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Invertebrate assemblages of Essex salt marshes and their conservation importance
Mason, C.F.; Heath, D.J.; Gibbs, D.J. (1991). Invertebrate assemblages of Essex salt marshes and their conservation importance. Aquat. Conserv. 1(2): 123-137.
In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Wiley: Chichester ;New York, N.Y . ISSN 1052-7613, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Conservation; Invertebrates; Salt marshes; Species rarity; Species richness; ANE, British Isles, England, Essex [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Mason, C.F.
  • Heath, D.J.
  • Gibbs, D.J.


    1. Invertebrates were collected, using corers and sweep nets, from 25 salt marshes, and adjacent mudflats and strandlines, in Essex, eastern England, to describe assemblages and assess their conservation importance.

    2. Sweep net samples were more variable in taxon richness than core samples. Neither sampling method, nor samples from the three habitats (main marsh, mudflat, strandline) could be used as an indicator of taxon richness of the salt marsh as a whole.

    3. Core samples collected relatively few, but often abundant, marine species which were generally widespread and a large number of terrestrial species, which were generally restricted in distribution. The mudflat fauna was species poor. Sweep net samples of main marsh and strandline were markedly different in their species composition; many species, with generally patchy distributions, were recorded and Diptera predominated. There was no relationship between invertebrate taxon richness, plant species richness or measured environmental variables.

    4. TWINSPAN was used to classify sites and invertebrate species. On the entire data set, six groups of sites were identified, but there was no trend in taxonomic richness. Only 25% of species were restricted to a single group. Sweep nets provided a much higher discrimination of sites.

    5. The conservation value of salt marsh sites for invertebrates is discussed using four criteria: community distinctiveness, species richness, species rarity and community functioning. A holistic approach to the conservation of salt marshes within the region is recommended.

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