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Classification
Scientific Name: Atlantic Coastal Plain Indian River Lagoon Tidal Marsh
Unique Identifier: CES203.257

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Summary: This tidally influenced marsh system of the Indian River Lagoon along Florida's Atlantic Coast supports approximately 10% of the salt marshes in Florida. It is endemic to the Atlantic Coast of Florida where it ranges from central Volusia County, southward through Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, and northern Martin counties, beginning in the vicinity of Daytona Beach and extending south from there. The bulk of these are "high marshes" wholly above mean high water levels. They are protected from direct exposure to the Atlantic Ocean by perched barrier islands, and consequently receive natural inundation only from wind tides and seasonal sea level changes. A berm or levee generally separates these high marshes from lower fringing marshes of Spartina alterniflora (to the north) and Rhizophora mangle (to the south). Landward of this berm, salt flats or hypersaline zones often develop with Salicornia, Distichlis spicata, Borrichia frutescens, Batis maritima, and Paspalum vaginatum. In some areas these species occur in monospecific zones, while in others they co-occur, grading into occasional Avicennia germinans. These zones are followed by a typical Juncus roemerianus zone, and the most inland fringes may be dominated by Spartina bakeri. Marshes of this region have been heavily altered by mosquito control impoundments of the 1950s and 1960s.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)


Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES203.260 Atlantic Coastal Plain Embayed Region Tidal Salt and Brackish Marsh
CES203.270 Southern Atlantic Coastal Plain Salt and Brackish Tidal Marsh


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002278 Sarcocornia pacifica - (Batis maritima, Distichlis spicata) Saline Dwarf-shrubland
CEGL003992 Spartina bakeri Salt Marsh
CEGL004178 Cladium mariscus Tidal Salt Marsh
CEGL004186 Juncus roemerianus Salt Marsh
CEGL004191 Spartina alterniflora Carolinian Zone Salt Marsh
CEGL004194 Spartina bakeri - Kosteletzkya virginica Salt Marsh
CEGL007694 Distichlis spicata - (Sporobolus virginicus) Salt Marsh



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Herbaceous Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Tidal / Estuarine  
Graminoid  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Herbaceous  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Trichechus manatus
  (West Indian Manatee)
G2 LT: Listed threatened

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Batis maritima G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Borrichia frutescens G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
 
 
Distichlis spicata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Juncus roemerianus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Paspalum vaginatum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Spartina alterniflora G5 Graminoid Herb (field)  
 
 
Spartina bakeri G4 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Malaclemys terrapin
  (Diamond-backed Terrapin)
G4      
Nerodia clarkii
  (Saltmarsh Snake)
G4      
Oryzomys palustris
  (Marsh Rice Rat)
G5      
Trichechus manatus
  (West Indian Manatee)
G2 LT: Listed threatened    


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: FL
Global Range: This system is endemic to the Atlantic Coast of Florida where it ranges from central Volusia County, southward through Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, and northern Martin counties. This area begins in the vicinity of Daytona Beach and extends south from there.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
55 Florida Peninsula Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
55 Southeastern Coastal Plain Confident or certain
56 Floridian Coastal Plain Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9253

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Jan2014
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans, M. Pyne and C. Nordman

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


References
  • Bertness, M., B. R. Silliman, and R. Jefferies. 2004. Salt marshes under siege: Agricultural practices, land development and overharvesting of the seas explain complex ecological cascades that threaten our shorelines. American Scientist 92:54-61.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. 228 pp. [https://fnai.org/naturalcommguide.cfm]

  • Langley, J. A., K. L. McKee, D. R. Cahoon, J. A. Cherry, and J. P. Megonigal. 2009. Elevated CO2 stimulates marsh elevation gain, counterbalancing sea-level rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(15):6182-6186. [http://www.pnas.org/content/106/15/6182.full]

  • Montague, C. L., and R. G. Wiegert. 1990. Salt marshes. Pages 481-516 in: R. L. Myers and J. J. Ewel, editors. Ecosystems of Florida. University of Central Florida Press, Orlando.

  • Rey, J. R., and C. R. Connelly. 2012. Mosquito control impoundments. Document ENY-648 (IN192), one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date: October 2001. Reviewed January 2009. Revised June 2012. [http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu]

  • Silliman, B. R., and M. D. Bertness. 2002. A trophic cascade regulates salt marsh primary production. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 99:10500-10505.


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