Abstract

Phillips Creek is a salt marsh located on the seaward side of the southern Delmarva Peninsula of Virginia, is part of the World Biosphere Reserve designated by the United Nations, and is situated within the Virginia Coast Reserve/Long Term Ecological Research area (VCR/LTER). This marsh does not exhibit well-defined vegetational zones but rather tends to be a patchy mix of vegetation. Cluster analysis indicates that the area can be divided into low, middle or transitional and high marsh. The low marsh zone does not exhibit any unique assemblages of agglutinated foraminifera that would allow further subdivision of this area. The fact that no calcareous species were found may be due to the season (May) when sampling was done. The low marsh is dominated by M. fusca and T. inflata. The occurrence of a transitional or middle marsh zone appears to be dependent upon gradient. Traverse 1 with a gradient of 3 percent has a poorly defined middle marsh zone while Traverse 2 with a gradient of 0.6 percent has a broad, well defined transitional zone. Tiphotrocha comprimata and T. inflata are the dominant species in this zone. The high marsh can be subdivided into two subzones. The lower part of the high marsh is dominated by T. inflata, T. comprimata and J. macrescens while the upper part has a relief ranging between 5 and 8 cm, has a reduced population and contains J. macrescens and T. salsa almost to the exclusion of all other foraminiferal species. This subzone, marking the occurrence of highest high water, is topographically very narrow, requiring closely spaced sampling to detect its presence. The highest high water zone can be extended southward into Virginia.

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