The Salt Marsh

Salt marshes are found around the world, but the one you are about to tour can be found right here in South Carolina on the North American continent. Salt marshes are located only along the coast. This is because a salt marsh is an area that is flooded by saline (salty) water. The salt marshes are better developed as you move farther south in South Carolina.

Type
Alligators | The Salt Marsh
Alligators | The Salt Marsh

Photo

Alligators are not normally found in brackish or salt water, although they do occasionally swim there. They much prefer freshwater and must return to it to drink. They can reach 19 feet in length, but...
Annelid | The Salt Marsh
Annelid | The Salt Marsh

Photo

Several different annelids are associated with the oyster reef, but the spaghetti worm is one of the largest and most spectacular. The spaghetti worm lives in a burrow of mud that it builds among the...
Bay Anchovy | The Salt Marsh
Bay Anchovy | The Salt Marsh

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The bay anchovy is the most numerous fish in the estuaries of South Carolina. They are food to larger fish and to many birds. Anchovies are specialized to feed on plankton. They have a huge mouth and...
Biomagnification | The Salt Marsh
Biomagnification | The Salt Marsh

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How can low levels of DDT in farm fields end up at high levels in ospreys? Several different pesticides, an example of which is DDT, can be biomagnified by the food chain. The pesticides are used to...
Blue Crabs | The Salt Marsh
Blue Crabs | The Salt Marsh

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Blue crabs are active predators and effective scavengers. They occur throughout the estuary. They can swim by using their last pair of legs, which have been modified into paddles instead of walking...
Clapper Rail | The Salt Marsh
Clapper Rail | The Salt Marsh

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Clapper rails live their whole lives in the salt marsh. They even nest in clumps of Spartina just above the water. The downy black young are hard to see against the dark marsh mud. Both the adults and...
Copepods | The Salt Marsh
Copepods | The Salt Marsh

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The most abundant animals in the plankton are copepods, such as the one pictured. As adults, they are less than 1 millimeter in length. The abundance and diversity of plankton species are highest in...
Crabbing & Fishing in the Marsh | The Salt Marsh
Crabbing & Fishing in the Marsh | The Salt Marsh

Video

The salt marsh is home to many animals, including some that people like to eat. Blue crabs are often caught in wire boxes called crab pots. Shrimp grow from tiny larvae to big adults while they live...
Detritus | The Salt Marsh
Detritus | The Salt Marsh

Photo

Detritus is the collection of dead stems of Spartina and other things that float. This combination of materials floats up in the marsh during high tides, and winds often drive it ashore, where it...