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SALT MARSHES. BIOL 200 MARINE BOTANY FALL 2009. WHAT ARE SALT MARSHES?. Salt-tolerant plants Tidal marshes Plants of low-energy coasts Distribution-worldwide –subtropical to arctic waters. WHAT IS THE ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE OF MARSHES?.

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salt marshes

SALT MARSHES

BIOL 200 MARINE BOTANY

FALL 2009

what are salt marshes
WHAT ARE SALT MARSHES?
  • Salt-tolerant plants
  • Tidal marshes
  • Plants of low-energy coasts

Distribution-worldwide –subtropical to arctic waters.

what is the ecological importance of marshes
WHAT IS THE ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE OF MARSHES?
  • Direct food source for a wide variety of animals and insects.
  • Form part of the detrital food chain.
  • Habitats for animals (marsh fauna).
  • Stabilize colonial sediments
  • Filter organic wastes and reduce nutrient loading.
taxonomy
TAXONOMY

Grasses, Sedges, Rushes

grasses sedges and rushes
GRASSES, SEDGES, AND RUSHES
  • Wind-Pollinated
  • Flowers do not have showy petals and are often reduced
  • Pollen is light
  • Stigmas are feathery
grasses poaceae
GRASSES-POACEAE

Cylindrical and hollow stems

Leaves are alternate and in 2 ranks

sedges cyperaceae
SEDGES-CYPERACEAE
  • Triangular, solid stems
  • Leaves in 3 ranks
rushes juncaceae
RUSHES-JUNCACEAE
  • The Rushes are in the order Liliales and have many similar features to Lily flowers, except that the petals and sepals are small, brown and scale-like and are called tepals.
common salt marsh flowering plants
COMMON SALT MARSH FLOWERING PLANTS
  • Spartina alterniflora (smooth cordgrass)
  • Juncus roemerianus (black rush)
  • Salicornia virginica (glasswort)
smooth cordgrass
Smooth Cordgrass
  • Erect stem can grow to 3 m (tall form)
  • Horizontal rhizome—produces the stems and roots
  • Lacunae in stems
  • Krantz anatomy
krantz anatomy
KRANTZ ANATOMY
  • C4 photosynthesis = spatial separation
  • C4 plants have unique morphology called Krantz anatomy
  • - Mesophyll cells fix CO2 with PEP carboxylase
  • - Bundle sheath cells make carbohydrate by Calvin cycle
black rush
Black Rush
  • Clonal plant with rhizomes, erect stems, and a fibrous root system
  • Rhizome is covered by suberized scale leaves and has lacunae.
  • Needle like leaves
  • Rush-type flowers-cymes
glasswort
Glasswort
  • Stems and leaves are very succulent
  • Glossy in appearance
  • Stems produce short, erect branches
  • Leaf blades are reduced to scales.—petioles have a segmented appearance.
other salt marsh plants
OTHER SALT MARSH PLANTS
  • Ferns—Acrosticum
  • Bryophytes-mosses and liverworts
  • Algae—sediment microalgae, macroalgal mats, and epiphytic macroalgae.
  • Seagrasses
how do plants regulate salt
HOW DO PLANTS REGULATE SALT?
  • Ion exclusion in the roots
  • Growth and succulence
  • Shedding
  • Secretion through glands
  • Secretion through roots
  • Lowering water loss by reducing transpiration –CAM plants
what are some of the threats to marshes
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THREATS TO MARSHES?
  • Agricultural
  • Urban Expansion
  • Pollution from other sources
  • Invasion by exotic species
references
REFERENCES
  • www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/habitats/saltmarshes.htm
  • www.dnr.state.sc.us/marine/pub/seascience/dynamic.html
  • www.nearctica.com/ecology/habitats/estuary.htm
  • www.conservancy.co.uk/learn/wildlife/saltmarsh.htm
assignment
Assignment
  • Select a salt marsh ecosystem in the USA. Outline the problems that are adversely impacting that particular ecosystem. Devise a management plan for restoration of your chosen ecosystem. Prepare a power point presentation and be ready to present in your next class. Each student will have 5-6 minutes to present.