Coastal and Oceanic Landforms (41.Salt Marsh )

                                                                                                                                         Back to Coastal and Oceanic Landforms

  • salt marsh known as;
                            - Coastal salt marsh
                            -Tidal marsh

  • It is a coastal ecosystem in the upper coastal intertidal zone,between;
                            - land open salt water / brackish water
  • Regularly flooded by the tides.
  •  It is dominated by salt-tolerant plants such as;
                                          low shrubs
  • These plants are terrestrial in origin.
  • Salt marshes play a large role;
                            1.the aquatic food web.
                           2. the delivery of nutrients to coastal waters. 

  • They also support terrestrial animals and provide coastal protection.
  • Salt marshes occur on low-energy shorelines in temperate and high-latitudes.
  • Commonly shorelines consist of mud /sand flats.
  • They are nourished with sediment from inflowing rivers &  streams.
  • These typically include sheltered environments such as;

                                barrier islands 

  • Salt marsh  instead of herbaceous plants.
  • Salt marshes are located among different landforms.
  • Include deltaic marshes;

                 open coast

  • Deltaic marshes associated with large rivers.

                    Southern Europe
                    France (Rhone delta )
                   Spain (Ebro delta)

  • They are extensive the rivers of the Mississippi Delta in the United States.
  • In New Zealand, salt marshes occur  head of estuaries

                                                      Manawatu Estuary
                                                      Avon-Heathcote Estuary 
Atlantic ribbed mussell,  low marsh
Atlantic ribbed mussell,  low marsh

  • Salt marshes are sometimes included in lagoons

                           example :Venetian Lagoon in Italy 

  • Plant species diversity is relatively low.
  • The most common salt marsh plants are;

                     Glassworts (Salicornia spp.)
                    Cordgrass (Spartina spp.)


  • Plants grow once the mud has been vegetated by the pioneer species.such as;

-sea lavenders (Limonium spp.)
-plantains (Plantago spp.)

  • Salt marshes are quite photosynthetically active.
  • They serve as depositories for a large amount of organic matter.
  • Feeds a broad food chain of organisms from bacteria to mammals. 
  •  Salt marshes are ecologically important providing habitats for native migratory fish and acting as sheltered feeding and nursery grounds.

  • Restoring and managing salt marsh systems based on scientific principles.
  • salt marshes are located next to urban areas.

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