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Published on February 12, 2008

Author: Sigismondo

Source: authorstream.com

Salt Marshes and Estuaries:  Salt Marshes and Estuaries Two Marine Ecosystems What is an Estuary?:  What is an Estuary? Partially closed body of water with a mixture of fresh and salt water. Found near river mouths Places of transition from land to sea and from fresh to salt water. What is a Salt Marsh?:  What is a Salt Marsh? Coastal wetlands on protected shorelines Found on the edges of estuaries Low coastal grassland Transitional zone between land and water Location:  Location Found along any ocean coast, all over the world. Abiotic Factors:  Abiotic Factors Tides Temperature Salinity (Salt) Flow Depth Marsh Age Sediment Properties Ice Biotic Factors: Algae:  Biotic Factors: Algae Algal mats Algae grows into huge greenish gray mats. Some call it dragon-vomit Sea lettuce is a high component of the mats. Form in shallow water in the late summer Pannes shallow ponds in salt marshes created by poor drainage, uneven distribution of sediment, or ice scouring. Extreme salinity and high temperatures prevent colonization by grasses. Sea Lettuce, Eelgrass, Ditch-grass and filamentous algae can grow there. Biotic Factors: Plants:  Biotic Factors: Plants Plants in a salt marsh are halophytic Can excrete excess salt and/or retain water Are food for other species and provide nutrients when they decompose Saltwater Cordgrass – found primarily in the low marsh, is a tough, dense grass that stands close to the water and can handle submersion Biotic Factors:Plants:  Biotic Factors:Plants Salt Meadow Grass – forms large meadows farther up on the tide line in the high marsh. Rush – mixed with cordgrass or alone forming strands in the mud. Glasswort – a salty plant that turns red in the fall. Biotic Factors:Plants:  Biotic Factors:Plants Sedge – found throughout salt marshes. Identified by their three-sided stems Sea-milkwort: small plant with pink flowers. They form dense beds in the mud. Arrow Grass – toxic to humans, grows in different sizes, can be found in the lower marsh. Seaside Goldenrod – found in the drier areas of marshes. Produces tall yellow flowers Salt Marshes: Invertebrates:  Salt Marshes: Invertebrates The ribbed mussel can be up to 10 cm long. It is most commonly related to the Blue Mussel. Slide11:  The Salt Marsh Mud Whelk. Belongs to the Whelk family, more commonly known as “Sea Snail” family, and can grow up two cm. in length. Salt Marshes: Invertebrates Slide12:  The Common Dorcas Copper Butterfly has a wing span of 19 to 27 mm. long. And is most commonly related to the Purplish Copper. Salt Marshes: Invertebrates Slide13:  The Common Green Crab can be found globally in a number of different habitats. In the Salt Marsh they reach 7.5 cm. Salt Marshes: Invertebrates Slide14:  The Nine Spine Stickleback is the smallest of Sticklebacks, and is a food source for many of the birds in the Salt Marsh. Salt Marsh: Vertebrates Salt Marsh: Vertebrates:  Salt Marsh: Vertebrates The Black Duck typically measures 59 cm. (head to toe). Its ducklings are born able to tolerate high concentrations of salt. Slide16:  The Great Blue Heron is also know as the Blue Crane. When standing with legs completely extended the Heron reaches about 1 meter high. Salt Marsh: Vertebrates Slide17:  The Salt Marsh Kingfisher is one of the 90 different types of Kingfisher. Its typical height is 33 cm. Salt Marsh: Vertebrates Slide18:  Raccoons, along with other marsupials, feed on the Mud Whelk and Ribbed oysters found in the Salt Marshes. Salt Marsh: Vertebrates Estuaries: Invertebrates:  Estuaries: Invertebrates The common periwinkle is actaully found in a number habitats, but are incredibly common among the muddy waters of estuaries. Typically reach 3.1 cm. Slide20:  The False Angel wing mussel uses its sharp ray to bury itself deep into the mud. Typically reaches 5 cm. Estuaries: Invertebrates Estuaries: Invertebrates:  Estuaries: Invertebrates Lobsters, along with crabs, use their large claws to break open and eat the many different mussels found in the estuary. Estuaries: Vertebrates:  Estuaries: Vertebrates Flounder are the most commonly found fish in estuaries. They are able to bury themselves in the mud when threatened and become completely camouflaged. Estuaries: Vertebrates:  Estuaries: Vertebrates The Osprey Bird, sometimes called the Fish Hawk, is known for its ability to fly from great heights and catch fish in the waters below. Estuaries: Vertebrates:  Estuaries: Vertebrates Also found in Salt Marshes, the American Alligator is a very important part to both habitats. They are the largest reptile in North America, reaching up to 16 ft. Estuary Food Web:  Estuary Food Web Salt Marsh Food Web:  Salt Marsh Food Web Salt Marsh Keystone Species: American Alligator:  Salt Marsh Keystone Species: American Alligator Slide28:  Estuary Keystone Species: Mangrove crab Competition:  Competition The three main species in a salt marsh are Bids, Plants and fish. In between each of these species competition goes on. In the birds competition occurs in order to fight over fish, space and mates Symbiosis:  Symbiosis Symbiosis is in layman's terms getting a helping hand. There are such things as mutualism (both parties benefit), Communalism (One benefits, other isn't harmed) and Parasitism (where one is helped and the other is harmed) Crock Huntin’:  Crock Huntin’ The American Alligator, left, excavates depressions in its habitat that fill with water.  During dry times, these gator holes may be the only places with water.  Thus, to all the organisms whose survival depends on the water in those holes the alligator is a keystone mutualist.  Of course, the gator might eat a few of those things that come to live in its old home. But hey a gator’s got to eat! Habitat Threats:  Habitat Threats Any trash or sediment in a river naturally ends up in an estuary, since the river current slows due to the widening or running into the tidal force of the ocean. This leads to long term pollution, and the eventual killing off of many habitual animals. Habitat Threats:  Habitat Threats A major issue salt marshes and estuaries are facing is industrial and housing development. Wetlands are considered highly valuable for developing, and it is estimated that 215 million acres have been developed world wide thus far. Habitat Threats:  Habitat Threats Other problems include chemical deposit (which leads to erosion and sediment), irregular flow (caused by irrigation and damming), and salt water deposits, which can kill fresh water animals. The Importance of Estuaries:  The Importance of Estuaries Estuaries are home to a great many different plants and animals that we depend on for food. A number of commercially valuable fish return from the ocean to reproduce in the calm waters of salt marshes and estuaries. Oysters, clams and other shellfish thrive in bays and inlets, as do many species of crabs and fish. The Importance of Salt Marshes:  The Importance of Salt Marshes Salt marshes are particularly important because they are among the most productive habitats on earth and are home to a wealth of plant and wildlife species.

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