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Salt Marshes
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The majority of commercially-important marine species rely on estuaries/salt marsh at some stage of life

Examples include blue crab, oysters, hard clams, shrimp, red drum, seatrout, sheepshead, bluefish, mullet

Slide 11

Importance of salt marshes

Importance of salt marshes

Productivity

Habitat

Erosion control

Filtration

Slide 12

Productivity

Productivity

Biological term—amount of carbon produced per m² per unit time

3 kg (ash free dry weight)/m²/year

Limiting factors include nutrients, light

Salt marsh plants provide detritus for the estuarine food web

Few grazers on blades (< 10% of biomass)

Large detrital biomass supports broad food web

Slide 13

Partial salt marsh food web

Partial salt marsh food web

Marsh grass

Detritus

Bacteria, fungi

Insects

Snails

Crabs

Birds

Fish

Phytoplankton

Zooplankton

Oysters

Mussels

Humans

Shrimp

Dolphins

Slide 14

Habitat

Habitat

Nursery grounds

Feeding grounds

Microhabitats

Aerial

Benthic

Aquatic

Stressful environment

Rapid changes in temperature, salinity, water depth, dissolved oxygen

Sedimentation

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