Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 855–870 | Cite as

Stratigraphic and Ecophysical Characterizations of Salt Pools: Dynamic Landforms of the Webhannet Salt Marsh, Wells, ME, USA

  • Kristin R. Wilson
  • Joseph T. Kelley
  • Arie Croitoru
  • Michele Dionne
  • Daniel F. Belknap
  • Robert Steneck


Salt pools are water-filled depressions common to north-temperate salt marshes. In Wells, ME, USA, cores reveal a unique salt pool signature consisting of water-saturated dark-gray mud often containing fragments of Ruppia maritima. Cores through pool sediment reenter salt marsh peat, not tidal flat sediment, demonstrating that most pools are of secondary origin. A principal component analysis of attribute data collected from 119 pools defines three distinct pool types: those with (1) surrounding high-marsh vegetation and thick heavily undercut banks (40% of the variance), (2) surrounding low-marsh vegetation and thicker slightly undercut banks (18% of the variance), and (3) surrounding low-marsh vegetation and less thick moderately undercut banks, containing R. maritima and a surficial drainage (15% of the variance). Cores and spatiotemporal analyses of aerial photographs between 1962 and 2003 reveal dramatic salt marsh surface dynamism suggesting that salt pools influence the geomorphological evolution of coastal marshes.


Ecogeomorphology Sea level Cores Aerial photographs 


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin R. Wilson
    • 1
  • Joseph T. Kelley
    • 2
  • Arie Croitoru
    • 3
  • Michele Dionne
    • 4
  • Daniel F. Belknap
    • 2
  • Robert Steneck
    • 5
  1. 1.Program in Ecology and Environmental ScienceUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.Wells National Estuarine Research ReserveWellsUSA
  5. 5.School of Marine SciencesUniversity of MaineWalpoleUSA

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