Long-term trends in vegetation dominance and infaunal community composition in created marshes

  • Published source details Alphin T.D. & Posey M.H. (2000) Long-term trends in vegetation dominance and infaunal community composition in created marshes. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 8, 317-325.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Deposit soil/sediment to form physical structure of brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Deposit soil/sediment to form physical structure of brackish/salt marshes

    A replicated study in 1994–1999 in an estuary in South Carolina, USA (Alphin & Posey 2000) reported that three patches of deposited sediment had developed brackish marsh plant communities when 6–17 years old, with replacement of single species by mixed communities in patches >13 years old. The youngest patch was dominated almost exclusively by smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora during both surveys (when the patch was 6–11 years old). In two older patches, single-species communities initially dominated, occurring at 87–96% of surveyed points when the patches were 13–17 years old. This dominance decreased over time, with single-species communities occurring at only 50–63% of surveyed points when the patches were 18–22 years old. However, individual species remained dominant or co-dominant at a similar number of sampled points. For example, in one marsh, smooth cordgrass occurred at 45% of points after 13 years then 57% after 18 years, and sturdy bulrush Schoenoplectus robustus occurred at 50% of points after 13 years then 65% after 18 years. Methods: In 1994 and 1999, dominant plant communities were surveyed in three patches of a created marsh (in three 100-m2 quadrats/marsh/year; 36 survey points/quadrat). Dredged sediment had been deposited in an estuary in stages between 1977 and 1988, creating patches of intertidal brackish marsh (salinity 1–10 ppt) of varying age. This study was in the same marsh as (1), but used different patches of sediment.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust