Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2005 Edition
| Editors: Maurice L. Schwartz

Deltaic Ecology

  • John M. Rybczyk
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-3880-1_113

A system overview

Deltas are depositional areas where rivers meet the sea, often forming extensive, coastal, alluvial fans. Although there is much variability, deltas tend to develop where high-energy rivers deposit their sediment loads into shallow, low-energy marine systems or, more generally, where river energies exceed marine energies. For example, the Mississippi River discharges an average of 6.2 × 10 11 kg of sediments per year into the shallow, low-energy waters of the Gulf of Mexico, allowing for the development of an extensive delta complex spanning 30,000km 2. Although deltas can dominate the coastal landscape, they are by no means static; characteristically undergoing a cycle of growth, channel abandonment, and deterioration ( Figure D3). Thus, the ecological populations and communities associated with deltas are unique in that they are subject to powerful allogenic riverine and marine forces, and to the overarching pattern of the deltaic cycle itself. For this reason, an...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Bibliography

  1. 1.
    Church, J.A., Gregory, J.M., Huybrechts, P., Kuhn, M., Lambeck, K., Nhuan, M.T., Qin, D., and Woodworth, P.L., 2001. Changes in sea level. In Houghton, J.T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D.J., Noguer, M., van der Linden, P.J., Dai, X., Maskell, K., and Johnson, C.A. (eds.), Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, pp. 639–693.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Day, J.W., Pont, D., Hensel, P., and Ibanez, C., 1995. Impacts of sea level rise on deltas in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean: the importance of pulsing events to sustainability. Estuaries, 18: 636–647.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Day, J.W., Rybczyk, J.M., Scarton, F., Rismondo, A., Are, D., and Cecconi, G., 1999. Soil accretionary dynamics, sea level rise and the survival of wetlands in the Venice lagoon: a field and modeling approach. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 49: 607–628.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Day, J.W., Psuty, N.P., and Perez, B.C., 2000. The role of pulsing events in the functioning of coastal barriers and wetlands: implications for human impact, management and the response to sea level rise. In Weinstein, M.P., and Kreeger, D.A. (eds.), Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 633–660.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kreeger, D.A., and Newell, R.I.E., 2000. Trophic complexity between producers and invertebrate consumers in salt marshes. In Weinstein, M.P., and Kreeger, D.A. (eds.), Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 187–200.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Morris, J.T., Sundareshwar, P.V., Nietch, C.T., Kjerfve, B., and Cahoon, D.R., 2002. Response of coastal wetlands to rising sea levels. Ecology, 83: 2869–2877.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nuttle, W.K., Brinson, M.M., Cahoon, D., Callaway, J.C., Christian, R.R., Chmura, G.L., Conner, W.H., Day, R.H., Ford, M., Grace, J., Lynch, J., Orson, R.A., Parkinson, R.W., Reed, D., Rybczyk, J.M., Smith T.J., III, Stumpf, R.P., and Williams, K., 1997. Conserving coastal wetlands despite sea level rise. EOS, 78: 257–261.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Odum, E.P., 1980. The status of three ecosystem-level hypothesis regarding salt marsh estuaries: tidal subsidy, outwelling, and detritus-based food chains. In Kennedy, V.S. (ed.), Estuarine Perspectives. New York: Academic Press, pp. 485–495.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Roberts, H.H., 1997. Dynamic changes of the Holocene Mississippi River delta plain: the delta cycle. Journal of Coastal Research, 13:605–627.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Whittaker, R.H., and Likens G.E., 1973. Primary production: the biosphere and man. Human Ecology, 1: 357–369.Google Scholar

Cross-references

  1. 1.
    Coastal SubsidenceGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dams, Effect on CoastsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
  4. 4.
  5. 5.
  6. 6.
  7. 7.
    Greenhouse Effect and Global WarmingGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Mangroves, EcologyGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Salt MarshGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sea-Level Rise, EffectGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Rybczyk

There are no affiliations available