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Ruppia maritima Acadian/Virginian Zone Temperate Aquatic Vegetation
Translated Name: Widgeongrass Acadian/Virginian Zone Temperate Aquatic Vegetation
Common Name: Northern Atlantic Coast Widgeongrass Bed
Unique Identifier: CEGL006167
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This brackish/saline tidal community of the central and northern Atlantic Coast is dominated by Ruppia maritima. It occurs in large beds in estuarine bays as well as small patches within brackish tidal creeks. Substrates are sand or muck, and salinity is generally brackish. Ruppia maritima has a wide range of salinity tolerance and overlaps with other species, although generally not in the same locations. Common associates include Zannichellia palustris, Stuckenia pectinata (= Potamogeton pectinatus), and Potamogeton perfoliatus in brackish/fresh areas or Zostera marina as waters get deeper and more saline. There can also be a diverse array of macroalgae.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Low - Poorly Documented
Classification Comments: Ruppia maritima tends to occur in shallower and slightly less saline waters than Zostera marina (Orth and Moore 1988). The range of this type is consistent with the "Virginian Province" and "Acadian Province" of Cowardin et al. (1979).

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 5 - Aquatic Vegetation
Subclass 5.A - Saltwater Aquatic Vegetation
Formation 5.A.3 - Benthic Vascular Saltwater Vegetation
Division 5.A.3.Wf - Temperate Estuarine & Inland Brackish Aquatic Vegetation
Macrogroup Ditchgrass Saline Aquatic Vegetation
Group Widgeongrass Bed
Alliance Western Atlantic-Gulf Coast Seagrass

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004336 Zostera marina Atlantic Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL006027 Stuckenia pectinata - Potamogeton perfoliatus - (Zannichellia palustris) Tidal Marsh
CEGL006370 Ruppia maritima - Stuckenia pectinata Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL006398 Schoenoplectus pungens - Eleocharis parvula Salt Marsh



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These data are subject to substantial ongoing revision and may be out of date for some states.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
Connecticut Widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima) permanently flooded vegetation Equivalent Certain Metzler and Barrett 2006
Delaware Northern Atlantic Coast Beaked Ditch-grass Bed Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maine Spartina Saltmarsh Broader   Gawler 2002
Maryland Ruppia maritima Acadian/Virginian Zone Temperate Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Harrison 2011
Massachusetts Seagrass Community Broader   MNHESP
New Hampshire Tidal Creek Bottom Equivalent   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Ruppia maritima Acadian/Virginian Zone Temperate Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New York Brackish subtidal aquatic bed Intersects   Edinger et al. 2002
New York Tidal river Intersects   Edinger et al. 2002
Rhode Island Brackish Subtidal Aquatic Bed Intersects   Enser 1999
Rhode Island Tidal Creek Finer   Enser 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Ruppia maritima - Stuckenia pectinatus community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.
Related Concept Name: Ruppia maritima Acadian-Virginian Zone Temperate Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.
Related Concept Name: Ruppia maritima Acadian/Virginian Zone Temperate Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Ruppia maritima Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.
Related Concept Name: Ruppia maritima Semipermanently Flooded - Tidal Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]
Related Concept Name: Ruppia Community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Moore, K. A., D. J. Wilcox, and R. J. Orth. 2000. Analysis of the abundance of submersed aquatic vegetation communities in the Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 23:115-127.
Related Concept Name: Polyhaline subtidal aquatic bed
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.
Related Concept Name: Southern New England & Gulf of Maine Saline/ Brackish Subtidal Estuarine Community
Relationship: ? - Undetermined
Reference: Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.
Related Concept Name: Spartina Saltmarsh
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Mesohaline - Polyhaline Aquatic Bed
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.
Related Concept Name: Tidal Mesohaline / Polyhaline Aquatic Bed
Relationship: B - Broader
Reference: Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.578 Acadian Coastal Salt Marsh
CES203.246 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Seagrass Bed
CES203.892 Atlantic Coastal Plain Northern Salt Pond Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: GNR (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NCpotentially occurs, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VA
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This association occurs along the mid- and north Atlantic Coast from Maine to North Carolina.

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: Central Maine Coastal and Embayment Section
Section Code: 212D Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Hot Continental Division
Province Name: Eastern Broadleaf Forest (Oceanic) Province
Province Code: 221 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Lower New England Section
Section Code: 221A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Hudson Valley Section
Section Code: 221B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Division Name: Subtropical Division
Province Name: Outer Coastal Plain Mixed Forest Province
Province Code: 232 Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Middle Atlantic Coastal Plain Section
Section Code: 232A Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Coastal Plains and Flatwoods, Lower Section
Section Code: 232B Occurrence Status: Confident or certain
Section Name: Atlantic Coastal Flatwoods Section
Section Code: 232C Occurrence Status: Confident or certain


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Ruppia maritima is strongly dominant in this association. It has a wide range of salinity tolerance and overlaps with other species, although generally not in the same locations. Common associates include Zannichellia palustris, Stuckenia pectinata (= Potamogeton pectinatus), and Potamogeton perfoliatus in brackish to fresh areas and Zostera marina as waters get deeper and more saline. There can also be a diverse array of macroalgae. This association grades into eelgrass beds as salinity increases. As salinity decreases, Ruppia maritima becomes less prominent, and the community grades into fresh/brackish subtidal associations.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Ruppia maritima GNR Aquatic herb Submerged aquatic  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: N
Environmental Summary: This association occurs in habitats that are continuously flooded by brackish water; it occurs in subtidal situations, deepwater pools and pannes, tidal creeks, and flats within salt marshes, or along tidal rivers. It also occurs in coastal salt ponds with polyhaline to mesohaline salinity levels. Except in pannes or pools, which are more irregularly flooded, water levels fluctuate with diurnal tides and are generally less than 2 m deep at low tide, although certain areas may be exposed at extremely low tides. Substrate varies from sand to mud.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: In several habitats, this association occurs where water levels and salinity can fluctuate with daily tides.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group 7-96, mod. S.L. Neid
Element Description Edition Date: 13May2002
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid and L.A. Sneddon

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


References
  • Bartgis, R. 1986. Natural community descriptions. Unpublished draft. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis.

  • Bowman, P. 2000. Draft classification for Delaware. Unpublished draft. Delaware Natural Heritage Program.

  • Breden, T. F. 1989. A preliminary natural community classification for New Jersey. Pages 157-191 in: E. F. Karlin, editor. New Jersey's rare and endangered plants and animals. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 280 pp.

  • Breden, T. F., Y. R. Alger, K. S. Walz, and A. G. Windisch. 2001. Classification of vegetation communities of New Jersey: Second iteration. Association for Biodiversity Information and New Jersey Natural Heritage Program, Office of Natural Lands Management, Division of Parks and Forestry, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton.

  • Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS-79/31. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 103 pp.

  • Coxe, R. 2009. Guide to Delaware vegetation communities. Spring 2009 edition. State of Delaware, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Delaware Natural Heritage Program, Smyrna.

  • Eastern Ecology Working Group of NatureServe. No date. International Ecological Classification Standard: International Vegetation Classification. Terrestrial Vegetation. NatureServe, Boston, MA.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2002. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. (Draft for review). New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Enser, R. 1999. Natural communities of Rhode Island. Unpublished draft, December 1999. 22 pp.

  • Enser, R. W., and J. A. Lundgren. 2006. Natural communities of Rhode Island. A joint project of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Natural Heritage Program and The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Natural History Survey, Kingston. 40 pp. [www.rinhs.org]

  • Fleming, G. P. 2001a. Community types of Coastal Plain calcareous ravines in Virginia. Preliminary analysis and classification. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 4 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, D. P. Walton, K. M. McCoy, and M. R. Parrish. 2001. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. First approximation. Natural Heritage Technical Report 01-1. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond, VA. 76 pp.

  • Fleming, G. P., P. P. Coulling, K. D. Patterson, and K. Taverna. 2006. The natural communities of Virginia: Classification of ecological community groups. Second approximation. Version 2.2. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. [http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/ncTIV.shtml]

  • Fleming, G. P., and K. D. Patterson. 2011a. Natural communities of Virginia: Ecological groups and community types. Natural Heritage Technical Report 11-07. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage, Richmond. 34 pp.

  • Gawler, S. C. 2002. Natural landscapes of Maine: A guide to vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta, ME.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Harrison, J. W. 2011. The natural communities of Maryland: 2011 working list of ecological community groups and community types. Unpublished report. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, Natural Heritage Program, Annapolis. 33 pp.

  • Harrison, J. W., compiler. 2004. Classification of vegetation communities of Maryland: First iteration. A subset of the International Classification of Ecological Communities: Terrestrial Vegetation of the United States, NatureServe. Maryland Natural Heritage Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis. 243 pp.

  • Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2001. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft 5/21/2001. Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources Center, Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.

  • Metzler, K. J., and J. P. Barrett. 2004. Vegetation classification for Connecticut. Draft. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT.

  • Metzler, K., and J. Barrett. 2006. The vegetation of Connecticut: A preliminary classification. State Geological and Natural History Survey, Report of Investigations No. 12. Connecticut Natural Diversity Database, Hartford.

  • Moore, K. A., D. J. Wilcox, and R. J. Orth. 2000. Analysis of the abundance of submersed aquatic vegetation communities in the Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries 23:115-127.

  • Orth, R. J., and K. A. Moore. 1988. Distribution of Zostera marina L. and Ruppia maritima L. sensu lato along depth gradients in the lower Chesapeake Bay, USA. Aquatic Botany 32:291-305.

  • Rawinski, T. 1984a. Natural community description abstract - southern New England calcareous seepage swamp. Unpublished report. The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA. 6 pp.

  • Reschke, C. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Latham, NY. 96 pp.

  • Schafale, M. P., and A. S. Weakley. 1990. Classification of the natural communities of North Carolina. Third approximation. North Carolina Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, Raleigh. 325 pp.

  • Sneddon, L. A., Zaremba, R. E., and M. Adams. 2010. Vegetation classification and mapping at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Natural Resources Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2010/147. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 481 pp. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/caco/cacorpt.pdf]

  • Sperduto, D. D. 2000a. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. Near final unformatted draft without pictures and illustrations; includes upland classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 127 pp.

  • Sperduto, D. D. 2000b. A classification of wetland natural communities in New Hampshire. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Inventory, Department of Resources and Economic Development, Division of Forests and Lands, Concord, NH. 156 pp.

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 pp.

  • Swain, P. C., and J. B. Kearsley. 2001. Classification of natural communities of Massachusetts. September 2001 draft. Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.

  • Thayer, G. W., W. J. Kenworthy, and M. S. Fonseca. 1984. The ecology of eelgrass meadows of the Atlantic Coast: A community profile. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Service. FWS/OBS-84/02. 147 pp.


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