Salt Marsh Habitats
Saltmarshes occur on the edge of saltwater ponds and in sheltered coastal locations, like the heads of bays. They contain mostly coastal plants that are adapted to occasional flooding by seawater.
Threats to Bermuda’s Salt Marshes
The biggest threats to salt marsh habitats are coastal erosion and storm damage. These threats are likely to continue or increase in the twenty first century due to climate change and the predicted rise in sea level and increase in hurricane activity.
To some extent invasive plants are held in check in salt marsh habitats due to the periodic inundation by saltwater, which many invasives cannot tolerate. There are, however, several species of coastal-adapted invasive plants which are becoming more common in Bermuda’s salt marshes. These include Beach Naupaka (Scaevola sericea) and Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia). These invasive plants are a threat to habitats as they compete for space with the native species, often crowding out the natives and reducing the biodiversity of the area they have invaded.
Coastal development has impacted salt marshes in the past, and future developments may threaten the remaining pockets of salt marsh that are outside protected areas.
Plant and animal species found in Bermuda's saltmarshes include:
- Sheathed Paspalum Grass (Paspalum vaginatum)
- Marsh Samphire or Woody Glasswort (Salicornia perennis)
- Sea Rush (Juncus maritimus)
- Saltmarsh Oxeye (Borrichia frutescens)
- Seaside Heliotrope (Heliotropium curassavicum)
- Sea Lavender (Limonium carolinianum)
- Coast Spurge (Chamaesyce mesembryanthemifolia)
- Seaside Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum)
- Land Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)