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Cakile edentula Great Lakes Shore Sparse Vegetation
Translated Name: American Searocket Great Lakes Shore Sparse Vegetation
Common Name: Great Lakes Searocket Beach
Unique Identifier: CEGL005162
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This community occurs along unstable shorelines in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada. Sites are severely affected by wind, waves, and winter ice. Easily shifted sand or gravel substrate permits little vegetation to develop, unless protected by a shoreline configuration that breaks waves and blocks winter ice. Soils are typically sands and gravels with little organic matter. Cakile edentula, Ammophila breviligulata, and Salix myricoides typically grow on sand beaches. Other common plant species include Chamaesyce polygonifolia, Argentina anserina, Salix spp., Schoenoplectus spp. (= Scirpus spp.), and Xanthium strumarium. A shrub zone (Physocarpus opulifolius, Cornus sericea, Rosa acicularis, etc.) can develop at the inland margin of some gravel beaches. Species found on sand and gravel beaches in most cases are those of other shoreline habitats which gain a tenuous foothold on the beach.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low
Classification Comments: Stands occur on narrow shoreline-sand beaches. Some are associated with large dune systems. The beach can include the sparsely vegetated parts of the upper beach, which is usually beyond the reach of the waves, and can form sand flats. In Wisconsin this type is only on Lake Michigan. The Cakile edentula variety is primarily lacustris. Minnesota may have only a minor occurrence in the Duluth area.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.B - Temperate & Boreal Grassland & Shrubland
Formation 2.B.4 - Temperate to Polar Scrub & Herb Coastal Vegetation
Division 2.B.4.Na - Eastern North American Coastal Scrub & Herb Vegetation
Macrogroup Eastern North American Coastal Beach & Rocky Shore
Group Great Lakes Sand Beach
Alliance Great Lakes Searocket Beach

This is the revised vegetation hierarchy. For more information see Classification Sources and usnvc.org.

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004400 Cakile edentula ssp. edentula - Chamaesyce polygonifolia Sparse Beach Vegetation
CEGL005098 Ammophila breviligulata - (Schizachyrium scoparium) Grassland



Related Concepts from Other Classifications

Related Subnational Community Units
These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.
In the U.S., contact the state Heritage Program for the most complete and up-to-date information at: http://www.natureserve.org/natureserve-network.
Information from programs in other jurisdictions will be posted when they are made available.
Subnation Concept Name Relationship to Standard Confidence Reference
Illinois Beach Equivalent   White and Madany 1978
Indiana Wetland - flat sand Broader   Homoya et al. 1988
Michigan Sand and Gravel Beach Equivalent   Chapman et al. 1989
Minnesota Sand Beach (Lake Superior) Type Equivalent   Minnesota DNR 2005
New York Great Lakes dunes Broader   Edinger et al. 2002
Ohio Beach-dune community Broader   ONHD unpubl. data
Pennsylvania Great Lakes region sparsely vegetated beach Intersects   Fike 1999
Vermont Lake Sand Beach Broader   Thompson and Sorenson 2000
Wisconsin Great lakes beach Broader   WNHI 2011


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Cakile edentula Great Lakes Shore Sparse Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).
Related Concept Name: Beach Community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Anderson, D. M. 1996. The vegetation of Ohio: Two centuries of change. Draft. Ohio Biological Survey.
Related Concept Name: Sea Rocket Sand Beach Type
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.026 Great Lakes Dune
CES201.149 Great Lakes Sand Beach


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G3? (22Jun1998)
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: There may be fewer than 100 occurrences of this community rangewide (depending on how the boundaries of one occurrence are defined). This community is reported from Michigan (where it is ranked S3), Wisconsin (S2), Ohio (S1), Indiana (SU), Ontario (S2S3) and New York (S?). Currently 14 occurrences have been documented from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio. There are probably fewer than 5,000 acres rangewide, since this community occurs in a narrow zone along the shores of the Great Lakes. Currently over 75 acres have been documented (average of documented sizes is 25 acres). This community has fairly narrow habitat requirements; it is restricted to sandy beaches along the Great Lakes that have active movement of sand controlled by water currents and wave action.

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, VT, WI
Canadian Province Distribution: ON
Global Distribution: Canada, United States
Global Range: This community occurs along unstable shorelines in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, ranging from sandy shores of all states and Ontario that are associated with the Great Lakes.

U.S. Forest Service Ecoregions
Domain Name: Humid Temperate Domain
Division Name: Warm Continental Division
Province Name: Laurentian Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 212 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Northern Great Lakes Section
Section Code: 212H Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lake Superior Section
Section Code: 212I Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Southern Superior Uplands Section
Section Code: 212J Occurrence Status: Predicted or probable
Section Name: Lake Michigan Section
Section Code: 212O Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Continental) Province
Province Code: 222 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Erie and Ontario Lake Plain Section
Section Code: 222I Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southeastern Great Lakes Section
Section Code: 222J Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Southwestern Great Lakes Morainal Section
Section Code: 222K Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lake Erie Section
Section Code: 222Q Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Cakile edentula, Ammophila breviligulata, and Salix myricoides (= Salix glaucophylloides) typically grow on sand beaches. Other common plant species include Chamaesyce polygonifolia (= Euphorbia polygonifolia), Argentina anserina (= Potentilla anserina), Salix spp., Schoenoplectus spp. (= Scirpus spp.), and Xanthium strumarium. A shrub zone (Physocarpus opulifolius, Cornus sericea, Rosa acicularis, etc.) can develop at the inland margin of some gravel beaches. Species found on sand and gravel beaches in most cases are those of other shoreline habitats which gain a tenuous foothold on the beach.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Cirsium pitcheri G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
 
 
Cakile edentula G3 Succulent forb Herb (field)  
 
 


At-Risk Species Reported for this Association
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Charadrius melodus
  (Piping Plover)
G3 LE, LT: Listed endangered, listed threatened
Cirsium pitcheri
  (Dune Thistle)
G2G3 LT: Listed threatened


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: Sites occur along unstable shorelines of the Great Lakes. Easily shifted sand or gravel substrate permits little vegetation to develop, unless protected by a shoreline configuration that breaks waves and blocks winter ice. Soils are typically sands and gravels with little organic matter. The beach can include the sparsely vegetated parts of the upper beach, which is usually beyond the reach of the waves, and can form a type of sand plain.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Sites are severely affected by wind, waves, and winter ice.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): D. Faber-Langendoen (2001)
Element Description Edition Date: 29Sep1997
Element Description Author(s): P. Comer
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Nov1997
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author(s): C. Reschke

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Anderson, D. M. 1996. The vegetation of Ohio: Two centuries of change. Draft. Ohio Biological Survey.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Faber-Langendoen, D., editor. 2001. Plant communities of the Midwest: Classification in an ecological context. Association for Biodiversity Information, Arlington, VA. 61 pp. plus appendix (705 pp.).

  • INHDC [Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center]. No date. Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center, Division of Nature Preserves, Department of Natural Resources, Indianapolis.

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. [http://web4.msue.msu.edu/mnfi/reports/2007-21_Natural_Communites_of_Michigan_Classification_and_Description.pdf]

  • Lee, H., W. Bakowsky, J. Riley, J. Bowles, M. Puddister, P. Uhlig, and S. McMurray. 1998. Ecological land classification for southern Ontario: First approximation and its application. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southcentral Science Section, Science Development and Transfer Branch. SCSS Field Guide FG-02.

  • Midwestern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Minneapolis, MN.

  • Minnesota DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources]. 2003-2005a. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota. Three volumes: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province (2003), The Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province (2005c), The Prairie Parkland and Tallgrass Aspen Parklands provinces (2005b). Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.

  • Minnesota DNR [Minnesota Department of Natural Resources]. 2003. Field guide to the native plant communities of Minnesota: The Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. Ecological Land Classification Program, Minnesota County Biological Survey, and Natural Heritage and Nongame Research Program. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul.

  • ONHD [Ohio Natural Heritage Database]. No date. Vegetation classification of Ohio and unpublished data. Ohio Natural Heritage Database, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbus.

  • ONHIC [Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre]. 2018. Unpublished data. Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario, Canada.

  • Thompson, E. H., and E. R. Sorenson. 2005. Wetland, woodland, wildland: A guide to the natural communities of Vermont. The Nature Conservancy and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. 456 pp.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. [http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/landscapes/Book.html]

  • White, J., and M. Madany. 1978. Classification of natural communities in Illinois. Pages 311-405 in: Natural Areas Inventory technical report: Volume I, survey methods and results. Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, Urbana, IL.

  • Zimmerman, E. A. 2011v. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. Great Lakes Sparsely Vegetated Shore Factsheet. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Community.aspx?=16077] (accessed February 14, 2012)

  • Zimmerman, E. A., T. Davis, M. A. Furedi, B. Eichelberger, J. McPherson, S. Seymour, G. Podniesinski, N. Dewar, and J. Wagner, editors. 2012. Terrestrial and palustrine plant communities of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Harrisburg. [http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/Communities.aspx]


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