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Lecture5SaltMarshVernal6slidespp - L e c t u r e 5 W e t la...

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1 Lecture 5: Wetlands – a focus on CA s coastal salt marsh and vernal pools I. Definitions of wetlands: A. Transitional habitats between land and water where water sits periodically (seasonally, with tides) inundating the land surface and saturating the soils, leading to low oxygen availability in saturated soils. B. Plants are hydrophytes and also halophytes if salts build up the soil. C. Organisms adapt to stressful and fluctuating conditions, with many naturally rare or now listed as species of concern. There are many schemes for classifying various wetland types. Today we are going to look at coastal salt marshes (as one type of marsh) and mostly inland vernal pools. There are also inland saline springs, pools and playas that we will discuss later as parts of the desert biome. Owens Lake Death Valley MESSAGE: High habitat diversity and complexity in both wetland types - unusual species. II. California s Salt Marshes: • distribution: intertidal zone both on the outer (Pacific) coast and in estuaries where rivers enter the Pacific Ocean and its bays; • physical setting: vegetated part of the intertidal zone, generally above the average height of the lowest high tides (MLHW); the lower tidal areas are unvegetated intertidal flats; • vegetation: characterized by halophytic angiosperms with root systems that bind the sediment (stabilizing it), leading to marsh surface construction; the plants must tolerate high salinities and inundation by water, as well as dessication during low tides.
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2 Zonation of plants and other organisms develops in the salt marsh as related to periods of emergence (at low tides) and submergence (at high tides): low zone : cordgrass ( Spartina spp.) mid zone: pickleweed high zone: salt grass, sea blite, Grindelia and many other species. (with the mud flats sitting at lower levels). Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach The unvegetated , intertidal mud flats sit below the salt marsh at lower tidal levels, usually below the MLHW. Here, • the surface is muddy and more mobile, shifting
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Lecture5SaltMarshVernal6slidespp - L e c t u r e 5 W e t la...

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