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Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology


Tidal salt marshes are viewed as critical habitats for the production of fish and shellfish. As a result, considerable legislation has been promulgated to conserve and protect these habitats, and much of it is in effect today. The relatively young science of ecological engineering has also emerged, and there are now attempts to reverse centuries-old losses by encouraging sound wetland restoration practices. Today, tens of thousands of hectares of degraded or isolated coastal wetlands are being restored worldwide. Whether restored wetlands reach functional equivalency to `natural' systems is a subject of heated debate.
Equally debatable is the paradigm that depicts tidal salt marshes as the `great engine' that drives much of the secondary production in coastal waters. This view was questioned in the early 1980s by investigators who noted that total carbon export, on the order of 100 to 200 g m-2 y-1 was of much lower magnitude than originally thought. These authors also recognized that some marshes were either net importers of carbon, or showed no net exchange. Thus, the notion of `outwelling' has become but a single element in an evolving view of marsh function and the link between primary and secondary production. The `revisionist' movement was launched in 1979 when stable isotopic ratios of macrophytes and animal tissues were found to be `mismatched'. Some eighteen years later, the view of marsh function is still undergoing additional modification, and we are slowly unraveling the complexities of biogeochemical cycles, nutrient exchange, and the links between primary producers and the marsh/estuary fauna. Yet, since Teal's seminal paper nearly forty years ago, we are not much closer to understanding how marshes work. If anything, we have learned that the story is far more complicated than originally thought. Despite more than four decades of intense research, we do not yet know how salt marshes function as essential habitat, nor do we know the relative contributions to secondary production, both in situ or in the open waters of the estuary.
The theme of this Symposium was to review the status of salt marsh research and revisit the existing paradigm(s) for salt marsh function. Challenge questions were designed to meet the controversy head on: Do marshes support the production of marine transient species? If so, how? Are any of these species marsh obligates? How much of the production takes place in situ versus in open waters of the estuary/coastal zone? Sessions were devoted to reviews of landmark studies, or current findings that advance our knowledge of salt marsh function. A day was also devoted to ecological engineering and wetland restoration papers addressing state-of-the-art methodology and specific case histories. Several challenge papers arguing for and against our ability to restore functional salt marshes led off each session. This volume is intended to serve as a synthesis of our current understanding of the ecological role of salt marshes, and will, it is hoped, pave the way for a new generation of research.

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Dedication Foreword Preface
Retrospective on the Salt Marsh Paradigm
Tidal marshes as outwelling/pulsing systems by E. P. Odum
Salt marsh values: retrospection from the end of the century by J. M. Teal & B. L. Howes
Sources and Patterns of Production
Role of salt marshes as part of coastal landscapes by I. Valiela, M. L. Cole, J. McClelland, J. Hauxwell, J. Cebrian & S. B. Joye
v vii xv
Spatial variation in process and pattern in salt marsh plant communities in eastern North America by M. D. Bertness & S. C. Pennings39
Ecophysiological controls on the productivity ofSpartina alternifloraLoisel. by I. A. Mendelssohn & J. T. Morris
Community structure and functional dynamics of benthic microalgae in salt marshes by M. J. Sullivan & C. A. Currin
Structure and productivity of microtidal Mediterranean coastal marshes by C. Ibañez, A. Curco, J. W. Day, Jr. & N. Prat
Development and structure of salt marshes: community patterns in time and space by A. J. Davy137
Fate of Production Within Marsh Food Webs
Microbial secondary production from salt marshgrass shoots, and its known and potential fates by S. Y. Newell & D. Porter
Trophic complexity between producers and invertebrate consumers in salt marshes by D. A. Kreeger & R. I. E. Newell187
Trophic linkages in marshes: ontogenetic changes in diet for youngoftheyear mummichog,Fundulus heteroclitus by K. J. Smith, G. L. Taghon & K. W. Able
Habitat Value: Food and/or Refuge
Factors influencing habitat selection in fishes with a review of marsh ecosystems by J. K. Craig & L. B. Crowder
Salt marsh ecoscapes and production transfers by estuarine nekton in the southeastern United States by R. T. Kneib
Salt marsh linkages to productivity of penaeid shrimps and blue crabs in the northern Gulf of Mexico by R. J. Zimmerman, T. J. Minello & L. P. Rozas
Ecophysiological determinants of secondary production in salt marshes: a simulation study by J. M. Miller, W. H. Neill, K. A. Duchon & S. W. Ross
Salt marsh ecosystem support of marine transient species by L. A. Deegan, J. E. Hughes, & R. A. Rountree
Biogeochemical Processes
Benthicpelagic coupling in marshestuarine ecosystems by R. F. Dame, E. Koepfler & L. Gregory
Twenty more years of marsh and estuarine flux studies: revisiting Nixon (1980) by D. L. Childers, J. W. Day, Jr. & H. N. McKellar, Jr.
The role of oligohaline marshes in estuarine nutrient cycling by J. Z. Merrill & J. C. Cornwell
Molecular tools for studying biogeochemical cycling in salt marshes by L. Kerkhof & D. J. Scala
Nitrogen and vegetation dynamics in European salt marshes by J. Rozema, P. Leendertse, J. Bakker & H. van Wijnen
Modeling Nutrient and Energy Flux
A stable isotope model approach to estimating the contribution of organic matter from marshes to estuaries by P. M. Eldridge & L. A. Cifuentes
Types of salt marsh edge and export of trophic energy from marshes to deeper habitats by G. Cicchetti & R. J. Diaz
Silicon is the link between tidal marshes and estuarine fisheries: a new paradigm by C. T. Hackney, L. B. Cahoon, C. Preziosi & A. Norris
Tidal Marsh Restoration: Fact or Fiction?
Selfdesign applied to coastal restoration by W. J. Mitsch
Functional equivalency of restored and natural salt marshes by J. B. Zedler & R. LindigCisneros
Organic and inorganic contributions to vertical accretion in salt marsh sediments by R. E. Turner, E. M. Swenson & C. S. Milan
Landscape structure and scale constraints on restoring estuarine wetlands for Pacific coast juvenile fishes by C. A. Simenstad, W. G. Hood, R. M. Thom, D. A. Levy & D. L. Bottom597
Ecological Engineering of Restored Marshes
The role of pulsing events in the functioning of coastal barriers and wetlands: implications for human impact, management and the response to sea level rise by J. W. Day, Jr., N. P. Psuty & B. C. Perez
Influences of vegetation and abiotic environmental factors on salt marsh invertebrates by L A. Levin & T. S. Talley
Measuring Function of Restored Tidal Marshes
The health and long term stability of natural and restored marshes in Chesapeake Bay by J. C. Stevenson, J. E. Rooth, M. S. Kearney & K. L. Sundberg
Soil organic matter (SOM) effects on infaunal community structure in restored and created tidal marshes by S. W. Broome, C. B. Craft & W. A. Toomey, Jr.
Initial response of fishes to marsh restoration at a former salt hay farm bordering Delaware Bay by K. W. Able, D. M. Nemerson, P. R. Light & R. O. Bush
Success Criteria for Tidal Marsh Restoration
Catastrophes, nearcatastrophes, and the bounds of expectation: success criteria for macroscale marsh restoration by M. P. Weinstein, K. R. Philipp & P. Goodwin
Reference is a moving target in sealevel controlled wetlands by R. R. Christian, L. E. Stasavich, C. R. Thomas & M. M. Brinson
Linking the success ofPhragmitesecosystem nutrient cyclesto the alteration of by L. A. Meyerson, K. A. Vogt & R. M. Chambers
Restoration of salt and brackish tidelands in southern New England by P. E. Fell, R. S. Warren & W. A. Niering
Subject Index