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The role of tidal marshes in the ecology of estuarine nekton
Kneib, R. (1997). The role of tidal marshes in the ecology of estuarine nekton. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 35: 163-220
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218; e-ISSN 2154-9125, more
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  • Kneib, R.

    The current perception of estuarine nekton assemblages has been shaped by an emphasis on transient marine fishes, a focus on commercially harvested species, and a tendency to diminish or dismiss the role of permanent resident nekton in the functioning of estuarine ecosystems. Tidal marshes are among the most productive environments on Earth, but the importance of marsh production in the trophic support of adjacent estuarine and coastal ocean ecosytems has been debated for decades. The largest areal component, and defining feature of tidal marshes, is the vegetated intertidal zone. Estuarine nekton assemblages are considered from this intertidal perspective, with the intent of highlighting the potential importance of resident species in the transfer of intertidal production to the estuary. Quantitative methods for sampling in the shallow waters of this highly structured and dynamic environment have been developing, and may provide new insights into this issue. Although few marine and freshwater transients have direct access to intertidal production, almost all life-history stages of resident nekton have an intimate and very direct association with the intertidal marsh. Information on habitat use, feeding habits, life histories and movements is related to spatial features of the marsh landscape to illustrate a hypothetical "trophic relay". This conceptual model shows how different groups of resident and transient nekton may interact to move intertidal production horizontally across landscape boundaries and into the subtidal estuary.

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