Abstract

This study describes the distribution of testate amoebae in three North American East Coast salt marshes (Leipsic River marsh, Delaware, USA; Little River marsh, Maine, USA; and Little Dipper Harbour marsh, New Brunswick, Canada). Five zones are recognized in the high salt marsh. With increasing marine influence, these zones are characterized by the following succession of dominant taxa: Valkanovia elegans, Tracheleuglypha dentata, Centropyxis cassis type, C. platystoma type and Difflugia pristis type. Most species occur in all three marshes, and their general vertical distribution is comparable. The results are also comparable with those obtained from British salt marshes, suggesting that salt-marsh testate amoebae have similar distributions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The precision of the sea-level indicative value of testate amoebae in fossil salt-marsh sediments is a function of the local mean tidal range (MTR). Results of this study show that testate amoebae can indicate former sea levels with a precision of ±0.04 m in the Leipsic River marsh (MTR = 1.75 m), ±0.09 m in the Little River marsh (MTR = 2.6 m), and ±0.18 m in the Little Dipper marsh (MTR = 5.8 m).

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