconstructions based on intertidal foraminifera. Cluster analyses have shown that dead assemblages occur in distinct zones with respect to elevation, a prerequisite for using foraminifera as sea-level indicators. Our nonparametric multivariate analysis of variance showed that small-scale spatial variability has only a small influence on live (rose Bengal stained) populations and dead assemblages. The dissimilarity was higher, however, between live (rose Bengal stained) populations in the middle marsh. We observed early diagenetic dissolution of calcareous tests in the dead assemblages. If comparable post-depositional processes and similar minor spatial variability also characterize fossil assemblages, then dead assemblage are the best modern analogs for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. The Toms Creek tidal flat and low marsh vascular plant zones are dominated by Miliammina fusca, the middle marsh is dominated by Balticammina pseudomacrescens and Trochammina inflata, and the high marsh and upland–marsh transition zone are dominated by Trochamminita irregularis. Analysis of infaunal foraminifera showed that most living specimens are found in the surface sediments and the majority of live (rose Bengal stained) infaunal specimens are restricted to the upper 10 cm, but living individuals are found to depths of 50 cm. The dominant infaunal specimens are similar to those in the corresponding surface samples and no species have been found living solely infaunally. The total numbers of infaunal foraminifera are small compared to the total numbers of dead specimens in the surface samples. This suggests that surface samples adequately represent the modern intertidal environment in Toms Creek.

  3. MAPPING AND MONITORING OF SALT MARSH VEGETATION AND TIDAL CHANNEL NETWORK FROM HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGERY (1975-2006). EXAMPLE OF THE MONT-SAINT-MICHEL BAY (FRANCE)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Puissant, A. P.; Kellerer, D.; Gluard, L.; Levoy, F.

    2009-12-01

    Coastal landscapes are severely affected by environmental and social pressures. Their long term development is controlled by both physical and anthropogenic factors, which spatial dynamics and interactions may be analysed by Earth Observation data. The Mont-Saint-Michel Bay (Normandy, France) is one of the European coastal systems with a very high tidal range (approximately 15m during spring tides) because of its geological, geomorphological and hydrodynamical contexts at the estuary of the Couesnon, Sée and Sélune rivers. It is also an important touristic place with the location of the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, and an invaluable ecosystem of wetlands forming a transition between the sea and the land. Since 2006, engineering works are performed with the objective of restoring the maritime character of the Bay. These works will lead to many changes in the spatial dynamics of the Bay which can be monitored with two indicators: the sediment budget and the wetland vegetation surfaces. In this context, the aim of this paper is to map and monitor the tidal channel network and the extension of the salt marsh vegetation formation in the tidal zone of the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay by using satellite images. The spatial correlation between the network location of the three main rivers and the development of salt marsh is analysed with multitemporal medium (60m) to high spatial resolution (from 10 to 30 m) satellite images over the period 1975-2006. The method uses a classical supervised algorithm based on a maximum likelihood classification of eleven satellites images. The salt-marsh surfaces and the tidal channel network are then integrated in a GIS. Results of extraction are assessed by qualitative (visual interpretation) and quantitative indicators (confusion matrix). The multi-temporal analysis between 1975 and 2006 highlights that in 1975 when the study area is 26000 ha, salt marshes cover 16% (3000ha), the sandflat (slikke) and the water represent respectively 59% and 25% of the area. In 2006, salt marshes represent more than 3900 ha. Then, in thirty years, salt marshes have increased in average of 29 ha.yr-1. Several periods with different speed can be identified. Moreover, if the global tendency is a progression of salt-marshes, three period of accretion are noticed. Some hypothesis can be formulated about the tidal channel migrations using various data sources as tide levels, wind wave and meteorological data and river discharges. This analysis showed that satellite images are an important information source to locate morphological coastal changes and allows to perform the understanding of a dynamic and complex system such as the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay. It is possible to extract and to monitor coastal objects over a long time series with heterogeneous data such as satellite images with different spatial and spectral resolutions. With the multiplication of very high spatial resolution images, the detection of salt marshes surfaces and tidal channel could ever be more accurate.

  4. The Life Cycle of Entzia, an Agglutinated Foraminifer from the Salt Marshes in Transylvania

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaminski, Michael; Telespan, Andreea; Balc, Ramona; Filipescu, Sorin; Varga, Ildiko; Görög, Agnes

    2013-04-01

    The small salt marshes associated with Miocene salt domes in Transylvania are host to a variety of marine organisms, including communities of halophytic plants as well as an agglutinated foraminifer that is normally found in coastal salt marshes worldwide. Originally described as the species Entzia tetrastoma by Daday (1884), the foraminifer is more widely known by the name Jadammina macrescens (Brady, 1870). Because the genus name Entzia has priority over Jadammina, the valid name of this taxon is Entzia macrescens (Brady, 1870). In 2007, we discovered a living population of Entzia inhabiting a small salt marsh just outside the town of Turda in central Transylvania, only a kilometer from the famous Maria Theresa Salt Mine. This is the first discovery of a living population of Entzia in Transylvania since the species was originally described in 1884. To determine whether or not the specimens we found represent a breeding population, samples were collected from the marsh on a monthly basis over the span of a year. This species can be found among the roots of the halophytic plants, in the uppermost one or two centimeters of the mud. Sediment samples were preserved in Vodka with Rose Bengal to distinguish living and dead specimens, and examined quantitatively. To document the life cycle of the species the following metrics were carried out: test size, abundance, number of chambers, ratio between live and dead specimens, and the diameter of the proloculus. An increase in the mean diameter of specimens was found from October to December. However the mean diameter decreased again in January, which suggests that asexual reproduction had apparently taken place. Small specimens again appeared in March, when sexual reproduction is presumed to have taken place. The median proloculus diameter was smallest in April and May, but the monthly changes in mean proloculus size within the population over the span of a year are not significant. However, specimens with largest proloculus diameters (up to 50 microns) are found in winter, and specimens with smallest proloculi (11 microns) are found in spring. In this respect, the life cycle of Entzia macrescens resembles that of the well-known invasive species Trochammina hadai. We are taking measures to preserve the site containing the living Entzia population, as the area is located opposite a public swimming pool and is endangered by human activity.

  5. The weathering of oil after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: insights from the chemical composition of the oil from the sea surface, salt marshes and sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Zhanfei; Liu, Jiqing; Zhu, Qingzhi; Wu, Wei

    2012-09-01

    The oil released during the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill may have both short- and long-time impacts on the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystems. An understanding of how the composition and concentration of the oil are altered by weathering, including chemical, physical and biological processes, is needed to evaluate the oil toxicity and impact on the ecosystem in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This study examined petroleum hydrocarbons in oil mousse collected from the sea surface and salt marshes, and in oil deposited in sediments adjacent to the wellhead after the DWH oil spill. Oil mousses were collected at two stations (OSS and CT, located 130 and 85 km away from the wellhead, respectively) in May 2010, and two sediment samples from stations SG and SC, within 6 km of the wellhead, in May 2011. We also collected oil mousse from salt marshes at Marsh Point (MP), Mississippi, 186 km away from the wellhead in July 2010. In these samples, n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, BTEX (collective name of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and p-, m-, and o-xylenes), C3-benzenes and trace metals were measured to examine how the oil was altered chemically. The chemical analysis indicates that the oil mousses underwent different degrees of weathering with the pattern of OSS < CT < MP. This pattern is consistent with the projected oil mousse movement from the accident site to salt marshes. Also, the contents of trace metals Al, V, Cr, Fe, Mn, Ni, Co, Cu, As and Pb in the oil mousse generally increased along the way to the salt marshes, indicating that these trace metals were perhaps aggregated into the oil mousse during the transport. Petroleum hydrocarbon data reveal that the oil deposited in sediments underwent only light to moderate degradation one year after the DWH oil spill, as supported by the presence of short-chained n-alkanes (C10-C 15), BTEX and C 3-benzenes. The weathering of oil in sediment may result from biological degradation and dissolution, evidenced by the preferential loss of mid-chained n-alkanes C16-C 27, lower ratios of n-C 17/Pr and n-C 18/Ph , and preferential loss of PAHs relative to alkylated PAHs.

  6. Diet Composition of Mummichogs, Fundulus heteroclitus, from Restoring and Unrestricted Regions of a New England (U.S.A.) Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    James-Pirri, M. J.; Raposa, K. B.; Catena, J. G.

    2001-08-01

    Diet composition of mummichogs, Fundulus heteroclitus, from three marsh habitats (creeks, pools, and marsh surface) within tidally restored and an adjacent unrestricted (reference) region of Sachuest Point salt marsh (Middletown, RI, U.S.A.) was examined. Major diet components were detritus, copepods, diatoms, insects (larvae and adults), ostracods, and chironomids. Total length, wet weight, and gut fullness of mummichogs were equivalent within habitats between the restoring and unrestricted marshes. Diet composition and percent abundance of diet items were also similar within habitats between the unrestricted and restoring marshes. However, differences in diet patterns were observed among habitats (creeks, pools, and marsh surface) within each marsh. Fish collected from creeks had fuller guts than those sampled from the marsh surface for both the restoring and unrestricted marsh. Diet composition also differed among marsh habitats, but only within the restoring marsh. In the restoring marsh, fish sampled from the creeks consumed primarily detritus, diatoms, and ostracods, whereas fish from the pools consumed mainly detritus, copepods, chironomids, and insects. Differences in diet composition among habitats were most likely a reflection of prey availability. This study provides evidence that tidally restored marshes can provide similar food resources as unrestricted marshes, in terms of consumption patterns of dominant marsh consumers, within the first year after restoration, before major shifts in dominant vegetation (i.e. from Phragmites australis to Spartina spp.) occur.

  7. Genetic and epigenetic differences associated with environmental gradients in replicate populations of two salt marsh perennials.

    PubMed

    Foust, C M; Preite, V; Schrey, A W; Alvarez, M; Robertson, M H; Verhoeven, K J F; Richards, C L

    2016-04-01

    While traits and trait plasticity are partly genetically based, investigating epigenetic mechanisms may provide more nuanced understanding of the mechanisms underlying response to environment. Using AFLP and methylation-sensitive AFLP, we tested the hypothesis that differentiation to habitats along natural salt marsh environmental gradients occurs at epigenetic, but not genetic loci in two salt marsh perennials. We detected significant genetic and epigenetic structure among populations and among subpopulations, but we found multilocus patterns of differentiation to habitat type only in epigenetic variation for both species. In addition, more epigenetic than genetic loci were correlated with habitat in both species. When we analysed genetic and epigenetic variation simultaneously with partial Mantel, we found no correlation between genetic variation and habitat and a significant correlation between epigenetic variation and habitat in Spartina alterniflora. In Borrichia frutescens, we found significant correlations between epigenetic and/or genetic variation and habitat in four of five populations when populations were analysed individually, but there was no significant correlation between genetic or epigenetic variation and habitat when analysed jointly across the five populations. These analyses suggest that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the response to salt marsh habitats, but also that the relationships among genetic and epigenetic variation and habitat vary by species. Site-specific conditions may also cloud our ability to detect response in replicate populations with similar environmental gradients. Future studies analysing sequence data and the correlation between genetic variation and DNA methylation will be powerful to identify the contributions of genetic and epigenetic response to environmental gradients. PMID:26880043

  8. Persistence of white phosphorus (P{sub 4}) particles in salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Walsh, M.E.; Collins, C.M.; Racine, C.H.

    1996-06-01

    Remediation of sediments at Eagle River Flats, Alaska, a salt marsh contaminated with solid particles of white phosphorus (P{sub 4}), may require severe alterations of the wetland by dredging, draining, or covering. However, some sediments may undergo decontamination naturally in areas that are seasonally subaerially exposed. The persistence of millimeter-size P{sub 4} particles was studied in laboratory and field experiments. White phosphorus particles were found to be persistent in saturated sediments. In unsaturated sediments, loss was rapid (within 24 h) at 20 C, and was retarded by low temperatures.

  9. Suspended sediment deposition and trapping efficiency in a Delaware salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moskalski, Susanne M.; Sommerfield, Christopher K.

    2012-02-01

    This study examined sediment deposition and retention in a section of salt marsh in the St. Jones River estuary in Delaware. Sediment traps, siphon samplers, a LISST particle sizer, and four water level sensors were deployed in a 100 m by 200 m grid over the course of a spring tide in June 2007. The objective was to determine the relative influences of suspended sediment concentration, settling velocity, tidal hydroperiod, and vegetation density on sediment deposition and trapping efficiency within a small section of marsh. Hydroperiod is not a major contributor to sediment deposition in the study plot. Spatial patterns in depositional processes on tidal timescales are instead primarily controlled by overmarsh SSC, settling velocity, and distance from the tidal channel. Trapping efficiency, or the ratio of measured deposition and the amount of sediment available for deposition, decreased with distance away from the tidal channel, indicating that less of the available suspended sediment was deposited in the marsh interior. The suspended particles were flocculated, but floc sizes decreased with distance away from the tidal channel.

  10. Effect of chronic oil pollution on salt-marsh nitrogen fixation (acetylene redution). [Spartina alterniflora

    SciTech Connect

    Thomson, A.D.; Webb, K.L.

    1984-03-01

    Annual acetylene reduction rates associated with intertidal communities in a chronically oil polluted Virgina salt marsh were compared to rates measured in an undisturbed marsh. Chronic oil treatment resulted in visible damage to the higher plants of the Spartina alterniflora zones; however, vegetation-associated acetylene reduction was not different from the untreated control. Sediment rates generally were affected little by oil application, except during the summer when rates in the median tidal elevation zones were considerably higher than those of the control. Acetylene reduction occurred in all transects, each of which extended from upper mudflat to the Spartina patens zone. Intertidal sediment acetylene reduction was patchy, both spatially and seasonally. Estimated rates were greatest near the surface; free-living bacterial N/sub 2/ fixation activity averaged 2.23 mg N per m/sup 2/ per d (range = undetectable to 365 mg N per m/sup 2/ per d) in the untreated and 3.17 mg N per m/sup 2/ per d (range = undetectable to 564 mg N per m/sup 2/ per d) in the oil-treated marsh during the year. Vegetation-associated N/sub 2/ fixation activity yielded highest overall mean rates (156 mg N per M/sub 2/ per d). The seasonal pattern of sediment and vegetation-associated fixation may be controlled by temperature and availability of oxidizable substrates. 39 references, 2 figures, 5 tables.

  11. Accumulation and distribution of trace metals within soils and the austral cordgrass Spartina densiflora in a Patagonian salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Idaszkin, Yanina L; Lancelotti, Julio L; Bouza, Pablo J; Marcovecchio, Jorge E

    2015-12-15

    Concentrations of Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn were determined in soils and in below- and above-ground structures of Spartina densiflora in a Patagonian salt marsh (San Antonio, Río Negro, Argentina). Also, the relationship between trace metal concentrations in soils and plants was investigated to improve our knowledge regarding the ability of this plant species to take up and accumulate trace metals from the soil. Our results indicate that, within the studied salt marsh, soil trace metal concentrations follow a decreasing concentration gradient toward the sea. They show moderate pollution and a potentially negative biological effect in one site of the salt marsh. While below-ground structures reflect the soil metal concentration pattern, this is not so evident in above-ground concentrations. Also, S. densiflora is able to absorb a limited amount of metals present in the soil, the soil bioaccumulation factor being lower in sites where soil metal concentration is higher. PMID:26481413

  12. Effects of natural and anthropogenic change on habitat use and movement of endangered salt marsh harvest mice.

    PubMed

    Smith, Katherine R; Barthman-Thompson, Laureen; Gould, William R; Mabry, Karen E

    2014-01-01

    The northern salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris halicoetes) is an endangered species endemic to the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Using a conservation behavior perspective, we examined how salt marsh harvest mice cope with both natural (daily tidal fluctuations) and anthropogenic (modification of tidal regime) changes in natural tidal wetlands and human-created diked wetlands, and investigated the role of behavioral flexibility in utilizing a human-created environment in the Suisun Marsh. We used radio telemetry to determine refuge use at high tide, space use, and movement rates to investigate possible differences in movement behavior in tidal versus diked wetlands. We found that the vast majority of the time salt marsh harvest mice remain in vegetation above the water during high tides. We also found no difference in space used by mice during high tide as compared to before or after high tide in either tidal or diked wetlands. We found no detectable difference in diurnal or nocturnal movement rates in tidal wetlands. However, we did find that diurnal movement rates for mice in diked wetlands were lower than nocturnal movement rates, especially during the new moon. This change in movement behavior in a relatively novel human-created habitat indicates that behavioral flexibility may facilitate the use of human-created environments by salt marsh harvest mice. PMID:25310800

  13. Effects of Natural and Anthropogenic Change on Habitat Use and Movement of Endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mice

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Katherine R.; Barthman-Thompson, Laureen; Gould, William R.; Mabry, Karen E.

    2014-01-01

    The northern salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris halicoetes) is an endangered species endemic to the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Using a conservation behavior perspective, we examined how salt marsh harvest mice cope with both natural (daily tidal fluctuations) and anthropogenic (modification of tidal regime) changes in natural tidal wetlands and human-created diked wetlands, and investigated the role of behavioral flexibility in utilizing a human-created environment in the Suisun Marsh. We used radio telemetry to determine refuge use at high tide, space use, and movement rates to investigate possible differences in movement behavior in tidal versus diked wetlands. We found that the vast majority of the time salt marsh harvest mice remain in vegetation above the water during high tides. We also found no difference in space used by mice during high tide as compared to before or after high tide in either tidal or diked wetlands. We found no detectable difference in diurnal or nocturnal movement rates in tidal wetlands. However, we did find that diurnal movement rates for mice in diked wetlands were lower than nocturnal movement rates, especially during the new moon. This change in movement behavior in a relatively novel human-created habitat indicates that behavioral flexibility may facilitate the use of human-created environments by salt marsh harvest mice. PMID:25310800

  14. Using the radium quartet for evaluating groundwater input and water exchange in salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Moore, R.; Moore, W.S.

    1996-12-01

    The fluxes of {sup 226}Ra (half-life = 1600 years) and {sup 228}Ra (half-life = 5.7 years) from the North Inlet salt marsh to the sea are much larger than can be supported by decay of their Th parents in the surface marsh sediments. These fluxes are sustained almost entirely by groundwater flow through the marsh. An average groundwater flow of approximately 10 cm{sup 3} cm{sup -2} day{sup -1} is indicated if the groundwater activities we have measured are representative. The fluxes of {sup 223}Ra (half-life = 11.4 day) and {sup 224}Ra (half-life = 3.6 day) are factors of 22, and ten more than those expected from the flux of {sup 226}Ra. Groundwater also sustains most of the flux of the short-lived isotopes. The measured Ra activity ratio pattern in the marsh creeks matches the groundwater signature but is distinct from the pattern of the parent thorium isotopes in the sediment. We present a model to explain the anomalous distribution pattern of these isotopes. Despite their large throughput, the inventories of desorbable {sup 226}Ra and {sup 228}Ra in the top 15 cm sediment layer are very low. Nevertheless, the activities of {sup 226}Ra and {sup 228}Ra in the porewaters are large, indicating a low distribution coefficient ({approximately}10) for radium and a short retention time ({approximately}10 days) in the surface sediment layer. We surmise that groundwater flow may be a significant source of radium isotopes in the waters of shallow estuaries and coastal margins. This source must be recognized while considering mass balance of any tracer, be it radium, nutrients, other metals, or {delta}{sup 18}O. 11 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  15. Vegetation dynamics and plant species interactions under grazed and ungrazed conditions in a western European salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tessier, Marc; Vivier, Jean-Paul; Ouin, Annie; Gloaguen, Jean-Claude; Lefeuvre, Jean-Claude

    2003-05-01

    Experiments in exclosures were conducted on a salt marsh in a macrotidal system in western France. The aim of this study was threefold: (1) to compare vegetation dynamics over a period of 8 years in grazed and ungrazed conditions (2) to investigate the response of annual species to grazing duration during seedling establishment (3) to test the effect of an increase in soil nitrogen availability after cessation of grazing on interactions between Suaeda maritima and Puccinellia maritima. In grazed conditions, during all the survey, vegetation was dominated by a short P. maritima sward with the annual Salicornia europaea in the lower and middle marshes. However, after cessation of grazing in 1994, a homogeneous matrix of the forb Halimione portulacoides, quickly replaced P. maritima in the well drained lower marsh. At the middle marsh level, fine sediment and poor drainage maintained P. maritima while the annual S. maritima which tolerates taller and denser vegetation replaced S. europaea. Elymus pungens cover was limited till 2000 but its rising in 2001 let expect its dominance in the future. While P. maritima abundance remained high, spring abundance of annual species such as S. europaea and S. maritima globally decreased with sheep grazing duration on the salt marsh between February and June. Experiments with monocultures of P. maritima and S. maritima demonstrated that nitrogen was a limiting factor on the salt marsh. In a mixed community, a moderate application of nitrogen (15 g N m -2 year -1 as NH 4-NO 3) promoted growth of P. maritima and limited the biomass of S. maritima, but growth of the latter was enhanced by a high application of nitrogen (30 g N m -2 year -1). An increase in the abundance of annuals such as S. maritima on the salt marsh is discussed.

  16. Spatial and seasonal variation in heavy metals in interstitial water of salt marsh soils.

    PubMed

    Otero, Xosé L; Macías, Felipe

    2002-01-01

    The composition of interstitial water collected from a salt marsh in NW Spain showed clear seasonal and spatial variations associated with redox cycles of Fe and S. In the summer, salinity increased in all soils as a consequence of the increase in evapotranspiration. The pH and concentrations of heavy metals also differed with season, but not all environments showed the same variations. Soils not colonized by plants had the highest pH and lowest heavy metal concentrations in the summer. These results support the idea that higher temperatures lead to an increase in the activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria, which in turn leads to an increase in alkalinity and concentration of sulfides in the water. Trace metals tend to precipitate with sulfides under these conditions and are removed from the interstitial water. In contrast, in the soils colonized by Spartina maritima, the oxidation of metal sulfides during the summer led to a decrease in pH and an increase in the metal concentrations in the interstitial water. The results obtained concur with those found for seasonal variations in metal sulfides in soils from the same salt marsh. PMID:12395829

  17. Temephos distribution and persistence in a southwest Florida salt marsh community.

    PubMed

    Pierce, R; Henry, M; Kelly, D; Sherblom, P; Kozlowsky, W; Wichterman, G; Miller, T W

    1996-12-01

    The distribution and persistence of the mosquito larvicide temephos was monitored throughout an intertidal salt marsh community in southwest Florida following routine aerial applications of Abate 4-E (43% temephos) from 1988 through 1993. Temephos was found to be more highly concentrated in the surface water microlayer than in mid-depth water, exhibiting a mean of 330 micrograms/liter at the surface and 12 micrograms/liter at mid-depth from 1 fl. oz./acre applications and 120 micrograms/liter in the surface and 4.5 micrograms/liter in mid-depth water for 0.5 fl. oz./acre applications. Concentrations at both surface and mid-depth diminished rapidly within the first 24 hours. Mangrove leaves provided the most persistent reservoir for temephos, remaining more than 7 days. Temephos residues also were observed in select salt marsh organisms, including the sheepshead minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus), adult fiddler crabs (Uca rapax) and the ribbed mussel (Geukensia sp.). PMID:9046469

  18. Interactions between salt marsh plants and Cu nanoparticles - Effects on metal uptake and phytoremediation processes.

    PubMed

    Andreotti, Federico; Mucha, Ana Paula; Caetano, Cátia; Rodrigues, Paula; Rocha Gomes, Carlos; Almeida, C Marisa R

    2015-10-01

    The increased use of metallic nanoparticles (NPs) raises the probability of finding NPs in the environment. A lot of information exists already regarding interactions between plants and metals, but information regarding interactions between metallic NPs and plants, including salt marsh plants, is still lacking. This work aimed to study interactions between CuO NPs and the salt marsh plants Halimione portulacoides and Phragmites australis. In addition, the potential of these plants for phytoremediation of Cu NPs was evaluated. Plants were exposed for 8 days to sediment elutriate solution doped either with CuO or with ionic Cu. Afterwards, total metal concentrations were determined in plant tissues. Both plants accumulated Cu in their roots, but this accumulation was 4 to 10 times lower when the metal was added in NP form. For P. australis, metal translocation occurred when the metal was added either in ionic or in NP form, but for H. portulacoides no metal translocation was observed when NPs were added to the medium. Therefore, interactions between plants and NPs differ with the plant species. These facts should be taken in consideration when applying these plants for phytoremediation of contaminated sediments in estuaries, as the environmental management of these very important ecological areas can be affected. PMID:26094036

  19. Population variation affects interactions between two California salt marsh plant species more than precipitation.

    PubMed

    Noto, Akana E; Shurin, Jonathan B

    2016-02-01

    Species that occur along broad environmental gradients often vary in phenotypic traits that make them better adapted to local conditions. Variation in species interactions across gradients could therefore be due to either phenotypic differences among populations or environmental conditions that shift the balance between competition and facilitation. To understand how the environment (precipitation) and variation among populations affect species interactions, we conducted a common garden experiment using two common salt marsh plant species, Salicornia pacifica and Jaumea carnosa, from six salt marshes along the California coast encompassing a large precipitation gradient. Plants were grown alone or with an individual of the opposite species from the same site and exposed to one of three precipitation regimes. J. carnosa was negatively affected in the presence of S. pacifica, while S. pacifica was facilitated by J. carnosa. The strength of these interactions varied by site of origin but not by precipitation treatment. These results suggest that phenotypic variation among populations can affect interaction strength more than environment, despite a threefold difference in precipitation. Geographic intraspecific variation may therefore play an important role in determining the strength of interactions in communities. PMID:26481794

  20. Comparison of Bulk and Compound-Specific Carbon Isotope Analyses and Determination of Carbon Sources to Salt Marsh Sediments Using n-Alkane Distributions (Maine, USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tanner, B. R.; Uhle, M. E.; Kelley, J. T.; Mora, C. I.

    2005-12-01

    Sources of sedimentary organic matter to a Morse River, Maine (USA) salt marsh over the last 3390+/-60 RCYBP are determined using distribution patterns of n-alkanes as well as bulk and compound-specific carbon isotopic analysis. Marsh foraminiferal counts indicate the ubiquitous presence of zone 1B deposits, suggesting that the deposits were laid down ~0.2 to 0.5m above mean high water. Distributions of n-alkanes show a primary contribution from higher plants, confirmed by an average ACL value of 27.5 for the core sediments and CPI values above 3. Many sample depths have a maximum abundance at the C25 alkane. Ten low marsh, high marsh, and higher-high marsh plant species common to Maine salt marshes were sampled, including Spartina alterniflora, Spartina patens, Juncus gerardi and Solidago sempervirens. The ACL value for the average of the 10 marsh species is 29.1. Salicornia europa, usually not considered to be a dominant species in Maine marshes, has a similar n-alkane distribution to many of the salt marsh sediments, suggesting that it is an important source to the biomass of the marsh through time. Bacterial degradation or algal inputs to the marsh sediments appear to be minor. Compound specific carbon isotopic analyses of the C27 alkanes are, on average, 7.2ppt. depleted relative to bulk values, but the two records are strongly correlated (R2 = 0.87), suggesting that marsh plants are "swamping" the bulk carbon isotopic signal. The apparent abundance of a subordinate (though common) salt marsh plant species (Salicornia europa) within our core underscores the importance of using caution when applying mixing models of relatively few plant species to marsh sediments.

  1. Seed dispersal and seedling emergence in a created and a natural salt marsh on the Gulf of Mexico coast in Southwest Louisiana, U.S.A

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Elsey-Quirk, T.; Middleton, B.A.; Proffitt, C.E.

    2009-01-01

    Early regeneration dynamics related to seed dispersal and seedling emergence can contribute to differences in species composition among a created and a natural salt marsh. The objectives of this study were to determine (1) whether aquatic and aerial seed dispersal differed in low and high elevations within a created marsh and a natural marsh and (2) whether seedling emergence was influenced by marsh, the presence of openings in the vegetation, and seed availability along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. Aerial seed traps captured a greater quantity of seeds than aquatic traps. Several factors influenced aquatic and aerial seed dispersal in a created and a natural salt marsh, including distance from the marsh edge, cover of existing vegetation, and water depth. The natural marsh had a high seed density of Spartina alterniflora and Distichlis spicata, the low-elevation created marsh had a high seed density of S. alterniflora, and the high-elevation created marsh had a high seed density of Aster subulatus and Iva frutescens. The presence of adult plants and water depth above the marsh surface influenced seed density. In the natural marsh, openings in vegetation increased seedling emergence for all species, whereas in the low-elevation created marsh, S. alterniflora had higher seedling density under a canopy of vegetation. According to the early regeneration dynamics, the future vegetation in areas of the low-elevation created marsh may become similar to that in the natural marsh. In the high-elevation created marsh, vegetation may be upland fringe habitat dominated by high-elevation marsh shrubs and annual herbaceous species. ?? 2009 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

  2. Effects of flooding and warming on soil organic matter mineralization in Avicennia germinans mangrove forests and Juncus roemerianus salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, David Bruce; Brown, Jewel A.; Jimenez, Kristine L.

    2014-02-01

    Under a changing climate, coastal wetlands experience sea level rise, warming, and vegetation change, all of which may influence organic matter mineralization. In coastal wetlands of subtropical west-central Florida (USA), we investigated how soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) mineralization respond to soil water, temperature, and ecosystem type (Avicennia germinans mangrove forest vs. Juncus roemerianus salt marsh). We evaluated how soil respiration and mineral N concentration varied along a soil moisture gradient, and whether these relationships differed between ecosystem types. Then, we manipulated soils in a 28-d laboratory incubation to evaluate how potentially mineralizable C and N respond to temperature (23 vs. 27 °C), soil hydroperiod (inundated 4 vs. 20 h/d), and soil source. Soil saturation and inundation suppressed short-term (minutes to weeks) C mineralization from near-surface soils. Soil CO2 efflux declined by 65% as soil moisture increased from 75% to 85%, and potentially mineralizable C was 18% lower with a 20-h hydroperiod than with a 4-h hydroperiod. Organic C quality appears to be greater in A. germinans than in J. roemerianus soils, as A. germinans soils had higher field CO2 efflux rates and greater mineralizable C:N (despite lower total C:N). Increasing incubation temperature from 23 to 27 °C elevated potentially mineralizable C by 40%, indicating that two symptoms of climate change (increased inundation from sea level rise, and warming) may have opposing effects on soil C mineralization. Temperature sensitivity of C mineralization was high for long-hydroperiod soils, however, suggesting that protection of soil organic matter (SOM) due to prolonged inundation will be undermined by warming. Potentially mineralizable N was greater in J. roemerianus soils, although in situ mineral N was not different between ecosystems, instead correlating positively with SOM. These results indicate that models forecasting soil elevation responses to climate change might include inundation effects on mineralization rates.

  3. Identification of metrics to monitor salt marsh integrity on National Wildlife Refuges in relation to conservation and management objectives

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, Hilary A.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Shriver, W. George; Danz, Nicholas P.; Wiest, Whitney A.; Nagel, Jessica L.; Olker, Jennifer H.

    2013-01-01

    is important to determine how the monitoring information will be used within a management context. SDM should be used to complete the analysis of salt marsh management decision. The next steps would involve 1) prioritizing and weighting the management objectives; 2) predicting responses to individual management actions in terms of objectives and metrics; 3) using multi-attribute utility theory to convert all measurable attributes to a common utility scale; 4) determining the total management benefit of each action by summing utilities across objectives; and 5) maximizing the total management benefits within cost constraints for each refuge. This process would allow the optimum management decisions for NWRS salt marshes to be selected and implemented based directly on monitoring data and current understanding of marsh responses to management actions. Monitoring the outcome of management actions would then allow new monitoring data to be incorporated into subsequent decisions.

  4. Aquatic insects of New York salt marsh associated with mosquito larval habitat and their potential utility as bioindicators.

    PubMed

    Rochlin, Ilia; Dempsey, Mary E; Iwanejko, Tom; Ninivaggi, Dominick V

    2011-01-01

    The aquatic insect fauna of salt marshes is poorly characterized, with the possible exception of biting Diptera. Aquatic insects play a vital role in salt marsh ecology, and have great potential importance as biological indicators for assessing marsh health. In addition, they may be impacted by measures to control mosquitoes such as changes to the marsh habitat, altered hydrology, or the application of pesticides. Given these concerns, the goals of this study were to conduct the first taxonomic survey of salt marsh aquatic insects on Long Island, New York, USA and to evaluate their utility for non-target pesticide impacts and environmental biomonitoring. A total of 18 species from 11 families and five orders were collected repeatedly during the five month study period. Diptera was the most diverse order with nine species from four families, followed by Coleoptera with four species from two families, Heteroptera with three species from three families, then Odonata and the hexapod Collembola with one species each. Water boatmen, Trichocorixa verticalis Fieber (Heteroptera: Corixidae) and a shore fly, Ephydra subopaca Loew (Diptera: Ephydridae), were the two most commonly encountered species. An additional six species; Anurida maritima Guérin-Méneville (Collembola: Neanuridae), Mesovelia mulsanti White (Heteroptera: Mesovelidae), Enochrus hamiltoni Horn (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae), Tropisternus quadristriatus Horn (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae), Dasyhelea pseudocincta Waugh and Wirth (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), and Brachydeutera argentata Walker (Diptera: Ephydridae), were found regularly. Together with the less common Erythrodiplax berenice Drury (Odonata: Libellulidae), these nine species were identified as the most suitable candidates for pesticide and environmental impact monitoring due to abundance, position in the food chain, and extended seasonal occurrence. This study represents a first step towards developing an insect-based index of biological integrity for salt marsh health assessment. PMID:22957707

  5. Aquatic Insects of New York Salt Marsh Associated with Mosquito Larval Habitat and their Potential Utility as Bioindicators

    PubMed Central

    Rochlin, Ilia; Dempsey, Mary E.; Iwanejko, Tom; Ninivaggi, Dominick V.

    2011-01-01

    The aquatic insect fauna of salt marshes is poorly characterized, with the possible exception of biting Diptera. Aquatic insects play a vital role in salt marsh ecology, and have great potential importance as biological indicators for assessing marsh health. In addition, they may be impacted by measures to control mosquitoes such as changes to the marsh habitat, altered hydrology, or the application of pesticides. Given these concerns, the goals of this study were to conduct the first taxonomic survey of salt marsh aquatic insects on Long Island, New York, USA and to evaluate their utility for non-target pesticide impacts and environmental biomonitoring. A total of 18 species from 11 families and five orders were collected repeatedly during the five month study period. Diptera was the most diverse order with nine species from four families, followed by Coleoptera with four species from two families, Heteroptera with three species from three families, then Odonata and the hexapod Collembola with one species each. Water boatmen, Trichocorixa verticalis Fieber (Heteroptera: Corixidae) and a shore fly, Ephydra subopaca Loew (Diptera: Ephydridae), were the two most commonly encountered species. An additional six species; Anurida maritima Guérin-Méneville (Collembola: Neanuridae), Mesovelia mulsanti White (Heteroptera: Mesovelidae), Enochrus hamiltoni Horn (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae), Tropisternus quadristriatus Horn (Coleoptera: Hydrophilidae), Dasyhelea pseudocincta Waugh and Wirth (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), and Brachydeutera argentata Walker (Diptera: Ephydridae), were found regularly. Together with the less common Erythrodiplax berenice Drury (Odonata: Libellulidae), these nine species were identified as the most suitable candidates for pesticide and environmental impact monitoring due to abundance, position in the food chain, and extended seasonal occurrence. This study represents a first step towards developing an insectbased index of biological integrity for salt marsh health assessment. PMID:22957707

  6. Free-living plathelminthes in sheep-grazed and ungrazed supralittoral salt marshes of the North Sea: Abundance, biomass, and their significance in food chains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Armonies, W.

    The supralittoral salt marshes of the North Sea are marked by high halophyte primary productivity. The environmental factors are strongly fluctuating. Despite these features the metazoan meiofaunal abundance is equal to that found in other littoral habitats. On average 1250 marine metazoans are found per 10 cm 2 in ungrazed and 770 per 10 cm 2 in sheep-grazed supralittoral salt marshes. Nematoda dominate in numerical abundance, Oligochaeta in biomass. Plathelminthes account for 15% of marine metazoans in ungrazed and 5% in grazed salt marshes. Total plathelminth abundance increases with halophyte density, whereas the abundance of diatom-feeding Plathelminthes decreases. In ungrazed marshes on average 104 Plathelminthes are found per 10 cm 2, accounting for a biomass of 0.65 g DW·m -2. In sheep-grazed marshes the average abundance is only 32 individuals per 10 cm 2, accounting for a biomass of 0.1 g DW·m -2. Average individual weight is 3.2 μg DW or 2.5 μg AFDW. In grazed salt marshes, 30% of plathelminthes feed on diatoms, 66% are predators, and 4% feed on bacteria (gut analysis). In ungrazed salt marshes only 3% are diatom-feeders, and 90% are predators feeding on Nematoda, Copepoda, Oligochaeta, and smaller Plathelminthes. Presumably plathelminthes are top predators on the salt marsh meiofauna.

  7. Invasion of tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) in a southern California salt marsh

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Exotic plants have been demonstrated to be one of the greatest threats to wetlands, as they are capable of altering ecosystem-wide physical and biological properties. One of the most problematic invaders in the western United States has been salt cedar, Tamarix sp., and the impacts of this species i...

  8. Nitrogen retention in salt marsh systems across nutrient-enrichment, elevation, and precipitation regimes: a multiple stressor experiment

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the Northeastern U.S., multiple anthropogenic stressors, including changing nutrient loads, accelerated sea-level rise, and altered climactic patterns are co-occurring, and are likely to influence salt marsh nitrogen (N) dynamics. We conducted a multiple stressor mesocosm expe...

  9. Native plant restoration combats environmental change: development of carbon and nitrogen sequestration capacity using small cordgrass in European salt marshes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Restoration of salt marshes is critical in the context of climate change and eutrophication of coastal waters, because their vegetation and sediments may act as carbon and nitrogen sinks. Our primary objectives were to quantify carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) stocks and sequestration rates in restored m...

  10. New England Salt Marsh Recovery: Opportunistic Colonization of an Invasive Species and Its Non-Consumptive Effects

    PubMed Central

    Coverdale, Tyler C.; Axelman, Eric E.; Brisson, Caitlin P.; Young, Eric W.; Altieri, Andrew H.; Bertness, Mark D.

    2013-01-01

    Predator depletion on Cape Cod (USA) has released the herbivorous crab Sesarmareticulatum from predator control leading to the loss of cordgrass from salt marsh creek banks. After more than three decades of die-off, cordgrass is recovering at heavily damaged sites coincident with the invasion of green crabs (Carcinusmaenas) into intertidal Sesarma burrows. We hypothesized that Carcinus is dependent on Sesarma burrows for refuge from physical and biotic stress in the salt marsh intertidal and reduces Sesarma functional density and herbivory through consumptive and non-consumptive effects, mediated by both visual and olfactory cues. Our results reveal that in the intertidal zone of New England salt marshes, Carcinus are burrow dependent, Carcinus reduce Sesarma functional density and herbivory in die-off areas and Sesarma exhibit a generic avoidance response to large, predatory crustaceans. These results support recent suggestions that invasive Carcinus are playing a role in the recovery of New England salt marshes and assertions that invasive species can play positive roles outside of their native ranges. PMID:24009763

  11. New England salt marsh recovery: opportunistic colonization of an invasive species and its non-consumptive effects.

    PubMed

    Coverdale, Tyler C; Axelman, Eric E; Brisson, Caitlin P; Young, Eric W; Altieri, Andrew H; Bertness, Mark D

    2013-01-01

    Predator depletion on Cape Cod (USA) has released the herbivorous crab Sesarmareticulatum from predator control leading to the loss of cordgrass from salt marsh creek banks. After more than three decades of die-off, cordgrass is recovering at heavily damaged sites coincident with the invasion of green crabs (Carcinusmaenas) into intertidal Sesarma burrows. We hypothesized that Carcinus is dependent on Sesarma burrows for refuge from physical and biotic stress in the salt marsh intertidal and reduces Sesarma functional density and herbivory through consumptive and non-consumptive effects, mediated by both visual and olfactory cues. Our results reveal that in the intertidal zone of New England salt marshes, Carcinus are burrow dependent, Carcinus reduce Sesarma functional density and herbivory in die-off areas and Sesarma exhibit a generic avoidance response to large, predatory crustaceans. These results support recent suggestions that invasive Carcinus are playing a role in the recovery of New England salt marshes and assertions that invasive species can play positive roles outside of their native ranges. PMID:24009763

  12. Implications of sedimentological and hydrological processes on the distribution of radionuclides in a salt marsh near Sellafield, Cumbria

    SciTech Connect

    Carr, A.P.; Blackley, M.W.L.

    1985-01-01

    The report examines sedimentological and hydrological processes affecting a salt marsh in the Ravenglass estuary, which is situated south of the Sellafield nuclear-fuel-reprocessing plant. The results are discussed in the context of the distribution of low-level radioactive effluent at the site.

  13. Ecological effects of climate change on salt marsh wildlife: a case study from a highly urbanized estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Thorne, Karen M.; Takekawa, John Y.; Elliott-Fisk, Deborah L.

    2012-01-01

    Coastal areas are high-risk zones subject to the impacts of global climate change, with significant increases in the frequencies of extreme weather and storm events, and sea-level rise forecast by 2100. These physical processes are expected to alter estuaries, resulting in loss of intertidal wetlands and their component wildlife species. In particular, impacts to salt marshes and their wildlife will vary both temporally and spatially and may be irreversible and severe. Synergistic effects caused by combining stressors with anthropogenic land-use patterns could create areas of significant biodiversity loss and extinction, especially in urbanized estuaries that are already heavily degraded. In this paper, we discuss current ideas, challenges, and concerns regarding the maintenance of salt marshes and their resident wildlife in light of future climate conditions. We suggest that many salt marsh habitats are already impaired and are located where upslope transgression is restricted, resulting in reduction and loss of these habitats in the future. In addition, we conclude that increased inundation frequency and water depth will have negative impacts on the demography of small or isolated wildlife meta-populations as well as their community interactions. We illustrate our points with a case study on the Pacific Coast of North America at San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge in California, an area that supports endangered wildlife species reliant on salt marshes for all aspects of their life histories.

  14. Effects of metals on methanogenesis, sulfate reduction, carbon dioxide evolution, and microbial biomass in anoxic salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Capone, D.G.; Reese, D.D.; Kiene, R.P.

    1983-05-01

    A study is presented of the effects of several environmentally significant metals on ATP biomass, methanogenesis, sulfate reduction, and CO/sub 2/ production in anoxic salt marsh sediments. Metals studied include Hg, Pb, Fe, Cr, Zn, Ni and Cu. (JMT)

  15. RELATIONSHIPS OF NITROGEN LOADINGS, RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT, AND PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS WITH PLANT STRUCTURE IN NEW ENGLAND SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    We examined the vascular plant species richness and the extent, density, and height of Spartina species of ten Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (United States) fringe salt marshes which had a wide range of residential land development N-loadings associated with their watersheds. Si...

  16. FATE OF FENTHION IN SALT-MARSH ENVIRONMENTS: 1. FACTORS AFFECTING BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC DEGRADATION RATES IN WATER AND SEDIMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fenthion (Baytex), an organophosphate insecticide, is frequently applied to salt-marsh environments to control mosquitoes. hake-flask tests were used to study rates of abiotic and biotic degradation of fenthion and the environmental parameters that affect these rates. Water or wa...

  17. Heavy metal distribution and early-diagenesis in salt marsh sediments from the Medway Estuary, Kent, UK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spencer, Kate L.; Cundy, Andrew B.; Croudace, Ian W.

    2003-05-01

    Salt marsh cores are increasingly being used to study metal pollution chronologies. Salt marshes in macro-tidal estuaries, however, tend to retain a time-integrated or 'smoothed' signal rather than a record of discrete pollutant inputs, due to extensive sediment reworking. More generally, an accurate chronology of metal input to salt marsh sediments can be difficult to assess because of the potential early-diagenetic mobility of both the radionuclides used for dating and the contaminants of interest. A dated salt marsh core from the macro-tidal Medway Estuary, southeast England, was assessed using both total sediment metal data and partitioning data. These data indicate that both Mn and Fe have been significantly remobilised and that these diagenetic processes have slightly modified the vertical distributions of Cu, Pb and Zn. Zinc is the most diagenetically reactive followed by Cu and then Pb. However, general trends in pollutant loading can still be identified with maximum inputs occurring between ca. 1900 and 1950, decreasing towards the present day.

  18. Examination of Below-Ground Structure and Soil Respiration Rates of Stable and Deteriorating Salt Marshes in Jamaica Bay (NY)

    EPA Science Inventory

    CAT scan imaging is currently being used to examine below-ground peat and root structure in cores collected from salt marshes of Jamaica Bay, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area (NY). CAT scans or Computer-Aided Tomography scans use X-ray equipment to produce multiple i...

  19. Non-linear power law approach for spatial and temporal pattern analysis of salt marsh evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Taramelli, A.; Cornacchia, L.; Valentini, E.; Bozzeda, F.

    2013-11-01

    Many complex systems on the Earth surface show non-equilibrium fluctuations, often determining the spontaneous evolution towards a critical state. In this context salt marshes are characterized by complex patterns both in geomorphological and ecological features, which often appear to be strongly correlated. A striking feature in salt marshes is vegetation distribution, which can self-organize in patterns over time and space. Self-organized patchiness of vegetation can often give rise to power law relationships in the frequency distribution of patch sizes. In cases where the whole distribution does not follow a power law, the variance of scale in its tail may often be disregarded. To this end, the research aims at how changes in the main climatic and hydrodynamic variables may influence such non-linearity, and how numerical thresholds can describe this. Since it would be difficult to simultaneously monitor the presence and typology of vegetation and channel sinuosity through in situ data, and even harder to analyze them over medium to large time-space scales, remote sensing offers the ability to analyze the scale invariance of patchiness distributions. Here, we focus on a densely vegetated and channelized salt marsh (Scheldt estuary Belgium-the Netherlands) by means of the sub-pixel analysis on satellite images to calculate the non-linearity in the values of the power law exponents due to the variance of scale. The deviation from power laws represents stochastic conditions under climate drivers that can be hybridized on the basis of a fuzzy Bayesian generative algorithm. The results show that the hybrid approach is able to simulate the non-linearity inherent to the system and clearly show the existence of a link between the autocorrelation level of the target variable (i.e. size of vegetation patches), due to its self-organization properties, and the influence exerted on it by the external drivers (i.e. climate and hydrology). Considering the results of the stochastic model, high uncertainties can be associated to the short term climate influence on the saltmarshes, and the medium-long term spatial and temporal trends seem to be dominated by vegetation with its evolution in time and space. The evolution of vegetation patches (under power law) and channel sinuosity can then be used to forecast potential deviation from steady states in intertidal systems, taking into account the climatic and hydrological regimes.

  20. Temporal trends in microbial abundance and biodegradation in Louisiana salt marshes following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahmoudi, N.; Fulthorpe, R. R.; Zimmerman, A. R.; Silliman, B. R.; Slater, G. F.

    2012-12-01

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010 released approximately 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico waters. Coastal salt marshes experienced moderate to heavy oiling as spilled oils washed ashore and threatened economically important habitats. In situ biodegradation of petroleum by microbes is one of the most effective methods used to remediate oil spills. However, demonstrating biodegradation can be challenging due to heterogeneous distributions of contaminants and dynamic conditions of coastal ecosystems. Salt marshes provide a unique opportunity in which variations in the natural abundance of δ13C can be used to confirm in situ biodegradation of petroleum. Marsh grasses, specifically Spartina sp., have δ13C values of -12 to -14‰ whereas the BP crude oil has a δ13C signature of -27‰. Thus, the 13C content of microbial membrane lipids (which reflects their carbon source) can be used to detect incorporation of petroleum-derived carbon. We investigated biodegradation in marsh sediments in oiled and non-oiled portions of Barataria Bay, Louisiana which experienced some of the most extensive oil contamination. Samples were collected 3, 9 and 15 months following Deepwater Horizon oil intrusion to assess biodegradation over time. Total alkane and PAH analyses confirmed that by Oct 2011 (15 months), concentrations had been significantly reduced (by up to 50,000 ug/kg at some sites). Microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) analysis revealed that cell densities decreased over the 1 year sampling period across both oil-impacted and non-impacted sites indicating that, rather than petroleum presence, seasonal variability was likely the primary control on microbial abundance. The ranges of δ13C PLFA values in oil-impacted (-26.7 to -30.5‰ ± 1.0) and non-impacted sediments (-24.5 to -33.3‰ ± 0.7) in Oct 2010 overlap, thereby reducing confidence in confirmation of biodegradation at this time point. However, in Oct 2011, PLFA from oil-impacted and non-impacted sediments were found to have a δ13C difference of 5.4‰ (oil-impacted = -31.7‰ ± 0.5, non-impacted = -26.3‰ ± 0.5) suggesting that more depleted carbon from petroleum may be cycling within the system one year later notwithstanding the fact that PAH and alkane concentrations at this time are quite low. In order to provide greater resolution and insight into biodegradation, ongoing work is applying natural abundance radiocarbon (14C) analysis of microbial PLFA, which has become a useful tool in elucidating microbial carbon sources in complex environments. Petroleum-derived carbon contains no significant 14C due to its geological age. Therefore, microbial uptake and metabolism of petroleum-derived carbon reduces the 14C content of their membrane lipids relative to the surrounding natural organic matter. Results will allow us to not only confirm biodegradation in situ, but also to assess cycling of petroleum-derived carbon. Concurrently, a survey of the microbial community across all three domains (bacteria, archaea, eukarya) is being carried out by 454 pyrosequencing to confirm the presence of oil-degraders and assess changes in microbial diversity over time. Our study is the first to apply natural abundance radiocarbon analysis to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and will provide an in depth understanding of biodegradation over time.

  1. A Tripartite Interaction Between Spartina alterniflora, Fusarium palustre, and the Purple Marsh Crab (Sesarma reticulatum) Contributes to Sudden Vegetation Dieback of Salt Marshes in New England.

    PubMed

    Elmer, Wade H

    2014-10-01

    ABSTRACT Tripartite interactions are common and occur when one agent (an arthropod or pathogen) changes the host plant in a manner that alters the attack of the challenging agent. We examined herbivory from the purple marsh crab (Sesarma reticulatum) on Spartina alterniflora following exposure to drought or inoculation with Fusarium palustre in mecocosms in the greenhouse and in crab-infested creek banks along intertidal salt marshes. Initially, drought stress on S. alterniflora and disease from F. palustre were examined in the greenhouse. Then, a second challenger, the purple marsh crab, was introduced to determine how drought and disease from F. palustre affected the attraction and consumption of S. alterniflora. Plant height and shoot and root weights were reduced in plants subjected to severe drought treatment when compared with normally irrigated plants. When the drought treatment was combined with inoculation with F. palustre, plants were significantly more stunted and symptomatic, had less fresh weight, more diseased roots, and a greater number of Fusarium colonies growing from the roots (P < 0.001) than noninoculated plants. The effects were additive, and statistical interactions were not detected between drought and inoculation. Estimates of herbivory (number of grass blades cut or biomass consumption) by the purple marsh crab were significantly greater on drought-stressed, diseased plants than on healthy plants irrigated normally. Drought increased attraction to the purple marsh crab more than inoculation with F. palustre. However, when only mild drought conditions were imposed, plant consumption was greater on inoculated plants. Healthy, nonstressed transplants set into plots in crabinfested intertidal creek banks were grazed less each year than inoculated plants or plants that were exposed to drought. Several hypotheses relating to nutrition, chemotaxis, and visual attraction are presented to explain how stress from drought or disease might favor herbivory. PMID:24679153

  2. Nitrogen dynamics in an Alaskan salt marsh following spring use by geese

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Zacheis, A.; Ruess, R.W.; Hupp, J.W.

    2002-01-01

    Lesser snow geese (Anser caerulescens caerulescens) and Canada geese (Branta canadensis) use several salt marshes in Cook Inlet, Alaska, as stopover areas for brief periods during spring migration. We investigated the effects of geese on nitrogen cycling processes in Susitna Flats, one of the marshes. We compared net nitrogen mineralization, organic nitrogen pools and production in buried bags, nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria, and soil and litter characteristics on grazed plots versus paired plots that had been exclosed from grazing for 3 years. Grazed areas had higher rates of net nitrogen mineralization in the spring and there was no effect of grazing on organic nitrogen availability. The increased mineralization rates in grazed plots could not be accounted for by alteration of litter quality, litter quantity, microclimate, or root biomass, which were not different between grazed and exclosed plots. In addition, fecal input was very slight in the year that we studied nitrogen cycling. We propose that trampling had two effects that could account for greater nitrogen availability in grazed areas: litter incorporation into soil, resulting in increased rates of decomposition and mineralization of litter material, and greater rates of nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria on bare, trampled soils. A path analysis indicated that litter incorporation by trampling played a primary role in the nitrogen dynamics of the system, with nitrogen fixation secondary, and that fecal input was of little importance.

  3. Plant communities as indicators of salt marsh hydrology A study at Goose Fare Brook, Saco, Maine

    SciTech Connect

    Millette, P.M. . Dept. of Geological Sciences)

    1993-03-01

    Salt marsh stratigraphy often relies on vegetation fragment distribution as an indicator of paleo-sea level. This study is attempting to validate the use of Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens at Goose Fare Brook in Saco, Maine as paleo-sea level indicators. Plant zones were mapped and each zone boundary was surveyed to describe the relationship between sea level and plant species zonation. Data showing the contact elevations between S. patens and S. alterniflora were examined, and contacts from different environments in the marsh were compared. Differences in contact elevations ranged from only a few centimeters to more than eighty centimeters. Three series of groundwater monitoring wells were installed along transects. Within a single transect, one well was placed in the creek bottom, measuring the free water surface, and one was placed at each of several plant zone boundaries. Strip chart recordings from one series of monitoring wells show the flood dominated patterns of tidally influenced groundwater fluctuations in the wells. Root depths of 100 plugs each of S. alterniflora and S. patens were also measured. A comparison of these measurements and those from monitoring wells will assist in the determination of the average length of submergence time for each species. Preliminary findings suggest that sea level is not the only force affecting the modern zonation of these two indicator plants in Goose Fare Brook.

  4. The role of elevation, relative sea-level history and vegetation transition in determining carbon distribution in Spartina alterniflora dominated salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kulawardhana, Ranjani W.; Feagin, Rusty A.; Popescu, Sorin C.; Boutton, Thomas W.; Yeager, Kevin M.; Bianchi, Thomas S.

    2015-03-01

    Spartina alterniflora salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on earth, and represent a substantial global carbon sink. Understanding the spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of both above- and below-ground carbon in these wetland ecosystems is especially important considering their potential in carbon sequestration projects, as well as for conservation efforts in the context of a changing climate and rising sea-level. Through the use of extensive field sampling and remote sensing data (Light Detection and Ranging - LiDAR, and aerial images), we sought to map and explain how vegetation biomass and soil carbon are related to elevation and relative sea-level change in a S. alterniflora dominated salt marsh on Galveston Island, Texas. The specific objectives of this study were to: 1) understand the relationship between elevation and the distribution of salt marsh vegetation percent cover, plant height, plant density, above-and below-ground biomass, and carbon, and 2) evaluate the temporal changes in relative sea-level history, vegetation transitions, and resulting changes in the patterns of soil carbon distribution. Our results indicated a clear zonation of terrain and vegetation characteristics (i.e., height, cover and biomass). In the soil profile, carbon concentrations and bulk densities showed significant and abrupt change at a depth of ∼10-15 cm. This apparent transition in the soil characteristics coincided temporally with a transformation of the land cover, as driven by a rapid increase in relative sea-level around this time at the sample locations. The amounts of soil carbon stored in recently established S. alterniflora intertidal marshes were significantly lower than those that have remained in situ for a longer period of time. Thus, in order to quantify and predict carbon in coastal wetlands, and also to understand the heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of carbon stocks, it is essential to understand not only the elevation, the relative sea-level rise rate, and the vertical accretion rate - but also the history of land cover change and vegetation transition.

  5. Seasonal variation of bromine monoxide over the Rann of Kutch salt marsh seen from space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hörmann, Christoph; Beirle, Steffen; Penning de Vries, Marloes; Sihler, Holger; Platt, Ulrich; Wagner, Thomas

    2015-04-01

    Bromine monoxide (BrO) is an important catalyst in the depletion of tropospheric and stratospheric ozone (O3). In the troposphere, reactive bromine can be released from sea ice, volcanoes, sea-salt aerosol or salt lakes. For all of these natural sources enhanced BrO vertical column densities (VCDs) have been successfully observed from ground using Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS). Until now, satellite observations were only reported for polar regions during springtime and volcanic emissions (mostly for major eruptions). We present the first satellite observations of enhanced monthly mean BrO VCDs over a salt marsh, the Rann of Kutch (India/Pakistan), during 2004-2014 as seen by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI). The Rann of Kutch is a so-called 'seasonal' salt marsh. During India's summer monsoon (June/July - September/October), the flat desert of salty clay and mudflats, which average 15 meters above sea level, fills with standing rain and sea water. With more than 7500 km2 it is the largest salt desert in the world and additionally one of the hottest areas of India with summer temperatures around 50 ° C and winter temperatures decreasing below 0 ° C. Probably due to these rather extreme conditions, the Rann of Kutch has not been yet investigated for atmospheric composition measurements by ground-based instruments. Satellite observations, however, provide the unique possibility to investigate the entire area remotely over a long-time period. The OMI data reveals recurring maximum BrO VCDs during April/May, but no enhanced column densities during the monsoon season while the area is flooded. In the following months the signal only recovers slowly while the salty surface dries up. We discuss the possible effects of temperature, precipitation and relative humidity on the release of enhanced reactive bromine concentrations. In order to investigate a possible diurnal cycle of the BrO concentration, the OMI results (at a local overflight time around ~13:30) are compared to corresponding results from the Global Ozone Monitoring Instrument (GOME-2, local overflight time at ~9:30).

  6. A multi-proxy study of sedimentary humic substances in the salt marsh of the Changjiang Estuary, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Yaoling; Du, Jinzhou; Zhao, Xin; Wu, Wangsuo; Peng, Bo; Zhang, Jing

    2014-12-01

    To better understand the origin, composition, and reactivity of sedimentary humic substances (HSs) in salt marshes in the Changjiang Estuary, HS samples were isolated from a sediment core that was collected from the Eastern Chongming salt marsh. Chemical and spectroscopic methods were used to analyze the features of these HSs. The results indicate that the studied HSs in the salt marsh sediments are mainly terrestrial-derived and that the sedimentary organic matter (SOM) in the top layer may contain more organic matter from marine sources and/or autochthonous materials due to the dramatic decreasing of the sediment supply as a result of damming. The degradation of labile carbohydrates and proteins and the preservation of refractory lignin components dominate the early diagenetic reactions of SOM in the salt marsh area. The average contents of the carboxylic groups in FAs and HAs are 11.64 ± 1.08 and 7.13 ± 0.16 meq/gC, and those of phenolic groups are 1.95 ± 0.13 and 2.40 ± 0.44 meq/gC, respectively. The content of carboxylic groups increased with increasing depth, while there were no obvious changes in the content of phenolic groups. The average concentration of total proton-binding sites is approximately 12.5 μmol/g sediment for the studied HSs. These values may provide insight into the migration and fate of HS-bound contaminants in sediments and the overlying sea water in the salt marsh areas of the Changjiang Estuary.

  7. Impact of Deepwater Horizon Oil Contamination on the Aqueous Geochemistry of Salt Marsh Sediment/Seawater Microcosms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rentschler, E. K.; Donahoe, R. J.

    2011-12-01

    On April 20th, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig, located in the Gulf of Mexico about 41 miles off the Louisiana coast, exploded, burned for two days, and sank. Approximately 4.9 million gallons of crude oil were released and traveled with ocean currents to reach the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Previous studies have primarily considered the direct impact of oil and dispersant contamination on coastal ecosystems, but have not examined the potential impact of the accident on the inorganic geochemistry of coastal waters and sediments. In this study, microcosm experiments were conducted to determine how oil contamination will affect the concentration and distribution of trace elements in a salt marsh environment. Uncontaminated sediment and seawater, collected from a salt marsh at Bayou la Batre, Alabama, were measured into jars and spiked with 500 ppm MC-252 oil. Twenty jars, including duplicates and both sterile and non-sterile controls, were placed on a shaker table at 100 rpm. The jars were sacrificed at predetermined time intervals (0 h, 6 h, 12 h, 24 h, 48 h, 7 d, and 14 d), and the aqueous samples prepared for analysis by ICP-OES and IC. The pH for the water in the time series experiment ranged from 7.16 to 8.06. Seawater alkalinity was measured at 83.07 mg CaCO3/L. ICP-OES data show variations in aqueous element concentrations over the 14 day microcosm experiment. Significant positive correlations (>0.75) were found for the following pairs of elements: calcium and magnesium, calcium and sodium, magnesium and sodium, silica and boron, beryllium and boron, iron and silica, manganese and silica, boron and manganese, arsenic and nickel, beryllium and selenium, beryllium and zinc, copper and chloride, bromide and sulfate. Aqueous iron concentrations were highly correlated with solution pH. The presence of iron oxide and clays in the sediment indicates a potential for adsorption of trace elements sourced from the environment and from crude oil contamination. The release of aqueous Fe(II) between 2 to 14 days could be caused by desorption from, and/or by reductive dissolution of, iron-bearing clays or iron oxide. Metals associated with crude oil are releasing into the water at similar times. Cadmium and vanadium, metals commonly associated with crude oil, both increase in concentration six hours into the experiment, followed by another small peak after seven days. Other trace elements (nickel, copper, and zinc) are released after one day. Geochemical modeling is being used to interpret the aqueous geochemistry of the experiments.

  8. Greenhouse Gas and Mercury Emissions from a Salt Marsh on the Bay of Fundy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    O'Driscoll, N.; McArthur, G. S.; Risk, D. A.; Dalziel, J.; Beltrami, H.

    2009-12-01

    The Bay of Fundy, primarily situated between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada is known have tides among the highest in the world, where tidal amplitudes have reached 17 m, and regularly exceed 12-13m. The reason for these extremely high tides has been attributed to basin morphology and tidal resonance. Along the margin of the Bay of Fundy, salt marshes are exposed to these high tidal ranges. These salt marshes have unknown greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4 specifically) and mercury trace gas budgets. Tides here exert significant pressure on salt marsh sediments, to the point where gases are visibly seen escaping around the waters edge. This pressure-driven gas transport phenomena is markedly different than most greenhouse gas releases from other sediments, which occurs primarily by diffusion. Our study site in Kingsport, NS, Canada also provides a unique opportunity to examine pressure-driven emissions using differential pressure measurements. This work is significant in determining the role of salt marshes in the carbon and mercury emission budgets in the maritime region, and their sensitivity to environmental forcings. For our study, mercury fluxes were measured using Teflon flux chamber technique with Tekran gaseous mercury analysis, while CO2 and CH4 fluxes were measured at 60 second intervals using a new technique called continuous timeseries-forced diffusion (CT-FD). A portable meteorological station was located on site, with soil temperature, solar radiation, soil O2, and soil-atmosphere differential pressure measurements logged continuously for 10 days and 19 tidal cycles. After the field deployment, the CO2 and CH4 instrumentation was moved to soil plots in mesocosm tidal-simulation benches to conduct experiments that would allow us to separate the difference between tidal forcings and thermally-driven microbial greenhouse gas production in sediments. In the field, differential pressure varied according to tidal cycles and was surprising in that rebound to atmospheric pressure rarely occurred. Instead, pressure gradients were sustained in the sediments during high (excess pressure) and low (pressure deficit) tides. While no compelling relationship appears evident between mercury, CO2, or CH4 flux and tidal height, ratios of flux to solar radiation suggest that tidal inundation and gas release does at least facilitate mercury release from sediments during peak flux times. Low gas diffusivity sediments (very fine, impermeable, compact) are potentially very important at these sites, potentially damping transport rates across the soil surface. Gas bubbles, which can be observed at the incoming waterline, may be preferentially emitted through more permeable sediment layers and subsurface sand channels rather than the surface. The Bay of Fundy setting provides a rather unique and challenging opportunity to study extreme examples of trace gas flux and gas transport dynamics.

  9. Prescribed fire and cutting as tools for reducing woody plant succession in a created salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Owens, A.B.; Proffitt, C.E.; Grace, J.B.

    2007-01-01

    This paper reports on efforts to reduce woody successional growth by the native shrub Iva frutescens L. in a created salt marsh by using prescribed fire and cutting. Experimental treatments included a winter burn, cutting plants at ground level, and a combination burn-and-cut treatment, with replicate plots of each. Iva frutescens proved to be extremely hardy, with zero mortality following the cutting, burning, or combination treatment; similar levels of regrowth were observed for all treatments. Individual shrub response, however, was found to be related to initial plant size, ground water level and salinity, and two fire characteristics (total heating >60??C and total heat index >60??C). Fire severity, sediment nutrient concentrations, and other abiotic factors had no observable effects. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  10. Selenium biotransformation by the salt marsh cordgrass Spartina alterniflora: Evidence for dimethylselenoniopropionate formation

    SciTech Connect

    Ansede, J.H.; Pellechia, P.J.; Yoch, D.C. )

    1999-06-15

    Phytoremediation of toxic inorganic selenium compounds by accumulation, assimilation, and volatilization is an ideal way to rid contaminated soils and sediments of these molecules. In this context, salt marsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) was investigated for its potential to produce dimethylselenoniopropionate (DMSeP), which as the authors have shown can serve as a precursor for the enzymatic volatilization of the relatively nontoxic gas, dimethylselenide (DMSe). Plants grown in sand culture, under varying saline conditions amended with the environmentally toxic form of selenium (selenate) were analyzed for organoselenium compounds. DMSeP was positively identified in plant tissue and partially purified plant extracts by alkaline degradation to DMSe, [sup 1]H and [sup 77]Se NMR, and by enzymatic cleavage by DMSP lyase to DMSe (and acrylate). DMSeP levels were highest in plants grown in high salt (full-strength seawater) and high selenium. Preliminary evidence suggests that cordgrass may also produce Se-methyl selenomethionine, the putative precursor of DMSeP. This appears to be the first report for the biological assimilation of selenate into DMSeP by a plant species. These findings suggest a possible mechanism for the volatilization of selenium, as DMSe, analogous to that of dimethylsulfide (DMS) production by the salt tolerant cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora.

  11. Phytoextraction of heavy metals by Sesuvium portulacastrum l. a salt marsh halophyte from tannery effluent.

    PubMed

    Ayyappan, Durai; Sathiyaraj, Ganesan; Ravindran, Konganapuram Chellappan

    2016-05-01

    The present study investigated the sources for remediation of heavy metals and salts from tannery effluent using salt marsh halophyte Sesuvium portulacastrum. From the results observed, in tannery effluent treated soil from 1 kg dry weight of plant sample, Sesuvium portulacastrum accumulated 49.82 mg Cr, 22.10 mg Cd, 35.10 mg Cu and 70.10 mg Zn and from 1 g dry weight of the plant sample, 246.21 mg Na Cl. Cultivation of Sesuvium portulacastrum significantly reduced the EC, pH and SAR levels in tannery effluent and salt treated soil and correspondingly increased in plant sample after 125 days of cultivation. In conclusion, Sesuvium portulacastrum was an efficient in accumulating heavy metals such as Chromium, Cadmium, Copper and Zinc, sodium and chloride maximum through its leaves when compared to stem and root. The finding of these bioacccumulation studies indicates that Sesuvium portulacastrum could be used for phytoremediation of tannery effluent contaminated field. PMID:26552858

  12. Seasonal variation in the quality of dissolved and particulate organic matter exchanged between a salt marsh and its adjacent estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Osburn, Christopher L.; Mikan, Molly P.; Etheridge, J. Randall; Burchell, Michael R.; Birgand, François

    2015-07-01

    Fluorescence was used to examine the quality of dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) exchanging between a tidal creek in a created salt marsh and its adjacent estuary in eastern North Carolina, USA. Samples from the creek were collected hourly over four tidal cycles in May, July, August, and October 2011. Absorbance and fluorescence of chromophoric DOM (CDOM) and of base-extracted POM (BEPOM) served as the tracers for organic matter quality while dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and base-extracted particulate organic carbon (BEPOC) were used to compute fluxes. Fluorescence was modeled using parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) and principle components analysis (PCA) of the PARAFAC results. Of nine PARAFAC components (C) modeled, C3 represented recalcitrant DOM and C4 represented fresher soil-derived source DOM. Component 1 represented detrital POM, and C6 represented planktonic POM. Based on mass balance, recalcitrant DOC export was 86 g C m-2 yr-1 and labile DOC export was 49 g C m-2 yr-1; no planktonic DOC was exported. The marsh also exported 41 g C m-2 yr-1 of detrital terrestrial POC, which likely originated from lands adjacent to the North River estuary. Planktonic POC export from the marsh was 6 g C m-2 yr-1. Assuming the exported organic matter was oxidized to CO2 and scaled up to global salt marsh area, respiration of salt marsh DOC and POC transported to estuaries could amount to a global CO2 flux of 11 Tg C yr-1, roughly 4% of the recently estimated CO2 release for marshes and estuaries globally.

  13. A regional assessment of salt marsh restoration and monitoring in the Gulf of Maine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Konisky, R.A.; Burdick, D.M.; Dionne, M.; Neckles, H.A.

    2006-01-01

    We compiled salt marsh monitoring datasets from 36 complete or imminent restoration projects in the Gulf of Maine to assess regional monitoring and restoration practices. Data were organized by functional indicators and restoration project types (culvert replacement, excavation works, or ditch plugging) then pooled to generate mean values for indicators before restoration, after restoration, and at reference sites. Monitoring data were checked against the regional standards of a voluntary protocol for the Gulf of Maine. Data inventories showed that vegetation and salinity indicators were most frequently collected (89 and 78% of sites, respectively), whereas nekton, bird, and hydrologic measures were collected at only about half of the sites. Reference conditions were monitored at 72% of sites. Indicators were analyzed to see if project sites were degraded relative to reference areas and to detect ecological responses to restoration activities. Results showed that compared to reference areas, prerestoration sites had smaller tidal ranges, reduced salinity levels, greater cover of brackish plants species, and lower cover of halophyte plants. Following restoration, physical factors rebounded rapidly with increased flood and salinity levels after about one year, especially for culvert projects. Biological responses were less definitive and occurred over longer time frames. Plant communities trended toward recovered halophytes and reduced brackish species at 3+ years following restoration. Nekton and avian indicators were indistinguishable among reference, impacted, and restored areas. The protocol was successful in demonstrating restoration response for the region, but results were limited by regional inconsistencies in field practices and relatively few multiyear datasets. To improve future assessment capabilities, we encourage greater adherence to the standard protocol throughout the Gulf of Maine salt marsh restoration community.

  14. Distribution of 3-mercaptopropionate in salt-marsh sediments from Shelter Island, New York

    SciTech Connect

    Vairavamurthy, M.A.; Khandelwal, B.; Manowitz, B.

    1996-10-01

    3-Mercaptopropionate (3-MPA) is a major hydrophilic thiol in salt-marsh sediments. Both biological and chemical mechanisms are possible for forming 3-MPA from {beta}-dimethylsulfonium propionate (DMSP) which occurs at significant levels in the salt-marsh plant Spartina alterniflora. In the biological pathway, sedimentary bacteria demethylates DMSP sequentially, forming first 3-methylthiopropionate, and then 3-MPA. The chemical pathway involves the cleavage of DMSP to form acrylate which then reacts with bisulfide and polysulfide ions to form respectively 3-MPA and 3-polysulfido propionate (3-PPA), the polysulfide derivative. The biological pathway probably dominates in the bulk anoxic sediment, although the chemical pathway is likely to be more important near the sediment-water interface where the cleavage of DMSP to form acrylate can be facilitated by enzymes from the plant tissues. Our results show that bulk of the 3-MPA is bound to the sedimentary solid phase, and can be released as free thiol upon treating with a di- and polysulfide cleavage reagent, tributylphosphine. The particle-bound 3-MPA can be formed either by condensation reactions of 3-MPA with sulfhydryl groups of humic polymers or by addition reaction between acrylate and particle-bound polysulfides. As free thiol, 3-MPA is attacked relatively rapidly by anaerobic bacteria, with degradation following first-order kinetics. However, the distribution of particle-bound 3-MPA throughout the sedimentary column, down to about 25 cm sampled, suggests that the thiol is somewhat resistant to microbial degradation when bound to the sedimentary solid phase. The sedimentary distribution of 3-MPA presents an important illustration of the interplay of biological and chemical processes in the transformations of organic molecules in anoxic marine sediments.

  15. The effect of tidal forcing on biogeochemical processes in intertidal salt marsh sediments

    PubMed Central

    Taillefert, Martial; Neuhuber, Stephanie; Bristow, Gwendolyn

    2007-01-01

    Background Early diagenetic processes involved in natural organic matter (NOM) oxidation in marine sediments have been for the most part characterized after collecting sediment cores and extracting porewaters. These techniques have proven useful for deep-sea sediments where biogeochemical processes are limited to aerobic respiration, denitrification, and manganese reduction and span over several centimeters. In coastal marine sediments, however, the concentration of NOM is so high that the spatial resolution needed to characterize these processes cannot be achieved with conventional sampling techniques. In addition, coastal sediments are influenced by tidal forcing that likely affects the processes involved in carbon oxidation. Results In this study, we used in situ voltammetry to determine the role of tidal forcing on early diagenetic processes in intertidal salt marsh sediments. We compare ex situ measurements collected seasonally, in situ profiling measurements, and in situ time series collected at several depths in the sediment during tidal cycles at two distinct stations, a small perennial creek and a mud flat. Our results indicate that the tides coupled to the salt marsh topography drastically influence the distribution of redox geochemical species and may be responsible for local differences noted year-round in the same sediments. Monitoring wells deployed to observe the effects of the tides on the vertical component of porewater transport reveal that creek sediments, because of their confinements, are exposed to much higher hydrostatic pressure gradients than mud flats. Conclusion Our study indicates that iron reduction can be sustained in intertidal creek sediments by a combination of physical forcing and chemical oxidation, while intertidal mud flat sediments are mainly subject to sulfate reduction. These processes likely allow microbial iron reduction to be an important terminal electron accepting process in intertidal coastal sediments. PMID:17567893

  16. Assessment of phosphogypsum impact on the salt-marshes of the Tinto river (SW Spain): role of natural attenuation processes.

    PubMed

    Pérez-López, Rafael; Castillo, Julio; Sarmiento, Aguasanta M; Nieto, José M

    2011-12-01

    About 120 Mton of phosphogypsum from the fertiliser industry were stack-piled on the salt-marshes of the Tinto river (Spain). This paper investigates the capacity of salt-marshes to attenuate contamination due to downward leaching from phosphogypsum. Solids and pore-waters were characterized at different depths of the pile to reach the marsh-ground. In superficial zones, metals were highly mobile, and no reduced sulphur was found. However, pollutant concentration decreased in the pore-water in deeper oxygen-restricted zones. Metal removal occurred by precipitation of newly formed sulphides, being this process main responsible for the contamination attenuation. Pyrite-S was the main sulphide component (up to 2528 mg/kg) and occurred as framboids, leading to high degrees of pyritization (up to 97%). The sulphidization reaction is Fe-limited; however, excess of acid-volatile sulphide over other metals cause precipitation of other sulphides, mainly of Cu and As. This decrease in metal mobility significantly minimises the impact of phosphogypsums on the salt-marshes. PMID:21992931

  17. Mercury uptake and allocation in Juncus maritimus: implications for phytoremediation and restoration of a mercury contaminated salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Figueira, Etelvina; Freitas, Rosa; Pereira, Eduarda; Duarte, Armando

    2012-08-01

    Juncus maritimus is the most abundant macrophyte in Laranjo bay, a Portuguese salt marsh heavily polluted by mercury (Hg). With the aim to elucidate the role of this species in the salt marsh Hg cycling and restoration, plants were harvested between March 2006 and January 2008 from four locations differing in Hg contamination. Metal uptake and distribution between plant organs were evaluated, biomass and Hg pools were also determined. Results showed that J. maritimus may influence the sediment pH and Eh, thus increasing the Hg available for uptake. Most (95-98%) of the absorbed Hg was retained belowground, phytostabilizing the metal and reducing the amount of Hg in the sediments. These results suggest that in salt marshes dominated by J. maritimus the approach could be phytostabilization, where these plants can be used to immobilize metals and store them belowground, reducing the pool of bioavailable Hg within contaminated marshes and acting as a sink rather than a source of contamination to the surrounding areas. PMID:22739436

  18. Accumulation of soil carbon drives denitrification potential and lab-incubated gas production along a chronosequence of salt marsh development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Yanlong; Widney, Sarah; Ruan, Michelle; Herbert, Ellen; Li, Xiuzhen; Craft, Christopher

    2016-04-01

    We measured sediment organic carbon and nitrogen accumulation and rates of denitrification enzyme activity and greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) production from slurries of sediments of a mudflat that formed in 2002, a young (8-year-old) natural Spartina alterniflora salt marsh that developed on part of the mudflat, and four mature (>200 years old) salt marshes in southeastern Georgia to examine microbial processes related to carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling during succession from mudflat to mature marsh. Soil organic C and N and C: N ratio (0-30 cm) increased across the chronosequence from mudflat (791 ± 35 g C/m2, 125 ± 17 g N/m2) to young marsh (2520 ± 131 g C/m2, 190 ± 10 g N/m2) to mature marshes (5827 ± 250 g C/m2, 372 ± 20 g N/m2). After 8 years of colonization by S. alterniflora, sediment organic carbon increased 3.2 times, and nitrogen increased 1.5 times relative to the mudflat. The high rate of organic C and N accumulation based on time series measurements (188 g C/m2/yr, 7.8 g N/m2/yr) and feldspar marker layers (359 g C/m2/yr, 26.2 g N/m2/yr) was attributed to high accretion (3 cm/yr) in this low elevation (0.18 m NAVD88) emerging marsh. Carbon dioxide production increased with increasing sediment organic C from mudflat to mature marshes. Un-amended denitrification enzyme activity, measured in slurry incubations, ranged from an average of 0.020 ± 0.005 μg g-1 hr-1 in the mature marshes to 0.094 ± 0.03 μg g-1 hr-1 in the young marsh. We also measured denitrification potential in slurry incubations amended with C (glucose), N (nitrate), and C + N to assess the potential for substrate limitations. Denitrification potential in the mudflat did not show strong nutrient limitation. In the young marsh, denitrification potential was C-limited, and in the mature marsh, it was co-limited by C and N. In July samples, CO2 production showed a statistically significant increase with age from the mudflat to the mature marshes. However, in both months, CO2 production efficiency (expressed on a per g C basis) was significantly higher in the mudflat sediment slurries than in the young marsh and mature marsh samples. Spartina colonization of mudflats and the subsequent accumulation of organic matter are key to enriching sediment organic C and N pools that control microbial heterotrophy, particularly denitrification and CO2 production, which play important roles in marsh C and N cycling.

  19. Seasonal patterns in energy partitioning of two freshwater marsh ecosystems in the Florida Everglades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malone, Sparkle L.; Staudhammer, Christina L.; Loescher, Henry W.; Olivas, Paulo; Oberbauer, Steven F.; Ryan, Michael G.; Schedlbauer, Jessica; Starr, Gregory

    2014-08-01

    We analyzed energy partitioning in short- and long-hydroperiod freshwater marsh ecosystems in the Florida Everglades by examining energy balance components (eddy covariance derived latent energy (LE) and sensible heat (H) flux). The study period included several wet and dry seasons and variable water levels, allowing us to gain better mechanistic information about the control of and changes in marsh hydroperiods. The annual length of inundation is ~5 months at the short-hydroperiod site (25°26'16.5″N, 80°35'40.68″W), whereas the long-hydroperiod site (25°33'6.72″N, 80°46'57.36″W) is inundated for ~12 months annually due to differences in elevation and exposure to surface flow. In the Everglades, surface fluxes feed back to wet season precipitation and affect the magnitude of seasonal change in water levels through water loss as LE (evapotranspiration (ET)). At both sites, annual precipitation was higher than ET (1304 versus 1008 at the short-hydroperiod site and 1207 versus 1115 mm yr-1 at the long-hydroperiod site), though there were seasonal differences in the ratio of ET:precipitation. Results also show that energy balance closure was within the range found at other wetland sites (60 to 80%) and was lower when sites were inundated (60 to 70%). Patterns in energy partitioning covaried with hydroperiods and climate, suggesting that shifts in any of these components could disrupt current water and biogeochemical cycles throughout the Everglades region. These results suggest that the complex relationships between hydroperiods, energy exchange, and climate are important for creating conditions sufficient to maintain Everglades ecosystems.

  20. Salt Marsh and Phytoplankton Bloom Influences on the Composition and Metabolism of Organic Matter in a Temperate Estuary, Delaware, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnes, R. T.; Voynova, Y. G.; Ullman, W. J.; Sikes, E. L.; Aufdenkampe, A. K.

    2014-12-01

    Low oxygen levels within the Murderkill Estuary, DE, are largely driven by organic matter (OM) metabolism and chemical oxygen demand within the fringing salt marshes. To assess how the connectivity to and inundation of salt marshes impact OM quality and cycling within the Estuary, fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) data were used to characterize both dissolved and particulate OM pools. Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC) identified five fluorophores that illustrated greater tidal variation in the particulate (POM) than dissolved (DOM) OM pools. The terrestrial-wetland and marine OM sources were statistically separated using the fluorophores in conjunction with the elemental composition and isotopic signature of particulates, as well as dissolved water chemistry (e.g. salinity, dissolved nitrogen, carbon, silica, and phosphorus). DOM pools in the Murderkill and leaving the marsh are dominated by soil humics, while POM pools have greater contributions of protein-rich sources and are generally are less processed. Tidal survey results point to the salt marshes as a sink of fine particulates, in particular protein rich OM, and a source of coarse particulates and DOM dominated by humic substances. Results from dark 24-hour bioassays suggest that coarse and fine POM pools are larger drivers of oxygen consumption than DOM pools. Correlations between community respiration rates during ebb tide, water chemistry, and OM fractions suggest that biological oxygen demand in the Murderkill is driven, in part, by the metabolism of protein-rich, phytoplankton from Delaware Bay. Thus, while the bulk of oxygen drawdown occurs within the salt marshes, in-stream metabolism appears to be driven by marine OM pools.

  1. EFFECTS OF NUTRIENT LOADING ON BIOGEOCHEMICAL AND MICROBIAL PROCESSES IN A NEW ENGLAND SALT MARSH

    EPA Science Inventory

    Coastal marshes represent an important transitional zone between uplands and estuaries. One important function of marshes is to assimilate nutrient inputs from uplands, thus providing a buffer for anthropogenic nutrient loads. We examined the effects of nitrogen (N) and phosphoru...

  2. HUMAN IMPACTS ON NEW ENGLAND SALT MARSHES: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Results from this research will explain differences between coastal marshes with different histories of human disturbance and distinguish between natural features of coastal marshes and features that are artifacts of human land use.

  3. The Protective Role of Coastal Marshes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    Shepard, Christine C.; Crain, Caitlin M.; Beck, Michael W.

    2011-01-01

    Background Salt marshes lie between many human communities and the coast and have been presumed to protect these communities from coastal hazards by providing important ecosystem services. However, previous characterizations of these ecosystem services have typically been based on a small number of historical studies, and the consistency and extent to which marshes provide these services has not been investigated. Here, we review the current evidence for the specific processes of wave attenuation, shoreline stabilization and floodwater attenuation to determine if and under what conditions salt marshes offer these coastal protection services. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a thorough search and synthesis of the literature with reference to these processes. Seventy-five publications met our selection criteria, and we conducted meta-analyses for publications with sufficient data available for quantitative analysis. We found that combined across all studies (n = 7), salt marsh vegetation had a significant positive effect on wave attenuation as measured by reductions in wave height per unit distance across marsh vegetation. Salt marsh vegetation also had a significant positive effect on shoreline stabilization as measured by accretion, lateral erosion reduction, and marsh surface elevation change (n = 30). Salt marsh characteristics that were positively correlated to both wave attenuation and shoreline stabilization were vegetation density, biomass production, and marsh size. Although we could not find studies quantitatively evaluating floodwater attenuation within salt marshes, there are several studies noting the negative effects of wetland alteration on water quantity regulation within coastal areas. Conclusions/Significance Our results show that salt marshes have value for coastal hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation. Because we do not yet fully understand the magnitude of this value, we propose that decision makers employ natural systems to maximize the benefits and ecosystem services provided by salt marshes and exercise caution when making decisions that erode these services. PMID:22132099

  4. Functional gene pyrosequencing and network analysis: an approach to examine the response of denitrifying bacteria to increased nitrogen supply in salt marsh sediments

    PubMed Central

    Bowen, Jennifer L.; Byrnes, Jarrett E. K.; Weisman, David; Colaneri, Cory

    2013-01-01

    Functional gene pyrosequencing is emerging as a useful tool to examine the diversity and abundance of microbes that facilitate key biogeochemical processes. One such process, denitrification, is of particular importance because it converts fixed nitrate (NO−3) to N2 gas, which returns to the atmosphere. In nitrogen limited salt marshes, removal of NO−3 prior to entering adjacent waters helps prevent eutrophication. Understanding the dynamics of salt marsh microbial denitrification is thus imperative for the maintenance of healthy coastal ecosystems. We used pyrosequencing of the nirS gene to examine the denitrifying community response to fertilization in experimentally enriched marsh plots. A key challenge in the analysis of sequence data derived from pyrosequencing is understanding whether small differences in gene sequences are ecologically meaningful. We applied a novel approach from information theory to determine that the optimal similarity level for clustering DNA sequences into OTUs, while still capturing the ecological complexity of the system, was 88%. With this clustering, phylogenetic analysis yielded 6 dominant clades of denitrifiers, the largest of which, accounting for more than half of all the sequences collected, had no close cultured representatives. Of the 638 OTUs identified, only 11 were present in all plots and no single OTU was dominant. We did, however, find a large number of specialist OTUs that were present only in a single plot. The high degree of endemic OTUs, while accounting for a large proportion of the nirS diversity in the plots, were found in lower abundance than the generalist taxa. The proportion of specialist taxa increased with increasing supply of nutrients, suggesting that addition of fertilizer may create conditions that expand the niche space for denitrifying organisms and may enhance the genetic capacity for denitrification. PMID:24348464

  5. Seasonal changes in community composition and trophic structure of fish populations of five salt marshes along the Essex coastline, United Kingdom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Green, Benjamin C.; Smith, David J.; Earley, Sarah E.; Hepburn, Leanne J.; Underwood, Graham J. C.

    2009-11-01

    European intertidal salt marshes are important nursery sites for juvenile fish and crustaceans. Due to the increasing threat of habitat loss, the seasonal changes of salt marsh fish communities need to be understood in order to appreciate the ecological and economic importance of the saltmarsh habitat. This study was the first in Great Britain to investigate the seasonal changes of salt marsh fish communities and the variation in community structure between closely located marsh habitats. Between February 2007 and March 2008, five marshes on three estuaries of the Essex coastline were sampled using flume nets to block off intertidal creeks at high tide. Fourteen fish species were caught. The community overall was dominated by three species that made up 91.6% of the total catch: the common goby Pomatoschistus microps (46.2% of the total catch), juvenile herring Clupea harengus (24.3%), and juvenile and larval sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax (21.2%). Cluster analysis demonstrated clear seasonal patterns, with some community structures unique to specific marshes or estuaries. The marsh fish community shifts from a highly diverse community during spring, to a community dominated by D. labrax and P. microps in autumn, and low diversity during winter months. Gravimetric stomach content analysis of fish community identified three main trophic guilds; macroinvertivores, planktivores and omnivores. The macroinvertivore feeding guild contained D. labrax and P. microps, the two most frequently occurring species. This investigation demonstrates the importance of British salt marshes as nursery habitats for commercial fish species.

  6. Stochastic description of salt-marsh inundation from mixed astronomical-wind driven tides, with implications for macrophyte growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S. M.; Furbish, D. J.; Morris, J. T.

    2009-12-01

    Sea-level rise and sedimentation interact to control productivity on coastal salt marshes since the mean sea level influences flood frequency. Irregularly flooded marshes are inundated during spring and storm tides and during extended periods of north-easterly winds. The weak and irregular inundation in marshes may effect rates of decomposition, organic matter accumulation, and the vertical distribution of marsh vegetation. Whereas astronomical tides are predictable, wind driven tides depend on the strength and direction of the wind. Because these systems are stochastic, a non-hydrodynamic approach is used to describe the tides and determine the distribution of water depths. Here we present a description of salt-marsh inundation from mixed astronomical-wind driven tides that removes the astronomical forcing from water level records to determine the role of wind, storms, and forecasting of stochastic platform wetting. Using a 3 year record of water level and wind from sites in Carteret County, North Carolina, we calculate the mean high water (MHW) level and the ratio of inundation for a given elevation and corresponding macrophyte. The frequency of inundation or marsh platform wetting will vary from the frequency of MHW level, yet it is this stochastic wetting process that determines productivity and plant distribution since infrequent flooding may cause stress or hypersaline conditions. An ARIMA model is used to describe this higher order structure of the inundation signal. Wind can be described as an AR1 and a transfer function model is used to determine the dynamic response of the effect of noise and sustained winds on water levels. Harmonic analysis is also performed for comparison of predicted water levels using various tidal constituents to determine the phases and amplitudes and to explore model simplification.

  7. The greenhouse gas flux and potential global warming feedbacks of a northern macrotidal and microtidal salt marsh

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chmura, Gail L.; Kellman, Lisa; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.

    2011-01-01

    Conversion of wetlands by drainage for agriculture or other anthropogenic activities could have a negative or positive feedback to global warming (GWF). We suggest that a major predictor of the GWF is salinity of the wetland soil (a proxy for available sulfate), a factor often ignored in other studies. We assess the radiative balance of two northern salt marshes with average soil salinities > 20 ppt, but with high (macro-) and low (micro-) tidal amplitudes. The flux of greenhouse gases from soils at the end of the growing season averaged 485 ± 253 mg m-2 h-1, 13 ± 30 μg m-2 h-1, and 19 ± 58 μg m-2 h-1 in the microtidal marsh and 398 ± 201 mg m-2 h-1, 2 ± 26 μg m-2 h-1, and 35 ± 77 μg m-2 h-1 in the macrotidal marsh for CO2, N2O, and CH4, respectively. High rates of C sequestration mean that loss of these marshes would have a radiative balance of - 981 CO2_eq. m-2 yr-1 in the microtidal and - 567 CO2_eq. m-2 yr-1 in the macrotidal marsh.

  8. Release of Dimethylsulfide from Dimethylsulfoniopropionate by Plant-Associated Salt Marsh Fungi

    PubMed Central

    Bacic, M. K.; Newell, S. Y.; Yoch, D. C.

    1998-01-01

    The range of types of microbes with dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) lyase capability (enzymatic release of dimethylsulfide [DMS] from DMSP) has recently been expanded from bacteria and eukaryotic algae to include fungi (a species of the genus Fusarium [M. K. Bacic and D. C. Yoch, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 64:106–111, 1998]). Fungi (especially ascomycetes) are the predominant decomposers of shoots of smooth cordgrass, the principal grass of Atlantic salt marshes of the United States. Since the high rates of release of DMS from smooth cordgrass marshes have a temporal peak that coincides with peak shoot death, we hypothesized that cordgrass fungi were involved in this DMS release. We tested seven species of the known smooth cordgrass ascomycetes and discovered that six of them exhibited DMSP lyase activity. We also tested two species of ascomycetes from other DMSP-containing plants, and both were DMSP lyase competent. For comparison, we tested 11 species of ascomycetes and mitosporic fungi from halophytes that do not contain DMSP; of these 11, only 3 were positive for DMSP lyase. A third group tested, marine oomycotes (four species of the genera Halophytophthora and Pythium, mostly from mangroves), showed no DMSP lyase activity. Two of the strains of fungi found to be positive for DMSP lyase also exhibited uptake of DMS, an apparently rare combination of capabilities. In conclusion, a strong correlation exists between a fungal decomposer’s ability to catabolize DMSP via the DMSP lyase pathway and the host plant’s production of DMSP as a secondary product. PMID:16349548

  9. Accelerated Rates of Nitrogen Cycling and N2O Production in Salt Marsh Sediments due to Long-Term Fertilization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, X.; Ji, Q.; Angell, J.; Kearns, P.; Bowen, J. L.; Ward, B. B.

    2014-12-01

    Intensified sedimentary production of nitrous oxide (N2O), one of the most potent greenhouse gases, is one of the many possible environmental consequences of elevated nitrogen (N) loading into estuarine ecosystems. This study investigates the response to over 40 years of fertilization of nitrogen removal processes in the sediments of the Great Sippewissett Marsh in Falmouth, MA. Sediment slurries were incubated (1.5 hr) with trace amounts (< 10% of ambient concentration) of 15NH4+ + 14NO3- or 15NO3- + 14NH4+. An additional parallel incubation with 15NH4+ + 14NO3- and 1 mM of allylthiourea (ATU) was included to measure rates of anaerobic ammonia oxidation (anammox). Well-homogenized slurries filled about 10% of the volume in the gas-tight incubation vials, and the rest of the volume was replaced with an O2/He (20%/80%) mixture. The production of 29N2, 44N2O and 45N2O were determined using isotope ratio mass spectrometry. The rate of total N2O production in fertilized sediments (0.89 nmol hr-1 g-1 wet weight) was 30-fold higher than in unfertilized sediments. The ratio of N2O to N2 production was also significantly higher in fertilized sediments (2.9%) than in unfertilized sediments (1.2%). This highlights the disproportionally large effect of long-term fertilization on N2O production in salt marsh sediments. The reduced oxygen level and higher ammonium concentrations in situ probably contributed to the significant rise in N2O production as a result of long-term fertilization. When detected, anammox and coupled nitrification-denitrification accounted for 10% and 14% of the total N2 production in fertilized sediments (30.5 nmol hr-1 g-1 wet weight), respectively, whereas neither was detected in unfertilized sediments. Thus these experiments indicate that N loading has important effects on multiple N cycle processes that result in N loss and N2O production.

  10. Response of salt marshes to oiling from the Deepwater Horizon spill: Implications for plant growth, soil surface-erosion, and shoreline stability.

    PubMed

    Lin, Qianxin; Mendelssohn, Irving A; Graham, Sean A; Hou, Aixin; Fleeger, John W; Deis, Donald R

    2016-07-01

    We investigated the initial impacts and post spill recovery of salt marshes over a 3.5-year period along northern Barataria Bay, LA, USA exposed to varying degrees of Deepwater Horizon oiling to determine the effects on shoreline-stabilizing vegetation and soil processes. In moderately oiled marshes, surface soil total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations were ~70mgg(-1) nine months after the spill. Though initial impacts of moderate oiling were evident, Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus aboveground biomass and total live belowground biomass were equivalent to reference marshes within 24-30months post spill. In contrast, heavily oiled marsh plants did not fully recover from oiling with surface soil total petroleum hydrocarbon concentrations that exceeded 500mgg(-1) nine months after oiling. Initially, heavy oiling resulted in near complete plant mortality, and subsequent recovery of live aboveground biomass was only 50% of reference marshes 42months after the spill. Heavy oiling also changed the vegetation structure of shoreline marshes from a mixed Spartina-Juncus community to predominantly Spartina; live Spartina aboveground biomass recovered within 2-3years, however, Juncus showed no recovery. In addition, live belowground biomass (0-12cm) in heavily oiled marshes was reduced by 76% three and a half years after the spill. Detrimental effects of heavy oiling on marsh plants also corresponded with significantly lower soil shear strength, lower sedimentation rates, and higher vertical soil-surface erosion rates, thus potentially affecting shoreline salt marsh stability. PMID:27016685

  11. Organochlorine pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyl residues in selected fauna from a New Jersey salt marsh--1967 vs. 1973