Images
Dianne Faucette

 

The salt marsh provides nurseries for the seafood we eat, and the feeding ground for young crabs and shrimp. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) decays and forms detritus, which is eaten by the fiddler crabs, which are eaten by shrimp and crabs. Cordgrass is the only plant that can live in the high-salinity marsh, and it thrives in the constantly-changing tidal conditions. As it dies each year and begins to decompose, it becomes full of fungi and bacteria which are consumed (filtered) by the oysters. The decomposed cordgrass that settles in the mud provides food for fiddler crabs and mud snails. 
More about marsh grass

More about our important estuaries

My salt marsh newsletter article.

Salt Marsh on Broad Creek


Mantis Shrimp in Broad Creek marsh


Mud Snails at Fish Haul beach


Mud Snail (live)


Mud Snails at Fish Haul beach
A creature similar in appearance to the Mud Snail is a Marsh Periwinkle, which is white rather than black. The Marsh Periwinkle climbs up and down the Spartina marsh grass with the tides, eating the algae. The Mud Snail, on the other hand, lives in the mud flats.


Mud Snails (close up) and Clam Worm


Standing in Fish Haul marsh 
at very low tide


Mink nesting in floating Cordgrass wrack

 
Spartina Grass in bloom


Cordgrass (Spartina) in marsh 
at Fish Haul Park


Salt crystals from ocean tides deposited on cordgrass blades at Burke's Beach

 
Palmetto Bluff's marsh in December


Dead Spartina grass washes ashore and becomes "wrack"--it decays and provides food for small creatures


Marsh Periwinkles on Cordgrass


The marsh at Fish Haul Creek is very distinctive from the air


Clapper Rail in marsh at Burke's Beach;
lives and hides in the Cordgrass