The Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) was used to create standardized maps of habitats and biotopes by combining CMECS’s four stand-alone components: Geoform, Substrate, Biotic, and Water, based on data collected in a shallow New England salt marsh lagoon. East Harbor on Cape Cod, MA, USA, was artificially isolated from tidal flow in the late 1860s. Consequently, estuarine fish and invertebrate populations declined until partial tidal flow was restored in 2002. In early September 2017, we conducted an acoustic survey covering 1.29 km2 (mean depth = 1.27 m) of East Harbor using a vessel mounted phase measuring sidescan sonar. From the acoustic survey data, submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) was mapped and used for a stratified random sampling scheme. On 2 days in late September 2017, East Harbor was sampled for benthic invertebrates, sediment, and water properties (pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature) at sixteen stations (eight bare substrates and eight SAV). As the restoration project develops over time from a newly restored (2002) to a more fully restored (2017) system, links between abiotic and biotic components strengthen. Consequently, we were able to explain 89.39% of species distribution in East Harbor using measured abiotic variables (e.g., sediment characteristics) and show the diminishing influence of “distance to culvert” in explaining species distribution in East Harbor.
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The authors would like to thank Captain Ted Lucas who piloted R/V Portnoy for acoustic and benthic surveys in this study and Terri Smith for collecting and processing acoustic data. A very special thank you goes out to our volunteer pickers: Andrea Spence, Amy Wolff, Barbara Brennessel, Brian Fitzpatrick, Brian O’Malley, Cathy Coughlin, Cynthia Franklin, Dennis Ubriaco, Hal Levine, Joan Shaffer, Jeanne Washington, Kim Enserink, Maria Marelli, Peter Kosewski, Americorps members 2017 and interns of the Cape Cod National Seashore. We also thank Dr. Jonathan Woodruff at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for the use of the grain size analysis instruments in his lab and his graduate students for their help in operating same.
Funding for this project was provided through a grant from the National Park Service and Cape Cod National Seashore (PIMS # 173490) and had further support by the Town of Truro.
Communicated by Melisa C. Wong
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Mittermayr, A., Legare, B. & Borrelli, M. Applications of the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) in a Partially Restored New England Salt Marsh Lagoon. Estuaries and Coasts 45, 1095–1106 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-020-00707-2