Wetlands

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 425–437 | Cite as

Transitional Wetland Faunal Community Characterization and Response to Precipitation-Driven Salinity Fluctuations

  • Donna Marie Bilkovic
  • Molly Roggero Mitchell
  • Carl H. Hershner
  • Kirk J. Havens
Article

Abstract

Transitional wetlands occur along an estuarine salinity continuum bracketed by salt and nontidal freshwater wetlands. Long-term disturbances, such as sea level rise, may shift physical characteristics and hydrologic features of estuarine systems leading to transitional wetland habitat alterations, with unknown affects to associated biological communities. To begin to assess the ecological significance of a change in transitional wetland character, physicochemical parameters, and fish and invertebrate communities were surveyed seasonally in two extensive meso-oligohaline marshes, currently undergoing changes due to sea level rise. Faunal communities were similar between marshes, and included economically important species and forage fish. Temporal shifts in communities occurred seasonally and annually with high variability in species abundance among years. Drastic annual variability in salinity regimes due to extremes in precipitation occurred during the survey period driving shifts in biotic community composition.

Keywords

Brackish marsh Climatic variability Fish communities Macrofauna Sea level rise Zooplankton 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donna Marie Bilkovic
    • 1
  • Molly Roggero Mitchell
    • 1
  • Carl H. Hershner
    • 1
  • Kirk J. Havens
    • 1
  1. 1.Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & MaryGloucester PointUSA

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