Flooding of salt marshes controls access to the marsh surface for aquatic organisms and likely regulates the value and use of this habitat for juvenile fishery species. We examined geographic variability in marsh access by measuring tidal flooding characteristics in 15 Spartina alterniflora marshes in the southeastern US between South Texas and lower Chesapeake Bay. Flooding duration and flooding frequency were correlated with the elevation of the marsh edge in relation to mean low water and with the tidal range. Mean annual flooding duration over the years 2006-2008 was highest in Texas (91.5% in Aransas Bay) and North Carolina (89.3% in Pamlico Sound) and lowest in Timbalier Bay, LA (54%) and the lower Carolinas and Georgia (55-57%). We used published data on densities of blue crabs and penaeid shrimps as a measure of habitat selection, and there was a positive relationship between marsh selection and flooding duration.
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.