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Wading Right InDiscovering the Nature of Wetlands$
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Catherine Owen Koning and Sharon M. Ashworth

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226554211

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226554495.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

At the Water’s Edge: From the Aquatic Zone to the Emergent Marsh

At the Water’s Edge: From the Aquatic Zone to the Emergent Marsh

(p.11) Chapter 1 At the Water’s Edge: From the Aquatic Zone to the Emergent Marsh
Wading Right In

Catherine Owen Koning

Sharon M. Ashworth

Catherine Owen Koning

University of Chicago Press

A wildlife biologist studies the secretive marsh birds of an Iowa cattail marsh, revealing vegetation zones based on water depth, from the deep water aquatic zone, through the emergent marsh, to the shallow wet meadow edges. Hydrology of a wetland is determined by water sources, depth and frequency of flooding. Wetland species must adapt to low oxygen levels. Native pond weeds, water lilies, and cattails, and invasive species such as common reed exhibit several adaptations to low oxygen. A middle school student field trip to the Mississippi River marshes shows how aquatic insects can indicate water quality. Fisheries biologists visit the marshes along the Upper Mississippi River to understand local fish seasonal migration; the lock and dam system has altered the wetlands significantly. Scientists convinced dam regulators to improve fish and waterfowl habitat by dropping water levels at critical times. Endangered whooping cranes have returned to freshwater marshes of Wisconsin. Prairie pothole marshes are key ecosystems for migrating and breeding waterfowl. Marshes can fill in and become drier types of wetlands over time, but this succession may be interrupted by floods, fires, muskrats, beavers, etc. In upper estuaries, the structure and diversity of freshwater marshes are affected by daily tides.

Keywords:   freshwater marsh, marsh wildlife, marsh vegetation, hydrology, adaptations to anoxia, wetland zonation, Mississippi River, fish habitat, tidal marsh

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