Plant Ecology

, Volume 146, Issue 1, pp 29–41

The influence of tidal channels on the distribution of salt marsh plant species in Petaluma Marsh, CA, USA


  • Eric W. Sanderson
    • Department of Land, Air and Water ResourcesUniversity of California
  • Susan L. Ustin
    • Department of Land, Air and Water ResourcesUniversity of California
  • Theodore C. Foin
    • Division of Environmental StudiesUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009882110988

Cite this article as:
Sanderson, E.W., Ustin, S.L. & Foin, T.C. Plant Ecology (2000) 146: 29. doi:10.1023/A:1009882110988


Tidal channels influence the distribution and composition of salt marsh vegetation in a San Francisco Bay salt marsh. Two channel networks in the Petaluma Marsh, Sonoma County, CA, were mapped and characterized using global positioning and geographic information systems. Plant species abundance was sampled on transects placed perpendicular to and extending away from the channel banks. The vegetation showed significant increases in species richness along channel banks and larger areas of effect which increased approximately linearly with channel size. Composition of species assemblages varies with distance from the channel bank and channel size. These results demonstrate that salt marsh plant assemblages, composed of both major and minor species, are distributed with respect to the channel network in Petaluma Marsh.

California salt marshChannel orderVegetation patternsWetland restoration

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000