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Estuaries and Salt Marshes. Essential Nursery Habitat. Estuaries. Dynamic habitat where two aquatic systems meet. Types of Estuaries. Estuary classification can be based on basin topography or salinity gradients . Topography Drowned river valleys or coastal plain. Bar-built Estuary.

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Estuaries and Salt Marshes


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    1. Estuaries and Salt Marshes Essential Nursery Habitat Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    2. Estuaries • Dynamic habitat where two aquatic systems meet Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    3. Types of Estuaries • Estuary classification can be based on basin topography or salinity gradients. • Topography • Drowned river valleys or coastal plain Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    4. Bar-built Estuary • Sand bars • Barrier islands • NC Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    5. Tectonic Estuaries • Subsidence • San Francisco Bay Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    6. Fjords • Retreating glaciers • Sill Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    7. Salt Wedge • Positive Estuary (high tide) Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    8. Salt Wedge • Positive Estuary (low tide) Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    9. Negative Estuary • Inverse estuary • High salinities • > 50‰ • 100‰ or more during dry spells Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    10. Abiotic Factors of the Estuary • Varying Salinity • Substrate • Varying Temperature • Currents • Turbidity • Low Oxygen Levels Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    11. Abiotic Factors • Salinity • Tides • Topography • Wind • Evaporation • Precipitation Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    12. Physical Factors • Substrate • Rivers carry large amounts of sediment • How is sediment particle size determined by current velocity? • How is sediment oxygen concentration governed by sediment size? Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    13. Living in the Mud Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    14. Temperature & Currents • Temperature • Varies more due to smaller volume of water and fresh water input • Water temperature also varies vertically • Wave action and currents • Waves are minimal due to protection • Currents are caused by the tides and river flow Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    15. Turbidity & Light Penetration • Turbidity • The amount of solid particles suspended in the water column • Increase turbidity can decrease the amount of light which effectively penetrates Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    16. Oxygen • Where fresh and salt water mix there is ample oxygen in the water column • Oxygen solubility does vary with the temperature (seasonal) of the water Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    17. Salinity Tolerances Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    18. Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    19. Flora Composition • Macroflora is limited due to unsuitable substrate and increased turbidity • The dominant vegetation is emergent plants • Occur in the upper intertidal Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    20. Types of Estuarine Communities • Open water Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    21. Mud flats • Most animals are infauna and are usually feeding on detritus • Deposit feeders also oxygenate the sediment with their burrows Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    22. Salt Marshes • Found bordering temperate, subpolar estuaries and marine embayments • These are communities of emergent grasses, or low shrubs rooted in soils that are alternately inundated and drained by tidal action • Halophytes Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    23. Salt Marsh Flora & Fauna • Dominant plants • Spartina, Juncus, Salicornia • Dominant animals • Crabs (Uca), mussels, oysters, smaller crustaceans, amphipods, juvenile fish Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    24. Salt Marsh Productivity • Most productivity is carried out by the marsh plants and microalgae • Productivity is very high due to the emergent plants (Spartina) • Very few herbivores, most of this productivity is not directly consumed Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    25. Mangrove Forests • Mangals • Tropical equivalents of salt marshes • Emergent • Intertidal Estuaries & Salt Marshes

    26. Estuaries & Salt Marshes