Megafauna in Salt Marshes

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Megafauna shape ecosystems globally through trophic interactions, ecology of fear, and ecosystem engineering. Highly productive salt marshes at the interface of terrestrial and marine systems have the potential to support megafauna species, but a recent global meta-analysis of consumer-plant interactions in marshes found few studies investigated impacts of wild megafauna. We conducted a literature review to document the variety of megafauna in salt marshes and found that 34 species utilize salt marshes, including sharks, manatees, pinnipeds, crocodilians, sea otters, hippos, and large terrestrial animals, such as lions, bears and water buffalo. The use of salt marsh habitats by a variety of megafauna may have implications for both the conservation of these large consumers and for the resilience of coastal wetlands through stabilizing feedbacks on plant ecosystems. Future studies should quantify the occurrence and impacts of megafauna in salt marshes, and how their conservation can help restore these valuable ecosystems.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gaskins, LC; Paxton, AB; Silliman, BR

Published Date

  • November 13, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2296-7745

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3389/fmars.2020.561476

Citation Source

  • Scopus