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Bio 126 Marsh and Wetlands. Current state:. In California we have lost 90% of our wetlands. Much of the Great Central valley was a seasonal marsh. Our Largest lakes with miles of marshy shoreline were by Bakersfield. They had 2,100 miles of marshy shoreline.

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Bio 126 marsh and wetlands

Bio 126Marsh and Wetlands


Current state:

  • In California we have lost 90% of our wetlands

  • Much of the Great Central valley was a seasonal marsh

  • Our Largest lakes with miles of marshy shoreline were by Bakersfield. They had 2,100 miles of marshy shoreline

  • 40% of the SF Bay has been filled in with land.

  • Rivers have been channelized, shoreline reduced


Types of marshes
Types of Marshes:

  • Salt water – marine or sea water marshes – along bays and sea shore

  • Mangrove swamps, important for island building in warm waters

  • Brackish – mix of salt or sea water and fresh water – locations may vary by seasonal flow

  • Estuaries – river meets a bay, or sea

  • Fresh water – along streams and lakes


Ecological roles of wetlands
Ecological Roles of Wetlands:

  • High productivity

  • Filters water – Laminar flow

  • Fisheries

  • Migrating & resident birds

    • Food, cover, nesting sites

  • Traps nutrients, pollutants


Salt marsh plants
Salt Marsh Plants

  • Halophytes at leading edge

    • Plants adapted to salty conditions

    • Many have Salt glands

    • Succulents have swollen tissues that store water – like Pickleweed


Anatomy of salt marsh
Anatomy of Salt Marsh

  • Open sea water

  • Mudflats – still under water

  • Salt marsh – above ground by inches, right next to mudflats.

    • Salt content of soil high

  • Fresh water marsh, higher up, and farther back from mud flats

    • Salt content of soil very low


Mudflats
Mudflats

  • Forms new land by silting,

  • Limited by high-tide line

    • Area still under water at high tides

  • Wind blows dust, plant trap sediments settling down & slowly build up soil

  • Differences in compaction create tidal meanders – deeper channels

  • Highest salt content – same as sea

  • Eel grass and sea lettuce- dominants

  • Wading birds eat animals in mud


Salt marsh edge with sea water
Salt Marsh edge with sea water

  • Cordgrass dominates

    • Hollow stems, 2-3 ft. tall

    • Rhizomes trap detritus, and sediments add to soil

  • Highly productive

    • Has nitrogen fixing bacteria in roots

  • Few things eat cordgrass

  • Fuels a detrivore based food chain

  • Decays in mud, microorganism eat detritus

  • Worms, snails, fish larvae eat microorganisms

  • Birds, larger fish, eat worms etc.


Salt marsh farther inland
Salt Marsh farther inland

  • Salt in soil is less than 2%

  • Saltgrass most common

  • Other salt-tolerant species may be present such as:

    • Saltbush

    • Sea Blite

    • Marsh Grindelia – a “gum weed”


Fresh water marsh
Fresh Water Marsh

  • On inflow of creeks into salt marshes

  • Around lakes streams inland

  • Deltas of rivers


Fresh water marsh plants
Fresh Water Marsh Plants

  • Floating plants – microphytes

    • Duckweed and Water-ferns

    • Water hyacinth an introduce weedy species

  • Tule – Bullrush small spike of flowers and seeds

    • Triangular stems up to 6 ft.

  • Cattails – column of small flowers / feather seeds

    • Round hollow stems up to 10 ft.

    • Can not tolerate water deeper than 4 ft.

  • Shrubs and Trees – Riparian areas

    • may include Willows, Alder, Cottonwood, Sycamore



Good website to view marshplants
Good website to view marshplants

  • www.msnucleus.org/.../ mudslough/mudplants.html







Marsh birds
Marsh Birds

  • Northern Harrier

  • Rails

  • Black Phoebe

  • Kingfishers

  • Egrets, Herons

  • Ducks

  • Western Meadowlark

  • Smaller Waders: Stilts, Avocet, Peeps Brewers and Red-winged Black birds


Northern harrier the marsh hawk
Northern Harrier the marsh Hawk


























Other marsh animals
Other Marsh Animals

  • Black-tailed Jack Rabbit

  • Tule Elk

  • Racoons

  • Skunks

  • Muskrats

  • Otters

  • Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

  • Norway Rats

  • Introduced red fox – hunts marsh birds



A new dawn for the delta
A new Dawn for the Delta

  • Glen Martin

  • SF Chronicle December 30, 2005


  • SAN FRANCISCO BAY Bonanza of birds on the bay Tidal marshes' recovery has brought record counts

  • Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

  • Saturday, March 26, 2005


  • SAN FRANCISCO BAY Bay researchers try to mow down enemy Invasive hybrid weed is suffocating mudflat habitats

  • Glen Martin, Chronicle Environment Writer

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Spartina alternifolia atlantic smooth cord grass
Spartina alternifolia-Atlantic Smooth Cord Grass


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