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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.

  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 drive creek formation in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Vu, Huy D; Wie Ski, Kazimierz; Pennings, Steven C

    2017-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers affect different organisms and processes in multiple ways at different spatial scales. Moreover, similar species may differ in their engineering effects for reasons that are not always clear. We examined the role of four species of burrowing crabs (Sesarma reticulatum, Eurytium limosum, Panopeus herbstii, Uca pugnax) in engineering tidal creek networks in salt marshes experiencing sea level rise. In the field, crab burrows were associated with heads of eroding creeks and the loss of plant (Spartina alterniflora) stems. S. reticulatum was closely associated with creek heads, but densities of the other crab species did not vary across marsh zones. In mesocosm experiments, S. reticulatum excavated the most soil and strongly reduced S. alterniflora biomass. The other three species excavated less and did not affect S. alterniflora. Creek heads with vegetation removed to simulate crab herbivory grew significantly faster than controls. Percolation rates of water into marsh sediments were 10 times faster at creek heads than on the marsh platform. Biomass decomposed two times faster at creek heads than on the marsh platform. Our results indicate that S. reticulatum increases creek growth by excavating sediments and by consuming plants, thereby increasing water flow and erosion at creek heads. Moreover, it is possible that S. reticulatum burrows also increase creek growth by increasing surface and subsurface erosion, and by increasing decomposition of organic matter at creek heads. Our results show that the interaction between crab and plant ecosystem engineers can have both positive and negative effects. At a small scale, in contrast to other marsh crabs, S. reticulatum harms rather than benefits plants, and increases erosion rather than marsh growth. At a large scale, however, S. reticulatum facilitates the drainage efficiency of the marsh through the expansion of tidal creek networks, and promotes marsh health.

  5. Soil Carbon Stocks in a Shifting Ecosystem; Climate Induced Migration of Mangroves into Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, L.; Osborne, T.; Feller, I. C.

    2015-12-01

    Across the globe, coastal wetland vegetation distributions are changing in response to climate change. The increase in global average surface temperature has already caused shifts in the structure and distribution of many ecological communities. In parts of the southeastern United States, increased winter temperatures have resulted in the poleward range expansion of mangroves at the expense of salt marsh habitat. Our work aims to document carbon storage in the salt marsh - mangrove ecotone and any potential changes in this reservoir that may ensue due to the shifting range of this habitat. Differences in SOM and C stocks along a latitudinal gradient on the east coast of Florida will be presented. The gradient studied spans 342 km and includes pure mangrove habitat, the salt marsh - mangrove ecotone, and pure salt marsh habitat.This latitudinal gradient gives us an exceptional opportunity to document and investigate ecosystem soil C modifications as mangroves transgress into salt marsh habitat due to climatic change.

  6. How do salt-marsh ecosystems respond to changes in the environmental forcings?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, A.; Mudd, S. M.; Carniello, L.

    2012-04-01

    How do salt-marsh ecosystems respond to changes in the environmental forcings? This is a question of paramount importance due to the critical role exerted by salt-marsh ecosystems within the tidal landscape. Salt marshes in fact buffer coastlines against, filter nutrients and pollutants from tidal waters, provide nursery areas for coastal biota, and serve as a sink for organic carbon. Observations of marsh degradation worldwide and the acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise highlight the importance of improving our understanding of the chief processes controlling salt-marsh response to current natural climate changes and to the effects of changes in sediment supply. To address this important issue, we have applied a analytical model of biomorphodynamic evolution of salt-marsh ecosystems in the vertical plane, accounting for two-way interactions between ecological and geomorphological processes. Our results show that marshes are more resilient to a step decrease in the rate of relative sea level rise (RRSLR) rather than to a step increase of the same magnitude. However, marshes respond more rapidly to an increase in sediment load or vegetation productivity, rather than to a decrease (of the same amount) in sediment load or vegetation productivity. We also observe that marsh stability is therefore positively correlated with tidal range: marshes with high tidal ranges respond more slowly to changes in the environmental forcings and therefore are less likely to be affected by perturbations. Finally, the model suggests that, in the case of a oscillating RRSLR, marsh stratigraphy will be unable to fully record short-term fluctuations in relative mean sea level, whereas it will be able to capture long-term fluctuations particularly in sediment rich, microtidal settings.

  7. 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.

  8. Use of structured decision making to identify monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marsh ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, Hilary A.; Lyons, James E.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; Shriver, W. Gregory; Adamowicz, Susan C.

    2015-01-01

    Most salt marshes in the USA have been degraded by human activities, and coastal managers are faced with complex choices among possible actions to restore or enhance ecosystem integrity. We applied structured decision making (SDM) to guide selection of monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marshes within the National Wildlife Refuge System in the northeastern USA. In general, SDM is a systematic process for decomposing a decision into its essential elements. We first engaged stakeholders in clarifying regional salt marsh decision problems, defining objectives and attributes to evaluate whether objectives are achieved, and developing a pool of alternative management actions for achieving objectives. Through this process, we identified salt marsh attributes that were applicable to monitoring National Wildlife Refuges on a regional scale and that targeted management needs. We then analyzed management decisions within three salt marsh units at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, coastal Delaware, as a case example of prioritizing management alternatives. Values for salt marsh attributes were estimated from 2 years of baseline monitoring data and expert opinion. We used linear value modeling to aggregate multiple attributes into a single performance score for each alternative, constrained optimization to identify alternatives that maximized total management benefits subject to refuge-wide cost constraints, and used graphical analysis to identify the optimal set of alternatives for the refuge. SDM offers an efficient, transparent approach for integrating monitoring into management practice and improving the quality of management decisions.

  9. 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.

  10. A trophic cascade triggers collapse of a salt-marsh ecosystem with intensive recreational fishing.

    PubMed

    Altieri, Andrew H; Bertness, Mark D; Coverdale, Tyler C; Herrmann, Nicholas C; Angelini, Christine

    2012-06-01

    Overexploitation of predators has been linked to the collapse of a growing number of shallow-water marine ecosystems. However, salt-marsh ecosystems are often viewed and managed as systems controlled by physical processes, despite recent evidence for herbivore-driven die-off of marsh vegetation. Here we use field observations, experiments, and historical records at 14 sites to examine whether the recently reported die-off of northwestern Atlantic salt marshes is associated with the cascading effects of predator dynamics and intensive recreational fishing activity. We found that the localized depletion of top predators at sites accessible to recreational anglers has triggered the proliferation of herbivorous crabs, which in turn results in runaway consumption of marsh vegetation. This suggests that overfishing may be a general mechanism underlying the consumer-driven die-off of salt marshes spreading throughout the western Atlantic. Our findings support the emerging realization that consumers play a dominant role in regulating marine plant communities and can lead to ecosystem collapse when their impacts are amplified by human activities, including recreational fishing.

  11. Mercury in salt marshes ecosystems: Halimione portulacoides as biomonitor.

    PubMed

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

    2008-11-01

    Mercury concentrations were quantified in Halimione portulacoides (roots, stems and leaves) as well as in sediments from eight Portuguese estuarine systems, covering seventeen salt marshes with distinct degrees of mercury contamination. The concentration of mercury in the sediments ranged from 0.03 to 17.0 microg g(-1). The results show that the accumulation of mercury differed according to the organ of the plant examined and the concentration of mercury in the sediments. Higher mercury concentrations were found in the roots (up to 12.9 microg g(-1)) followed by the leaves (up to 0.12 microg g(-1)), while the stems had the lowest concentrations (up to 0.056 microg g(-1)). A linear model explained the relation between the concentrations of mercury in the different plant organs: roots and stems (R(adj)(2)=0.75), stems and leaves (R(adj)(2)=0.85) and roots and leaves (R(adj)(2)=0.78). However, the results show that the variation of mercury concentration in the roots versus mercury concentration in the sediments was best fitted by a sigmoidal model (R(adj)(2)=0.89). Mercury accumulation in the roots can be described in three steps: at a low range of mercury concentrations in the sediments (from 0.03 up to 2 microg g(-1)), the accumulation of mercury in roots is also low reaching a maximum concentration of 1.3 microg g(-1); the highest rates of mercury accumulation in the roots occur in a second step, until the concentrations of mercury in the sediments reach approximately 4.5 microg g(-1); after reaching this maximum value, the rate of mercury accumulation in the roots slows down leading to a plateau in the concentration of mercury in the roots of about 9.4 microg g(-1), which corresponds to a mercury concentration in the sediments of about 11 microg g(-1). A linear model explained also the accumulation of mercury in leaves versus the mercury concentration in the sediments (R(adj)(2)=0.88). Differences in responses of roots and leaves are explained by the dynamics of

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Ecosystem assembly rules: the interplay of green and brown webs during salt marsh succession.

    PubMed

    Schrama, Maarten; Berg, Matty P; Olff, Han

    2012-11-01

    Current theories about vegetation succession and food web assembly are poorly compatible, as food webs are generally viewed to be static, and succession is usually analyzed without the inclusion of higher trophic levels. In this study we present results from a detailed analysis of ecosystem assembly rules over a chronosequence of 100 years of salt marsh succession. First, using 13 yearlong observations on vegetation and soil parameters in different successional stages, we show that the space-for-time substitution is valid for this chronosequence. We then quantify biomass changes for all dominant invertebrate and vertebrate species across all main trophic groups of plants and animals. All invertebrate and vertebrate species were assigned to a trophic group according to feeding preference, and changes in trophic group abundance were quantified for seven different successional stages of the ecosystem. We found changes from a marine-fueled, decomposer-based (brown) food web in early stages to a more terrestrial, plant-based, herbivore-driven (green) food web in intermediate succession stages, and finally to a decomposer-based, terrestrial-driven food web in the latest stages. These changes were accompanied not only by an increase in live plant biomass and a leveling toward late succession but also by a constant increase in the amount of dead plant biomass over succession. Our results show that the structure and dynamics of salt marsh food webs cannot be understood except in light of vegetation succession, and vice versa.

  15. Reconstructing the Genetic Potential of the Microbially-Mediated Nitrogen Cycle in a Salt Marsh Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Dini-Andreote, Francisco; Brossi, Maria Julia de L.; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Salles, Joana F.

    2016-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems are considered buffer zones for the discharge of land-derived nutrients without accounting for potential negative side effects. Hence, there is an urgent need to better understand the ecological assembly and dynamics of the microorganisms that are involved in nitrogen (N) cycling in such systems. Here, we employed two complementary methodological approaches (i.e., shotgun metagenomics and quantitative PCR) to examine the distribution and abundance of selected microbial genes involved in N transformations. We used soil samples collected along a well-established pristine salt marsh soil chronosequence that spans over a century of ecosystem development at the island of Schiermonnikoog, The Netherlands. Across the examined soil successional stages, the structure of the populations of genes involved in N cycling processes was strongly related to (shifts in the) soil nitrogen levels (i.e., NO3−, NH4+), salinity and pH (explaining 73.8% of the total variation, R2 = 0.71). Quantification of the genes used as proxies for N fixation, nitrification and denitrification revealed clear successional signatures that corroborated the taxonomic assignments obtained by metagenomics. Notably, we found strong evidence for niche partitioning, as revealed by the abundance and distribution of marker genes for nitrification (ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and archaea) and denitrification (nitrite reductase nirK, nirS and nitrous oxide reductase nosZ clades I and II). This was supported by a distinct correlation between these genes and soil physico-chemical properties, such as soil physical structure, pH, salinity, organic matter, total N, NO3−, NH4+ and SO42−, across four seasonal samplings. Overall, this study sheds light on the successional trajectories of microbial N cycle genes along a naturally developing salt marsh ecosystem. The data obtained serve as a foundation to guide the formulation of ecological models that aim to effectively monitor and manage pristine

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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 ...

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Consumer control of salt marshes driven by human disturbance.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Silliman, Brian R

    2008-06-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems are widely considered to be controlled exclusively by bottom-up forces, but there is mounting evidence that human disturbances are triggering consumer control in western Atlantic salt marshes, often with catastrophic consequences. In other marine ecosystems, human disturbances routinely dampen (e.g., coral reefs, sea grass beds) and strengthen (e.g., kelps) consumer control, but current marsh theory predicts little potential interaction between humans and marsh consumers. Thus, human modification of top-down control in salt marshes was not anticipated and was even discounted in current marsh theory, despite loud warnings about the potential for cascading human impacts from work in other marine ecosystems. In spite of recent experiments that have challenged established marsh dogma and demonstrated consumer-driven die-off of salt marsh ecosystems, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations continue to manage marsh die-offs under the old theoretical framework and only consider bottom-up forces as causal agents. This intellectual dependency of many coastal ecologists and managers on system-specific theory (i.e., marsh bottom-up theory) has the potential to have grave repercussions for coastal ecosystem management and conservation in the face of increasing human threats. We stress that marine vascular plant communities (salt marshes, sea grass beds, mangroves) are likely more vulnerable to runaway grazing and consumer-driven collapse than is currently recognized by theory, particularly in low-diversity ecosystems like Atlantic salt marshes.

  6. Carpinteria salt marsh habitat polygons

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Dunham, Eleca J.; Mancini, Frank T.; Stewart, Tara E.; Hechinger, Ryan F.

    2017-01-01

    We identified five common habitat types in Carpinteria Salt Marsh: channels, pans (flats), marsh, salt flat and upland.  We then drew polygons around each habitat type identified from a registered and orthorectified aerial photograph and created a GIS shapefile. Polygons were ground-truthed in the field. From these habitat polygons, one can use GIS applications to estimate the area of each habitat type in this estuary. These data support the following publications: Kuris, Armand M., et al. "Ecosystem energetic implications of parasite and free-living biomass in three estuaries." Nature 454.7203 (2008): 515-518.Hechinger, Ryan F., Kevin D. Lafferty, Andy P. Dobson, James H. Brown, and Armand M. Kuris. "A common scaling rule for abundance, energetics, and production of parasitic and free-living species." Science 333, no. 6041 (2011): 445-448.Hechinger, Ryan F., Kevin D. Lafferty, John P. McLaughlin, Brian L. Fredensborg, Todd C. Huspeni, Julio Lorda, Parwant K. Sandhu et al. "Food webs including parasites, biomass, body sizes, and life stages for three California/Baja California estuaries." Ecology 92, no. 3 (2011): 791-791.Buck, J.C., Hechinger, R.F., Wood, A.C., Stewart, T.E., Kuris, A.M., and Lafferty, K.D., "Host density increases parasite recruitment but decreases host risk in a snail-trematode system." Manuscript submitted for publication. Lafferty, K.D., Stewart, T.E., and Hechinger, R.F. (in press). Bird distribution surveys at Carpinteria Salt Marsh, California USA, January 2012 to March 2013: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7F47M95. 

  7. 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.

  8. Salt marsh geomorphology: Physical and ecological effects on landform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagherazzi, Sergio; Torres, Raymond; Hopkinson, Charles; Van Proosdij, Danika

    Salt marshes are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, producing more organic matter per unit area than forests, grasslands, and cultivated fields. Marsh landscapes typically fringe low-energy coastal environments, but in places they may extend inland tens to hundreds of kilometers.As a consequence of their high productivity and interactions with the coastal ocean, salt marshes provide numerous benefits to society. For example, salt marshes are critical habitats for commercially harvested marine and estuarine biota; they filter nutrients and sediment from the water column; and they provide recreational opportunities. In addition, salt marshes help dissipate erosive tide and wave energy and they have intrinsic aesthetic values. All of these societal benefits have a quantifiable economic value, and salt marsh impairment and degradation have associated costs.

  9. Spatially integrative metrics reveal hidden vulnerability of microtidal salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ganju, Neil K.; Defne, Zafer; Kirwan, Matthew L.; Fagherazzi, Sergio; D'Alpaos, Andrea; Carniello, Luca

    2017-01-01

    Salt marshes are valued for their ecosystem services, and their vulnerability is typically assessed through biotic and abiotic measurements at individual points on the landscape. However, lateral erosion can lead to rapid marsh loss as marshes build vertically. Marsh sediment budgets represent a spatially integrated measure of competing constructive and destructive forces: a sediment surplus may result in vertical growth and/or lateral expansion, while a sediment deficit may result in drowning and/or lateral contraction. Here we show that sediment budgets of eight microtidal marsh complexes consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratios (UVVR) suggesting these metrics are broadly applicable indicators of microtidal marsh vulnerability. All sites are exhibiting a sediment deficit, with half the sites having projected lifespans of less than 350 years at current rates of sea-level rise and sediment availability. These results demonstrate that open-water conversion and sediment deficits are holistic and sensitive indicators of salt marsh vulnerability.

  10. Spatially integrative metrics reveal hidden vulnerability of microtidal salt marshes

    PubMed Central

    Ganju, Neil K.; Defne, Zafer; Kirwan, Matthew L.; Fagherazzi, Sergio; D'Alpaos, Andrea; Carniello, Luca

    2017-01-01

    Salt marshes are valued for their ecosystem services, and their vulnerability is typically assessed through biotic and abiotic measurements at individual points on the landscape. However, lateral erosion can lead to rapid marsh loss as marshes build vertically. Marsh sediment budgets represent a spatially integrated measure of competing constructive and destructive forces: a sediment surplus may result in vertical growth and/or lateral expansion, while a sediment deficit may result in drowning and/or lateral contraction. Here we show that sediment budgets of eight microtidal marsh complexes consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratios (UVVR) suggesting these metrics are broadly applicable indicators of microtidal marsh vulnerability. All sites are exhibiting a sediment deficit, with half the sites having projected lifespans of less than 350 years at current rates of sea-level rise and sediment availability. These results demonstrate that open-water conversion and sediment deficits are holistic and sensitive indicators of salt marsh vulnerability. PMID:28112167

  11. Spatially integrative metrics reveal hidden vulnerability of microtidal salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganju, Neil K.; Defne, Zafer; Kirwan, Matthew L.; Fagherazzi, Sergio; D'Alpaos, Andrea; Carniello, Luca

    2017-01-01

    Salt marshes are valued for their ecosystem services, and their vulnerability is typically assessed through biotic and abiotic measurements at individual points on the landscape. However, lateral erosion can lead to rapid marsh loss as marshes build vertically. Marsh sediment budgets represent a spatially integrated measure of competing constructive and destructive forces: a sediment surplus may result in vertical growth and/or lateral expansion, while a sediment deficit may result in drowning and/or lateral contraction. Here we show that sediment budgets of eight microtidal marsh complexes consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratios (UVVR) suggesting these metrics are broadly applicable indicators of microtidal marsh vulnerability. All sites are exhibiting a sediment deficit, with half the sites having projected lifespans of less than 350 years at current rates of sea-level rise and sediment availability. These results demonstrate that open-water conversion and sediment deficits are holistic and sensitive indicators of salt marsh vulnerability.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. The bly creek ecosystem study: Phosphorus transport within a euhaline salt marsh basin, North Inlet, South Carolina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dame, Richard F.; Wolaver, Thomas G.; Williams, Thomas M.; Spurrier, John D.; Miller, Anne B.

    Phosphorus transport through the tidal creek linking the Bly Creek basin (North Inlet, South Carolina) and the surrounding water body was studied on 34 tidal cycles between 20 June 1983 and 19 June 1984. Annual estimates of phosphorus input to the basin via streamwater, groundwater, and via streamwater, groundwater, and rain totalled 19.6 kg P·y -1; PO 4 export from the basin was not significant. Within the basin, the salt marsh was shown to be an important sink for PO 4 (207 kg P·y -1) while the oyster reef community exported a statistically insignificant 7.7 kg P·y -1. The data suggest that the source of the PO 4 to the salt marsh is the water column or benthic sediments of the tidal creek. The salt marsh was a significant sink for particulate phosphorus, but those uptakes were less than the error on the insignificant fluxes into the basin via the water column. The oyster reef community was a statistically significant sink for total phosphorus (98 kg P·y -1).

  15. Coastal eutrophication as a driver of salt marsh loss.

    PubMed

    Deegan, Linda A; Johnson, David Samuel; Warren, R Scott; Peterson, Bruce J; Fleeger, John W; Fagherazzi, Sergio; Wollheim, Wilfred M

    2012-10-18

    Salt marshes are highly productive coastal wetlands that provide important ecosystem services such as storm protection for coastal cities, nutrient removal and carbon sequestration. Despite protective measures, however, worldwide losses of these ecosystems have accelerated in recent decades. Here we present data from a nine-year whole-ecosystem nutrient-enrichment experiment. Our study demonstrates that nutrient enrichment, a global problem for coastal ecosystems, can be a driver of salt marsh loss. We show that nutrient levels commonly associated with coastal eutrophication increased above-ground leaf biomass, decreased the dense, below-ground biomass of bank-stabilizing roots, and increased microbial decomposition of organic matter. Alterations in these key ecosystem properties reduced geomorphic stability, resulting in creek-bank collapse with significant areas of creek-bank marsh converted to unvegetated mud. This pattern of marsh loss parallels observations for anthropogenically nutrient-enriched marshes worldwide, with creek-edge and bay-edge marsh evolving into mudflats and wider creeks. Our work suggests that current nutrient loading rates to many coastal ecosystems have overwhelmed the capacity of marshes to remove nitrogen without deleterious effects. Projected increases in nitrogen flux to the coast, related to increased fertilizer use required to feed an expanding human population, may rapidly result in a coastal landscape with less marsh, which would reduce the capacity of coastal regions to provide important ecological and economic services.

  16. Ecogeomorphic Heterogeneity Sculpts Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leonardi, N.; Fagherazzi, S.

    2014-12-01

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Salt marsh vegetation promotes efficient tidal channel networks.

    PubMed

    Kearney, William S; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-07-19

    Tidal channel networks mediate the exchange of water, nutrients and sediment between an estuary and marshes. Biology feeds back into channel morphodynamics through the influence of vegetation on both flow and the cohesive strength of channel banks. Determining how vegetation affects channel networks is essential in understanding the biological functioning of intertidal ecosystems and their ecosystem services. However, the processes that control the formation of an efficient tidal channel network remain unclear. Here we compare the channel networks of vegetated salt marshes in Massachusetts and the Venice Lagoon to unvegetated systems in the arid environments of the Gulf of California and Yemen. We find that the unvegetated systems are dissected by less efficient channel networks than the vegetated salt marshes. These differences in network geometry reflect differences in the branching and meandering of the channels in the network, characteristics that are related to the density of vegetation on the marsh.

  4. Salt marsh vegetation promotes efficient tidal channel networks

    PubMed Central

    Kearney, William S.; Fagherazzi, Sergio

    2016-01-01

    Tidal channel networks mediate the exchange of water, nutrients and sediment between an estuary and marshes. Biology feeds back into channel morphodynamics through the influence of vegetation on both flow and the cohesive strength of channel banks. Determining how vegetation affects channel networks is essential in understanding the biological functioning of intertidal ecosystems and their ecosystem services. However, the processes that control the formation of an efficient tidal channel network remain unclear. Here we compare the channel networks of vegetated salt marshes in Massachusetts and the Venice Lagoon to unvegetated systems in the arid environments of the Gulf of California and Yemen. We find that the unvegetated systems are dissected by less efficient channel networks than the vegetated salt marshes. These differences in network geometry reflect differences in the branching and meandering of the channels in the network, characteristics that are related to the density of vegetation on the marsh. PMID:27430165

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Florida's salt-marsh management issues: 1991-98.

    PubMed

    Carlson, D B; O'Bryan, P D; Rey, J R

    1999-06-01

    During the 1990s, Florida has continued to make important strides in managing salt marshes for both mosquito control and natural resource enhancement. The political mechanism for this progress continues to be interagency cooperation through the Florida Coordinating Council on Mosquito Control and its Subcommittee on Managed Marshes (SOMM). Continuing management experience and research has helped refine the most environmentally acceptable source reduction methods, which typically are Rotational Impoundment Management or Open Marsh Water Management. The development of regional marsh management plans for salt marshes within the Indian River Lagoon by the SOMM has helped direct the implementation of the best management practices for these marshes. Controversy occasionally occurs concerning what management technique is most appropriate for individual marshes. The most common disagreement is over the benefits of maintaining an impoundment in an "open" vs. "closed" condition, with the "closed" condition, allowing for summer mosquito control flooding or winter waterfowl management. New federal initiatives influencing salt-marsh management have included the Indian River Lagoon-National Estuary Program and the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. A new Florida initiative is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Eco-system Management Program with continuing involvement by the Surface Water Improvement and Management program. A developing mitigation banking program has the potential to benefit marsh management but mosquito control interests may suffer if not handled properly. Larvicides remain as an important salt-marsh integrated pest management tool with the greatest acreage being treated with temephos, followed by Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis and methoprene. However, over the past 14 years, use of biorational larvicides has increased greatly.

  8. Salt marsh vegetation change in response to tidal restriction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roman, Charles T.; Niering, William A.; Warren, R. Scott

    1984-03-01

    Vegetation change in response to restriction of the normal tidal prism of six Connecticut salt marshes is documented. Tidal flow at the study sites was restricted with tide gates and associated causeways and dikes for purposes of flood protection, mosquito control, and/or salt hay farming. One study site has been under a regime of reduced tidal flow since colonial times, while the duration of restriction at the other sites ranges from less than ten years to several decades. The data indicate that with tidal restriction there is a substantial reduction in soil water salinity, lowering of the water table level, as well as a relative drop in the marsh surface elevation. These factors are considered to favor the establishment and spread of Phragmites australis (common reed grass) and other less salt-tolerant species, with an attendant loss of Spartina-dominated marsh. Based on detailed vegetation mapping of the study sites, a generalized scheme is presented to describe the sequence of vegetation change from typical Spartina- to Phragmites-dominated marshes. The restoration of these Phragmites systems is feasible following the reintroduction of tidal flow. At several sites dominated by Phragmites, tidal flow was reintroduced after two decades of continuous restriction, resulting in a marked reduction in Phragmites height and the reestablishment of typical salt marsh vegetation along creekbanks. It is suggested that large-scale restoration efforts be initiated in order that these degraded systems once again assume their roles within the salt marsh-estuarine ecosystem.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

  14. Mercury volatilization from salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Lora M.; Reinfelder, John R.

    2009-06-01

    In situ volatilization fluxes of gaseous elemental mercury, Hg(0), were estimated for tidally exposed salt marsh sediments in the summer at the urban/industrial Secaucus High School Marsh, New Jersey Meadowlands (Secaucus, New Jersey) and in the early autumn at a regional background site in the Great Bay estuary (Tuckerton, New Jersey). Estimated daytime sediment-air mercury volatilization fluxes at the Secaucus High School Marsh ranged from -375 to +677 ng m-2 h-1 and were positive (land to air flux) in 16 out of 20 measurement events. At the Great Bay estuary, mercury fluxes measured continuously over a 48-h period ranged from -34 to +81 ng m-2 h-1 and were positive during the day and negative at night. At both sites, mercury volatilization fluxes peaked at midday, and cumulative mercury fluxes exhibited strong positive correlations with cumulative solar radiation (r2 = 0.97, p < 0.01) consistent with a light-driven mercury volatilization efficiency of about 15 ng Hg mol PAR-1 or about 0.06 ng Hg kJ-1. No significant correlations were found between mercury fluxes and wind speed, air temperature, or tide height at either site. Thus despite a tenfold difference in sediment mercury concentration, photochemistry appears to be the dominant factor controlling mercury volatilization from these salt marsh sediments. The average mercury volatilization flux estimated for the Great Bay salt marsh in this study (17 ng m-2 h-1) compares well with other micrometeorological mercury fluxes for nonpoint source contaminated salt marsh and forest soils (8-18 ng m-2 h-1) and is more than 10 times higher than the average mercury emission flux from land (˜1 ng m-2 h-1). Annual mercury emissions from salt marsh wetlands may be comparable to individual industrial emissions sources in coastal states of the eastern United States.

  15. 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 ...

  16. 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...

  17. A global analysis of the seaward salt marsh extent: The importance of tidal range

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balke, Thorsten; Stock, Martin; Jensen, Kai; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Kleyer, Michael

    2016-05-01

    Despite the growing interest in ecosystem services provided by intertidal wetlands, we lack sufficient understanding of the processes that determine the seaward extent of salt marsh vegetation on tidal flats. With the present study, we aim to establish a globally valid demarcation between tidal flats and salt marsh vegetation in relation to tidal range. By comparing results from a regional GIS study with a global literature search on the salt marsh-tidal flat border, we are able to define the global critical elevation, above which salt marsh plants can grow in the intertidal zone. Moreover, we calculate inundation characteristics from global tide gauge records to determine inundation duration and frequency at this predicted salt marsh-tidal flat border depending on tidal range. Our study shows that the height difference between the lowest elevation of salt marsh pioneer vegetation and mean high water increases logarithmically with tidal range when including macrotidal salt marshes. Hence, the potentially vegetated section of the tidal frame below mean high water does not proportionally increase with tidal range. The data analysis suggests that inundation frequency rather than duration defines the global lower elevational limit of vascular salt marsh plants on tidal flats. This is critical information to better estimate sea level rise and coastal change effects on lateral marsh development.

  18. 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...

  19. Astronomical Forcing of Salt Marsh Biogeochemical Cascades

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, J. T.; Sundberg, K.

    2008-12-01

    Astronomically forced changes in the hydroperiod of a salt marsh affect the rate of marsh primary production leading to a biogeochemical cascade. For example, salt marsh primary production and biogeochemical cycles in coastal salt marshes are sensitive to the 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle, which alters the tidal amplitude by about 5 cm. For marshes that are perched high in the tidal frame, a relatively small increase in tidal amplitude and flooding lowers sediment salinity and stimulates primary production. Porewater sulfide concentrations are positively correlated with tidal amplitude and vary on the same cycle as primary production. Soluble reactive phosphate and ammonium concentrations in pore water also vary on this 18.6- year cycle. Phosphate likely responds to variation in the reaction of sulfide with iron-phosphate compounds, while the production of ammonium in sediments is coupled to the activity of diazotrophs that are carbon- limited and, therefore, are regulated by primary productivity. Ammonium also would accumulate when sulfides block nitrification. These dependencies work as a positive feedback between primary production and nutrient supply and are predictive of the near-term effects of sea-level rise.

  20. Geographic variation in salt marsh structure and function.

    PubMed

    McCall, Brittany D; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-11-01

    We examined geographic variation in the structure and function of salt marsh communities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Focusing on the arthropod community in the dominant salt marsh plant Spartina alterniflora, we tested two hypotheses: first, that marsh community structure varies geographically, and second, that two aspects of marsh function (response to eutrophication and addition of dead plant material) also vary geographically. We worked at eleven sites on the Gulf Coast and eleven sites on the Atlantic Coast, dividing each coast up into two geographic areas. Abiotic conditions (tidal range, soil organic content, and water content, but not soil salinity), plant variables (Spartina nitrogen content, height, cover of dead plant material, but not live Spartina percent cover or light interception), and arthropod variables (proportional abundances of predators, sucking herbivores, stem-boring herbivores, parasitoids, and detritivores, but not total arthropod numbers) varied among the four geographic regions. Latitude and mean tidal range explained much of this geographic variation. Nutrient enrichment increased all arthropod functional groups in the community, consistent with previous experimental results, and had similar effects in all geographic regions, contrary to our hypothesis, suggesting widespread consistency in this aspect of ecosystem function. The addition of dead plant material had surprisingly little effect on the arthropod community. Our results caution against the uncritical extrapolation of work done in one geographic region to another, but indicate that some aspects of marsh function may operate in similar ways in different geographic regions, despite spatial variation in community structure.

  1. 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...

  2. 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.

  3. Microbial diversity of culturable heterotrophs in the rhizosphere of salt marsh grass, Porteresia coarctata (Tateoka) in a mangrove ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Bharathkumar, Srinivasan; Paul, Diby; Nair, Sudha

    2008-02-01

    A study was conducted to understand the complexity of bacterial diversity of rhizosphere of Porteresia coarctata based on culture dependent method. A large number of bacteria were isolated on nutrient agar medium supplemented with 1% NaCl and the dominant ones were further analyzed with PCR-RFLP method. The sequence analyses of the dominant strains revealed that most of the sequences belonged to members of gamma proteobacteria, firmicutes, bacteroidetes and uncultured bacteria. The phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed close relationships to a wide range of clones or bacterial species of various divisions. These results afford an understanding of the role of rhizobacteria in alleviating salt stress in Porteresia coarctata expected to contribute towards long-term goal of improving plant-microbe interactions for salinity affected fields.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Eutrophication and consumer control of new England salt marsh primary productivity.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Crain, Caitlin; Holdredge, Christine; Sala, Nicholas

    2008-02-01

    Although primary productivity in salt marshes is thought to be controlled by physical forces, recent evidence suggests that human disturbances can drive a switch to consumer control in these ecologically valuable ecosystems. We tested the hypothesis that nitrogen enrichment can trigger consumer control in salt marshes in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, with (1) a field experiment in which we manipulated nutrient availability (with nutrient additions) and insect herbivory (with insecticide application), (2) a survey of 20 salt marshes that examined the relationship between marsh nutrient status and herbivore pressure, and (3) insect herbivore removal at high and low nutrient input sites to directly test the hypothesis that nutrient enrichment is increasing insect herbivory in these marshes. Experimental nitrogen eutrophication initially increased plant productivity but eventually led to reduced plant biomass due to insect herbivory, and our surveys revealed that marsh nitrogen supply was a good predictor of herbivore damage to plants. Insects had minimal impacts on primary productivity in pristine marshes, but suppressed primary productivity in eutrophic salt marshes by 50-75%. Thus, eutrophication is currently triggering consumer suppression of primary productivity in New England salt marshes and may ultimately jeopardize the ecological and societal services these systems provide.

  8. [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.

  9. Geographic variation in plant community structure of salt marshes: species, functional and phylogenetic perspectives.

    PubMed

    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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. VALUING AN INTERVENTION: MARSH MIGRATION AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

    EPA Science Inventory

    There is growing interest in valuing ecosystem services provided by marsh systems. Ecosystem services represent a flow of benefits to society from the existence or functioning of the marsh. Therefore, to “put a value on” the marsh itself, or estimate a value of the na...

  14. Salt marsh-mangrove ecotones: using structural gradients to investigate the effects of woody plant encroachment on plant-soil interactions and ecosystem carbon pools

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yando, Erik S.; Osland, Michael J.; Willis, Jonathan M; Day, Richard H.; Krauss, Ken W.; Hester, Mark W.

    2016-01-01

    Synthesis: Our results indicate that the ecological implications of woody plant encroachment in tidal saline wetlands are dependent upon precipitation controls of plant–soil interactions. Although the above-ground effects of mangrove expansion are consistently large, below-ground influences of mangrove expansion appear to be greatest along low-rainfall coasts where salinities are high and marshes being replaced are carbon poor and dominated by succulent plants. Collectively, these findings complement those from terrestrial ecosystems and reinforce the importance of considering rainfall and plant–soil interactions within predictions of the ecological effects of woody plant encroachment.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Relationships between sediment microbial communities and pollutants in two California salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Cao, Y; Cherr, G N; Córdova-Kreylos, A L; Fan, T W-M; Green, P G; Higashi, R M; Lamontagne, M G; Scow, K M; Vines, C A; Yuan, J; Holden, P A

    2006-11-01

    Salt marshes are important ecosystems whose plant and microbial communities can alter terrestrially derived pollutants prior to coastal water discharge. However, knowledge regarding relationships between anthropogenic pollutant levels and salt marsh microbial communities is limited, and salt marshes on the West Coast of the United States are rarely examined. In this study, we investigated the relationships between microbial community composition and 24 pollutants (20 metals and 4 organics) in two California salt marshes. Multivariate ordination techniques were used to assess how bacterial community composition, as determined by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and phospholipid fatty acid analyses, was related to pollution. Sea urchin embryo toxicity measurements and plant tissue metabolite profiles were considered two other biometrics of pollution. Spatial effects were strongly manifested across marshes and across channel elevations within marshes. Utilizing partial canonical correspondence analysis, an ordination technique new to microbial ecology, we found that several metals were strongly associated with microbial community composition after accounting for spatial effects. The major patterns in plant metabolite profiles were consistent with patterns across microbial community profiles, but sea urchin embryo assays, which are commonly used to evaluate ecological toxicity, had no identifiable relationships with pollution. Whereas salt marshes are generally dynamic and complex habitats, microbial communities in these marshes appear to be relatively sensitive indicators of toxic pollutants.

  20. Storm-driven groundwater flow in a salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Alicia M.; Moore, Willard S.; Joye, Samantha B.; Anderson, Joseph L.; Schutte, Charles A.

    2011-02-01

    Storms can cause significant groundwater flow in coastal settings, but prior studies of the effects of storms on groundwater flow and transport have largely focused on very large storms and used salinity as a tracer. We have little information about the effects of smaller storms on coastal flow and how storm-induced variability affects key tidal wetlands like salt marshes, which may remain saline throughout a storm. Here we show that even the distant passage of a moderate storm can strongly increase groundwater flow and transport in salt marsh ecosystems and adjacent barrier islands. Groundwater monitoring and radium isotope tracer analyses revealed significant influx of saline creek water into the confined aquifer below the marsh platform, driven by storm surge. This pulse of fluids reached depths exceeding 5 m, and surge-enhanced tides propagated through the aquifer to affect flow in the upland >100 m from the creek bank. Groundwater discharge from the marsh varied significantly prior to the storm, doubling during inundating tides compared to a period of noninundating neap tides. Storm surge then caused groundwater discharge to decline ˜50% compared to similar inundating tides. Ra- and nutrient-poor creek water that entered the confined aquifer below the marsh was quickly enriched in nutrients and carbon, even on 12 h tidal cycles, so that nutrient discharge was likely proportional to groundwater discharge. Storm-related flow could also drive significant contaminant discharge from developed coastlines. The enhanced transport and variability observed here likely affected hundreds of kilometers of the coastline impacted by the storm.

  1. Salt marsh persistence is threatened by predicted sea-level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crosby, Sarah C.; Sax, Dov F.; Palmer, Megan E.; Booth, Harriet S.; Deegan, Linda A.; Bertness, Mark D.; Leslie, Heather M.

    2016-11-01

    Salt marshes buffer coastlines and provide critical ecosystem services from storm protection to food provision. Worldwide, these ecosystems are in danger of disappearing if they cannot increase elevation at rates that match sea-level rise. However, the magnitude of loss to be expected is not known. A synthesis of existing records of salt marsh elevation change was conducted in order to consider the likelihood of their future persistence. This analysis indicates that many salt marshes did not keep pace with sea-level rise in the past century and kept pace even less well over the past two decades. Salt marshes experiencing higher local sea-level rise rates were less likely to be keeping pace. These results suggest that sea-level rise will overwhelm most salt marshes' capacity to maintain elevation. Under the most optimistic IPCC emissions pathway, 60% of the salt marshes studied will be gaining elevation at a rate insufficient to keep pace with sea-level rise by 2100. Without mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions this potential loss could exceed 90%, which will have substantial ecological, economic, and human health consequences.

  2. Controls on resilience and stability in a sediment-subsidized salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Stagg, Camille L; Mendelssohn, Irving A

    2011-07-01

    Although the concept of self-design is frequently employed in restoration, reestablishment of primary physical drivers does not always result in a restored ecosystem having the desired ecological functions that support system resilience and stability. We investigated the use of a primary environmental driver in coastal salt marshes, sediment availability, as a means of promoting the resilience and stability of submerging deltaic salt marshes, which are rapidly subsiding due to natural and human-induced processes. We conducted a disturbance-recovery experiment across a gradient of sediment slurry addition to assess the roles of sediment elevation and soil physico-chemical characteristics on vegetation resilience and stability in two restored salt marshes of differing age (a 15-year-old site and a 5-year-old site). Salt marshes that received moderate intensities of sediment slurry addition with elevations at the mid to high intertidal zone (2-11 cm above local mean sea level; MSL) were more resilient than natural marshes. The primary regulator of enhanced resilience and stability in the restored marshes was the alleviation of flooding stress observed in the natural, unsubsidized marsh. However, stability reached a sediment addition threshold, at an elevation of 11 cm above MSL, with decreasing stability in marshes above this elevation. Declines in resilience and stability above the sediment addition threshold were principally influenced by relatively dry conditions that resulted from insufficient and infrequent flooding at high elevations. Although the older restored marsh has subsided over time, areas receiving too much sediment still had limited stability 15 years later, emphasizing the importance of applying the appropriate amount of sediment to the marsh. In contrast, treated marshes with elevations 2-11 cm above MSL were still more resilient than the natural marsh 15 years after restoration, illustrating that when performed correctly, sediment slurry addition

  3. 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.

  4. Mangrove expansion into salt marshes alters associated faunal communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smee, Delbert L.; Sanchez, James A.; Diskin, Meredith; Trettin, Carl

    2017-03-01

    Climate change is altering the distribution of foundation species, with potential effects on organisms that inhabit these environments and changes to valuable ecosystem functions. In the Gulf of Mexico, black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) are expanding northward into salt marshes dominated by Spartina alterniflora (hereafter Spartina). Salt marshes are essential habitats for many organisms, including ecologically and economically important species such as blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and Penaeid shrimp (e.g., Penaeus aztecus), which may be affected by vegetation changes. Black mangroves occupied higher tidal elevations than Spartina, and Spartina was present only at its lowest tidal elevations in sites when mangroves were established. We compared nekton and infaunal communities within monoculture stands of Spartina that were bordered by mangroves to nearby areas where mangroves had not yet become established. Nekton and infaunal communities were significantly different in Spartina stands bordered by mangroves, even though salinity and temperature were not different. Overall abundance and biomass of nekton and infauna was significantly higher in marshes without mangroves, although crabs and fish were more abundant in mangrove areas. Black mangrove expansion as well as other ongoing vegetation shifts will continue in a warming climate. Understanding how these changes affect associated species is necessary for management, mitigation, and conservation.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Influence of multiple stressors on the auto-remediation processes occurring in salt marshes.

    PubMed

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

    2011-07-01

    Due to increasing global population, salt marshes have been subjected to multiple stressors such as increasing nutrient loadings and historical contamination. In order to better understand how does the salt marsh plants auto-remediation capacity (phytoaccumulation of metals) is affected by cultural eutrophication, an experiment was performed under controlled conditions. Plants were exposure to equal metal concentrations (Zn, Cu, and Ni - micronutrients, and Cd - class B metal) simulating historical contamination and three different concentrations of nitrogen (nitrate) simulating steps of cultural eutrophication. According to our study, under the tested concentrations, cultural eutrophication does not seem to affect Zn, Cu and Ni phytoremediation of H. portulacoides, but the ecosystem service of Cd phytoremediation seems to be promoted. Nevertheless, Cd high toxicity and bioaccumulation should be taken into account, as well as the vulnerability of salt marsh ecosystems, whose reduction will have drastic consequences to the ecosystem health.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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 ...

  11. Factors controlling emissions of dimethylsulphide from salt marshes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dacey, John W. H.; Wakeham, Stuart G.; King, Gary M.

    1987-01-01

    Salt marshes are presently identified as systems exhibiting high area-specific sulfur emission in the form of dimethylsulfide (DMS) and H2S, with the former predominating in vegetated areas of the marshes. Attention is presently given to the distribution of DMS in salt marshes; it is found that this compound primarily arises from physiological processes in the leaves of higher plants, especially the grass species Spartina alterniflora. Uncertainties associated with DMS emission measurements are considered.

  12. 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...

  13. 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 ...

  14. 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.

  15. Experimental warming causes rapid loss of plant diversity in New England salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Gedan, Keryn B; Bertness, Mark D

    2009-08-01

    Anthropogenic climate change is predicted to cause widespread biodiversity loss due to shifts in species' distributions, but these predictions rarely incorporate ecological associations such as zonation. Here, we predict the decline of a diverse assemblage of mid-latitude salt marsh plants, based on an ecosystem warming experiment. In New England salt marshes, a guild of halophytic forbs occupies stressful, waterlogged pannes. At three sites, experimental warming of < 4 degrees C led to diversity declines in pannes and rapid takeover by a competitive dominant, Spartina patens. In Rhode Island, near their southern range limit, pannes were more sensitive to warming than farther north, and panne area also declined in control plots over the three-season experiment. These results suggest that warming will rapidly reduce plant diversity in New England salt marshes by eliminating a high diversity zone. Biodiversity in zoned ecosystems may be more affected by climate-driven shifts in zonation than by individual species' distribution shifts.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Methane flux from coastal salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1985-06-01

    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.

  20. 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...

  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.

  2. Utilization of invasive tamarisk by salt marsh consumers.

    PubMed

    Whitcraft, Christine R; Levin, Lisa A; Talley, Drew; Crooks, Jeffrey A

    2008-11-01

    Plant invasions of coastal wetlands are rapidly changing the structure and function of these systems globally. Alteration of litter dynamics represents one of the fundamental impacts of an invasive plant on salt marsh ecosystems. Tamarisk species (Tamarix spp.), which extensively invade terrestrial and riparian habitats, have been demonstrated to enter food webs in these ecosystems. However, the trophic impacts of the relatively new invasion of tamarisk into marine ecosystem have not been assessed. We evaluated the trophic consequences of invasion by tamarisk for detrital food chains in the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve salt marsh using litter dynamics techniques and stable isotope enrichment experiments. The observations of a short residence time for tamarisk combined with relatively low C:N values indicate that tamarisk is a relatively available and labile food source. With an isotopic (15N) enrichment of tamarisk, we demonstrated that numerous macroinvertebrate taxonomic and trophic groups, both within and on the sediment, utilized 15N derived from labeled tamarisk detritus. Infaunal invertebrate species that took up no or limited 15N from labeled tamarisk (A. californica, enchytraeid oligochaetes, coleoptera larvae) occurred in lower abundance in the tamarisk-invaded environment. In contrast, species that utilized significant 15N from the labeled tamarisk, such as psychodid insects, an exotic amphipod, and an oniscid isopod, either did not change or occurred in higher abundance. Our research supports the hypothesis that invasive species can alter the trophic structure of an environment through addition of detritus and can also potentially impact higher trophic levels by shifting dominance within the invertebrate community to species not widely consumed.

  3. 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.

  4. A dynamic nitrogen budget model of a Pacific Northwest salt marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    The role of salt marshes as either nitrogen sinks or sources in relation to their adjacent estuaries has been a focus of ecosystem service research for many decades. The complex hydrology of these systems is driven by tides, upland surface runoff, precipitation, evapotranspirati...

  5. 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...

  6. 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...

  7. 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...

  8. 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.

  9. Post-mortem ecosystem engineering by oysters creates habitat for a rare marsh plant.

    PubMed

    Guo, Hongyu; Pennings, Steven C

    2012-11-01

    Oysters are ecosystem engineers in marine ecosystems, but the functions of oyster shell deposits in intertidal salt marshes are not well understood. The annual plant Suaeda linearis is associated with oyster shell deposits in Georgia salt marshes. We hypothesized that oyster shell deposits promoted the distribution of Suaeda linearis by engineering soil conditions unfavorable to dominant salt marsh plants of the region (the shrub Borrichia frutescens, the rush Juncus roemerianus, and the grass Spartina alterniflora). We tested this hypothesis using common garden pot experiments and field transplant experiments. Suaeda linearis thrived in Borrichia frutescens stands in the absence of neighbors, but was suppressed by Borrichia frutescens in the with-neighbor treatment, suggesting that Suaeda linearis was excluded from Borrichia frutescens stands by interspecific competition. Suaeda linearis plants all died in Juncus roemerianus and Spartina alterniflora stands, regardless of neighbor treatments, indicating that Suaeda linearis is excluded from these habitats by physical stress (likely water-logging). In contrast, Borrichia frutescens, Juncus roemerianus, and Spartina alterniflora all performed poorly in Suaeda linearis stands regardless of neighbor treatments, probably due to physical stresses such as low soil water content and low organic matter content. Thus, oyster shell deposits play an important ecosystem engineering role in influencing salt marsh plant communities by providing a unique niche for Suaeda linearis, which otherwise would be rare or absent in salt marshes in the southeastern US. Since the success of Suaeda linearis is linked to the success of oysters, efforts to protect and restore oyster reefs may also benefit salt marsh plant communities.

  10. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal propagules in a salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Carvalho, Luís M; Correia, Patrícia M; Martins-Loução, M Amélia

    2004-07-01

    The tolerance of indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to stressful soil conditions and the relative contribution of spores of these fungi to plant colonization were examined in a Portuguese salt marsh. Glomus geosporum is dominant in this salt marsh. Using tetrazolium as a vital stain, a high proportion of field-collected spores were found to be metabolically active at all sampling dates. Spore germination tests showed that salt marsh spores were not affected by increasing levels of salinity, in contrast to two non-marsh spore isolates, and had a significantly higher ability to germinate under increased levels of salinity (20 per thousand) than in the absence of or at low salinity (10 per thousand). Germination of salt marsh spores was not affected by soil water levels above field capacity, in contrast to one of the two non-marsh spore isolates. For the evaluation of infectivity, a bioassay was established with undisturbed soil cores (containing all types of AM fungal propagules) and soil cores containing only spores as AM fungal propagules. Different types of propagules were able to initiate and to expand the root colonization of a native plant species, but spores were slower than mycelium and/or root fragments in colonizing host roots. The AM fungal adaptation shown by this study may explain the maintenance of AMF in salt marshes.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solari, L.

    2015-12-01

    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 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 0.4 m), only one pin is employed. Significant wave height has been measured during three storm surges by means of pressure transducers. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Mangrove expansion and salt marsh decline at mangrove poleward limits.

    PubMed

    Saintilan, Neil; Wilson, Nicholas C; Rogers, Kerrylee; Rajkaran, Anusha; Krauss, Ken W

    2014-01-01

    Mangroves are species of halophytic intertidal trees and shrubs derived from tropical genera and are likely delimited in latitudinal range by varying sensitivity to cold. There is now sufficient evidence that mangrove species have proliferated at or near their poleward limits on at least five continents over the past half century, at the expense of salt marsh. Avicennia is the most cold-tolerant genus worldwide, and is the subject of most of the observed changes. Avicennia germinans has extended in range along the USA Atlantic coast and expanded into salt marsh as a consequence of lower frost frequency and intensity in the southern USA. The genus has also expanded into salt marsh at its southern limit in Peru, and on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Mangroves of several species have expanded in extent and replaced salt marsh where protected within mangrove reserves in Guangdong Province, China. In south-eastern Australia, the expansion of Avicennia marina into salt marshes is now well documented, and Rhizophora stylosa has extended its range southward, while showing strong population growth within estuaries along its southern limits in northern New South Wales. Avicennia marina has extended its range southwards in South Africa. The changes are consistent with the poleward extension of temperature thresholds coincident with sea-level rise, although the specific mechanism of range extension might be complicated by limitations on dispersal or other factors. The shift from salt marsh to mangrove dominance on subtropical and temperate shorelines has important implications for ecological structure, function, and global change adaptation.

  15. Groundwater Nitrate Removal Capacity of Filled Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Addy, K.; Gold, A. J.; Stolt, M. H.; Groffman, P. M.

    2006-05-01

    Undisturbed salt marshes can serve as sinks for groundwater nitrate flowing through sandy soils underlying salt marsh peat deposits. Many salt marshes have been destroyed by covering the original marsh with fill material to create level, dry surfaces suitable for urban and suburban developments. These alterations may alter groundwater hydrology and nitrate transformations or these buried, organically enriched deposits below the fill could serve as "relic" zones of microbial activity. We measured in situ groundwater denitrification capacity of saturated, sandy soils below buried salt marsh deposits at four filled sites with the 15N-nitrate push-pull method. 15N-enriched nitrate was injected into wells (5 per site) and denitrification rates were obtained by tracking the evolution of 15N-enriched denitrification gases. Three sites were managed lawns and one site had unmanaged scrubby vegetation. The former salt marshes were covered with 60-150 cm of fill material 30-65 years ago. Fill ranged from silt loam to very gravelly sands with 2-75% coarse fragments. At all sites, we observed a buried horizon of enriched carbon material representative of the former salt marsh. One site showed consistently elevated groundwater denitrification capacity at all replicate wells (mean: 60 μg N kg-1 soil d-1). At the remaining sites, groundwater denitrification capacity was spotty with high intrasite variability. Only one or two of the replicate wells displayed elevated denitrification (>22 μg N kg-1 soil d-1), but no denitrification was measured in the other wells at those sites. We found no significant correlation between groundwater denitrification and groundwater dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic carbon, temperature, salinity, pH, ambient nitrate concentration, depth below the water table, fill thickness, depth below fill, or fill age. The extreme intrasite variability of groundwater denitrification capacity at these filled salt marsh settings constrasts with our observations

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Nutrient enrichment induces dormancy and decreases diversity of active bacteria in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Kearns, Patrick J; Angell, John H; Howard, Evan M; Deegan, Linda A; Stanley, Rachel H R; Bowen, Jennifer L

    2016-09-26

    Microorganisms control key biogeochemical pathways, thus changes in microbial diversity, community structure and activity can affect ecosystem response to environmental drivers. Understanding factors that control the proportion of active microbes in the environment and how they vary when perturbed is critical to anticipating ecosystem response to global change. Increasing supplies of anthropogenic nitrogen to ecosystems globally makes it imperative that we understand how nutrient supply alters active microbial communities. Here we show that nitrogen additions to salt marshes cause a shift in the active microbial community despite no change in the total community. The active community shift causes the proportion of dormant microbial taxa to double, from 45 to 90%, and induces diversity loss in the active portion of the community. Our results suggest that perturbations to salt marshes can drastically alter active microbial communities, however these communities may remain resilient by protecting total diversity through increased dormancy.

  4. Nutrient enrichment induces dormancy and decreases diversity of active bacteria in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kearns, Patrick J.; Angell, John H.; Howard, Evan M.; Deegan, Linda A.; Stanley, Rachel H. R.; Bowen, Jennifer L.

    2016-09-01

    Microorganisms control key biogeochemical pathways, thus changes in microbial diversity, community structure and activity can affect ecosystem response to environmental drivers. Understanding factors that control the proportion of active microbes in the environment and how they vary when perturbed is critical to anticipating ecosystem response to global change. Increasing supplies of anthropogenic nitrogen to ecosystems globally makes it imperative that we understand how nutrient supply alters active microbial communities. Here we show that nitrogen additions to salt marshes cause a shift in the active microbial community despite no change in the total community. The active community shift causes the proportion of dormant microbial taxa to double, from 45 to 90%, and induces diversity loss in the active portion of the community. Our results suggest that perturbations to salt marshes can drastically alter active microbial communities, however these communities may remain resilient by protecting total diversity through increased dormancy.

  5. Nutrient enrichment induces dormancy and decreases diversity of active bacteria in salt marsh sediments

    PubMed Central

    Kearns, Patrick J.; Angell, John H.; Howard, Evan M.; Deegan, Linda A.; Stanley, Rachel H. R.; Bowen, Jennifer L.

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms control key biogeochemical pathways, thus changes in microbial diversity, community structure and activity can affect ecosystem response to environmental drivers. Understanding factors that control the proportion of active microbes in the environment and how they vary when perturbed is critical to anticipating ecosystem response to global change. Increasing supplies of anthropogenic nitrogen to ecosystems globally makes it imperative that we understand how nutrient supply alters active microbial communities. Here we show that nitrogen additions to salt marshes cause a shift in the active microbial community despite no change in the total community. The active community shift causes the proportion of dormant microbial taxa to double, from 45 to 90%, and induces diversity loss in the active portion of the community. Our results suggest that perturbations to salt marshes can drastically alter active microbial communities, however these communities may remain resilient by protecting total diversity through increased dormancy. PMID:27666199

  6. Carbon cycling in salt marsh dominated estuaries along the US Atlantic coast

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Forbrich, Inke; Nahrawi, Hafsah B.; Wang, Shiyu; Leclerc, Monique; Hopkinson, Charles S.; Giblin, Anne E.; Alber, Merryl; Cai, Wei-Jun

    2016-04-01

    Salt marshes are effective carbon sinks, because they rely on vertical accretion of organic and inorganic matter to keep their relative position to sea level. They are also described as 'carbon pumps' that fix atmospheric carbon but deliver organic and inorganic carbon to estuarine and coastal waters. These fluxes are still highly uncertain due to their temporal and spatial variability. Here, we present observations on atmospheric CO2 exchange and lateral DIC exchange measured at two salt marsh dominated estuaries along the US Atlantic coast. Atmospheric exchange was measured with the eddy covariance method supplemented by measurements of DIC concentrations and discharge in tidal creeks during selected tidal cycles. Together with estimates of long-term carbon burial, this allows us to constrain their export potential. Since the Plum Island Ecosystems LTER and Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER are located along a temperature gradient, we will use the data to assess the temperature effect on ecosystem productivity and respiration.

  7. 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.

  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. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes.

    PubMed

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-06-23

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4-16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6-25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3-6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary.

  12. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-06-01

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4–16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6–25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3–6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary.

  13. Responses of eastern Chinese coastal salt marshes to sea-level rise combined with vegetative and sedimentary processes

    PubMed Central

    Ge, Zhen-Ming; Wang, Heng; Cao, Hao-Bin; Zhao, Bin; Zhou, Xiao; Peltola, Heli; Cui, Li-Fang; Li, Xiu-Zhen; Zhang, Li-Quan

    2016-01-01

    The impacts of sea-level rise (SLR) on coastal ecosystems have attracted worldwide attention in relation to global change. In this study, the salt marsh model for the Yangtze Estuary (SMM-YE, developed in China) and the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM, developed in the U.S.) were used to simulate the effects of SLR on the coastal salt marshes in eastern China. The changes in the dominant species in the plant community were also considered. Predictions based on the SLAMM indicated a trend of habitat degradation up to 2100; total salt marsh habitat area continued to decline (4–16%) based on the low-level scenario, with greater losses (6–25%) predicted under the high-level scenario. The SMM-YE showed that the salt marshes could be resilient to threats of SLR through the processes of accretion of mudflats, vegetation expansion and sediment trapping by plants. This model predicted that salt marsh areas increased (3–6%) under the low-level scenario. The decrease in the total habitat area with the SMM-YE under the high-level scenario was much lower than the SLAMM prediction. Nevertheless, SLR might negatively affect the salt marsh species that are not adapted to prolonged inundation. An adaptive strategy for responding to changes in sediment resources is necessary in the Yangtze Estuary. PMID:27334452

  14. 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

  15. Conceptual salt marsh units for wetland synthesis: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Defne, Zafer; Ganju, Neil Kamal

    2016-01-01

    The salt marsh complex of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay (New Jersey, USA), was delineated to smaller, conceptual marsh units by geoprocessing of surface elevation data. Flow accumulation based on the relative elevation of each location is used to determine the ridge lines that separate each marsh unit while the surface slope is used to automatically assign each unit a drainage point, where water is expected to drain through. Through scientific efforts associated with the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the U.S. Geological Survey has started to expand national assessment of coastal change hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands. The intent is to provide federal, state, and local managers with tools to estimate their vulnerability and ecosystem service potential. For this purpose, the response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services. EBFNWR was selected as a pilot study.Recent research shows that sediment budgets of microtidal marsh complexes on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States consistently scale with areal unvegetated/vegetated marsh ratio (UVVR) despite differences in sea-level rise, tidal range, elevation, vegetation, and stressors. This highlights UVVR as a broadly applicable indicator of microtidal marsh stability. It is also relatively quicker and less labor intensive compared to quantifying integrative sediment budgets and the associated transport mechanisms that requires extended tidal-timescale observations of sediment transport. UVVR indicates the link between open-water conversion processes and sediment transport, providing consistent results across a geomorphic and climatic spectrum of microtidal marshes, hence can be an independent measure of marsh health. Potentially, tracking future changes to UVVR may allow for widespread

  16. Ecogeomorphic Properties of Flood-ebb Flows on a Coastal North Carolina Salt-marsh Platform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S.; Furbish, D.; Mudd, S.

    2006-12-01

    Salt marsh ecosystems play a vital role in nutrient processing, shoreline defense, and as habitats for commercially important species. Along the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, North Carolina, where the tidal amplitude ranges from 1.0 to 1.5 m, salt marsh communities are expected to undergo a transition from intertidal marshes to subtidal habitats in response to sea-level rise and associated increases in inundation and possibly tidal range. Intertidal areas along the back-barrier sound of Bogue Banks feature well developed networks of tidal channels and exhibit classic macrophyte zonation, with Spartina spp. residing along lower elevations and Juncus roemerianus at higher elevations. As part of a long-term study of macrophyte dynamics, sedimentation and geomorphology in the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds area, here we describe the pattern of flood-ebb flow on a marsh platform. Continuous measurements from a set of pressure transducers arranged along a marsh transect are used to describe spatial variations in the frequency, duration and depth of inundation as a function of platform elevation, macrophyte biomass, and proximity to the tidal creek. Stem density and diameter of Spartina alterniflora and Juncus roemerianus affect the magnitude of drag forces on the marsh platform during flooding; our field measurements are used to constrain the relationship between macrophyte stand characteristics and these drag forces.

  17. Methane fluxes along a salinity gradient on a restored salt marsh, Harpswell, ME

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gunn, Cailene; Johnson, Beverly, ,, Dr.; Dostie, Phil; Bohlen, Curtis; Craig, Matthew

    2016-04-01

    This study functions as a pilot project to understand the relationship between salinity and methane emissions on a recently restored salt marsh in Casco Bay, Maine. Salt marshes are dynamic and highly productive ecosystems that provide a multitude of ecosystem services including nutrient filtration, storm-water buffering and carbon sequestration. These ecosystems are highly susceptible to anthropogenic alteration. The emplacement of causeways and narrow culverts, restricts tidal flow and leads to loss of healthy salinity gradients. Consequently, numerous salt marshes have experienced increases in freshwater vegetation growth as a result of coastal population expansion. Recent restoration efforts on Long Marsh, Harpswell, ME replaced a severely undersized culvert with a larger one in February, 2014. The salinity gradient has since been restored along much of the marsh, and freshwater vegetation that encroached on the marsh platform has died back. Vegetation and salinity are key indicators and drivers of CH4 emissions on salt marshes. Using static gas chambers, we quantified CH4 fluxes along two transects at five diverse sites ranging from healthy marsh (salinity of 27 to 31 psu) with Spartina vegetation, to regions invaded by Typha and other freshwater vegetation (salinity of 0 to 4 psu). Sampling was executed in the months of July, August and October. CH4 concentrations were determined using a gas chromatograph with a flame-ionization detector. Preliminary findings suggest reintroduction of healthy tidal flows into the marsh inhibits CH4 production, where the lowest fluxes with least variability were observed at the most saline sites with Spartina vegetation. The largest range of CH4 fluxes exhibited emissions from 0.75 μmol CH4/m2/hr to 518.4 μmol CH4/m2/hr at the Typha dominated sites from July to October. Fluxes at the saltwater and brackish regions were far less variable with ranges from 0.94 μmol CH4/m2/hr to 8.2 μmol CH4/m2/hr and 2.6 to 9.5 μmol CH4/m2

  18. Shore Stabilization with Salt Marsh Vegetation.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1983-01-01

    sunken, and the "liplike" guard cells which surround the stomata are accompanied by subsidiary cells equipped with branched papilla (tiny fingerlike...detrital food chain. Dead grass is broken down by bacteria in theIsurrounding waters and on the surface of the marsh. This process greatly decreases...103-118. KNUTSON, P.L., "Planting Guidelines for Marsh Development and Bank Stabl- lisation ," CETA 77-3, U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, Coastal

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-23

    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.

  1. 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

  2. Coatal salt marshes and mangrove swamps in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Shi-Lun; Chen, Ji-Yu

    1995-12-01

    Based on plant specimen data, sediment samples, photos, and sketches from 45 coastal crosssections, and materials from two recent countrywide comprehensive investigations on Chinese coasts and islands, this paper deals with China’s vegetative tidal-flats: salt marshes and mangrove swamps. There are now 141700 acres of salt marshes and 51000 acres of mangrove swamps which together cover about 30% of the mud-coast area of the country and distribute between 18°N (Southern Hainan Island) and 41 °N (Liaodong Bay). Over the past 45 years, about 1750000 acres of salt marshes and 49400 acres of mangrove swamps have been reclaimed. The 2.0×109 tons of fine sediments input by rivers into the Chinese seas form extensive tidal flats, the soil basis of coastal helophytes. Different climates result in the diversity of vegetation. The 3˜8 m tidal range favors intertidal zone development. Of over 20 plant species in the salt marshes, native Suaeda salsa, Phragmites australis, Aeluropus littoralis, Zoysia maerostachys, Imperata cylindrica and introduced Spartina anglica are the most extensive in distribution. Of the 41 mangrove swamps species, Kandelia candel, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Excoecaria agallocha and Avicennia marina are much wider in latitudinal distribution than the others. Developing stages of marshes originally relevant to the evolution of tidal flats are given out. The roles of pioneer plants in decreasing flood water energy and increasing accretion rate in the Changjiang River delta are discussed.

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Gaseous mercury flux from salt marshes is mediated by solar radiation and temperature

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sizmur, Tom; McArthur, Gordon; Risk, David; Tordon, Robert; O'Driscoll, Nelson J.

    2017-03-01

    Salt marshes are ecologically sensitive ecosystems where mercury (Hg) methylation and biomagnification can occur. Understanding the mechanisms controlling gaseous Hg flux from salt marshes is important to predict the retention of Hg in coastal wetlands and project the impact of environmental change on the global Hg cycle. We monitored Hg flux from a remote salt marsh over 9 days which included three cloudless days and a 4 mm rainfall event. We observed a cyclical diel relationship between Hg flux and solar radiation. When measurements at the same irradiance intensity are considered, Hg flux was greater in the evening when the sediment was warm than in the morning when the sediment was cool. This is evidence to suggest that both solar radiation and sediment temperature directly influence the rate of Hg(II) photoreduction in salt marshes. Hg flux could be predicted from solar radiation and sediment temperature in sub-datasets collected during cloudless days (R2 = 0.99), and before (R2 = 0.97) and after (R2 = 0.95) the rainfall event, but the combined dataset could not account for the lower Hg flux after the rainfall event that is in contrast to greater Hg flux observed from soils after rainfall events.

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Salt marsh mapping based on a short-time interval NDVI time-series from HJ-1 CCD imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    SUN, C.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes are regard as one of the most dynamic and valuable ecosystems in coastal zone. It is crucial to obtain accurate information on the species composition and spatial distribution of salt marshes in time since they are experiencing tremendous replacement and disappearance. However, discriminating various types of salt marshes is a rather difficult task because of the strong spectral similarities. In previous studies, salt marsh mappings were mainly focused on high-spatial and hyperspectral resolution imageries combined with auxiliary information but this method can hardly extend to a large region. With high temporal and moderate spatial resolutions, Chinese HJ-1 CCD imagery would not only allow monitoring phenological changes of salt marsh vegetation in short-time intervals, but also cover large areas of salt marshes. Taking the middle coast of Jiangsu (east China) as an example, our study first constructed a monthly NDVI time-series to classify various types of salt marshes. Then, we tested the idea of compressed time-series continuously to broaden the applicability and portability of this particular approach. The results showed that (1) the overall accuracy of salt marsh mapping based on the monthly NDVI time-series reached 90.3%, which increased approximately 16.0% in contrast with a single-phase classification strategy; (2) a compressed time-series, including NDVI from six key months (April, June to September, and November) demonstrated very little decline (2.3%) in overall accuracy but led to obvious improvements in unstable regions; (3) Spartina alterniflora identification could be achieved with only a scene NDVI image from November, which could provide an effective way to regularly monitor its distribution. Besides, by comparing the calibrated performance between HJ-1 CCD and other sensors (i.e., Landsat TM/ETM+, OLI), we certified the reliability of HJ-1 CCD imagery, which is expected to pave the way for laws expansibility from this imagery.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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...

  15. New model describes toppling of salt marsh banks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendel, JoAnna

    2014-05-01

    Salt marshes are coastal habitats that store important nutrients and serve as shelter for many estuarial species. These habitats are threatened by rising seas and human expansion, so it has become increasingly important to improve models of how these habitats degrade.

  16. Anthropocene Survival of Southern New England’s Salt Marshes

    EPA Science Inventory

    In southern New England, salt marshes are exceptionally vulnerable to the impacts of accelerated sea level rise. Regional rates of sea level rise have been as much as 50 % greater than the global average over past decades, a more than fourfold increase over late Holocene backgrou...

  17. Marshes on the Move: Testing effects of seawater intrusion on vegetation communities of the salt marsh-upland ecotone

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Northeastern United States is a hotspot for sea level rise (SLR), subjecting coastal salt marshes to erosive loss, shifts in vegetation communities, and altered biogeochemistry due to seawater intrusion. Salt marsh plant community zonation is driven by tradeoffs in stress to...

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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, C. L.; Mikan, M.; Etheridge, J. R.; Burchell, M. R.; Birgand, F.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes are transitional ecosystems between terrestrial and marine environments. Along with mangroves and other vegetated coastal habitats, salt marshes rank among the most productive ecosystems on Earth, with critical global importance for the planet's carbon cycle. 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 of 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 modeled, we used multiple linear regression to identify tracers for recalcitrant DOM; labile soil-derived source DOM; detrital POM; and 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. 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. Using the DOM and POM quality results obtained via fluorescence measurements and scaling up to global salt marsh area, we estimated that the potential release of CO2 from the respiration of salt marsh DOC and POC transported to estuaries could be 11 Tg C yr-1, roughly 4% of the recently estimated CO2 release for marshes and estuaries globally.

  6. Release of Metals by the Leaves of the Salt Marsh Grasses Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burke, D. J.; Weis, J. S.; Weis, P.

    2000-08-01

    The perennial grass Spartina alterniflora, common to salt marshes of eastern North America, is known to accumulate metals from marsh sediment and release them into the environment. One pathway by which Spartina alterniflora releases metals is through the excretion of metal-containing salts produced by leaf salt glands. We examined the differential release of metals by Spartina alterniflora and the invasive perennial grass Phragmites australis in an urban marsh ecosystem. Leaching rates were measured by cleaning residues off leaf surfaces under field and controlled laboratory conditions. Leaf residues and leaf tissue were analysed for copper, chromium, lead and zinc by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Spartina alterniflora was found to release significantly more metal through leaf tissue than Phragmites australis, under both field and laboratory situations. Spartina alterniflora was also found to accumulate significantly more chromium and lead in leaves than Phragmites australis. Therefore, Spartina alterniflora can release larger quantities of metals into the marsh environment than Phragmites australis, through both excretion and leaf deposition.

  7. Heat budget for a shallow, sinuous salt marsh estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, Paul; Iorio, Daniela Di

    2008-08-01

    An experimental study of temperature cycles and the heat budget in the Duplin River, a tidal creek bordered by extensive intertidal salt marshes, was carried out in late summer of 2003 and spring of 2004 near Sapelo Island on the central Georgia coast in the southeastern US. Three water masses are identified with differing temperature and salinity regimes, the characteristics of which are dictated by channel morphology, tidal communication with the neighboring sound, ground water hydrology, the extent of local intertidal salt marshes and side channels and the spring-neap tidal cycle (which controls both energetic mixing and, presumably, ground water input). For the first experiment, heat budgets are constructed for the upper (warmer) and lower (cooler) areas of the Duplin River showing the diminishing importance of tidal advection away from the mouth of the creek along with the concomitant increase in the importance of both direct atmospheric fluxes and of interactions with the marsh and side creeks. The second experiment, in the spring of 2004, reexamines the heat budget on seasonal and daily averaged scales revealing the decreased importance of advective fluxes relative to direct atmospheric fluxes on this scale but the constant importance of marsh/creek interactions regardless of time scale or season. Short period temperature fluctuations which affect larval development are examined and analogies are drawn to use heat to understand the marsh as a source of sediment, carbon and other nutrients.

  8. 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

  9. 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...

  10. Restoration of Tidal Flow to Impounded Salt Marsh Exerts Mixed Effect on Leaf Litter Decomposition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henry, B. A.; Schade, J. D.; Foreman, K.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marsh impoundments (e.g. roads, levees) disconnect marshes from ocean tides, which impairs ecosystem services and often promotes invasive species. Numerous restoration projects now focus on removing impoundments. Leaf litter decomposition is a central process in salt marsh carbon and nutrient cycles, and this study investigated the extent to which marsh restoration alters litter decomposition rates. We considered three environmental factors that can potentially change during restoration: salinity, tidal regime, and dominant plant species. A one-month field experiment (Cape Cod, MA) measured decay of litter bags in impounded, restored, and natural marshes under ambient conditions. A two-week lab experiment measured litter decay in controlled incubations under experimental treatments for salinity (1ppt and 30 ppt), tidal regime (inundated and 12 hr wet-dry cycles), and plant species (native Spartina alterniflora and invasive Phragmites australis). S. alterniflora decomposed faster in situ than P. australis (14±1.0% mass loss versus 0.74±0.69%). Corroborating this difference in decomposition, S. alterniflora supported greater microbial respiration during lab incubation, measured as CO2 flux from leaf litter and biological oxygen demand of water containing leached organic matter (OM). However, nutrient analysis of plant tissue and leached OM show P. australis released more nitrogen than S. alterniflora. Low salinity treatments in both lab and field experiments decayed more rapidly than high salinity treatments, suggesting that salinity inhibited microbial activity. Manipulation of inundation regime did not affect decomposition. These findings suggest the reintroduction of tidal flow to an impounded salt marsh can have mixed effects; recolonization by the native cordgrass could supply labile OM to sediment and slow carbon sequestration, while an increase in salinity might inhibit decomposition and accelerate sequestration.

  11. 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

  12. Measurement and Partitioning of Net Carbon Exchange in a Coastal Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinsch, F.; Heilman, J. L.; McInnes, K. J.

    2001-12-01

    A tower-based conditional sampling system was used from July 1997 through July 2000 to provide measurements of the carbon dioxide exchange of a salt marsh in the upper Nueces Delta near Corpus Christi, TX. Extensive channelization of the Nueces River has limited the water supply to the high marsh, resulting in high salinity, low productivity, and dry conditions. Studies were conducted to determine the effects of water availability on the CO2 flux of the site. Measurements have shown freshwater inflow increases the net carbon exchange (NCE) of the marsh by increasing CO2 assimilation and decreasing CO2 efflux. In addition, the effects of water availability on the partitioning of NCE are being studied by extrapolation of nighttime respiration measurements to determine total photosynthesis. While the average annual respiration rate does not appear to be affected by water availability, daily ecosystem respiration tends to increase during periods of drought. In addition, chamber measurements have been made to partition ecosystem respiration into its above- and belowground components. Results reveal that belowground respiration is approximately 20% of total ecosystem respiration, while aboveground respiration accounts for the remaining 80%. Thus, ecosystem respiration appears to be dominated by aboveground respiration, which could account for the stability in average annual ecosystem respiration.

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2015-01-01

    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

  14. 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.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. Responses of salt marsh plant rhizosphere diazotroph assemblages to changes in marsh elevation, edaphic conditions and plant host species.

    PubMed

    Davis, Debra A; Gamble, Megan D; Bagwell, Christopher E; Bergholz, Peter W; Lovell, Charles R

    2011-02-01

    An important source of new nitrogen in salt marsh ecosystems is microbial diazotrophy (nitrogen fixation). The diazotroph assemblages associated with the rhizospheres (sediment directly affected by the roots) of salt marsh plants are highly diverse, somewhat stable, and consist mainly of novel organisms. In Crab Haul Creek Basin, North Inlet, SC, the distribution of plant types into discrete zones is dictated by relatively minor differences in marsh elevation and it was hypothesized that the biotic and abiotic properties of the plant zones would also dictate the composition of the rhizosphere diazotroph assemblages. Over a period of 1 year, rhizosphere sediments were collected from monotypic stands of the black needlerush, Juncus roemerianus, the common pickleweed, Salicornia virginica, the short and tall growth forms of the smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora, and a mixed zone of co-occurring S. virginica and short form, S. alterniflora. DNA was extracted, purified and nifH sequences PCR amplified for denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis to determine the composition of the diazotroph assemblages. The diazotroph assemblages were strongly influenced by season, abiotic environmental parameters and plant host. Sediment chemistry and nitrogen fixation activity were also significantly influenced by seasonal changes. DGGE bands that significantly affected seasonal and zone specific clustering were identified and most of these sequences were from novel diazotrophs, unaffiliated with any previously described organisms. At least one third of the recovered nifH sequences were from a diverse assemblage of Chlorobia, and γ-, α-, β- and δ-Proteobacteria. Diazotrophs that occurred throughout the growing season and among all zones (frequently detected) were also mostly novel. These significant sequences indicated that diazotrophs driving the structure of the assemblages were diverse, versatile, and some were ubiquitous while others were seasonally

  18. 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...

  19. 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.

  20. Characterization of marine debris in North Carolina salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Viehman, Shay; Vander Pluym, Jenny L; Schellinger, Jennifer

    2011-12-01

    Marine debris composition, density, abundance, and accumulation were evaluated in salt marshes in Carteret County, North Carolina seasonally between 2007 and 2009. We assessed relationships between human use patterns and debris type. Wave effects on marine debris density were examined using a GIS-based forecasting tool. We assessed the influence of site wave exposure, period, and height on debris quantity. Presence and abundance of debris were related to wave exposure, vegetation type and proximity of the strata to human population and human use patterns. Plastic pieces accounted for the majority of all debris. Small debris (0-5 cm) was primarily composed of foam pieces and was frequently affiliated with natural wrack. Large debris (>100 cm) was encountered in all marsh habitat types surveyed and was primarily composed of anthropogenic wood and derelict fishing gear. Marsh cleanup efforts should be targeted to specific habitat types or debris types to minimize further damage to sensitive habitats.

  1. 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.

  2. Salt Marsh Formation in the Lower Hudson River Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Merley, M. M.; Peteet, D. M.; Peteet, D. M.

    2001-05-01

    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 41 00; 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 (8m) includes freshwater seeds such as Viola, Potomageton and Alnus along with Salix buds. Basal material from Croton Point (10m) includes fibrous woody material, foraminifera and Zanichellia seeds and other brackish vegetational components. The basal material from Piermont (13.77m) is lacking any identifyable macrofossils between 150 and 500 microns. The basal material from Iona Island (10m) 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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 μM and biogenic from 2.0 to 56 μM. 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.

  6. 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...

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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).

  16. Sulfate reduction in the salt marshes at Sapelo Island, Georgia

    SciTech Connect

    Howarth, R.W.; Giblin, A.

    1983-01-01

    Sulfate reduction rates were measured in stands of Spartina alterniflora at Sapelo Island, Georgia, in November 1980 by injecting tracer amounts of /sup 35/SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/ into cores, incubating overnight, and analyzing for the incorporation of /sup 35/S into reduced sulfur compounds. Qualitatively, sulfate reduction in the Georgia marsh is very similar to that in the Massachusetts marshes the authors have studied: FeS/sup 2/ (pyrite or marcasite) is the major end product. Lesser amounts of soluble sulfides, iron monosulfides, and elemental sulfur are also formed. The rate of sulfate reduction (determined by the same method)is significantly lower during November in Georgia than in the Great Sippewissett Marsh in Massachusetts, 0.090 vs. 0.27 moles SO/sub 4//sup 2 -/xm/sup -2/xd/sup -1/ in stands of short Spartina. The lower rates in Georgia may reflect a lower rate of organic carbon input by below ground production. Sulfate reduction appears to be the major form of respiration in the sediments of salt marshes in Georgia as well as in Massachusetts.

  17. 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.

  18. Salt marsh erosion rates and boundary features in a shallow Bay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

    Herein, we investigate the relationship between wind waves, salt marsh erosion rates, and the planar shape of marsh boundaries by using aerial images and the numerical model Coupled-Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment-Transport Modeling System (COAWST). Using Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, as a test site, we found that salt marsh erosion rates maintain a similar trend in time. We also found a significant relationship between salt marsh erosion rates and the shape of marsh boundaries which could be used as a geomorphic indicator of the degradation level of the marsh. Slowly eroding salt marshes are irregularly shaped with fractal dimension higher than rapidly deteriorating marshes. Moreover, for low-wave energy conditions, there is a high probability of isolated and significantly larger than average failures of marsh portions causing a long-tailed distribution of localized erosion rates. Finally, we confirm the existence of a significant relationship between salt marsh erosion rate and wind waves exposure. Results suggest that variations in time in the morphology of salt marsh boundaries could be used to infer changes in frequency and magnitude of external agents.

  19. 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

  20. Role of crab herbivory in die-off of New England salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Holdredge, Christine; Bertness, Mark D; Altieri, Andrew H

    2009-06-01

    Die-offs of cordgrass are pervasive throughout western Atlantic salt marshes, yet understanding of the mechanisms precipitating these events is limited. We tested whether herbivory by the native crab, Sesarma reticulatum, is generating die-offs of cordgrass that are currently occurring on Cape Cod, Massachusetts (U.S.A.), by manipulating crab access to cordgrass transplanted into die-off areas and healthy vegetation. We surveyed 12 Cape Cod marshes to investigate whether the extent of cordgrass die-off on creek banks, where die-offs are concentrated, was related to local Sesarma grazing intensity and crab density. We then used archived aerial images to examine whether creek bank die-off areas have expanded over the past 2 decades and tested the hypothesis that release from predation, leading to elevated Sesarma densities, is triggering cordgrass die-offs by tethering crabs where die-offs are pervasive and where die-offs have not yet been reported. Intensity of crab grazing on transplanted cordgrass was an order of magnitude higher in die-off areas than in adjacent vegetation. Surveys revealed that Sesarma herbivory has denuded nearly half the creek banks in Cape Cod marshes, and differences in crab-grazing intensity among marshes explained >80% of variation in the extent of the die-offs. Moreover, the rate of die-off expansion and area of marsh affected have more than doubled since 2000. Crab-tethering experiments suggest that release from predation has triggered elevated crab densities that are driving these die-offs, indicating that disruption of predator-prey interactions may be generating the collapse of marsh ecosystems previously thought to be exclusively under bottom-up control.

  1. Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the salt marsh vegetation of Louisiana.

    PubMed

    Hester, Mark W; Willis, Jonathan M; Rouhani, Shahrokh; Steinhoff, Marla A; Baker, Mary C

    2016-09-01

    The coastal wetland vegetation component of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment documented significant injury to the plant production and health of Louisiana salt marshes exposed to oiling. Specifically, marsh sites experiencing trace or greater vertical oiling of plant tissues displayed reductions in cover and peak standing crop relative to reference (no oiling), particularly in the marsh edge zone, for the majority of this four year study. Similarly, elevated chlorosis of plant tissue, as estimated by a vegetation health index, was detected for marsh sites with trace or greater vertical oiling in the first two years of the study. Key environmental factors, such as hydrologic regime, elevation, and soil characteristics, were generally similar across plant oiling classes (including reference), indicating that the observed injury to plant production and health was the result of plant oiling and not potential differences in environmental setting. Although fewer significant impacts to plant production and health were detected in the latter years of the study, this is due in part to decreased sample size occurring as a result of erosion (shoreline retreat) and resultant loss of plots, and should not be misconstrued as indicating full recovery of the ecosystem.

  2. 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...

  3. Ecological succession reveals potential signatures of marine-terrestrial transition in salt marsh fungal communities.

    PubMed

    Dini-Andreote, Francisco; Pylro, Victor Satler; Baldrian, Petr; van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Salles, Joana Falcão

    2016-08-01

    Marine-to-terrestrial transition represents one of the most fundamental shifts in microbial life. Understanding the distribution and drivers of soil microbial communities across coastal ecosystems is critical given the roles of microbes in soil biogeochemistry and their multifaceted influence on landscape succession. Here, we studied the fungal community dynamics in a well-established salt marsh chronosequence that spans over a century of ecosystem development. We focussed on providing high-resolution assessments of community composition, diversity and ecophysiological shifts that yielded patterns of ecological succession through soil formation. Notably, despite containing 10- to 100-fold lower fungal internal transcribed spacer abundances, early-successional sites revealed fungal richnesses comparable to those of more mature soils. These newly formed sites also exhibited significant temporal variations in β-diversity that may be attributed to the highly dynamic nature of the system imposed by the tidal regime. The fungal community compositions and ecophysiological assignments changed substantially along the successional gradient, revealing a clear signature of ecological replacement and gradually transforming the environment from a marine into a terrestrial system. Moreover, distance-based linear modelling revealed soil physical structure and organic matter to be the best predictors of the shifts in fungal β-diversity along the chronosequence. Taken together, our study lays the basis for a better understanding of the spatiotemporally determined fungal community dynamics in salt marshes and highlights their ecophysiological traits and adaptation in an evolving ecosystem.

  4. Belowground herbivory increases vulnerability of New England salt marshes to die-off.

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-01

    Belowground herbivory is commonly overlooked as a mechanism of top-down control in vegetated habitats, particularly in aquatic ecosystems. Recent research has revealed that increased densities of the herbivorous crab Sesarma reticulatum have led to runaway herbivory and widespread salt marsh die-off on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Aboveground herbivory is a major driver of this cordgrass habitat loss, but the role of belowground grazing is poorly understood. Sesarma live in communal burrows typically consisting of 1-2 openings and containing 2-3 crabs. However, at die-off sites, burrow complexes can cover > 90% of the low marsh zone, with crab densities as high as 50 crabs/m2 and burrow opening densities of 170 openings/m2. The magnitude of belowground Sesarma activity in association with salt marsh die-off provides an excellent opportunity to extend our knowledge of belowground herbivory impacts in coastal wetlands. Since Sesarma burrows allow access to cordgrass roots and rhizomes, and Sesarma are frequently restricted to burrows by thermal stress and predation, we hypothesized that belowground herbivory would be widespread in die-off areas. We experimentally demonstrate that Sesarma readily eat belowground roots and rhizomes in addition to aboveground cordgrass leaves. We then partitioned above- and belowground herbivory with field manipulations and found that belowground grazing is not only common, but can cause total plant mortality. Additional experiments revealed that plants remain vulnerable to belowground herbivory even after reaching a size refuge from aboveground grazing. This suggests that belowground herbivory contributes to salt marsh die-offs and adds to growing evidence that belowground herbivory is a widespread structuring force in plant communities that can limit habitat persistence.

  5. Diurnal Fluxes of Carbonyl Sulfide (COS) in a Subtropical Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whelan, M.; Min, D. H.; Rhew, R. C.; Liu, Y.

    2009-12-01

    The atmospheric sulfur budget has been greatly perturbed, with anthropogenic contributions exceeding natural emissions. Carbonyl sulfide (COS) is the most abundant, longest-lived reduced sulfur compound in the atmosphere, and COS concentration changes could have a significant effect on the global climate and the natural biogeochemical sulfur cycle. Measuring fluxes of COS presents a methodological challenge, and in situ measurements from terrestrial ecosystems are sparse. Terrestrial plants are considered to be the largest sink for COS in the troposphere, although specific species have been reported to act as sources. Here we describe production rates of COS from salt marsh plants on a Texas Gulf coast subtropical barrier island (27.8 °N, 97.1°W). In July 2009, static flux chamber measurements were performed on three sites over the course of 24 hours to capture the temporal and spatial variation of fluxes. Two of the sites were dominated by B. maritima, a common salt marsh plant, while one was a control plot with only marsh soil and no vegetation. Fluxes from the two sites were measured within an hour of each other and showed a very similar pattern with time, indicating that the COS emissions responded to the same environmental factors. Of the environmental parameters measured, fluxes correlated best with soil temperatures at 5 cm depth. The site with the drier of the two soils consistently yielded a 20-30% larger flux. The control plot produced an order of magnitude less COS, but still exhibited a positive flux. These results are part of an ongoing study on how subtropical salt marshes contribute to the global atmospheric sulfur budget.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Vegetation effects on fish distribution in impounded salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stolen, Eric D.; Collazo, Jaime; Percival, H. Franklin

    2009-01-01

    We compared the density and biomass of resident fish in vegetated and unvegetated flooded habitats of impounded salt marshes in the northern Indian River Lagoon (IRL) Estuary of east-central Florida. A 1-m2 throw trap was used to sample fish in randomly located, paired sample plots (n = 198 pairs) over 5 seasons in 7 impoundments. We collected a total of 15 fish taxa, and 88% of the fishes we identified from the samples belonged to three species: Cyprinodon variegatus (Sheepshead Minnow), Gambusia holbrooki (Eastern Mosquitofish), and Poecilia latipinna (Sailfin Molly). Vegetated habitat usually had higher density and biomass of fish. Mean fish density (and 95% confidence interval) for vegetated and unvegetated sites were 8.2 (6.7–9.9) and 2.0 (1.6–2.4) individuals m-2, respectively; mean biomass (and 95%) confidence interval) for vegetated and unvegetated sites were 3.0 (2.5–3.7) and 1.1 (0.9–1.4) g m-2, respectively. We confirmed previous findings that impounded salt marshes of the northern IRL Estuary produce a high standing stock of resident fishes. Seasonal patterns of abundance were consistent with fish moving between vegetated and unvegetated habitat as water levels changed in the estuary. Differences in density, mean size, and species composition of resident fishes between vegetated and unvegetated habitats have important implications for movement of biomass and nutrients out of salt marsh by piscivores (e.g., wading birds and fishes) via a trophic relay.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Salt marsh as a coastal filter for the oceans: changes in function with experimental increases in nitrogen loading and sea-level rise.

    PubMed

    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 (NH(4)NO(3))-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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Candidate Tsunami Deposits at Carpinteria Salt Marsh, Southern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peters, R.; Jaffe, B. E.; Buckley, M.; Watt, S. G.

    2008-12-01

    Carpinteria Salt Marsh, 15 km southeast of Santa Barbara, California preserves geologic evidence of possible past tsunami inundation along the southern California coast. The proximity of the Santa Barbara coastline to the Goleta slide complex and to numerous offshore faults in the Santa Barbara basin suggests a potential for moderate to large tsunamis. A field investigation in February 2008 collected more than 60 cores and examined 8 cutbank exposures throughout the marsh. Sand layers consistent with tsunami deposition were found at depths from 35 to 96 cm in cores from four areas within the marsh. The sand layers, which range from 1 cm to 35 cm thick and extend up to 630 m inland, had sharp lower contacts and were often normally graded. In addition, in some cores there were one or more intervening mud layers within the sand layer. Composition and angularity of the sand is similar to sands found in the surrounding beach, dune, and nearshore environments. While the sand layers occur at similar depths in the cores, they were concentrated in four areas that were isolated by regions with no evidence of tsunami deposition. The deposits may represent spatially discontinuous deposition from one event, spatially continuous deposition from one event with poor preservation of the deposits, or deposition from more than one event. Discontinuous deposition from one event is in contrast to spatially continuous sheet deposition characteristic of moderate to large tsunamis, but may represent isolated deposition by a smaller tsunami along channel banks. The deposit is more consistent with tsunami deposition than deposition by other event-driven processes such as storms or floods. However, marsh processes that may create normally graded sand layers such as channel migration must also be considered before accepting a tsunami origin for the deposits.

  15. 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...

  16. 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...

  17. 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...

  18. Napa River Salt Marsh Restoration Project. Volume 2: Environmental Impact Statement Comments Letters and Response

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2004-06-01

    Sacramento splittail, San Pablo song sparrows, Point Reyes and soft bird’s beak, salt marsh harvest mice, clapper and black rails, and salt marsh...brackish and 5-12 saline waters on site are generally unsuitable for the red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytoni). The western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata

  19. 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...

  20. 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...

  1. 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-...

  2. 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...

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Context-dependent effects of the loss of Spartina alterniflora on salt marsh invertebrate communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McFarlin, Caroline R.; Bishop, T. Dale; Hester, Mark W.; Alber, Merryl

    2015-09-01

    Sudden dieback of the salt marsh grass Spartina alterniflora during 2000-2002 transformed once-vegetated areas to bare sediment in coastal Georgia and Louisiana. We investigated the effects of losing this foundation species on habitat provisioning for benthic epifauna, macroinfauna, and meiofauna in these distinct geographical regions. In GA, significant shifts in invertebrate community assemblages were observed between bare and reference (vegetated) plots, with abundances of all invertebrate groups and the diversity of macroinfauna lower in bare plots. In LA, community assemblages overlapped considerably in dieback and reference plots. Although epifaunal snails were significantly decreased in dieback plots, meiofauna were unexpectedly increased. Other invertebrates did not differ between plots. Supplemental transplanted plots allowed for direct evaluation of stem density effects on invertebrates. Stem density predicted abundances of all invertebrate groups in GA, and was positively correlated with increased soil moisture. In LA, elevation and soil moisture were good predictors of infauna but were not related to stem density. Differences between the states suggest that S. alterniflora may not provide equivalent ecosystem services in all salt marshes. Additional disturbances (drought, GA; hurricanes, LA) decreased infaunal density and taxon richness in 2008. However, in both states the reduction of macroinfauna was larger in bare than reference areas, suggesting that vegetation protected against further disturbance. Our results suggest that the role of S. alterniflora is context-dependent both in terms of geographic setting and the specific ecosystem service under consideration.

  6. 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.

  7. Geochemical evidence for cryptic sulfur cycling in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mills, Jennifer V.; Antler, Gilad; Turchyn, Alexandra V.

    2016-11-01

    Cryptic sulfur cycling is an enigmatic process in which sulfate is reduced to some lower-valence state sulfur species and subsequently quantitatively reoxidized; the rate and microbial energetics of this process and how prevalent it may be in the environment remain controversial. Here we investigate sulfur cycling in salt marsh sediments from Norfolk, England where we observe high ferrous iron concentrations with no depletion of sulfate or change in the sulfur isotope ratio of that sulfate, but a 5‰ increase in the oxygen isotope ratio in sulfate, indicating that sulfate has been through a reductive cycle replacing its oxygen atoms. This cryptic sulfur cycle was replicated in laboratory incubations using 18O-enriched water, demonstrating that the field results do not solely result from mixing processes in the natural environment. Numerical modeling of the laboratory incubations scaled to represent the salt marsh sediments suggests that the uptake rate of sulfate during this cryptic sulfur cycling is similar to the uptake rate of sulfate during the fastest microbial sulfate reduction that has been measured in the natural environment. The difference is that during cryptic sulfur cycling, all of the sulfur is subsequently reoxidized to sulfate. We discuss mechanisms for this pathway of sulfur cycling including the possible link to the subsurface iron cycle.

  8. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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.

  10. 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

    2016-01-05

    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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Can conservation biologists rely on established community structure rules to manage novel systems? ... Not in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Fariña, José M; Silliman, Brian R; Bertness, Mark D

    2009-03-01

    We experimentally examined plant zonation in a previously unstudied Chilean salt marsh system to test the generality of mechanisms generating zonation of plants across intertidal stress gradients. Vertical zonation in this system is striking. The low-lying clonal succulent, Sarcocornia fruticosa, dominates the daily flooded low marsh, while intermediate elevations are dominated by the much taller Spartina densiflora. Irregularly flooded higher elevations are dominated by Schoenoplectus californicus, with the small forb, Selliera radicans, found associated with Schoenoplectus at its base. Transplant studies of all four species into each zone both with and without competition revealed the mechanisms driving these striking patterns in plant segregation. In the regularly flooded low marsh, Sarcocornia and Spartina grow in the zone that they normally dominate and are displaced when reciprocally transplanted between zones with neighbors, but without neighbors they grow well in each other's zone. Thus, interspecific competition alone generates low marsh zonation as in some mediterranean marshes, but differently than most of the Californian marshes where physical stress is the dominant factor. In contrast, mechanisms generating high marsh patterns are similar to New England marshes. Schoenoplectus dies when transplanted to lower elevations with or without neighbors and thus is limited from the low marsh by physical stress, while Selliera grows best associated with Schoenoplectus, which shades and ameliorates potentially limiting desiccation stress. These results reveal that mechanisms driving community organization across environmental stress gradients, while generally similar among systems, cannot be directly extrapolated to unstudied systems. This finding has important implications for ecosystem conservation because it suggests that the mechanistic understanding of pattern generation necessary to manage and restore specific communities in novel habitats cannot rely

  15. Substrate mediates consumer control of salt marsh cordgrass on Cape Cod, New England.

    PubMed

    Bertness, Mark D; Holdredge, Christine; Altieri, Andrew H

    2009-08-01

    Cordgrass die-offs in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, salt marshes have challenged the view that the primary production of New England salt marshes is controlled by physical factors. These die-offs have increased dramatically over the last decade and are caused by the common herbivorous marsh crab Sesarma reticulatum, but other factors that control crab impacts remain unclear. We examined the influence of plant nutrient supply and disturbances on Sesarma herbivory by fertilizing plots and creating experimental disturbances, since previous studies have revealed that they mediate the intensity of herbivory in other Western Atlantic marshes. Neither nutrient enrichment nor experimental disturbances affected crab grazing intensity despite their strong effects in other marsh systems. Within and among Cape Cod salt marshes, however, Sesarma burrows are concentrated on peat substrate. Surveys of 10 Cape Cod marshes revealed that burrow density, depth, and complexity are all much higher on peat than on sand or mud substrate, and paralleling these patterns, crab abundance, herbivore pressure, and the expansion of die-off areas are markedly higher on peat than on other substrates. Complementing work hypothesizing that predator release is triggering increased crab herbivory in Cape Cod marshes, these results suggest that cordgrass die-offs are constrained to the peat substrate commonly found on the leading edge of marshes and that the vulnerability of New England salt marshes to crab herbivory and future die-offs may be predictable.

  16. 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

  17. Assessing the wildlife habitat value of New England salt marshes: I. Model and application.

    PubMed

    McKinney, Richard A; Charpentier, Michael A; Wigand, Cathleen

    2009-07-01

    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 to 12 salt marshes located in Narragansett Bay, RI resulted in assessment scores that ranged over a factor of 1.5 from lowest to highest. Pre-classifying the results based on marsh size and morphology helped to compare assessment scores between marshes, and demonstrated that even the lower ranking marshes had substantial habitat value. Stepwise multiple regression analysis of assessment scores and model components demonstrated that salt marsh morphology, the degree of anthropogenic modification, and salt marsh vegetative heterogeneity were significant variables and accounted for 91.3% of the variability in component scores. Our results suggest that targeting these components for restoration may lead to improved assessment scores for our study marshes. We also examined the use of lower resolution remote sensing data in the assessment in order to minimize the time and effort required to complete the model. Scores obtained using smaller-scale, lower resolution data were significantly lower than those obtained using larger-scale, higher resolution data (df = 11; t = 2.2; p < 0.001). The difference was significantly positively correlated with the portion of the assessment score that could be attributed to trees, pools, and pannes and marsh size (r (2) =0.50, F = 4.6, p = 0.04), and could indicate a bias against smaller, more heterogeneous marshes. We conclude that potential differences need to be weighed against the time benefit of using this type of data, bearing in mind the marsh size and the goals of the assessment. Overall, our assessment can provide information to aid in prioritizing marshes for protection and restoration, identify marshes that may harbor significant biodiversity, or help monitor changes in habitat value over time.

  18. Ecohydrology of drought in a tide-dominated salt marsh island

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, A. L.; Wilson, A. M.; Morris, J. T.

    2010-12-01

    The importance of groundwater flow for wetland zonation and productivity is particularly striking in salt marsh ecosystems, where tidally-influenced groundwater flow controls salinity in addition to saturation state and nutrient transport. Here we describe complex interactions between groundwater, rainfall, evapotranspiration and surface water in an ostensibly simple salt marsh island that was affected by acute marsh dieback in 2001-2002, during a period of severe drought. Two mechanisms by which drought may cause dieback have been hypothesized: (1) soil drying leads to changes in chemistry (pH and/or redox state) and (2) drought leads to high porewater salinities. In addition to assessing these two hypotheses, a further question at our site is how a dearth of rainfall could affect an island that lacks a freshwater lens and is typically inundated by saline surface water twice a day. We instrumented the marsh with a network of piezometers and diffusion samplers in 2006. Hydrologic monitoring revealed rare periods when the marsh was not inundated for several consecutive tidal cycles, but no periods with similar low water levels were found in the tidal record prior to the dieback. Thus, soil drying appears unlikely to have been the cause of dieback at our site. Porewater salinity was monitored via a combination of piezometers and diffusion samplers. We found striking variations in salinity (14 - 40 ppt) in the upper 1 m of the marsh mud, but nearly constant salinity (36 ppt) at depths greater than 1 m. These results suggest significant infiltration of fresh rainwater, despite frequent inundation by surface water, with subsequent increases in salinity via transpiration as water moves downward through the root zone. Simple statistical models suggest that porewater salinity is correlated with surface water salinity and rainfall over periods of 30-60 days, but these models fail to capture the full range of variability in this complex system. Results also suggest that

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Donnelly, J P; Bertness, M D

    2001-12-04

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Latitudinal variation in herbivore pressure in Atlantic Coast salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Pennings, Steven C; Ho, Chuan-Kai; Salgado, Cristiano S; Wieski, Kazimierz; Davé, Nilam; Kunza, Amy E; Wason, Elizabeth L

    2009-01-01

    Despite long-standing interest in latitudinal variation in ecological patterns and processes, there is to date weak and conflicting evidence that herbivore pressure varies with latitude. We used three approaches to examine latitudinal variation in herbivore pressure in Atlantic Coast salt marshes, focusing on five abundant plant taxa: the grass Spartina alterniflora, the congeneric rushes Juncus gerardii and J. roemerianus, the forb Solidago sempervirens, and the shrubs Iva frutescens and Baccharis halimifolia. Herbivore counts indicated that chewing and gall-making herbivores were typically > or = 10 times more abundant at low-latitude sites than at high-latitude sites, but sucking herbivores did not show a clear pattern. For two herbivore taxa (snails and tettigoniid grasshoppers), correctly interpreting latitudinal patterns required an understanding of the feeding ecology of the species, because the species common at high latitudes did not feed heavily on plant leaves whereas the related species common at low latitudes did. Damage to plants from chewing herbivores was 2-10 times greater at low-latitude sites than at high-latitude sites. Damage to transplanted "phytometer" plants was 100 times greater for plants transplanted to low- than to high-latitude sites, and two to three times greater for plants originating from high- vs. low-latitude sites. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence that pressure from chewing and gall-making herbivores is greater at low vs. high latitudes in Atlantic Coast salt marshes. Sucking herbivores do not show this pattern and deserve greater study. Selective pressure due to greater herbivore damage at low latitudes is likely to partially explain documented patterns of low plant palatability to chewing herbivores and greater plant defenses at low latitudes, but other factors may also play a role in mediating these geographic patterns.

  14. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schwarz, C.; Ye, Q. H.; Wal, D.; Zhang, L. Q.; Bouma, T.; Ysebaert, T.; Herman, P. M. J.

    2014-02-01

    At the transition between mudflat and salt marsh, vegetation is traditionally regarded as a sustaining factor for previously incised mudflat channels, able to conserve the channel network via bank stabilization following plant colonization (i.e., vegetation-stabilized channel inheritance). This is in contrast to recent studies revealing vegetation as the main driver of tidal channel emergence through vegetation-induced channel erosion. We present a coupled hydrodynamic morphodynamic plant growth model to simulate plant expansion and channel formation by our model species (Spartina alterniflora) during a mudflat-salt marsh transition with various initial bathymetries (flat, shoal dense, shoal sparse, and deep dense channels). This simulated landscape development is then compared to remote sensing images of the Yangtze estuary, China, and the Scheldt estuary in Netherlands. Our results propose the existence of a threshold in preexisting mudflat channel depth, which favors either vegetation-stabilized channel inheritance or vegetation-induced channel erosion processes. The increase in depth of preexisting mudflat channels favors flow routing through them, consequently leaving less flow and momentum remaining for vegetation-induced channel erosion processes. This threshold channel depth will be influenced by field specific parameters such as hydrodynamics (tidal range and flow), sediment characteristics, and plant species. Hence, our study shows that the balance between vegetation-stabilized channel inheritance and vegetation-induced channel erosion depends on ecosystem properties.

  16. Tagus estuary and Ria de Aveiro salt marsh dynamics and the impact of sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valentim, J. M.; Vaz, N.; Silva, H.; Duarte, B.; Caçador, I.; Dias, J. M.

    2013-09-01

    Different characteristics of Spartina maritima found in two distinct salt marshes located in different estuaries were analysed through interpretation of their local hydrodynamic patterns, as well as the impact of sea level rise on physical processes and consequently on plant dynamics and salt marshes stability. These salt marshes are situated in two of the most important Portuguese coastal systems, Tagus estuary (Rosário salt marsh) and Ria de Aveiro lagoon (Barra salt marsh), which are dominated by physical processes that induce strong tidal currents. They were monitored during one year and plant and sediment samples of S. maritima were collected quarterly in order to determine the vegetation coverage, above and belowground biomass, organic matter and sediment moisture. Residual circulation, tidal asymmetry and tidal dissipation were determined from numerical modelling results of the MOHID 2D model that was applied to each coastal system, considering the actual sea level and a sea level rise (SLR) scenario. Results suggest that the different characteristics found for Spartina maritima in the Rosário and the Barra salt marshes may be related with the diverse hydrodynamic conditions identified for each salt marsh. Consequently, the exploration of SLR scenario predictions indicates how these salt marshes could evolve in the future, showing that the important changes in these hydrodynamic parameters under climate change context might induce significant modifications in the salt marshes dynamics and stability. SLR scenario could lead to changes in nutrients and sediments patterns around the salt marshes and thus vegetation coverage percentage would be affected. Additionally, as a consequence of flood duration increase, sediment moisture will increase causing a stress condition to plants. Hence, the ratio below/aboveground biomass might increase, becoming critical to plants survival under conditions of accelerated sea level rise. Accordingly, both SLR and expected

  17. 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).

  18. Mean tidal range in salt marsh units of Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Defne, Zafer; Ganju, Neil K.

    2016-01-01

    Biomass production is positively correlated with mean tidal range in salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of the United States of America. Recent studies support the idea that enhanced stability of the marshes can be attributed to increased vegetative growth due to increased tidal range. This dataset displays the spatial variation mean tidal range (i.e. Mean Range of Tides, MN) in the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge (EBFNWR), which spans over Great Bay, Little Egg Harbor, and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, USA. MN was based on the calculated difference in height between mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW) using the VDatum (v3.5) software (http://vdatum.noaa.gov/). The input elevation was set to zero in VDatum to calculate the relative difference between the two datums. As part of the Hurricane Sandy Science Plan, the U.S. Geological Survey has started a Wetland Synthesis Project to expand National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards and forecast products to coastal wetlands. The intent is to provide federal, state, and local managers with tools to estimate their vulnerability and ecosystem service potential. For this purpose, the response and resilience of coastal wetlands to physical factors need to be assessed in terms of the ensuing change to their vulnerability and ecosystem services. EBFNWR was selected as a pilot study area.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Habitat characteristics and eggshell distribution of the salt marsh mosquito, Aedes vigilax, in marshes in subtropical Eastern Australia.

    PubMed

    Dale, Pat E R; Knight, Jon; Kay, Brian H; Chapman, Heather; Ritchie, Scott A; Brown, Michael D

    2008-01-01

    Research at 10 locations in coastal subtropical Queensland, Australia, has shown that salt marshes contained heterogeneous distributions of eggshells of the pest and vector mosquito Aedes vigilax (Skuse) (Diptera:Culicidae). The eggshell distribution was related to specific vegetation assemblages, with a mix of the grass, Sporobolus virginicus (L.) Kunth (Poales: Poaceae), and the beaded glasswort, Sarcocornia quinqueflora (Bunge ex (Ung.-Stern) A.J. Scott (Caryophyllales: Chenopodiaceae), as significantly higher in eggshells than any other vegetation. There were also high numbers in the mix of S. virginicus with the arrowgrass, Triglochin striata Ruiz & Pavón (Alismatales: Juncaginaceae). Both mixed types are found in relatively wetter areas, despite very few eggshells being found generally in the low marsh. Most sites contained S. virginicus and eggshell locations were variable for this species alone. This was probably related to its life form variability in response to salinity and location on the marsh. Location on the marsh was important for eggshell distribution with most eggshells around the edges of pools and depressions, followed by, but to a significantly lesser extent, the marsh surface. Eggshells were fewest in the low marsh. Partition analysis resulted in a tree that simplified and summarised the factors important for eggshell distribution confirming the individual analyses. The potential effects of climate, sea level and other change are also briefly discussed in the context of likely changes to land cover and relative location on the marsh. For example, increased sea level may lead to low marsh conditions extending into higher marsh area with implications for oviposition and numbers of eggshells.

  3. 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; Middleton, Beth A.

    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.

  4. 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.

  5. Balanced sediment fluxes in southern California’s Mediterranean-climate zone salt marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosencranz, Jordan A.; Ganju, Neil K.; Ambrose, Richard F.; Brosnahan, Sandra M.; Dickhudt, Patrick J.; Guntenspergen, Glenn R.; MacDonald, Glen M.; Takekawa, John Y.; Thorne, Karen M.

    2016-01-01

    Salt marsh elevation and geomorphic stability depends on mineral sedimentation. Many Mediterranean-climate salt marshes along southern California, USA coast import sediment during El Niño storm events, but sediment fluxes and mechanisms during dry weather are potentially important for marsh stability. We calculated tidal creek sediment fluxes within a highly modified, sediment-starved, 1.5-km2 salt marsh (Seal Beach) and a less modified 1-km2marsh (Mugu) with fluvial sediment supply. We measured salt marsh plain suspended sediment concentration and vertical accretion using single stage samplers and marker horizons. At Seal Beach, a 2014 storm yielded 39 and 28 g/s mean sediment fluxes and imported 12,000 and 8800 kg in a western and eastern channel. Western channel storm imports offset 8700 kg exported during 2 months of dry weather, while eastern channel storm imports augmented 9200 kg imported during dry weather. During the storm at Mugu, suspended sediment concentrations on the marsh plain increased by a factor of four; accretion was 1–2 mm near creek levees. An exceptionally high tide sequence yielded 4.4 g/s mean sediment flux, importing 1700 kg: 20 % of Mugu’s dry weather fluxes. Overall, low sediment fluxes were observed, suggesting that these salt marshes are geomorphically stable during dry weather conditions. Results suggest storms and high lunar tides may play large roles, importing sediment and maintaining dry weather sediment flux balances for southern California salt marshes. However, under future climate change and sea level rise scenarios, results suggest that balanced sediment fluxes lead to marsh elevational instability based on estimated mineral sediment deficits.

  6. Balanced Sediment Fluxes in Southern California's Mediterranean-climate Zone Salt Marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosencranz, J. A.; Dickhudt, P.; Ganju, N. K.; Thorne, K.; Takekawa, J.; Ambrose, R. F.; Guntenspergen, G. R.; Brosnahan, S.; MacDonald, G. M.

    2015-12-01

    Salt marsh elevation and geomorphic stability depends on mineral sedimentation. Many southern California, USA salt marshes import sediment during El Niño storm events, but sediment fluxes and mechanisms during dry weather are also potentially important for marsh stability. We calculated tidal creek sediment fluxes within a sediment starved 1.5 km2 salt marsh (Seal Beach) and a less modified 1 km2 marsh (Mugu) with a watershed sediment supply. We measured salt marsh plain suspended sediment concentration and vertical accretion using single stage samplers and marker horizons. At Seal Beach, a 2014 storm yielded 39 and 28 g/s mean sediment fluxes and imported 12000 and 8800 kg in a western channel. This offset 8700 kg export during two months of dry weather, while landward net fluxes in the eastern channel accounted for 33% of the import. During the storm, suspended sediment concentrations on the marsh plain increased by a factor of four; accretion was 1-2 mm near creek levees. An exceptionally high tide sequence at Mugu yielded 4.4 g/s mean sediment flux, importing 1700 kg, accounting for 20% of dry weather fluxes. Overall, low sediment fluxes were observed, suggesting that these salt marshes are currently geomorphically stable. Our results suggest that storms and exceptionally high lunar tides may play large roles, importing sediment and maintaining dry weather sediment flux balances for southern California salt marshes. However, under future climate change and sea-level rise scenarios, results suggest that balanced sediment fluxes may lead to marsh elevational instability, based on estimated mineral sediment deficits.

  7. Mosquitoes associated with ditch-plugged and control tidal salt marshes on the Delmarva Peninsula.

    PubMed

    Leisnham, Paul T; Sandoval-Mohapatra, Sarah

    2011-08-01

    A study was conducted during the summer of 2009 (from July to September) to characterize mosquito communities among different habitats in five historically ditched tidal salt marshes and three adjacent wooded areas in the E.A. Vaughn Wetland Management Area on the Maryland Delmarva Peninsula, USA. Study marshes are characteristic of Atlantic coastal salt marshes that had undergone grid ditching from the 1930s to 1950s. In the autumn of 2008 (October and November) ditches were plugged near their outlets in two ('experimental') marshes with the aim to restore their natural tidal hydrology. The three other marshes were not plugged. Marshes were sampled from July to September in 2009 by using standard dip count method. A total of 2,457 mosquito larvae representing six species were collected on 15.4% (86/557) of all sample occasions and 399 adults representing four mosquito species were collected from landing counts. Aedes sollicitans, Anopheles bradleyi and Culex salinarius were the most common species collected in larval habitats, and Ae. sollicitans was the most common adult collected. Wooded habitats had more total mosquitoes, were also more frequently occupied by mosquitoes and had higher densities of mosquitoes than marsh habitats. Almost all larvae collected from marshes were from one experimental and one control site. The majority of larvae at the control site were Ae. sollicitans in marsh pannes while Cx. salinarius, An. bradleyi, Ae. cantator, and Ae. sollicitans were collected in high numbers from ditches at the experimental site. We found a difference in the proportion of marsh pannes occupied by Ae. sollicitans but not total mosquitoes sampled 4-5 days after spring tide events than on other occasions. Salinity measures of 42 larval habitats showed lower median salinity in mosquito-occupied habitats (11.5 ppt) than unoccupied habitats (20.1 ppt), and in habitats in wooded areas followed by ditches and pannes in marsh areas. The results of this study suggest

  8. Salt marsh sediment bacteria: their distribution and response to external nutrient inputs.

    PubMed

    Bowen, Jennifer L; Crump, Byron C; Deegan, Linda A; Hobbie, John E

    2009-08-01

    A primary focus among microbial ecologists in recent years has been to understand controls on the distribution of microorganisms in various habitats. Much less attention has been paid to the way that environmental disturbance interacts with processes that regulate bacterial community composition. We determined how human disturbance affected the distribution and community structure of salt marsh sediment bacteria by using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA in five different habitats in each of four salt marshes located in northeastern Massachusetts, USA. Two of the four marsh creeks were experimentally enriched 15 x above background by the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers for two or more growing seasons. Our results indicate that extrinsic factors acting at broad scales do not influence the distribution of salt marsh sediment bacteria. Intrinsic factors, controlled by local-scale environmental heterogeneity, do play a role in structuring these sediment microbial communities, although nutrient enrichment did not have a consequential effect on the microbial community in most marsh habitats. Only in one habitat, a region of the marsh creek wall that is heavily colonized by filamentous algae, did we see any effect of fertilization on the microbial community structure. When similar habitats were compared among marshes, there was considerable convergence in the microbial community composition during the growing season. Environmental factors that correlated best with microbial community composition varied with habitat, suggesting that habitat-specific intrinsic forces are primarily responsible for maintaining microbial diversity in salt marsh sediments.

  9. 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...

  10. Biostimulation For The Treatment Of An Oil-Contaminated Coastal Salt Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    A field study was conducted on a coastal salt marsh in Nova Scotia, Canada, during the summer of 2000. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of biostimulation in restoring an oil-contaminated coastal marsh dominated by Spartina alterniflora under north...

  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. 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...

  13. 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 ...

  14. RELATIONSHIPS OF NITROGEN LOADINGS AND PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS WITH PLANT STRUCTURE IN NEW ENGLAND SALT MARSHES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Nitrogen enrichment is hypothesized to cause competitive displacement of dominant plants in New England salt marshes. In this Narragansett Bay, RI, field survey, we examined the vascular plant species richness and the extent, density, and height of Spartina species in ten marshe...

  15. A mid-Holocene record of sediment dynamics and high resolution accretion rates in a coastal salt marsh from Northern California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    Sediment accretion rates in coastal salt marshes are the critical determining factor in terms of ecosystem stability in the face of accelerated sea level rise (SLR), projected to rise by up to 1.4 m by 2100 in Southern California (National Research Council, 2012). However, high resolution studies of accretion rates in coastal salt marshes over the past several millennia have not yet been conducted for most of the US west coast. We collected multiple sediment records from small salt marshes surrounding Humboldt Bay, California. Due to this unique tectonic setting, many suspect cores from these marshes have evidence of coastal subsidence due to earthquake activity or large tsunami deposits (Jacoby et al., 1995). These records therefore are one of the best proxy measures for how salt marshes in California may respond to accelerated SLR. We analyzed all cores for magnetic susceptibility, % organic matter, and select cores for particle size. High resolution, millennial and centennial scale, radiocarbon dating for these sediment records reveals a detailed history of marsh accretion rates.

  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.

  17. 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.)

  18. 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

  19. Greenhouse gas emissions in salt marshes and their response to nitrogen loading

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

    Salt marshes play an important role in global and regional carbon and nitrogen cycling. Anthropogenic nitrogen loading may alter 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 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 (between 1 and 10 gN m-2y-1) were not significant, but strong pulse emissions of N2O were observed after nitrogen was artificially added to the marsh. We found that the studied salt marsh was a significant carbon sink (NEP ~ 380 gC m-2y-1). CH4 fluxes are 3 orders of magnitude less than CO2 fluxes in the salt marsh. Carbon fluxes are driven by light, salinity, tide, and temperature. We conclude that restoration or conservation of this carbon sink has a significant social benefit for carbon credit.

  20. South Bay Salt Pond Tidal Marsh Restoration at Pond A17 Project

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Information about the SFBWQP South Bay Salt Pond Tidal Marsh Restoration at Pond A17 Project, part of an EPA competitive grant program to improve SF Bay water quality focused on restoring impaired waters and enhancing aquatic resources.

  1. 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)

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. The role of Phragmites australis in mediating inland salt marsh migration in a Mid-Atlantic estuary.

    PubMed

    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.

  5. Native plant restoration combats environmental change: development of carbon and nitrogen sequestration capacity using small cordgrass in European salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Curado, Guillermo; Rubio-Casal, Alfredo E; Figueroa, Enrique; Grewell, Brenda J; Castillo, Jesús M

    2013-10-01

    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 marshes dominated by Spartina maritima to provide support for restoration and management strategies that may offset negative aspects of eutrophication and climate change in estuarine ecosystems. Sediment C content was between ca. 13 mg C g(-1)and sediment N content was ca. 1.8 mg N g(-1). The highest C content for S. maritima was recorded in leaves and stems (ca. 420 mg C g(-1)) and the lowest in roots (361 ± 4 mg C g(-1)). S. maritima also concentrated more N in its leaves (31 ± 1 mg N g(-1)) than in other organs. C stock in the restored marshes was 29.6 t C ha(-1); ca. 16 % was stored in S. maritima tissues. N stock was 3.6 t N ha(-1), with 8.3 % stored in S. maritima. Our results showed that the S. maritima restored marshes, 2.5 years after planting, were sequestering atmospheric C and, therefore, provide some mitigation for global warming. Stands are also capturing nitrogen and reducing eutrophication. The concentrations of C and N contents in sediments, and cordgrass relative cover of 62 %, and low below-ground biomass (BGB) suggest restored marshes can sequester more C and N. S. maritima plantations in low marshes replace bare sediments and invasive populations of exotic Spartina densiflora and increase the C and N sequestration capacity of the marsh by increasing biomass production and accumulation.

  6. 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

  7. Long-term fertilization alters the relative importance of nitrate reduction pathways in salt marsh sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, Xuefeng; Ji, Qixing; Angell, John H.; Kearns, Patrick J.; Yang, Hannah J.; Bowen, Jennifer L.; Ward, Bess B.

    2016-08-01

    Salt marshes provide numerous valuable ecological services. In particular, nitrogen (N) removal in salt marsh sediments alleviates N loading to the coastal ocean. N removal reduces the threat of eutrophication caused by increased N inputs from anthropogenic sources. It is unclear, however, whether chronic nutrient overenrichment alters the capacity of salt marshes to remove anthropogenic N. To assess the effect of nutrient enrichment on N cycling in salt marsh sediments, we examined important N cycle pathways in experimental fertilization plots in a New England salt marsh. We determined rates of nitrification, denitrification, and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) using sediment slurry incubations with 15N labeled ammonium or nitrate tracers under oxic headspace (20% oxygen/80% helium). Nitrification and denitrification rates were more than tenfold higher in fertilized plots compared to control plots. By contrast, DNRA, which retains N in the system, was high in control plots but not detected in fertilized plots. The relative contribution of DNRA to total nitrate reduction largely depends on the carbon/nitrate ratio in the sediment. These results suggest that long-term fertilization shifts N cycling in salt marsh sediments from predominantly retention to removal.

  8. Salt marsh and seagrass communities of Bakkhali Estuary, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hena, M. K. Abu; Short, F. T.; Sharifuzzaman, S. M.; Hasan, M.; Rezowan, M.; Ali, M.

    2007-10-01

    The species identification, distribution pattern, density and biomass of salt marsh and seagrass plants with some of the ecological parameters were studied in the Bakkhali river estuary, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh during the first half of 2006. Two salt marsh species ( Spartina sp. and Imperata cylindrica) and one seagrass species ( Halophila beccarii) were identified during this investigation, providing the first reports of Spartina sp. and H. beccarii in coastal Bangladesh. Seagrass H. beccarii was found in an accreted area and co-existing with salt marsh, and scattered sparsely in the salt marsh habitat and macroalgae Ulva intestinalis. Flowering and fruiting were recorded from the seagrass H. beccarri during January and February. No flowers and fruits were observed for the salt marsh Spartina sp. during the study period. Results showed that the shoot density of Spartina ranged from 400 to 2875 shoots m -2 with the highest total biomass (165.80 g dry weight (DW) m -2) in March. Shoot density of H. beccarii ranged from 2716 to 14320 shoots m -2 in this estuarine coastal environment. The total biomass of seagrass was higher (17.56 g DW m -2) in March compared to the other months. The highest H. beccarii above ground (AG) biomass and below ground (BG) biomass were 9.59 g DW m -2 and 9.42 g DW m -2, respectively. These parameters are comparable with those generally observed for the salt marsh and seagrass species in the other places of the world.

  9. Intertidal variation in foraminiferal species diversity: Mississippi-Louisiana salt marshes

    SciTech Connect

    Lariccia, M.P.; Krutak, P.R.

    1983-03-01

    Salt marshes are tide-stressed environments where ecologic variables exert strong selective control upon the distribution, type, and abundance of organisms. Ecologic conditions range from marine to terrestrial; hence gradational and/or abrupt environmental changes across marshes produce similar gradients in communities of organisms and their biotopes. Salt marshes are one of the present-day sites of peat accumulation. They represent a potential millieu for lignite and coal formation. Recognition of microenvironments within such marshes will provide coal explorationists and paleontologists with another tool for predicting the location of subsurface peats, lignites, and coals. Twenty-eight modern bottom samples were collected for analysis for foraminiferal populations (total = live + dead) in the Hancock County, Mississippi, and Pearl River, Louisiana, marshes during May and June 1981. After extracting a minimum of 300 specimens/sample, foraminiferal species diversity patterns among the 14 doubly sampled stations were studied.

  10. Influence of Watershed Runoff on Nutrient Dynamics in a Southern California Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Page, Henry M.; Petty, Robert L.; Meade, Daniel E.

    1995-08-01

    The effect of freshwater runoff on nutrient loading and dynamics was studied in Carpinteria Salt Marsh, a typically small (93 ha) southern California, U.S.A., estuary adjoining a watershed supporting extensive agricultural and urban development. Concentrations of dissolved nitrate, but not ammonium or phosphate, were elevated in stream flow and perched groundwater in the watershed, relative to marsh surface waters. Loading of nitrate and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) from the watershed, but not ammonium or phosphate, increased as a function of stream discharge. Estimates of net nutrient exchange over selected tidal cycles suggested that the marsh exported nitrate, ammonium and PON to the Santa Barbara Channel. Nitrate and PON were advected from the watershed through the marsh while ammonium was produced within the marsh and exported. The availability of imported nitrogen for primary production may be limited by marsh tidal elevation as most nitrogen inputs are throughput to the Santa Barbara Channel.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Importance of allochthonous material in benthic macrofaunal community functioning in estuarine salt marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kon, Koetsu; Hoshino, Yukihiro; Kanou, Kouki; Okazaki, Daisuke; Nakayama, Satoko; Kohno, Hiroshi

    2012-01-01

    Allochthonous input provides important food and spatial resources for estuarine benthic fauna. While it is known that autochthonous materials are important for fauna occupying small marshes, here, we present the significance of allochthonous materials for benthic fauna inhabiting a large salt marsh. To assess the effects of allochthonous input on benthic macrofaunal communities in estuarine salt marshes, we determined the source of substrate sediments and food resource utilisation patterns of benthic invertebrates in 2 temperate estuaries (the Tama River and the Obitsu River estuarine outlets into Tokyo Bay) by using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses. In the Tama River estuary, which has small patches of marsh vegetation upstream of the river mouth, there was an input of sedimentary organic matter from autochthonous sources (i.e. common reed and microphytobenthos). In the Obitsu River estuary salt marsh, which is situated immediately upstream of the river mouth and is well connected to the sea, sediment consists of allochthonous sources (i.e. imported phytoplankton), along with microphytobenthos. Isotope analysis indicated that most benthic invertebrates in the Tama River estuary depend on benthic microalgae (autochthonous) as a food resource, whereas the macrofauna in the Obitsu River estuary are supported by drift macroalgae (allochthonous), in addition to microphytobenthos or phytoplankton. Our results indicated that allochthonous material provides a food resource and potential habitat for benthic macrofauna in extensive salt marshes that have a strong connection to the sea but is not substantial in smaller marshes with limited connectivity to coastal water.

  14. Tidal salt marsh sediment in California, USA. Part 2: occurrence and anthropogenic input of trace metals.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Hyun-Min; Green, Peter G; Higashi, Richard M; Young, Thomas M

    2006-09-01

    Surface sediment samples (0-5 cm) from 5 tidal salt marshes along the coast in California, USA were analyzed to investigate the occurrence and anthropogenic input of trace metals. Among study areas, Stege Marsh located in the central San Francisco Bay was the most contaminated marsh. Concentrations of metals in Stege Marsh sediments were higher than San Francisco Bay ambient levels. Zinc (55.3-744 microg g(-1)) was the most abundant trace metal and was followed by lead (26.6-273 microg g(-1)). Aluminum normalized enrichment factors revealed that lead was the most anthropogenically impacted metal in all marshes. Enrichment factors of lead in Stege Marsh ranged from 8 to 49 (median=16). Sediments from reference marshes also had high enrichment factors (2-8) for lead, indicating that lead contamination is ubiquitous, possibly due to continuous input from atmospherically transported lead that was previously used as a gasoline additive. Copper, silver, and zinc in Stege Marsh were also enriched by anthropogenic input. Though nickel concentrations in Stege Marsh and reference marshes exceeded sediment quality guidelines, enrichment factors indicated nickel from anthropogenic input was negligible. Presence of nickel-rich source rock such as serpentinite in the San Francisco Bay watershed can explain high levels of nickel in this area. Coefficients of variation were significantly different between anthropogenically impacted and non-impacted metals and might be used as a less conservative indicator for anthropogenic input of metals when enrichment factors are not available.

  15. 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.

  16. How do Elevated CO2 and Nitrogen Addition Affect Functional Microbial Community Involved in Greenhouse Gas Flux in Salt Marsh System.

    PubMed

    Lee, Seung-Hoon; Megonigal, Patrick J; Kang, Hojeong

    2017-03-22

    Salt marshes are unique ecosystem of which a microbial community is expected to be affected by global climate change. In this study, by using T-RFLP analysis, quantitative PCR, and pyrosequencing, we comprehensively analyzed the microbial community structure responding to elevated CO2 (eCO2) and N addition in a salt marsh ecosystem subjected to CO2 manipulation and N addition for about 3 years. We focused on the genes of microbes relevant to N-cycling (denitrification and nitrification), CH4-flux (methanogens and methanotrophs), and S-cycling (sulfate reduction) considering that they are key functional groups involved in the nutrient cycle of salt marsh system. Overall, this study suggests that (1) eCO2 and N addition affect functional microbial community involved in greenhouse gas flux in salt marsh system. Specifically, the denitrification process may be facilitated, while the methanogenesis may be impeded due to the outcompeting of sulfate reduction by eCO2 and N. This implies that future global change may cause a probable change in GHGs flux and positive feedback to global climate change in salt marsh; (2) the effect of eCO2 and N on functional group seems specific and to contrast with each other, but the effect of single factor would not be compromised but complemented by combination of two factors. (3) The response of functional groups to eCO2 and/or N may be directly or indirectly related to the plant community and its response to eCO2 and/or N. This study provides new insights into our understanding of functional microbial community responses to eCO2 and/or N addition in a C3/C4 plant mixed salt marsh system.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. A comparison of fungal communities from four salt marsh plants using automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA).

    PubMed

    Torzilli, Albert P; Sikaroodi, Masoumeh; Chalkley, David; Gillevet, Patrick M

    2006-01-01

    Fungal decomposers are important contributors to the detritus-based food webs of salt marsh ecosystems. Knowing the composition of salt marsh fungal communities is essential in understanding how detritus processing is affected by changes in community dynamics. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was used to examine the composition of fungal communities associated with four temperate salt marsh plants, Spartina alterniflora (short and tall forms), Juncus roemerianus, Distichlis spicata and Sarcocornia perennis. Plant tissues were homogenized and subjected to a particle-filtration protocol that yielded 106 microm particulate fractions, which were used as a source of fungal isolates and fungal DNA. Genera identified from sporulating cultures demonstrated that the 106 microm particles from each host plant were reliable sources of fungal DNA for ARISA. Analysis of ARISA data by principal component analysis (PCA), principal coordinate analysis (PCO) and species diversity comparisons indicated that the fungal communities from the two grasses, S. alterniflora and D. spicata were more similar to each other than they were to the distinct communities associated with J. roemerianus and S. perennis. Principal component analysis also showed no consistent, seasonal pattern in the composition of these fungal communities. Comparisons of ARISA fingerprints from the different fungal communities and those from pure cultures of selected Spartina ascomycetes supported the host/substrate specificity observed for the fungal communities.

  2. 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.

  3. Metabolism of methylated sulfur compounds in anoxic salt marsh sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Kiene, R.P.

    1986-01-01

    Methionine and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) were identified as potential precursors of volatile organic sulfur compounds. Microbial hydrolysis of sulfur-carbon linkages resulted in the liberation of methane thiol (MSH) and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from methionine and DMSP respectively. Sulfate reducing bacteria were responsible for some of the demethiolation of methionine. The hydrolysis of DMSP could not be assigned to any particular group of microorganisms, but this reaction occurred readily in biologically active sediments. An additional precursor for DMS was found to be Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), which was reduced by sediment microbes to form DMS. Volatile methylated sulfur compounds such as DMS, MSH and dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) were observed to be transformed during their microbial metabolism to MSH, DMS, and MSH, respectively. Ultimately, methylated sulfur compounds were consumed by biological processes and converted to CO/sub 2/, CH/sub 4/ and H/sub 2/S. Both sulfate reducing and methane producing bacteria were involved in the observed transformations. Sediment methanogenesis was greatly stimulated by high levels of methylated sulfur compounds, and a methanogenic bacterium which is capable of growth on DMS was isolated and characterized. Results from experiments with endogenous levels (5 ..mu..M) of DMS in salt marsh sediment slurries, showed that sulfate reduction accounted for >80% of DMS metabolism, while methanogenesis accounted for <20%. However, DMS appears to contribute a significant (up to 30%) fraction to the total CH/sub 4/ produced in slurry assays.

  4. Populations of Methanogenic Bacteria in a Georgia Salt Marsh

    PubMed Central

    Franklin, Michael J.; Wiebe, William J.; Whitman, William B.

    1988-01-01

    Methanogens represented about 0.5% of the total bacteria in sediments from a Georgia salt marsh in which Spartina alterniflora is the predominant vegetation. The population of methanogens was composed of at least two groups of nearly equal size. One group was represented by cocci which were able to utilize trimethylamine and were unable to use H2 or acetate. The second group was composed of two subgroups which were able to utilize H2 but were unable to use trimethylamine or acetate. The more common subgroup included rod- or plate-shaped methanogens which could utilize isopropanol in addition to H2 and formate. The second subgroup included Methanococcus maripaludis, which utilized only H2 and formate. Other groups of methanogens were also present, including Methanosarcina sp. which utilized acetate, H2, and methylamines. In addition to the overall variability in the types of methanogens, the numbers of methanogens in sediments also exhibited significant spatial variability both within and between tall- and short-Spartina zones. Images PMID:16347628

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Intertidal salt marshes as an important source of inorganic carbon to the coastal ocean

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wang, Zhaohui Aleck; Kroeger, Kevin D.; Ganju, Neil K.; Gonneea, Meagan; Chu, Sophie N.

    2016-01-01

    Dynamic tidal export of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) to the coastal ocean from highly productive intertidal marshes and its effects on seawater carbonate chemistry are thoroughly evaluated. The study uses a comprehensive approach by combining tidal water sampling of CO2parameters across seasons, continuous in situ measurements of biogeochemically-relevant parameters and water fluxes, with high-resolution modeling in an intertidal salt marsh of the U.S. northeast region. Salt marshes can acidify and alkalize tidal water by injecting CO2 (DIC) and total alkalinity (TA). DIC and TA generation may also be decoupled due to differential effects of marsh aerobic and anaerobic respiration on DIC and TA. As marsh DIC is added to tidal water, the buffering capacity first decreases to a minimum and then increases quickly. Large additions of marsh DIC can result in higher buffering capacity in ebbing tide than incoming tide. Alkalization of tidal water, which mostly occurs in the summer due to anaerobic respiration, can further modify buffering capacity. Marsh exports of DIC and alkalinity may have complex implications for the future, more acidified ocean. Marsh DIC export exhibits high variability over tidal and seasonal cycles, which is modulated by both marsh DIC generation and by water fluxes. The marsh DIC export of 414 g C m−2 yr−1, based on high-resolution measurements and modeling, is more than twice the previous estimates. It is a major term in the marsh carbon budget and translates to one of the largest carbon fluxes along the U.S. East Coast.

  8. Microbial community composition and denitrifying enzyme activities in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Cao, Yiping; Green, Peter G; Holden, Patricia A

    2008-12-01

    Denitrifying microbial communities and denitrification in salt marsh sediments may be affected by many factors, including environmental conditions, nutrient availability, and levels of pollutants. The objective of this study was to examine how microbial community composition and denitrification enzyme activities (DEA) at a California salt marsh with high nutrient loading vary with such factors. Sediments were sampled from three elevations, each with different inundation and vegetation patterns, across 12 stations representing various salinity and nutrient conditions. Analyses included determination of cell abundance, total and denitrifier community compositions (by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism), DEA, nutrients, and eluted metals. Total bacterial (16S rRNA) and denitrifier (nirS) community compositions and DEA were analyzed for their relationships to environmental variables and metal concentrations via multivariate direct gradient and regression analyses, respectively. Community composition and DEA were highly variable within the dynamic salt marsh system, but each was strongly affected by elevation (i.e., degree of inundation) and carbon content as well as by selected metals. Carbon content was highly related to elevation, and the relationships between DEA and carbon content were found to be elevation specific when evaluated across the entire marsh. There were also lateral gradients in the marsh, as evidenced by an even stronger association between community composition and elevation for a marsh subsystem. Lastly, though correlated with similar environmental factors and selected metals, denitrifier community composition and function appeared uncoupled in the marsh.

  9. Microsatellite markers for population studies of the salt marsh species Juncus roemerianus (Juncaceae)1

    PubMed Central

    Tumas, Hayley R.; Shamblin, Brian M.; Woodrey, Mark S.; Nairn, Campbell J.

    2017-01-01

    Premise of the study: Juncus roemerianus (Juncaceae) is a foundational species and ecosystem engineer of salt marshes in the Gulf of Mexico. These ecosystems provide coastal flood attenuation, nurseries for important species, and other ecosystem services, but are experiencing significant decline. Nuclear microsatellite markers were developed for J. roemerianus to study genetic diversity and population structure for conservation and restoration efforts. Methods and Results: Illumina NextSeq high-throughput sequencing was used to develop a panel of 19 polymorphic microsatellite markers that were tested across individuals from three populations on the Gulf Coast. All markers were polymorphic, with observed and expected heterozygosities ranging from 0.212 to 0.828 and from 0.362 to 0.873, respectively. Allelic richness ranged from two to 13 alleles per locus with an average of 5.737. Conclusions: The 19 microsatellite markers are useful for population studies throughout the range of J. roemerianus. Three loci cross-amplified in the related taxon J. effusus. PMID:28337392

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Mapping changing distributions of dominant species in oil-contaminated salt marshes of Louisiana using imaging spectroscopy

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beland, Michael; Roberts, Dar A.; Peterson, Seth H.; Biggs, Trent W.; Kokaly, Raymond F.; Piazza, Sarai; Roth, Keely L.; Khanna, Shruti; Ustin, Susan L.

    2016-01-01

    The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill was the largest coastal spill in U.S. history. Monitoring subsequent change in marsh plant community distributions is critical to assess ecosystem impacts and to establish future coastal management priorities. Strategically deployed airborne imaging spectrometers, like the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS), offer the spectral and spatial resolution needed to differentiate plant species. However, obtaining satisfactory and consistent classification accuracies over time is a major challenge, particularly in dynamic intertidal landscapes.Here, we develop and evaluate an image classification system for a time series of AVIRIS data for mapping dominant species in a heavily oiled salt marsh ecosystem. Using field-referenced image endmembers and canonical discriminant analysis (CDA), we classified 21 AVIRIS images acquired during the fall of 2010, 2011 and 2012. Classification results were evaluated using ground surveys that were conducted contemporaneously to AVIRIS collection dates. We analyzed changes in dominant species cover from 2010 to 2012 for oiled and non-oiled shorelines.CDA discriminated dominant species with a high level of accuracy (overall accuracy = 82%, kappa = 0.78) and consistency over three imaging dates (overall2010 = 82%, overall2011 = 82%, overall2012 = 88%). Marshes dominated by Spartina alterniflora were the most spatially abundant in shoreline zones (≤ 28 m from shore) for all three dates (2010 = 79%, 2011 = 61%, 2012 = 63%), followed by Juncus roemerianus (2010 = 11%, 2011 = 19%, 2012 = 17%) and Distichlis spicata (2010 = 4%, 2011 = 10%, 2012 = 7%).Marshes that were heavily contaminated with oil exhibited variable responses from 2010 to 2012. Marsh vegetation classes converted to a subtidal, open water class along oiled and non-oiled shorelines that were similarly situated in the landscape. However, marsh loss along oil-contaminated shorelines

  13. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  15. Salt marsh as Culex salinarius larval habitat in coastal New York.

    PubMed

    Rochlin, Ilia; Dempsey, Mary E; Campbell, Scott R; Ninivaggi, Dominick V

    2008-09-01

    Culex salinarius is considered one of the most likely bridge vectors involved in the human transmission cycle of West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalomyelitis virus (EEEV) in the northeastern USA. The larval habitats of this species in the coastal region of New York State are currently poorly known. Between 2005 and 2007, a larval survey was carried out to identify and characterize possible larval habitats in Suffolk County, encompassing natural and man-made freshwater wetlands, artificial containers, and salt marshes. Only relatively undisturbed salt marsh yielded Cx. salinarius larvae in considerable numbers from several sites over a period of 2 years. The immature stages of this species were found associated with Spartina patens and S. alterniflora of the upper marsh at salinities ranging from 4.3 to 18.8 parts per thousand. Both heavily impacted and relatively undisturbed salt marshes produced several hundreds of adult Cx. salinarius per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) light trap per night, an order of magnitude higher than CDC light traps deployed at upland sites. The ability of Cx. salinarius to use both heavily impacted and relatively undisturbed salt marshes for reproduction has significant repercussions for marsh restoration and vector control practices.

  16. 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.

  17. Population Dynamics and Community Composition of Ammonia Oxidizers in Salt Marshes after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    Bernhard, Anne E.; Sheffer, Roberta; Giblin, Anne E.; Marton, John M.; Roberts, Brian J.

    2016-01-01

    The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had significant effects on microbial communities in the Gulf, but impacts on nitrifying communities in adjacent salt marshes have not been investigated. We studied persistent effects of oil on ammonia-oxidizing archaeal (AOA) and bacterial (AOB) communities and their relationship to nitrification rates and soil properties in Louisiana marshes impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Soils were collected at oiled and unoiled sites from Louisiana coastal marshes in July 2012, 2 years after the spill, and analyzed for community differences based on ammonia monooxygenase genes (amoA). Terminal Restriction Fragment Polymorphism and DNA sequence analyses revealed significantly different AOA and AOB communities between the three regions, but few differences were found between oiled and unoiled sites. Community composition of nitrifiers was best explained by differences in soil moisture and nitrogen content. Despite the lack of significant oil effects on overall community composition, we identified differences in correlations of individual populations with potential nitrification rates between oiled and unoiled sites that help explain previously published correlation patterns. Our results suggest that exposure to oil, even 2 years post-spill, led to subtle changes in population dynamics. How, or if, these changes may impact ecosystem function in the marshes, however, remains uncertain. PMID:27375576

  18. Population Dynamics and Community Composition of Ammonia Oxidizers in Salt Marshes after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

    PubMed

    Bernhard, Anne E; Sheffer, Roberta; Giblin, Anne E; Marton, John M; Roberts, Brian J

    2016-01-01

    The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had significant effects on microbial communities in the Gulf, but impacts on nitrifying communities in adjacent salt marshes have not been investigated. We studied persistent effects of oil on ammonia-oxidizing archaeal (AOA) and bacterial (AOB) communities and their relationship to nitrification rates and soil properties in Louisiana marshes impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Soils were collected at oiled and unoiled sites from Louisiana coastal marshes in July 2012, 2 years after the spill, and analyzed for community differences based on ammonia monooxygenase genes (amoA). Terminal Restriction Fragment Polymorphism and DNA sequence analyses revealed significantly different AOA and AOB communities between the three regions, but few differences were found between oiled and unoiled sites. Community composition of nitrifiers was best explained by differences in soil moisture and nitrogen content. Despite the lack of significant oil effects on overall community composition, we identified differences in correlations of individual populations with potential nitrification rates between oiled and unoiled sites that help explain previously published correlation patterns. Our results suggest that exposure to oil, even 2 years post-spill, led to subtle changes in population dynamics. How, or if, these changes may impact ecosystem function in the marshes, however, remains uncertain.

  19. 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.

  20. Methane Emissions from a Hydrologically Altered Region of the Sprague River Salt Marsh, Phippsburg, ME

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen-Kaplan, Dana; Johnson, Beverly; Dostie, Phil; Carey, Joanna

    2016-04-01

    Humans have been altering salt marshes for 200 years, by ditching, or excavating channels to drain pools to reduce mosquito habitat and to make the marsh platform suitable for agriculture. The presence of these ditches has had a negative impact on the marsh hydrology. The Sprague River Salt Marsh, located in Phippsburg, ME, has been ditched for centuries. In 2002, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service installed several ditch-plugs in the marsh in and attempt to restore pool habitat and marsh hydrology. This study seeks to examine the effects of one ditch-plug in particular, and the impact it has had on methane emissions, soil salinity, and soil carbon densities. Three sites above and three sites below the ditch-plug were analyzed in these three areas. Methane emissions were slightly elevated above the ditch-plug relative to below the ditch-plug, with average fluxes of 12.9 +/- 4.83 umol/hr/m2 and 3.5 +/- 0.66 umol/hr/m^2, respectively. Soil salinities were higher above the ditch-plug, and soil carbon densities were higher below the ditch-plug. These results suggest that the hydrologic regime of the study area has been degraded, resulting in methane emissions, interrupted accretion, decreased marsh self-maintenance processes, stagnation and saturation of seawater in the pores of the sediment. Though salt marshes are generally considered effective carbon sinks, methane emissions may play a role on hydrologically altered marshes in terms of their net contribution to greenhouse gas sequestration.

  1. Trophic shift in young-of-the-year Mugilidae during salt-marsh colonization.

    PubMed

    Lebreton, B; Richard, P; Guillou, G; Blanchard, G F

    2013-04-01

    This study investigated the trophic shift of young-of-the-year (YOY) thinlip grey mullet Liza ramada and golden grey mullet Liza aurata during their recruitment in a salt marsh located on the European Atlantic Ocean coast. Stable-isotope signatures (δ(13) C and δ(15) N) of the fishes followed a pattern, having enrichments in (13) C and (15) N with increasing fork length (LF ): δ(13) C in fishes < 30 mm ranged from -19.5 to -15.0‰, whereas in fishes > 30 mm δ(13) C ranged from -15.8 to -12.7‰, closer to the level in salt-marsh food resources. Large differences between the δ(15) N values of mugilids and those of food sources (6·0‰ on average) showed that YOY are secondary consumers, similar to older individuals, when feeding in the salt marsh. YOY mugilids shift from browsing on pelagic prey to grazing on benthic resources from the salt marsh before reaching 30 mm LF. The results highlight the role of European salt marshes as nurseries for juvenile mugilids.

  2. Reading the signatures of biologic-geomorphic feedbacks in salt-marsh landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, Andrea; Marani, Marco

    2016-07-01

    How do interacting physical and biological processes control the form and evolution of salt-marsh landscapes? Salt marshes are shaped by the erosion, transport and deposition of sediment, all of which are mediated by vegetation. In addition, vegetation plays a key role in deposition of organic material within marsh sediments. The influence of biota on salt-marsh landscapes is indeed well established. However, a fascinating and relevant question is whether one can identify the signatures of the underlying and intertwined physical and biological processes in marsh landscapes, and indeed infer from them the dynamic behavior of these coupled physical and biological systems. Can one detect landscape features that would not have emerged in the absence of interactions and feedbacks between physical and biological processes? Here we use field evidence and a two-dimensional biomorphodynamic model to show that the interplay between physical and biological processes generates striking biological and morphological patterns. One such pattern, vegetation zonation, consists of a mosaic of vegetation patches, of approximately uniform composition, displaying sharp transitions in the presence of extremely small topographic gradients. The model describes the mutual interaction and adjustment between tidal flows, sediment transport, morphology, and vegetation distribution, thus allowing us to study the biomorphodynamic evolution of salt-marsh platforms. A number of different scenarios were modelled to analyze the changes induced in bio-geomorphic patterns by varying environmental forcings, such as the rate of relative sea level rise (RSLR) andsediment supply (SS), and by plant species with different characteristics. Model results show how marsh responses to changes in forcings are highly spatially dependent: while changes in SS most directly affect marsh areas closest to the channels, changes in the rate of RSLR affect the marsh platform as a whole. Organic sediment accretion is very

  3. N2O Flux from Salt Marshes in Estuaries along the Gulf of St. Lawrence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roughan, B.; Kellman, L. M.; Chmura, G. L.

    2013-12-01

    Wetlands are widely noted as filters for nutrient-laden waters. However, soils in tidal salt marshes emit nitrous oxide (N2O) when experimentally fertilized, which suggests that improved water quality comes at the expense of increased atmospheric concentrations of this potent greenhouse gas. Here we report on N2O emissions from four salt marshes located in estuaries along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Our control site is located in a National Park on the coast of New Brunswick, which is in a region of low population density and limited agriculture, whereas the other estuaries have watersheds characterized by intensive agriculture activities on Prince Edward Island (PEI). N2O gas was collected during low tide, using opaque, static-chambers (17 L, 25 cm diameter) placed over marsh vegetation in the Spartina patens-dominated high marsh, which is typical of salt marshes along the northwest Atlantic coast, from New York north to Atlantic Canada. Preliminary analysis of gas samples collected in June revealed that the average N2O flux from the marshes located in agriculturally intensive watersheds (6.17 ×1.82 μg N2O m-2 hr-1) was significantly higher than the flux from the control marsh, which was negligible (-2.63 ×2.22 μg N2O m-2 hr-1). Assuming this elevated N2O flux is typical of the growing season (May-October), these marshes emit an average of 27 ×8 mg N2O m-2 yr-1 (or 8 g CO2e m-2 yr-1), 8.4% of the annual soil C accumulation rate reported for PEI. These results suggest that unintentional N fertilization of salt marshes located in agriculturally dominated watersheds may be fueling significant anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in some marshes. Further work during the 2013 growing season will provide insight into the environmental variables that affect the flux of N2O from these tidal salt marshes.

  4. Precision Monitoring of Water Level in a Salt Marsh with Low Cost Tilt Loggers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheremet, Vitalii A.; Mora, Jordan W.

    2016-04-01

    Several salt pannes and pools in the Sage Lot tidal marsh of Waquoit Bay system, MA were instrumented with newly developed Arm-and-Float water level gauges (utilizing accelerometer tilt logger) permitting to record water level fluctuations with accuracy of 1 mm and submillimeter resolution. The methodology of the instrument calibration, deployment, and elevation control are described. The instrument performance was evaluated. Several month long deployments allowed us to analyze the marsh flooding and draining processes, study differences among the salt pannes. The open channel flow flooding-draining mechanism and slower seepage were distinguished. From the drain curve the seepage rate can be quantified. The seepage rate remains approximately constant for all flooding draining episodes, but varies from panne to panne depending on bottom type and location. Seasonal differences due to the growth of vegetation are also recorded. The analysis of rain events allows us to estimate the catch area of subbasins in the marsh. The implication for marsh ecology and marsh accretion are discussed. The gradual sea level rise coupled with monthly tidal datum variability and storm surges result in migration and development of a salt marsh. The newly developed low cost instrumentation allows us to record and analyze these changes and may provide guidance for the ecological management.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Classification and Monitoring of Salt Marsh Habitats with Multi-Polarimetric and Multi-Frequency SAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Beijma, Sybrand; Comber, Alexis; Lamb, Alistair; Brown, Sarah

    2013-08-01

    Within GMES there is much interest in the ability of remote sensing technology to deliver operational solutions to many areas of life including environmental management. This paper describes research focused on the application for Earth Observation for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The main topic of this research is to explore to which extent salt marsh habitats from can be identified from SAR remotely sensed data. Multi-frequency, multi-polarimetric SAR images from airborne (S- and X-Band quad-polarimetric from the Astrium airborne SAR Demonstrator) is used to examine salt marsh habitat classification potential in the Llanrhidian salt marshes in South Wales, UK. This is achieved by characterizing their botanical and structural composition, flooding regimes as well as fluctuations in soil moisture. Different SAR features as backscatter coefficient, band ratios and polarimetric decomposition are extracted.

  11. Classification And Monitoring Of Salt Marsh Habitats With Multi-Polarimetric Airborne SAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Beijma, Sybrand; Comber, Alexis; Lamb, Alistair

    2013-12-01

    Within the Copernicus programme there is much interest in the ability of remote sensing technology to deliver operational solutions to many areas of life including environmental management. This paper describes research focused on the application of Earth Observation for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The main topic of this research is to explore to which extent salt marsh vegetation habitats can be identified from polarimetric SAR remotely sensed data. Multi- frequency, multi-polarimetric SAR images from airborne (S- and X-Band quad-polarimetric from the Astrium airborne SAR Demonstrator) is used to examine salt marsh habitat classification potential in the Llanrhidian salt marshes in South Wales, UK. This is achieved by (1) using both supervised and unsupervised classification routines, using several polarimetric SAR data layers as backscatter intensity, band ratios and polarimetric decomposition products, and by (2) statistical analysis by regression of these different SAR data layers and botanical parameters acquired from recent ecological fieldwork.

  12. Effects of several salt marsh plants on mouse spleen and thymus cell proliferation using mtt assay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seo, Youngwan; Lee, Hee-Jung; Kim, You Ah; Youn, Hyun Joo; Lee, Burm-Jong

    2005-12-01

    In the present study, we have tested the effects of 21 salt marsh plants on cell proliferation of mouse immune cells (spleen and thymus) using MTT assay in culture. The methanolic extracts of six salt marsh plants ( Rosa rugosa, Ixeris tamagawaensis, Artemisia capillaris, Tetragonia tetragonoides, Erigeron annus, and Glehnia littoralis) showed very powerful suppressive effects of mouse immune cell death and significant activities of cell proliferation in vitro. Especially, the methanolic extract of Rosa rugosa was found to have fifteen times compared to the control treatment, demonstrating that Rosa rugosa may have a potent stimulation effect on immune cell proliferation. These results suggest that several salt marsh plants including Rosa rugosa could be useful for further study as an immunomodulating agent.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Salt-marsh plants as potential sources of Hg0 into the atmosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Canário, João; Poissant, Laurier; Pilote, Martin; Caetano, Miguel; Hintelmann, Holger; O'Driscoll, Nelson J.

    2017-03-01

    To assess the role of salt-marsh plants on the vegetation-atmospheric Hg0 fluxes, three salt marsh plant species, Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia fruticosa and Spartina maritima were selected from a moderately contaminated site in the Tagus estuary during May 2012. Total mercury in stems and leaves for each plant as well as total gaseous mercury and vegetation-air Hg0 fluxes were measured over two continuous days. Mercury fluxes were estimated with a dynamic flux Tedlar® bag coupled to a high-resolution automated mercury analyzer (Tekran 2537A). Other environmental parameters such as air temperature, relative humidity and net solar radiation were also measured aside. H. portulacoides showed the highest total mercury concentrations in stems and leaves and the highest average vegetation-air Hg0 flux (0.48 ± 0.40 ng Hg m-2 h-1). The continuous measurements converged to a daily pattern for all plants, with enhanced fluxes during daylight and lower flux during the night. It is noteworthy that throughout the measurements a negative flux (air-vegetation) was never observed, suggesting the absence of net Hg0 deposition. Based on the above fluxes and the total area occupied by each species we have estimated the total amount of Hg0 emitted from this salt-marsh plants. A daily emission of 1.19 mg Hg d-1 was predicted for the Alcochete marsh and 175 mg Hg d-1 for the entire salt marsh area of the Tagus estuary.

  16. Sedimentary processes and products in a mesotidal salt marsh environment: insights from Groves Creek, Georgia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alexander, C. R.; Hodgson, J. Y. S.; Brandes, J. A.

    2017-02-01

    Southeastern salt marshes are important repositories of sediment and carbon, and their formation is heavily dependent on deposition and accumulation of inorganic sediment. This study examined Groves Creek marsh near Savannah, GA, a typical Spartina alterniflora salt marsh of the southeastern US. Analyses were focused on the character, deposition and accumulation of material within the marsh on daily, monthly, decadal and centennial timescales, to determine the dominant factors in material supply and redistribution, and on its stratigraphy to determine the 1,000-year history of Groves Creek salt marsh development. Modern processes create gradients in grain size, which shows little variation from the tidal channel flanks up to mean sea level, and which coarsens with distance into the marsh from mean sea level to mean high water. This unexpected result suggests that, although floc transport is an important mechanism of sediment supply near the channel margins, energetic events must supply coarser materials to the marsh platform, where they are not readily removed by typical energy regimes. Daily deposition can approach 3 g/cm2 year; however, centennial accumulation rates are orders of magnitude lower (0.11±0.05 g/cm2 year) and are similar to those present over the past 300 years (0.05-0.2 g/cm2 year), indicating that much of the daily deposition is remobilized. Stable isotopic δ13C (average -18.7‰) and δ15N (average 5.7‰) values most likely indicate a large contribution from S. alterniflora as a carbon source throughout the marsh, although heavier δ15N on the channel flanks suggest that benthic algae may be locally important. Geologic, geochemical and microfossil evidence suggests that depositional conditions in the Groves Creek marsh have changed significantly over the past 1,000 years, creating a distinct fining-upward sequence. This sequence preserves the signature (from bottom to top) of subtidal flats grading to intertidal sandflats, an erosional lag

  17. 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.

  18. 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, ...

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. [Vegetation influence on nutrients distribution in pore water of salt marsh sediment].

    PubMed

    Wang, Wei-Wei; Li, Dao-Ji; Gao, Lei

    2009-11-01

    The variations of nutrients in pore water of salt marsh sediment were surveyed in the middle intertidal zone of Chongming Dongtan during August 2007 to May 2008 to identify plant impact on nutrients distribution. The results show that NH4(+) -N and PO4(3-) -P concentrations are lower in pore water of Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis zones than in bare flat, and specially, NH4(+) -N concentrations in summer and autumn decrease by one more orders of magnitude. Compared to winter, nutrients concentrations are obviously higher during the period of plant growth, and plant biomass is clearly correlative to nitrogen and phosphorus. Vegetation growth influences nitrogen content intensively. NH4(-) -N concentrations in Spartina alterniflora and Phragmites australis zones are 44.21 and 74.38 micromol x L(-1) respectively, distinctly lower than that in bare flat and Scirpus mariquete zone (340.14 and 291.87 micromol x L(-1) respectively). Moreover, NO(x)(-) -N concentration is one to two order(s) of magnitude lower than NH4(+) -N, and its highest value exists in Phragmites australis zone (5.94 micromol x L(-1)). The results of molecule diffusive flux of nutrients in the surface sediment-overlying water interface indicate that marsh sediment is the source for SiO3(2-) -Si, NH4(+) -N and PO4(3-) -P, and the rank for NO(x)(-) -N (NO3(-) -N + NO2(-) -N), and NO(x)(-) -N flux from overlying water to sediment [16.23 micromol x (m2 x h)(-1)] is higher than NH4(+) -N flux from sediment to overlying water [15.53 micromol x (m2 x h)(-1)]. Vegetation growth accommodates nutrient structure of the estuarine ecosystem by affecting sediment-water interface mass flux and nutrient ratios in pore water and overlying water.

  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

  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. 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.

  7. Depth-distribution patterns and control of soil organic carbon in coastal salt marshes with different plant covers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bai, Junhong; Zhang, Guangliang; Zhao, Qingqing; Lu, Qiongqiong; Jia, Jia; Cui, Baoshan; Liu, Xinhui

    2016-10-01

    This study was carried out in three kinds of salt marshes according to the vegetation covers, including Phragmites australis salt marsh (PSM), Suaeda salus salt marsh (SSM) and Tamarix chinensis-Suaeda salus salt marsh (TSSM). We applied allometric function, exponential function and logistic function to model the depth distribution of the SOCv and SOCc for each salt marsh, respectively. The results showed that the exponential function fits the depth distribution of the SOCv more well than other two functions. The SOCc can be fitted very well by all three functions for three salt marsh (Adj. R2 > 0.99), of which the allometric function was the best one. The mean topsoil concentration factors (TCFs) of three salt marshes were beyond 0.1, which means the SOC enrichment in surface soils due to plant cycling, but TCFs in PSM were significantly higher than those in SSM (P < 0.05). Nearly 30% of SOC was concentrated in the top 20 cm soils. The results of general linear model (GLM) suggested that four soil properties (soil water content, pH, soil salt content and silt+clay) and their interactive effects explained about 80% of the total variation of SOC stock in the top 20 cm soils and the 20–100 cm soil layers.

  8. Depth-distribution patterns and control of soil organic carbon in coastal salt marshes with different plant covers.

    PubMed

    Bai, Junhong; Zhang, Guangliang; Zhao, Qingqing; Lu, Qiongqiong; Jia, Jia; Cui, Baoshan; Liu, Xinhui

    2016-10-06

    This study was carried out in three kinds of salt marshes according to the vegetation covers, including Phragmites australis salt marsh (PSM), Suaeda salus salt marsh (SSM) and Tamarix chinensis-Suaeda salus salt marsh (TSSM). We applied allometric function, exponential function and logistic function to model the depth distribution of the SOCv and SOCc for each salt marsh, respectively. The results showed that the exponential function fits the depth distribution of the SOCv more well than other two functions. The SOCc can be fitted very well by all three functions for three salt marsh (Adj. R(2) > 0.99), of which the allometric function was the best one. The mean topsoil concentration factors (TCFs) of three salt marshes were beyond 0.1, which means the SOC enrichment in surface soils due to plant cycling, but TCFs in PSM were significantly higher than those in SSM (P < 0.05). Nearly 30% of SOC was concentrated in the top 20 cm soils. The results of general linear model (GLM) suggested that four soil properties (soil water content, pH, soil salt content and silt+clay) and their interactive effects explained about 80% of the total variation of SOC stock in the top 20 cm soils and the 20-100 cm soil layers.

  9. Depth-distribution patterns and control of soil organic carbon in coastal salt marshes with different plant covers

    PubMed Central

    Bai, Junhong; Zhang, Guangliang; Zhao, Qingqing; Lu, Qiongqiong; Jia, Jia; Cui, Baoshan; Liu, Xinhui

    2016-01-01

    This study was carried out in three kinds of salt marshes according to the vegetation covers, including Phragmites australis salt marsh (PSM), Suaeda salus salt marsh (SSM) and Tamarix chinensis-Suaeda salus salt marsh (TSSM). We applied allometric function, exponential function and logistic function to model the depth distribution of the SOCv and SOCc for each salt marsh, respectively. The results showed that the exponential function fits the depth distribution of the SOCv more well than other two functions. The SOCc can be fitted very well by all three functions for three salt marsh (Adj. R2 > 0.99), of which the allometric function was the best one. The mean topsoil concentration factors (TCFs) of three salt marshes were beyond 0.1, which means the SOC enrichment in surface soils due to plant cycling, but TCFs in PSM were significantly higher than those in SSM (P < 0.05). Nearly 30% of SOC was concentrated in the top 20 cm soils. The results of general linear model (GLM) suggested that four soil properties (soil water content, pH, soil salt content and silt+clay) and their interactive effects explained about 80% of the total variation of SOC stock in the top 20 cm soils and the 20–100 cm soil layers. PMID:27708421

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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...

  14. Denitrification of soil nitrogen in coastal and inland salt marshes with different flooding frequencies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bai, Junhong; Wang, Xin; Jia, Jia; Zhang, Guangliang; Wang, Yuying; Zhang, Shuai

    2017-02-01

    Denitrification is an important process for removing nitrogen in wetlands, and it is influenced by many environmental factors. However, little information is available on the relationship between hydrologic conditions and denitrification. In this study three typical sampling sites with different flooding frequencies, including short-term flooding wetlands (STFW), seasonal-flooding wetlands (SFW) and tidal flooding wetlands (TFW) were chosen as the study sites in the Yellow River Delta. In contrast, five typical sampling sites with different flooding frequencies, including 100-year floodplain (H), 10-year floodplain (T), 5-year floodplain (F), 1-year floodplain (O) and permanently flooded floodplain (B) were chosen as the study sites in Xianghai wetlands. This study reflected that the denitrification rates decreased with depth along soil profiles in both inland and coastal salt marsh soils. Flooding periods, soil depth and their interaction showed significant effects on the denitrification processes. Generally, higher flooding frequencies will cause higher denitrification rates in salt marshes. Moreover, the denitrification rates were significantly positively correlated with soil moisture content in both wetlands. Additionally, the denitrification rates were significantly positively correlated with organic matter and NO3-_N content while negatively correlated with soil pH and salinity in inland salt marshes. Therefore, the changes in soil properties (e.g. SOM, TN, pH and salinity) can become an important way to control NO3- levels in inland salt marshes.

  15. Hemiparasites generate environmental heterogeneity and enhance species coexistence in salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Grewell, Brenda J

    2008-07-01

    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 tolerance and resource acquisition. Endangered root hemiparasites (Cordylanthus maritimus ssp. palustris and Cordylanthus mollis ssp. mollis) occupy unique habitat within fragmented northern California tidal wetlands. My objective was to examine the effects of these root hemiparasites on soil salinity, aeration, and community composition. I compared experimentally established bare patches, shaded and unshaded, and parasite removal patches to controls with hemiparasites across intertidal elevation gradients. Plant community composition, soil salinity, and redox potential were measured as response variables. In this field removal experiment, I demonstrated that parasite-host associations can enhance the amelioration of physical stress conditions in the salt marsh exceeding the passive role of shading by vegetation. Consumer-driven reduction of physical stress resulted in increased plant species richness, and the effect was most pronounced with elevated salinity and hypoxia stress. Although previous studies have demonstrated that removal of dominant plant biomass by herbivores can increase physical stress in salt marshes, this is one of the first examples of a positive indirect effect of a consumer on community diversity through physical stress relief. Greater understanding of biological interactions coupled with abiotic factors may improve rare plant conservation and salt marsh restoration success.

  16. 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.

  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. Understanding the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Denitrification in an Oregon Salt Marsh

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes are highly susceptible to a range of climate change effects (e.g., sea-level rise, salinity changes, storm severity, shifts in vegetation across watershed). It is unclear how these effects will alter the spatial and temporal dynamics of denitrification, a potential p...

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. Crabs Mediate Interactions between Native and Invasive Salt Marsh Plants: A Mesocosm Study

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. Dynamics of pore-water and salt in estuarine marshes subjected to tide and evaporation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, C.; Shen, C.; Li, L.; Lockington, D. A.

    2015-12-01

    Salt dynamics in estuarine tidal marshes are strongly associated with their intrinsic hydrological processes and ecological behaviors, which are not well understood. Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the transport and distribution of pore water and salt in a vertical cross section perpendicular to the tidal creek that subjects to spring-neap tide and evaporation. Vaporizing pore water from unsaturated soil surface with salt left in soils, the time-variant actual evaporation is affected by aerodynamic factors as well as soil conditions, including pore-water saturation, solute concentration and the thickness of salt precipitation above the soil surface (efflorescence). Different simulation cases were performed by adjusting the tidal signal, marsh platform slope and soil properties. The simulation analysis indicates that, the tide-averaged soil salinity increases with the reduction of inundation period in a spring-neap tide cycle. As the salt accumulated by evaporation could leave soil from seepage back to seawater during ebbtide, the pore-water salinity at the surface within the tidal range remains close to that of seawater. With the presence of hyper-saline soil and efflorescence, salt flat develops only in the area where capillary connection between evaporating surface and water-saturated soil is maintained while tidal inundation absent. On the contrary, the sandy supratidal marsh where hydrological connections are disrupted keeps a relatively low soil salinity (40-60 ppt) and pore-water saturation as evaporation remains low throughout the tidal cycles.

  3. 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.

  4. Methyl and Total Mercury Budget of a Mid-Atlantic Estuarine Salt Marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, C. P.; Gilmour, C. C.

    2007-12-01

    Coastal and estuarine salt marshes are both efficient accumulators of particulate-bound inorganic mercury (Hg) and transformers of inorganic Hg to methylmercury (MeHg). As part of continuing studies on the biogeochemical controls, sources, and fate of Hg and MeHg in the Chesapeake Bay region, we have recently expanded our research to examine Hg and MeHg cycling in Chesapeake tidal marshes. Our main study site is the Kirkpatrick Marsh, a salt marsh at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) on the shores of a Chesapeake Bay sub-estuary, the Rhode River. Kirkpatrick Marsh is dominated by Spartina patens, Scirpus olneyi, Phragmites australis, and several other species and is influenced by a mean tidal range of approximately 30 cm. The marsh is currently and has previously been the subject of various biogeochemical studies, thus basic biogeochemistry, carbon, and nutrient cycling for this system is well understood. Research goals for our study include an estimation of the contribution of salt marshes to MeHg budgets in the Chesapeake specifically and in coastal zones more generally; a first look at the sources of Hg for methylmercury production in tidal marshes; and an improved understanding of the biogeochemical controls on net MeHg production and flux in these wetlands. The research study has two major components. One is a spatially-distributed investigation of the geochemical and microbial controls on MeHg production in this high sulfate/high sulfide wetland system. Detailed biogeochemical measurements were made across three marsh zones distinguished by vegetation/elevation characteristics. Microbial activity in the three zones peaks at depths approximately equal to the mean water table depth, but always in the upper 5-10 cm of soil. Pore water sulfide concentrations increase substantially with depth in marsh soil cores, with highest sulfide concentrations (up to 1.5 M) found deeper in the least frequently flooded site. Initial data show that Me

  5. The rationale for attempting to define salt marsh mosquito-breeding areas in Galveston County by remote sensing the associated vegetation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arp, G. K.

    1975-01-01

    The rationale for attempting to define salt marsh mosquito breeding areas in Galveston County was discussed, including a botanical survey of the marsh plant communities, their relationship to flooding, and their exposure to salt water. Particular emphasis is given to Distichlis spicata, a widespread marsh grass. Evidence suggests that breeding areas of Aedes sollicitans are associated with Distichlis and that both species respond to similar ecological conditions in the salt marsh. Aspects of the remote sensing of the Distichlis are considered.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  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

    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. 75 FR 6696 - Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal Marsh Ecosystems of Northern and Central California

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-02-10

    ... Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Recovery Plan for Tidal Marsh Ecosystems of Northern and Central California AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment. SUMMARY: We, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of...

  14. Remedial Investigation Report: White Phosphorus Contamination of Salt Marsh Sediments at Eagle River Flats, Alaska

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-03-31

    Vince 1984), for Kenai Flats (Rosenberg 1986), for Chickaloon Flats (Nieland 1971) and for Pot- ter Marsh (Batten et al. 1978). Below is a...We have not measured sedimenta- tion rates at ERF, but rates determined on other mudflats in upper Cook Inlet ( Vince and Snow 1984) are 5-12 mm per...A. (1980) Personal communication as reported in Berkowitz et al. (1981). Snow, A.A. and S.W. Vince (1984) Plant zonation in an Alaskan salt marsh. I

  15. 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.

  16. The effect of nitrogen enrichment on c(1)-cycling microorganisms and methane flux in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Methane (CH(4)) flux from ecosystems is driven by C(1)-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 CH(4) flux increased linearly with increasing nitrogen addition (1.23 μg CH(4) 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 CH(4) 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.

  17. 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

  18. Salt marsh equilibrium states and transient dynamics in response to changing rates of sea level rise and sediment supply

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    D'Alpaos, A.; Mudd, S. M.; Carniello, L.

    2012-12-01

    Understanding and predicting the response of salt-marsh bio-geomorphic systems to changes in the rate of sea level rise and sediment supply is an issue of paramount importance due to the crucial role exerted by salt marshes within the tidal landscape. Salt-marsh platforms, in fact, buffer coastlines against storms, filter nutrients and pollutants from tidal waters, provide nursery areas for coastal biota, and serve as a sink for organic carbon. Observations of marsh degradation worldwide and the acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise highlight the importance of improving our understanding of the chief processes which control salt-marsh response to current natural climate changes and to the effects of variations in sediment supply. The results of our analytical model of salt-marsh bio-morphodynamic evolution in the vertical plane, accounting for two-way interactions between ecological and geomorphological processes, show that marshes are more resilient to a step decrease in the rate of relative sea level rise rather than to a step increase of the same magnitude. Interestingly, marshes respond more rapidly to an increase in sediment load or vegetation productivity, rather than to a decrease (of the same amount) in sediment load or vegetation productivity. Model results also suggest that marsh stability is positively correlated with tidal range: marshes with high tidal ranges respond more slowly to changes in the environmental forcings and therefore are less likely to be affected by perturbations than their counterparts in low tidal ranges. Finally, the model suggests that, in the case of a oscillating rate of sea level rise, marsh stratigraphy will be unable to fully record short term fluctuations in relative mean sea level, whereas it will be able to capture long term fluctuations particularly in sediment rich, microtidal settings.

  19. 'Blue Carbon' and Nutrient Stocks of Salt Marshes at a Temperate Coastal Lagoon (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal).

    PubMed

    Sousa, Ana I; Santos, Danielle B; Silva, Eduardo Ferreira da; Sousa, Lisa P; Cleary, Daniel F R; Soares, Amadeu M V M; Lillebø, Ana I

    2017-01-25

    Ria de Aveiro is a mesotidal coastal lagoon with one of the largest continuous salt marshes in Europe. The objective of this work was to assess C, N and P stocks of Spartina maritima (low marsh pioneer halophyte) and Juncus maritimus (representative of mid-high marsh halophytes) combined with the contribution of Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia perennis, and Bolbochenous maritimus to the lagoon ≈4400 ha marsh area. A multivariate analysis (PCO), taking into account environmental variables and the annual biomass and nutrient dynamics, showed that there are no clear seasonal or spatial differences within low or mid-high marshes, but clearly separates J. maritimus and S. maritima marshes. Calculations of C, N and P stocks in the biomass of the five most representative halophytes plus the respective rhizosediment (25 cm depth), and taking into account their relative coverage, represents 252053 Mg C, 38100 Mg N and 7563 Mg P. Over 90% of the stocks are found within mid-high marshes. This work shows the importance of this lagoon's salt marshes on climate and nutrients regulation, and defines the current condition concerning the 'blue carbon' and nutrient stocks, as a basis for prospective future scenarios of salt marsh degradation or loss, namely under SLR context.

  20. ‘Blue Carbon’ and Nutrient Stocks of Salt Marshes at a Temperate Coastal Lagoon (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sousa, Ana I.; Santos, Danielle B.; Silva, Eduardo Ferreira Da; Sousa, Lisa P.; Cleary, Daniel F. R.; Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.; Lillebø, Ana I.

    2017-01-01

    Ria de Aveiro is a mesotidal coastal lagoon with one of the largest continuous salt marshes in Europe. The objective of this work was to assess C, N and P stocks of Spartina maritima (low marsh pioneer halophyte) and Juncus maritimus (representative of mid-high marsh halophytes) combined with the contribution of Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia perennis, and Bolbochenous maritimus to the lagoon ≈4400 ha marsh area. A multivariate analysis (PCO), taking into account environmental variables and the annual biomass and nutrient dynamics, showed that there are no clear seasonal or spatial differences within low or mid-high marshes, but clearly separates J. maritimus and S. maritima marshes. Calculations of C, N and P stocks in the biomass of the five most representative halophytes plus the respective rhizosediment (25 cm depth), and taking into account their relative coverage, represents 252053 Mg C, 38100 Mg N and 7563 Mg P. Over 90% of the stocks are found within mid-high marshes. This work shows the importance of this lagoon’s salt marshes on climate and nutrients regulation, and defines the current condition concerning the ‘blue carbon’ and nutrient stocks, as a basis for prospective future scenarios of salt marsh degradation or loss, namely under SLR context.

  1. ‘Blue Carbon’ and Nutrient Stocks of Salt Marshes at a Temperate Coastal Lagoon (Ria de Aveiro, Portugal)

    PubMed Central

    Sousa, Ana I.; Santos, Danielle B.; Silva, Eduardo Ferreira da; Sousa, Lisa P.; Cleary, Daniel F. R.; Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.; Lillebø, Ana I.

    2017-01-01

    Ria de Aveiro is a mesotidal coastal lagoon with one of the largest continuous salt marshes in Europe. The objective of this work was to assess C, N and P stocks of Spartina maritima (low marsh pioneer halophyte) and Juncus maritimus (representative of mid-high marsh halophytes) combined with the contribution of Halimione portulacoides, Sarcocornia perennis, and Bolbochenous maritimus to the lagoon ≈4400 ha marsh area. A multivariate analysis (PCO), taking into account environmental variables and the annual biomass and nutrient dynamics, showed that there are no clear seasonal or spatial differences within low or mid-high marshes, but clearly separates J. maritimus and S. maritima marshes. Calculations of C, N and P stocks in the biomass of the five most representative halophytes plus the respective rhizosediment (25 cm depth), and taking into account their relative coverage, represents 252053 Mg C, 38100 Mg N and 7563 Mg P. Over 90% of the stocks are found within mid-high marshes. This work shows the importance of this lagoon’s salt marshes on climate and nutrients regulation, and defines the current condition concerning the ‘blue carbon’ and nutrient stocks, as a basis for prospective future scenarios of salt marsh degradation or loss, namely under SLR context. PMID:28120885

  2. SALT MARSH HABITAT FROM A FISH EYE VIEW: A TEST OF THE DIMENSIONLESS INDEX OF HABITAT COMPLEXITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Salt marshes are considered important foraging and predator refuge areas for fish, but these functions are rarely measured. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between the structural complexity of the habitat and fish size in marshes subjected to different wat...

  3. Community composition and activity of anaerobic ammonium oxidation bacteria in the rhizosphere of salt-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Yanling; Hou, Lijun; Liu, Min; Yin, Guoyu; Gao, Juan; Jiang, Xiaofen; Lin, Xianbiao; Li, Xiaofei; Yu, Chendi; Wang, Rong

    2016-09-01

    Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) as an important nitrogen removal pathway has been investigated in intertidal marshes. However, the rhizosphere-driven anammox process in these ecosystems is largely overlooked so far. In this study, the community dynamics and activities of anammox bacteria in the rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere sediments of salt-marsh grass Spartina alterniflora (a widely distributed plant in estuaries and intertidal ecosystems) were investigated using clone library analysis, quantitative PCR assay, and isotope-tracing technique. Phylogenetic analysis showed that anammox bacterial diversity was higher in the non-rhizosphere sediments (Scalindua and Kuenenia) compared with the rhizosphere zone (only Scalindua genus). Higher abundance of anammox bacteria was detected in the rhizosphere (6.46 × 10(6)-1.56 × 10(7) copies g(-1)), which was about 1.5-fold higher in comparison with that in the non-rhizosphere zone (4.22 × 10(6)-1.12 × 10(7) copies g(-1)). Nitrogen isotope-tracing experiments indicated that the anammox process in the rhizosphere contributed to 12-14 % N2 generation with rates of 0.43-1.58 nmol N g(-1) h(-1), while anammox activity in the non-rhizosphere zone contributed to only 4-7 % N2 production with significantly lower activities (0.28-0.83 nmol N g(-1) h(-1)). Overall, we propose that the rhizosphere microenvironment in intertidal marshes might provide a favorable niche for anammox bacteria and thus plays an important role in nitrogen cycling.

  4. 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

  5. A geohydrologic continuum theory for the spatial and temporal evolution of marsh-estuarine ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dame, R.; Childers, D.; Koepfler, E.

    Using ecosystem development theory and the River Continuum Concept as starting points, we present a new holistic theory to explain the spatial and temporal behaviour of marsh-estuarine ecosystems Along the marine-estuarine-freshwater gradient in response to sea-level rise. In this theory, a geohydrologic continuum represented by tidal channel provides a predictable physical model of how the marsh-estuarine ecosystem adapts until there is a change of state. North Inlet, South Carolina is used as an example of this marsh-estuarine continuum. Mature creeks are at the ocean-estuary interface and are strongly influenced by marine factors. Further into the estuary, less and less mature creeks are encountered which are dominated by smaller scale spatial and temporal controls such as oyster reefs. Immature or ephemeral creeks import both particulate and dissolved materials, while mature creeks export both forms of nutrients. Mid-aged creeks appear to take up particulate materials and release dissolved constituents. Ultimately, the continuum reaches the fresh-saltwater interface where a very young estuarine ecosystem invades a more mature type, under the influence of disturbance. Our new explanation satisfies most criteria for a good theory by being internally consistent to the location specified, generating testable hypothesis, not blindly adapting existing theories, agreeing with known properties of the ecosystem described and by generating new invigorating discussion within the scientific community.

  6. Exchanges and photo-biogeochemical transformation of dissolved organic compounds in Eastern US tidal marsh ecosystems.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tzortziou, Maria; Neale, Patrick; Megonigal, Patrick; Butterworth, Megan; Jaffe, Rudolf

    2010-05-01

    The role of tidal marshes as sources, sinks and/or transformers of biologically important nutrients, carbon and pollutants has been studied in various marsh-estuarine environments and geomorphological settings. Although there is no consensus on the magnitude and direction of marsh-estuary net (particulate and dissolved) organic fluxes, most previous studies suggest that salt marshes export dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to the surrounding estuarine waters. There has been less attention, however, to the influence of transformations on marsh-exported organic carbon composition or "quality". Yet, carbon composition affects a wide variety of estuarine processes, including microbial respiration and photochemistry. Our objectives in this study were to quantify the photo-reactivity and bio-availability of dissolved organic carbon compounds exported from tidal wetlands of the Chesapeake Bay and determine their effects on the optical properties of colored organic matter (CDOM). We quantified DOC bioavailability with two assays of microbial mineralization: the traditional batch incubation approach in which a suspension of DOM and microbial cells (1 µm filtrate) was incubated in bottles for 7 d, and a continuous-flow bioreactor approach in which DOC (0.2 µm filtrate) was passed through a microbial community that had been pre-established on glass beads from the same source water. Photochemical degradation was measured after a 10h exposure to filtered xenon irradiance simulating midday surface exposure. We measured decreases in CDOM absorption and fluorescence spectra, DOC concentrations, changes in molecular weight distribution, and increases in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and CO2. Results provide important insights on the transformation, fate and cycling of marsh-exported organic compounds, and the role of tidal marsh systems as major regulators of short-scale biological, optical and biogeochemical variability in highly dynamic coastal margins and catchment areas.

  7. Relative importance of multiple environmental variables in structuring benthic macroinfaunal assemblages in chronically metal-polluted salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Goto, Daisuke; Wallace, William G

    2010-03-01

    In this study, we assessed importance of sediment-associated trace metals in structuring benthic macroinfaunal assemblages along multiple environmental gradients in chronically polluted salt marshes of the Arthur Kill - AK (New York, USA). More than 90% of benthic macroinfaunal communities at the northern AK sites consisted of a considerably large number of only a few polychaete and oligochaete species. Approximately 70% of among-site variances in abundance and biomass of benthic macroinfaunal communities was strongly associated with a few environmental variables; only sediment-associated mercury consistently contributed to a significant proportion of the explained variances in species composition along natural environmental gradients (e.g., salinity). Although sediment-associated copper, lead, and zinc were substantially elevated at some of the AK sites, their ecological impacts on benthic macroinfaunal communities appeared to be negligible. These findings suggest that cumulative metal-specific impacts may have played an important role in structuring benthic macroinfaunal communities in chronically polluted AK ecosystems.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Sediment and vegetation spatial dynamics facing sea-level rise in microtidal salt marshes: Insights from an ecogeomorphic model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belliard, J.-P.; Di Marco, N.; Carniello, L.; Toffolon, M.

    2016-07-01

    Modeling efforts have considerably improved our understanding on the chief processes that govern the evolution of salt marshes under climate change. Yet the spatial dynamic response of salt marshes to sea-level rise that results from the interactions between the tidal landforms of interest and the presence of bio-geomorphic features has not been addressed explicitly. Accordingly, we use a modeling framework that integrates the co-evolution of the marsh platform and the embedded tidal networks to study sea-level rise effects on spatial sediment and vegetation dynamics in microtidal salt marshes considering different ecological scenarios. The analysis unveils mechanisms that drive spatial variations in sedimentation rates in ways that increase marsh resilience to rising sea-levels. In particular, marsh survival is related to the effectiveness of transport of sediments toward the interior marshland. This study hints at additional dynamics related to the modulation of channel cross-sections affecting sediment advection in the channels and subsequent delivery in the inner marsh, which should be definitely considered in the study of marsh adaptability to sea-level rise and posterior management.

  12. 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

  13. Archaeal diversity and the prevalence of Crenarchaeota in salt marsh sediments.

    PubMed

    Nelson, Katelyn A; Moin, Nicole S; Bernhard, Anne E

    2009-06-01

    Crenarchaeal 16S rRNA sequences constituted over 70% of the archaeal clones recovered from three salt marsh sites dominated by different grasses. Group I.1a Crenarchaeota dominated at two sites, while group I.3b Crenarchaeota sequences were most abundant at a third site. Abundances of 16S rRNA genes related to "Candidatus Nitrosopumilus maritimus" differed by site and sampling date.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Bacterial community response to petroleum contamination and nutrient addition in sediments from a temperate salt marsh.

    PubMed

    Ribeiro, Hugo; Mucha, Ana P; Almeida, C Marisa R; Bordalo, Adriano A

    2013-08-01

    Microbial communities play an important role in the biodegradation of organic pollutants in sediments, including hydrocarbons. The aim of this study was to evaluate the response of temperate salt marsh microbial communities to petroleum contamination, in terms of community structure, abundance and capacity to degrade hydrocarbons. Sediments un-colonized and colonized (rhizosediments) by Juncus maritimus, Phragmites australis and Triglochin striata were collected in a temperate estuary (Lima, NW Portugal), spiked with petroleum under variable nutritional conditions, and incubated for 15 days. Results showed that plant speciation emerged as the major factor for shaping the rhizosphere community structure, overriding the petroleum influence. Moreover, when exposed to petroleum contamination, the distinct salt marsh microbial communities responded similarly with (i) increased abundance, (ii) changes in structure, and (iii) decreased diversity. Communities, particularly those associated to J. maritimus and P. australis roots displayed a potential to degrade petroleum hydrocarbons, with degradation percentages between 15% and 41%, depending on sediment type and nutritional conditions. In conclusion, distinct salt marsh microbial communities responded similarly to petroleum contamination, but presented different pace, nutritional requirements, and potential for its biodegradation, which should be taken into account when developing bioremediation strategies.

  19. Effect of spring-neap tide and evaporation on the salt dynamics in estuarine marshes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Chenming; Shen, Chengji; Xin, Pei; Li, Ling

    2016-04-01

    Salt dynamics in estuarine tidal marshes are strongly associated with their intrinsic hydrological processes and ecological behaviors, which are not well understood. Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the transport and distribution of pore-water and salt in a vertical cross section perpendicular to a tidal creek that subjects to spring-neap tide and evaporation. Vaporizing pore-water from the unsaturated soil surface with salt left in, the time-variant actual evaporation is affected by aerodynamic factors as well as soil conditions, including pore-water saturation, salinity and the thickness of salt precipitation above the soil surface (efflorescence). Different simulation cases were performed by adjusting the potential evaporation rate, tidal signals, marsh platform slope and soil properties. The simulation analysis indicates that, the tide-averaged soil salinity increases with the reduction of inundation period under a spring-neap tide cycle. As the salt accumulated by evaporation could leave soil from seepage back to seawater during ebbtide, the pore-water salinity at the surface within the tidal range remains below solubility. Coarse soils tend to have more intensified seepage flow and hence less pore-water salinity than fine soils. With the presence of hyper-saline soil and efflorescence, salt flat develops only in the area where capillary connection between evaporating surface and water table is maintained while tidal inundation absent. On the contrary, the supratidal marsh where hydrological connections are disrupted keeps a relatively low soil salinity (40-60 ppt) and pore-water saturation as evaporation remains low throughout the tidal cycles.

  20. 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

  1. Assessing wildlife benefits and carbon storage from restored and natural coastal marshes in the Nisqually River Delta: Determining marsh net ecosystem carbon balance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Anderson, Frank; Bergamaschi, Brian; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Woo, Isa; De La Cruz, Susan; Drexler, Judith; Byrd, Kristin; Thorne, Karen M.

    2016-06-24

    Working in partnership since 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nisqually Indian Tribe have restored 902 acres of tidally influenced coastal marsh in the Nisqually River Delta (NRD), making it the largest estuary-restoration project in the Pacific Northwest to date. Marsh restoration increases the capacity of the estuary to support a diversity of wildlife species. Restoration also increases carbon (C) production of marsh plant communities that support food webs for wildlife and can help mitigate climate change through long-term C storage in marsh soils.In 2015, an interdisciplinary team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers began to study the benefits of carbon for wetland wildlife and storage in the NRD. Our primary goals are (1) to identify the relative importance of the different carbon sources that support juvenile chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) food webs and contribute to current and historic peat formation, (2) to determine the net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) in a reference marsh and a restoration marsh site, and (3) to model the sustainability of the reference and restoration marshes under projected sea-level rise conditions along with historical vegetation change. In this fact sheet, we focus on the main C sources and exchanges to determine NECB, including carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake through plant photosynthesis, the loss of CO2 through plant and soil respiration, emissions of methane (CH4), and the lateral movement or leaching loss of C in tidal waters.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Populations of Methane-Producing Bacteria and In Vitro Methanogenesis in Salt Marsh and Estuarine Sediments

    PubMed Central

    Jones, William J.; Paynter, Malcolm J. B.

    1980-01-01

    Most probable numbers (MPNs) of methanogens in various salt marsh and estuarine sediments were determined with an anaerobic, habitat-simulating culture medium with 80% H2 plus 20% CO2 as substrate. Average MPNs for the short Spartina (SS) marsh sediments of Sapelo Island, Ga., were maximal at the 5- to 7-cm depth (1.2 × 107/g of dry sediment). Populations decreased to approximately 880/g of dry sediment at the 34- to 36-cm depth. There was no significant difference between summer and winter populations. In tall Spartina (TS) marsh sediments, average populations were maximal (1.2 × 106/g of dry sediment) in the upper 0- to 2-cm zone; populations from the 5- to 36-cm zones were similar (average of 9 × 104/g of dry sediment). Methanogenic populations for TS sediments of James Island Creek marsh, Charleston, S.C., were similar (average of 3 × 106/g of dry sediment) for all depths tested (0 to 22 cm), which was comparable to the trend observed for TS sediments at Sapelo Island, Ga. Sediment grab samples collected along a transect of James Island Creek and its adjacent Spartina marsh had MPNs that were approximately 20 times greater for the region of Spartina growth (average of 106/g of dry sediment) compared with the channel (approximately 5 × 104 methanogens per g of dry sediment). A similar trend was found at Pawley's Island marsh, S.C., but populations were approximately one order of magnitude lower. In vitro rates of methanogenesis with SS sediments incubated under 80% H2-20% CO2 showed that the 5- to 7-cm region exhibited maximal activity (51 nmol of CH4 g−1 h−1), which was greater than rates for sediments above and below this depth. SS sediment samples (5 to 7 cm) incubated under 100% N2 and supplemented with formate exhibited rates of methanogenesis similar to those generated by samples under 80% H2-20% CO2. Replacing the N2 atmosphere with H2 resulted in an eightfold decrease in the rate of methanogenesis. In vitro methanogenic activity by TS salt marsh

  8. Joint Geophysical and Hydrologic Constraints on Shallow Groundwater Flow Systems in Clastic Salt Marshes of the South Atlantic Bight

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruppel, C.; Fulton, P.; Schultz, G. M.; Castillo, L.; Bartlett, J.; Sibley, S.

    2005-12-01

    Salt marsh systems play a critical role in buffering upland coastal areas from the influence of open saltwater bodies and in filtering contaminants that originate offshore or are flushed from uplands. For these reasons, it is important to understand the salt marsh hydrologic cycle, especially the interaction of groundwater and surface water across low-lying coastal fringes and the changes in physical, chemical, and ecological parameters across salinity gradients extending from upland to tidal creek to open water. For the past 5 years, we have conducted hydrogeophysical surveys (inductive EM and DC resistivity) and collected limited, coincident groundwater hydrologic data in clastic salt marshes throughout the South Atlantic Bight (SAB), stretching from South Carolina on the north to the Georgia-Florida border on the south. All of the marshes are dominated by Spartina and Juncus grasses and are cut by tidally-influenced creeks, but both the lithology and age of the marshes vary widely. For example, one highly homogeneous marsh study site has formed only within the past century, while most sites have existed for thousands of years and have laterally and vertically heterogeneous lithology. Geophysical images of the marsh subsurface and coincident monitoring of groundwater temperature, water level, and/or chemistry consistently show that marshes in the mixed energy environment of the middle part of the SAB (GCE LTER) tend to be dominated by submarsh discharge of freshwater to adjacent tidal creeks. In the South Carolina part of the SAB, we have greater evidence for seepage, particularly through biologically-created macropore networks and permeable sediment bodies that intersect tidal creeks. It is possible though that the South Carolina results are not so much 'universal' as reflective of local lithology. In a very young marsh near the Florida border, geophysical imaging implies a mixture of seepage and submarsh flow, and hydrologic data provide unequivocal proof that

  9. 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.

  10. Environmental limitations on recruitment from seed in invasive Spartina densiflora on a southern European salt marsh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mateos-Naranjo, Enrique; Redondo-Gómez, Susana; Luque, Carlos J.; Castellanos, Eloy M.; Davy, Anthony J.; Figueroa, M. Enrique

    2008-09-01

    The South American cordgrass, Spartina densiflora, has invaded a range of different habitats that can support different native species assemblages on salt marshes in the Gulf of Cadiz, Spain. Little is known about the mechanisms of invasion. We examined the potential for seed germination and recruitment in a field transplant experiment, representing a wide range of environments, on elevational gradients across marshes with muddy and sandy sediments. The biotic resistance of native, perennial vegetation (where present) to recruitment of the alien was also investigated. Spartina densiflora seeds were able to germinate over a greater than 2-m range of elevation in the tidal frame. Germination success on unvegetated muddy sediments was related to sediment redox potential, with poor germination at strongly negative redox potentials on the lower sites. On sandy, well-drained sediments, germination was apparently constrained by water availability at the highest elevations. Comparison of vegetated and cleared plots on the upper marsh showed that there was a negative relationship between the presence of Atriplex portulacoides and germination on the muddy sediments. Recruitment (survival of seedlings for 12 weeks) was seen only on unvegetated muddy sediments at the highest elevation. Hence the invasive success and wide elevational tolerance of S. densiflora on the marshes of the Gulf of Cadiz are not reflected in its short-term ability to become established from its prolific seed production. Colonization of sub-optimal habitats may be largely by vegetative propagules and clonal growth.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Greenhouse gas fluxes from salt marshes exposed to chronic nutrient enrichment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    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 CH4fluxes 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.

  14. 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...

  15. Marshes on the Move: Testing effects of seawater intrusion on ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    The Northeastern United States is a hotspot for sea level rise (SLR), subjecting coastal salt marshes to erosive loss, shifts in vegetation communities, and altered biogeochemistry due to seawater intrusion. Salt marsh plant community zonation is driven by tradeoffs in stress tolerance and interspecific interactions. As seawater inundates progressively higher marsh elevations, shifts in marsh vegetation communities landward may herald salt marsh “migration”, which could allow continuity of marsh function and ecosystem service provision. To elucidate possible effects of seawater intrusion on marsh-upland edge plant communities, a space-for-time approach was replicated at two Rhode Island salt marshes. At each site, peat blocks (0.5 m x 0.5 m x 0.5 m, n=6) with intact upland-marsh edge vegetation were transplanted downslope into the regularly-inundated mid-marsh. Procedural controls (n=3) were established at each elevation by removing and replacing peat blocks, and natural controls (n=3) consisted of undisturbed plots. During peak productivity, each plot was assessed for species composition, percent cover and average height. Results demonstrate stunting of marsh-upland edge vegetation in response to increased inundation, and the beginnings of colonization of the transplanted plots by salt marsh species. The extent of colonization differed between the two sites, suggesting that site-specific factors govern vegetation responses to increased inundation.

  16. 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.

  17. Inorganic and organic sulfur cycling in salt-marsh pore waters

    SciTech Connect

    Luther, G.W. III; Church, T.M.; Scudlark, J.R.; Cosman, M.

    1986-05-09

    Sulfur species in pore waters of the Great Marsh, Delaware, were analyzed seasonally by polarographic methods. The species determined (and their concentrations in micromoles per liter) included inorganic sulfides (less than or equal to3360), polysulfides (less than or equal to326), thiosulfate (less than or equal to104), tetrathionate (less than or equal to302), organic thiols (less than or equal to2411), and organic disulfides (less than or equal to139). Anticipated were bisulfide increases with depth due to sulfate reduction and subsurface sulfate excesses and pH minima, the result of a seasonal redox cycle. Unanticipated was the pervasive presence of thiols (for example, glutathione), particularly during periods of biological production. Salt marshes appear to be unique among marine systems in producing high concentrations of thiols. Polysulfides, thiosulfate, and tetrathionate also exhibited seasonal subsurface maxima. These results suggest a dynamic seasonal cycling of sulfur in salt marshes involving abiological and biological reactions and dissolved and solid sulfur species. The chemosynthetic turnover of pyrite to organic sulfur is a likely pathway for this sulfur cycling. Thus, material, chemical, and energy cycles in wetlands appear to be optimally synergistic.

  18. Composition of Fish Communities in a European Macrotidal Salt Marsh (the Mont Saint-Michel Bay, France)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laffaille, P.; Feunteun, E.; Lefeuvre, J.-C.

    2000-10-01

    At least 100 fish species are known to be present in the intertidal areas (estuaries, mudflats and salt marshes) of Mont Saint-Michel Bay. These and other comparable shallow marine coastal waters, such as estuaries and lagoons, play a nursery role for many fish species. However, in Europe little attention has been paid to the value of tidal salt marshes for fishes. Between March 1996 and April 1999, 120 tides were sampled in a tidal creek. A total of 31 species were caught. This community was largely dominated by mullets ( Liza ramada represent 87% of the total biomass) and sand gobies ( Pomatoschistus minutus and P. lozanoi represent 82% of the total numbers). These species and also Gasterosteus aculeatus , Syngnathus rostellatus, Dicentrarchus labrax, Mugil spp., Liza aurata and Sprattus sprattus were the most frequent species (>50% of monthly frequency of occurrence). In Europe, salt marshes and their creeks are flooded only during high spring tides. So, fishes only invade this environment during short immersion periods, and no species can be considered as marsh resident. But, the salt marsh was colonized by fish every time the tide reached the creek, and during the short time of flood, dominant fishes fed actively and exploited the high productivity. Nevertheless, this study shows that there is little interannual variation in the fish community and there are three ' seasons ' in the fish fauna of the marsh. Marine straggler and marine estuarine dependent species colonize marshes between spring (recruitment period in the bay) and autumn before returning into deeper adjacent waters. Estuarine fishes are present all year round with maximum abundances in the end of summer. The presence of fishes confirms that this kind of wetland plays an important trophic and nursery role for these species. Differences in densities and stages distribution of these species into Mont Saint-Michel systems (tidal mudflats, estuaries and tidal salt marshes) can reduce the trophic

  19. 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.

  20. Nitrogen cycle of a typical Suaeda salsa marsh ecosystem in the Yellow River estuary.

    PubMed

    Mou, Xiaojie; Sun, Zhigao; Wang, Lingling; Wang, Chuanyuan

    2011-01-01

    The nitrogen (N) biological cycle of the Suaeda salsa marsh ecosystem in the Yellow River estuary was studied during 2008 to 2009. Results showed that soil N had significant seasonal fluctuations and vertical distribution. The N/P ratio (15.73 +/- 1.77) of S. salsa was less than 16, indicating that plant growth was limited by both N and P. The N absorption coefficient of S. salsa was very low (0.007), while the N utilization and cycle coefficients were high (0.824 and 0.331, respectively). The N turnover among compartments of S. salsa marsh showed that N uptake from aboveground parts and roots were 2.539 and 0.622 g/m2, respectively. The N translocation from aboveground parts to roots and from roots to soil were 2.042 and 0.076 g/m2, respectively. The N translocation from aboveground living bodies to litter was 0.497 g/m2, the annual N return from litter to soil was far less than 0.368 g/m2, and the net N mineralization in topsoil during the growing season was 0.033 g/m2. N was an important limiting factor in S. salsa marsh, and the ecosystem was classified as unstable and vulnerable. S. salsa was seemingly well adapted to the low-nutrient status and vulnerable habitat, and the nutrient enrichment due to N import from the Yellow River estuary would be a potential threat to the S. salsa marsh. Excessive nutrient loading might favor invasive species and induce severe long-term degradation of the ecosystem if human intervention measures were not taken. The N quantitative relationships determined in our study might provide a scientific basis for the establishment of effective measures.

  1. 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.