Saltmarsh ecology.

S. P. Long, C. F. Mason

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The introductory chapter defines the saltmarsh as an area of alluvial or peat deposits, colonized by herbaceous and small shrubby terrestrial vascular plants, almost permanently wet and frequently inundated with saline waters. The global distribution of this habitat type is outlined, and the overriding influence of the tidal cycle stressed. Chapter 2 reviews ways in which saltmarshes are formed, their physiographic features, the significance of sea level changes, and the nature of saltmarsh soil. The next two chapters describe the flora and fauna associated with saltmarshes, including material on adaptation to environmental stress, intra- and interspecific relationships, succession and zonation, and food webs. Chapter 5 looks at primary production in terms of biomass, net and gross primary production, and the contribution made by algae. The penultimate chapter examines the ecosystem in terms of decomposition, sediments and nutrient cycling, energy flow and export. Finally, aspects of conservation are debated, including reclamation of saltmarsh for agriculture or industry, and problems of pollution. Examples are mainly taken from North America, where research emphasis has been placed on ecosystem dynamics, and from Western Europe where the focus has usually been on species distributions in relation to environmental parameters.-P.J.Jarvis

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSaltmarsh ecology.
PublisherBlackie; Tertiary Level Biology Series; Chapman & Hall, USA
ISBN (Print)0216914388, 0216914396, 9780216914384, 9780216914391
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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