Overview of The Patterns and Drivers of Zonation in Coastal Salt Marshes

Subject: Environment
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 778
Topics: Environmental Issues, Biology, Ecology

Physical factors such as inundation and salinity vary along an elevation gradient because of the formation of typically distinct and predictable zones. The zones tend to form some superimposed soil gradients that contribute to the development of elevated gradients especially in the Southern coastal regions of California. Besides, the rise of the zones contributes to the formation of gradients, which repeatedly contributes to marsh formations of plant successes (Pennings  & Ragan 1). The formation of the marshes in the gradient regions is affected by the creation of superimposed soil combinations within several and successful productions. Besides, the superimposed soil factors control plant zonation through the establishment of floodings and combinations of nutrient limitations that allow for the formation of peat accumulation and generation of saline environments. The flooding’s that tend to control and influence marsh plantations contribute to the development of vegetation which correlates to interspecific tolerance of saline environment. The process of plant zonation is accompanied by the development of accumulated floods, which influence the growth of vegetation and marshes in certain interspecific areas. Additionally, waterlogging along the gradient elevation control plant zonation because the presence of water which influences’ growth and tolerance of vegetation cover in the specific environment.

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Additionally, plant zonation is controlled by the presence of vegetation patterns and biotic factors that contribute to the limitation of species and incorporation of salt marsh in specific regions of the saline environment (Fariña, Brian & Mark 5). Moreover, plant zonation shows competition of specific species that promote and determine the creation of patterns that affects plant zonation in specific regions and hence accumulated species environment and location that affects plant zonation.

The species found in each zone of the marsh include salicornia virginica and scattered arthrocnemum subterminale. The species compete by replacing one another because of the presence of aspects such as bare salt flat and combinations of mixed species that dominate each other especially in the wet season (Crain et al. 4). The species have differences and develop competition against one another because of the presence of environmental factors in the plantation zones, which affects growth and the ability to determine and take up nutrients in the regions. Besides, the species seem to have stiff competition in growth and accommodation of nutrients because of the need to fully utilize and use the terrestrial vegetation effectively. Therefore, the salicornia plants tend to dominate arthrocnemum zones because of the presence of the grassland zones in the marshy regions or environment that favors growth and utilization of the available resources. Moreover, the arthrocnemum plant naturally occurs in the zones because of the conditions that the environment creates for the growth and development of the plants in specific regions.

Physical and biotic factors interact within the control zonation patterns in the salt marsh because of increased soil salinity that promotes and enable the formation of transition zones. Besides, the incorporation of physical factors such as salinity in the wet season establishes hyper saline and euryhaline salt marshes that enable for the rooting of salicornia because of the ability to enable for wide tolerance in some of the physical conditions that the environment presents.

Description of references used

Steven Pennings and Ragan Callaway in the article salt marsh plant zonation evaluate the effects of salt marsh by analyzing salicornia Virginica and Arthrocnemum species in a salty marsh environment for their growth. Additionally, the article explains and investigates utilized experiments that enable for transplantation of marsh zones and the role that edaphic factors and competition play in the maintenance of zone patterns. The effects of floods and soil waterlogging developments are investigated through the article to give information on elevations and salinity of marsh environments. The article confirmed that salicornia species was more tolerant to flooding’s while Arthrocnemum tolerated more of high saline environments (Pennings  & Ragan 1).

Caitlin, Silliman, and Bertness in the article Physical and biotic drivers of plant and the distribution of estuarine in the saline gradients give insights on some of the most recognized marsh plants in various communities with their composition. The article investigates the possibility of estuarine species that allow for the formation of distributed patterns. Additionally, the article explains the importance of green house that reveals common plants within systems to enable for growth in estuarine regions effectively (Crain et al. 2). 

On the other hand, the article can conservation biologists depend on community structures rules by Silliman, Farina and Bertness explain the importance of competition and facilitated drivers for the growth of specific plants in various plant zonation experienced in low elevations of coastal salt marshes (Fariña, Brian & Mark 2).

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  1. Crain, Caitlin Mullan, Brian R. Silliman, Sarah L. Bertness, and Mark D. Bertness. “Physical and biotic drivers of plant distribution across estuarine salinity gradients.” Ecology 85, no. 9 (2004): 2539-2549.
  2. Fariña, JoséM, Brian R. Silliman, and Mark D. Bertness. “Can conservation biologists rely on established community structure rules to manage novel systems? Not in salt marshes.” Ecological Applications 19.2 (2009): 413-422.
  3. Pennings, Steven C., and Ragan M. Callaway. “Salt marsh plant zonation: the relative importance of competition and physical factors.” Ecology 73.2 (1992): 681-690.
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