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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Interaction of Physical and Biological Determinants Producing Vegetation Zonation in Tidal Marshes of the San Francisco Bay Estuary, California, USA

  • Author(s): Culberson, Steven D.
  • et al.

The establishment and maintenance of tidal marsh ecosystems depends upon multiple interactions between tidal hydrology, local soil surface elevation, plant productivity, and regional salinity. The nature of these interactions, their relative influence on the character of the tidal marsh ecosystem, and their importance in determining the vegetation pattern on the landscape is not clearly understood. The research presented in this dissertation had four objectives: 1) to demonstrate the dependence of vegetation pattern on tidal channel hydrology: 2) to demonstrate that the strength of dependence of vegetation pattern on tidal channels changes with salinity: 3) to characterize the nature and quantity of the patterns of sedimentation within tidal marshes, and; 4) to provide conceptual models for understanding how physical and biological factors interact to produce and maintain tidal marshes, with an emphasis on aiding programs of tidal marsh restoration within the San Francisco Bay/Delta Estuary.

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