Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 317–325 | Cite as

Long-term trends in vegetation dominance and infaunal community composition in created marshes

  • Troy D. Alphin
  • Martin H. Posey


An increase in salt marsh restoration efforts,especially over the last two decades, underscores theneed for effective methods to evaluate long-termsuccess. Most marsh restoration/creation efforts areonly evaluated over the first few years afterestablishment and in many cases only vegetativecharacteristics are examined. This study examinesvegetation as well as dominance and abundance patternsof benthic infauna at three created marsh sites ofvarying ages in Winyah Bay, South Carolina, and acreated marsh site in North Carolina, using data fromearlier studies and from sampling undertaken in 1998. Abundances fluctuated strongly between years, withpatterns of numerical abundance changing betweensites. In contrast, species dominance as measured bypercent occurrence tended to remain constant afterestablishment of a site. The same suite of specieswas dominant at all sites regardless of marsh age oryear of sampling. These results indicate that whilefaunal abundance is an important factor in determiningmarsh function (i.e., are higher trophic levelssupported?), dominance may be as useful in monitoringstability, especially in areas where the faunalassemblage is not closely tied to the vegetativecommunity.

dominance infauna marsh restoration succession 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Troy D. Alphin
    • 1
  • Martin H. Posey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and Center for Marine Science ResearchUniversity of North Carolina at WilmingtonWilmingtonU.S.A

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