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This is the first of my "ecology" series.  I wanted this illustration to look like one of those "A Guide to the Local Flora and Fauna" posters you find at national parks and museums.

          Salt marshes, which grow on flat, muddy coasts at the mouths of rivers in temperate climates, are highly dependant on the tides.  When the waters rise, they bring in nutrients from the ocean, and as the tide ebbs, the waters flush out pollution and decaying matter from the marsh.  Salt marshes are havens for plankton and larval fish, providing plenty of food while protecting these small animals from predators.

          Since salt marshes typically occur near the mouths of rivers where they meet the sea, the animals and plants that live here need to be able to tolerate brackish water (water that is a mixture of fresh and salt)


The organisms depicted here are:

Salt-marsh Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)—the dominant plant in the marsh

Ribbed Mussel (Geukensia demissa)

Fiddler Crab (Uca sp.-- several different fiddler species inhabit the saltmarsh)

Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio)

Sand Shrimp (Crangon septemspinosa)

Silverside (Menidia menidia)

Striped Killifish (Fundulus majalis)

Winter Flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus)

Mud Snails (Ilyanassa obsoleta)

Rough Periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris)

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  


Most of the information for this piece came from the Connecticut College Arboretum's book

Tidal Marshes of Long Island Sound

by Glenn D. Dreyer and William A. Niering



Saltmarsh ©2010 John Meszaros.  All Rights Reserved