Changes in benthic algal attributes during salt marsh restoration

  • Published source details Zheng L., Stevenson R.J. & Craft C. (2004) Changes in benthic algal attributes during salt marsh restoration. Wetlands, 24, 309-323.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create brackish/saline marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Restore/create brackish/saline marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 1998 of 16 brackish/saline marshes in North Carolina, USA (Zheng et al. 2004) reported that restored marshes had similar algal richness and diversity to natural marshes, and that older restored marshes contained a similar amount of algae to natural marshes. Unless specified, statistical significance was not assessed. Both restored and natural marshes contained algal communities dominated by diatoms, filamentous algae and blue-green algae. The similarity in community composition between restored and natural marshes varied between 12 and 96%, depending on the habitat, season and time since restoration. Restored and natural marshes supported a similar number of algal species (restored: 131–204; natural: 118–218 species/habitat/season) and statistically similar algal diversity (data reported as a diversity index). Algal abundance generally increased with time since restoration, such that older restored marshes (≥26 years old) contained a similar or greater amount of algae to natural marshes whereas younger restored marshes (<13 years old) contained less (see original paper for data and statistical models). Finally, restored marshes contained more cordgrass Spartina spp. than natural marshes in six of eight comparisons (for which restored: 297–498 stems/m2; natural: 201–316 stems/m2). Methods: In spring and summer 1998, algae were surveyed in eight pairs of coastal brackish/saline marshes. In each pair, one marsh had been restored 1–28 years previously (restoration methods not reported, but included cordgrass planting) and the other, nearby marsh was natural. Algae were collected from cordgrass stems and the top 1 cm of sediment. Abundance was measured as biovolume or estimated from chlorophyll concentrations. Cordgrass stems were counted in each marsh in October.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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