Quick-and-dirty coastal habitat characterization, part 2: Soft shores

Second post on coastal habitat characterization, specific to the Northwest Atlantic. Rocky coasts were outlined in part one. Here, soft-sediment shores:

1) Type/Community (Raffaelli, 1996Mann, 2000Bertness, 2007)

  • reflective beach (steep slope, coarse sand, low wave energy)
  • intermediate beach (moderate or varying slope, varying sediment size, varying wave energy)
  • dissipative beach (low slope, fine sand, high wave energy)
  • tidal flat
  • oyster reef
  • seagrass bed

2) Elevation (Raffaelli, 1996; Knox, 2001; Bertness, 2007)

  • dry or drying sand (completely dry at low tide)
  • damp sand (capillary retention at low tide)
  • wet/permanently saturated (water table or no circulation through sediment)

3) Tidal stress (Raffaelli, 1996; Bertness, 2007)

  • high tidal flow (strong currents)
  • moderate tidal flow (moderate/varying currents)
  • low tidal flow (weak currents)

Forthcoming posts: salt marshes and man-made structures.

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