This study sought to examine ecological equivalence of created marshes of different ages using traditional structural measures of equivalence, and tested a relatively novel approach using stable isotopes as a measure of functional equivalence. We compared soil properties, vegetation, nekton communities, and δ¹³C and δ²⁵ N isotope values of blue crab muscle and hepatopancreas tissue and primary producers at created (5-24 years old) and paired reference marshes in SW Louisiana. Paired contrasts indicated that created and reference marshes supported equivalent plant and nekton communities, but differed in soil characteristics. Stable isotope indicators examining blue crab food web support found that the older marshes (8 years+) were characterized by comparable trophic diversity and breadth compared to their reference marshes. Interpretation of results for the youngest site was confounded by the fact that the paired reference, which represented the desired end goal of restoration, contained a greater diversity of basal resources. Stable isotope techniques may give coastal managers an additional tool to assess functional equivalency of created marshes, as measured by trophic support, but may be limited to comparisons of marshes with similar vegetative communities and basal resources, or require the development of robust standardization techniques.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.