ContactSite MapSearchNews
Inside Sea GrantResearchExtensionEducationFundingProductsEvents

SC Sea Grant Consortium
287 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401
p: 843.953.2078
f: 843.953.2080
The Salt Marsh Ecosystem: 10 Facts to Know!
  1. South Carolina has an estimated 350,000 acres of salt marsh.

  2. The salt marsh is the second most productive ecosystem on the planet (rainforest is #1).

  3. Salt marshes are considered a type of wetland, which is a transitional zone between terrestrial (dry) and aquatic (fully submerged) areas. Other types of wetlands include freshwater swamps and mangroves.

  4. Salt marshes are commonly surrounded by brackish water (a mix of fresh and salt water) and have tidal creeks winding through sections.

  5. Salt marshes range from the Gulf coast of Texas north to the east coast of Canada.

  6. The dominant plant in the salt marsh is Spartina alterniflora, which is commonly called “smooth cord grass”, forms the foundation of the salt marsh ecosystem.

  7. Spartina alterniflora has adapted to growing in brackish water by expelling salt crystals, which can commonly be seen on the back of the leaf.
  8. Salt marshes provide several ecosystem benefits including: improving water quality, mitigating the impacts of storm surge and flooding, serving as a nursery for commercially important seafood (crabs, shrimp, oysters, etc.), and providing a resting place for migrating birds.

  9. Salt marshes have historical and cultural importance to Native Americans and the Gullah Geechee community who have used this ecosystem for food and livelihood.

  10. Common species found in the salt marsh, tidal creeks, and estuaries include periwinkle snails, fiddler crabs, oysters, diamondback terrapins, blue crabs, clapper rail, shrimp, red drum, and many more!

To learn more, please check out these resources designed and produced by S2S partners:

Last updated: 1/5/2017 11:48:14 AM
The Salt Marsh Ecosystem: 10 Facts to Know!


Page Tools Print this page
E-mail this page
Bookmark this page

Coastal Science Serving South Carolina
Copyright © 2001-2018 South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
Turbulent Flow Image Courtesy of Prof. Haris J. Catrakis, University of California, Irvine
Privacy & Accessibility