NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Search
Ecological Association Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected.
See All Search Results    View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - (Juncus gerardii) Salt Marsh
Translated Name: Saltmeadow Cordgrass - Saltgrass - (Saltmeadow Rush) Salt Marsh
Common Name: North Atlantic High Salt Marsh
Unique Identifier: CEGL006006
Classification Approach: International Vegetation Classification (IVC)
Summary: This high salt marsh vegetation dominated by Spartina patens or codominated by Distichlis spicata forms distinct "cowlicked" meadows above low salt marsh communities. This high marsh association generally occurs behind barrier beaches along the north Atlantic coast from the Canadian maritime provinces south to New Jersey. It occupies the irregularly flooded zone extending from mean high tide landward to the limit of spring tides. The substrate is peat overlying sand, silt, or bedrock. Vegetation of this marsh community occurs in mosaics of patches generally dominated by a single graminoid species, Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, or Juncus gerardii. Other characteristic associates that occur in low abundance include Symphyotrichum tenuifolium, Limonium carolinianum, Solidago sempervirens, Symphyotrichum subulatum, Polygonum ramosissimum, Argentina anserina, Atriplex patula, Lythrum lineare, and Panicum virgatum. Salt pannes are often a prominent feature within this association.



Classification

Classification Confidence: Moderate
Classification Comments: This community is differentiated from Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - (Juncus roemerianus) Salt Marsh (CEGL004197) to the south by the importance of Juncus gerardii, Plantago maritima, and Triglochin maritima and absence or relatively infrequent occurrence of species of southern distribution such as Borrichia frutescens, Kosteletzkya virginica, Fimbristylis castanea, and Lythrum lineare.

Vegetation Hierarchy
Class 2 - Shrub & Herb Vegetation
Subclass 2.C - Shrub & Herb Wetland
Formation 2.C.5 - Salt Marsh
Division 2.C.5.Nb - North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Macrogroup North American Atlantic & Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh
Group Atlantic & Gulf Coastal High Salt Marsh
Alliance Eastern Saltmeadow Cordgrass High Salt Marsh

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

Similar Associations
Unique Identifier Name
CEGL004197 Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - (Juncus roemerianus) Salt Marsh
CEGL006365 Spartina patens - Agrostis stolonifera 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
Delaware North Atlantic High Salt Marsh Equivalent Certain Coxe 2009
Maine Spartina saltmarsh Broader   Gawler 2002
Massachusetts Salt Marsh Broader   Swain and Kearsley 2001
New Hampshire High salt marsh Equivalent   Sperduto 2000
New Jersey Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata - Plantago maritima Herbaceous Vegetation Equivalent Certain Breden et al. 2001
New Jersey Salt marsh complex Undetermined   Breden 1989
New York High salt marsh Undetermined   Edinger et al. 2002
Rhode Island High Salt Marsh Broader   Enser 1999


Other Related Concepts
Related Concept Name: Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata Herbaceous Vegetation
Relationship: I - Intersecting
Reference: Harrison, J. W. 2001. Herbaceous tidal wetland communities of Maryland's eastern shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Report submitted to the U.S. EPA (Clean Water Act 1998 State Wetlands Protection Development Grant Program). Biodiversity Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division. 30 June 2001. [U.S. EPA Reference Wetland Natural communities of Maryland's Herbaceous Tidal Wetlands Grant #CD993724].
Related Concept Name: Spartina patens - Distichlis spicata community
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: 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, CT.
Related Concept Name: Spartina patens lower slope
Relationship: = - Equivalent
Reference: Miller, W. R., and F. E. Egler. 1950. Vegetation of the Wequetequock-Pawcatuck tidal-marshes, Connecticut. Ecological Monographs 20:143-172.
Related Concept Name: Salt Marsh
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.

Ecological Systems Placement

Ecological Systems Placement
Ecological System Unique ID Ecological System Name
CES201.578 Acadian Coastal Salt Marsh
CES203.519 Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain Tidal Salt Marsh
CES203.892 Atlantic Coastal Plain Northern Salt Pond Marsh


NatureServe Conservation Status
Global Status: G5 (01Dec1997)
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure

Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
United States Distribution: CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, RI
Global Distribution: United States
Global Range: This high salt marsh association occurs from the Canadian maritime provinces south to Delaware.

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: Fundy Coastal and Interior Section
Section Code: 212C 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: Northern Appalachian Piedmont Section
Section Code: 221D 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


Vegetation

Vegetation Summary: Vegetation of this marsh community occurs in mosaics of patches generally dominated by a single graminoid species, Spartina patens, Distichlis spicata, or Juncus gerardii. Other characteristic associates that occur in low abundance include Symphyotrichum tenuifolium (= Aster tenuifolius), Limonium carolinianum, Solidago sempervirens, Symphyotrichum subulatum (= Aster subulatus), Polygonum ramosissimum, Argentina anserina (= Potentilla anserina), Atriplex patula, Lythrum lineare, and Panicum virgatum.

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Charact-
eristic
Dominant Constant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Distichlis spicata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Juncus gerardii G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina patens G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 


Environmental Setting

Wetland Indicator: Y
Environmental Summary: This high salt marsh association generally occurs behind barrier beaches, but also in the outer reaches of estuaries, occupying the zone extending from mean high tide landward approximately to the limit of spring tides. They are often adjacent to low salt marshes dominated by Spartina alterniflora (tall form), which are regularly flooded by diurnal tides. Spartina patens-dominated high marshes form very dense peat with high organic matter content. Peat forms over sand, silt or bedrock.


Dynamic Processes

Dynamics: Vegetation of this association occurs as a shifting mosaic of patches dominated by a single graminoid species. Species composition at a particular site results from the interaction of hydroperiod, nutrient availability, salinity gradients, soil oxygen, concentrations of growth inhibitors in the soil, and interspecific competition. As sedimentation increases marsh elevation, vegetation may shift to upland border communities dominated by Panicum virgatum and Juncus gerardii. Local disturbance, i.e., from ice scouring, can cause invasion by Spartina alterniflora, or can lead to the formation of salt pannes.


Plot Sampling & Classification Analysis

Plots stored in VegBank


Authors/Contributors
Concept Author(s): Eastern Ecology Group
Element Description Edition Date: 13May2002
Element Description Author(s): S.L. Neid

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


References
  • Bell, R., M. Chandler, R. Buchsbaum, and C. Roman. 2002. Inventory of intertidal habitats: Boston Harbor Islands, a National Park area. Technical Report NPS/NERBOST/NRTR-2004/1. National Park Service, Northeast Region, Boston, MA. 13 pp.

  • Bertness, M. D., L. Gough, and S. W. Shumway. 1992. Salt tolerances and the distribution of fugitive salt marsh plants. Ecology 73(5):1842-1851.

  • 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.

  • Coulling, Phil. Personal communication. Vegetation Ecologist. Department of Conservation & Recreation, 217 Governor St., Richmond, VA 23219.

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

  • Dowhan, J. J., and R. Rozsa. 1989. Flora of Fire Island, Suffolk Country, New York. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 116:265-282.

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

  • Edinger, G. J., A. L. Feldmann, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008a. Vegetation classification and mapping at Gateway National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/107. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 283 pp.

  • Edinger, G. J., A. L. Feldmann, T. G. Howard, J. J. Schmid, E. Eastman, E. Largay, and L. A. Sneddon. 2008b. Vegetation classification and mapping at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2008/124. National Park Service, Philadelphia, PA. 126 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 2001. Herbaceous tidal wetland communities of Maryland's eastern shore: Identification, assessment and monitoring. Report submitted to the U.S. EPA (Clean Water Act 1998 State Wetlands Protection Development Grant Program). Biodiversity Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Division. 30 June 2001. [U.S. EPA Reference Wetland Natural communities of Maryland's Herbaceous Tidal Wetlands Grant #CD993724].

  • Hill, A. F. 1923. The vegetation of the Penobscot Bay region, Maine. Proceedings of the Portland Society of Natural History 3:307-438.

  • Klopfer, S. D., A. Olivero, L. Sneddon, and J. Lundgren. 2002. Final report of the NPS Vegetation Mapping Project at Fire Island National Seashore. Conservation Management Institute, GIS & Remote Sensing Division, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. 193 pp.

  • Largay, E. F., and L. A. Sneddon. 2017. Vegetation mapping and classification of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2017/1529. National Park Service, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Lubinski, S., K. Hop, and S. Gawler. 2003. Vegetation Mapping Program: Acadia National Park, Maine. Report produced by U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and Maine Natural Areas Program in conjunction with M. Story (NPS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator) NPS, Natural Resources Information Division, Inventory and Monitoring Program, and K. Brown (USGS Vegetation Mapping Coordinator), USGS, Center for Biological Informatics and NatureServe. [http://biology.usgs.gov/npsveg/ftp/vegmapping/acad/reports/acadrpt.pdf]

  • 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, CT.

  • Miller, W. R., and F. E. Egler. 1950. Vegetation of the Wequetequock-Pawcatuck tidal-marshes, Connecticut. Ecological Monographs 20:143-172.

  • NatureServe. 2009. Vegetation of the E.B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. International Ecological Classification Standard: Terrestrial Ecological Classifications. NatureServe Central Databases. Arlington, VA. U.S.A. Data current as of 1 December 2009.

  • Nixon, S. W. 1982. The ecology of New England high salt marshes: A community profile. FWS/OBS-81/55. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services, Washington, DC. 70 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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]

  • Soil Conservation Service. 1987. Soil survey of Nassau County, New York. USDA Soil Conservation Service. 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. 2014. Classification of the natural communities of Massachusetts. Version 2.0. Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA. [http://www.mass.gov/nhesp/http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dfw/natural-heritage/natural-communities/classification-of-natural-communities.html]


Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2019
NatureServe
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019