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A Look At. Tidal Wetlands. Marsh Profile. Let’s take a walk into a local salt marsh. We’ll enter by water and walk to the maritime forest. Be careful! You never know what you’ll find as you come ashore. Much of the lower marsh is dominated by saltmarsh cordgrass ( spartina alterniflroa).

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A Look At

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Slide1 l.jpg

A Look At

Tidal Wetlands


Marsh profile l.jpg

Marsh Profile


Let s take a walk into a local salt marsh we ll enter by water and walk to the maritime forest l.jpg

Let’s take a walk into a local salt marsh. We’ll enter by water and walk to the maritime forest.


Be careful you never know what you ll find as you come ashore l.jpg

Be careful! You never know what you’ll find as you come ashore.


Much of the lower marsh is dominated by saltmarsh cordgrass spartina alterniflroa l.jpg

Much of the lower marsh is dominated by saltmarsh cordgrass (spartina alterniflroa).


Dark areas in the cordgrass are often signs of black needlerush juncus sp l.jpg

Dark areas in the cordgrass are often signs of black needlerush(Juncus sp.).


You should wear glasses around needlerush get the point l.jpg

You should wear glasses around needlerush!.......GET THE POINT?


Now that you have your glasses on take a look at the ground l.jpg

Now that you have your glasses on, take a look at the ground

  • There are many things to see!


Do you know what made all these holes l.jpg

Do you know what made all these holes?

Marsh Fiddler Crabs


Can you see the fiddler crab l.jpg

Can you see the fiddler crab?


Notice anything around this hole l.jpg

Notice anything around this hole?

Muskrat tracks


There are also mussels l.jpg

There are also mussels


Notice anything here l.jpg

Notice anything here?

Marsh Periwinkle or Snail


Time to move on l.jpg

Time to move on!


A coastal marsh will often contain many drainage guts l.jpg

A coastal marsh will often contain many drainage guts.

  • These guts can be narrow or wide.

  • They can be shallow or deep.

  • They are the roadways for many of the marine species like fish and crabs to enter the marsh.


That means food for some l.jpg

That means food for some


Can you name this visitor to the gut l.jpg

Can you name this visitor to the gut?

It’s a Rail


Notice the great egret and it s characteristic yellow bill l.jpg

Notice the Great Egret and it’s characteristic yellow bill?


Can you think of any marsh animals that might use this natural bridge l.jpg

Can you think of any marsh animals that might use this natural bridge?


Time to move on20 l.jpg

Time to move on!


The transition between the lower and upper marsh can be quite distinct l.jpg

The transition between the lower and upper marsh can be quite distinct!


Two grasses are often dominant in this zone l.jpg

Two grasses are often dominant in this zone.


Saltmeadow cordgrass and saltgrass together form salthay l.jpg

Saltmeadow cordgrass and Saltgrass together form “Salthay”.

  • Saltmeadow cordgrass or Spartina patens is usually the more common of the two.

  • Saltgrass or Distichlis sp. can be distiguished from S. patens by the close in branching found on the saltgrass.


Take a look under the top layer of the salthay l.jpg

Take a look under the top layer of the Salthay.

  • What type of animals would you expect to live under the Salthay?

  • The Meadow Mole lives here.


Along the edges of the upper marsh you may also find sedges l.jpg

Along the edges of the upper marsh you may also find sedges.

  • Scirpus is the genus of the three-squares.

  • They have solid stems which are triangular in cross section.


I think we missed something back up a few steps l.jpg

I think we missed something! Back up a few steps


Salt pans l.jpg

Salt Pans


Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack l.jpg

Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack.

  • Wrack is made up of the organic material of the marsh and other areas.


Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack29 l.jpg

Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack.

  • This organic materials collects during storms or other high tide events.


Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack30 l.jpg

Salt pans form when areas of the marsh are covered by wrack.

  • This wrack then“smothers” the flora underneath and leaves a baron depression.


Salt often collects in these depressions due to evaporation l.jpg

Salt often collects in these depressions due to evaporation.

  • Because of the increased salinity, halophilic plants like saltwort or pickleweed (Salicornia) usually dominate in the pans.


Time to move on32 l.jpg

Time to move on!


Welcome to the salt bush zone l.jpg

Welcome to the Salt Bush Zone


Marsh elder iva and groundsel tree baccharis dominate this area l.jpg

Marsh Elder (Iva) and Groundsel Tree (Baccharis) dominate this area.

  • Baccharis is a robust shrub with alternate leaves.

  • This shrub may grow to a height of 15 feet.


Marsh elder iva and groundsel tree baccharis dominate this area35 l.jpg

Marsh Elder (Iva) and Groundsel Tree (Baccharis) dominate this area.

  • Ivais found in the same areas and has opposite deciduous leaves.

  • This bush seldom grows over 10 feet tall.


Slide36 l.jpg

Big Cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) and Giant Reed (Phragmites communis) are often found in this area as well as other patches throughout the marsh.


Phragmites or common reed l.jpg

Phragmites or Common Reed

  • This reed is a familiar invader of marshy areas.

  • It grows to over 12 feet high.


Phragmites or common reed38 l.jpg

Phragmites or Common Reed

  • Common reed becomes established via seeds, but spreads by rhizoids.


Phragmites or common reed39 l.jpg

Phragmites or Common Reed

  • The brown, feathery head and the smooth blades are a distinguishing feature of this marsh reed.


Big cordgrass or spartina l.jpg

Big Cordgrass or Spartina


Big cordgrass l.jpg

Big Cordgrass

  • This is another tall grass that can be confused with Common Reed at first glance.


Big cordgrass42 l.jpg

Big Cordgrass

  • It also grows to over 12 feet and is found in the same areas as the Common or Giant Reed.


Big cordgrass43 l.jpg

Big Cordgrass

  • Its “open” head and tapering leaves with upturned minute teeth on their margins are the clues you need to know the difference.


Time to move on44 l.jpg

Time to move on!


Welcome to the upland zone l.jpg

Welcome to the Upland Zone

Maritime Forest


At first glance this area appears to be dominated by loblolly pines l.jpg

At first glance this area appears to be dominated by Loblolly Pines.


Other plants can be found here l.jpg

Other plants can be found here.

  • Can you name this common plant of the Upland Zone?

    If you touch it, you might need an ocean of Calamine Lotion.


Slide48 l.jpg

Poison Ivy!


You might find wild cherry l.jpg

You might find Wild Cherry,


Or waxed myrtle l.jpg

Or Waxed Myrtle.


Slide51 l.jpg

Well, we better get back to the boat!


Slide53 l.jpg

The End!


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