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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Studies of Phosphorus Movement Using Salt Marsh Microecosystems1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 8 No. 4, p. 465-468
    Received: Sept 29, 1978

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  1. J. W. Everest and
  2. D. E. Davis2



Microecosystems of a salt marsh community were designed, constructed, and used to follow phosphorus flux through the physical and biological components of that community. The biological components in these microecosystems were smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel), diatoms, mud fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax Smith), periwinkle snails (Littorina irrorata Say), and ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa Dillwyn; formerly Modiolus demissus Dillwyn). The physical components were the marsh soil and the seawater. Phosphorus (332P) placed 17.5 cm below the soil surface was abundantly present in the smooth cordgrass leaves and on the soil surface 4 days later. No 32P was secreted by the leaves of smooth cordgrass during the experiment. The rapid transfer of phosphorus to the soil surface was found to be the result of the burrowing activity of the fiddler crabs.

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