Organic Matter and Nutrients

Organic matter on the marsh surface is derived from plant litter, settles out of tidal water, and to a lesser extent is delivered from upland tributaries. Sediments in North Bay range from about 8 percent to 45 percent organic matter (dry mass) in the upper 5 cm (Kiviat and Beecher, 1991). SOM in the upper 15 cm in fifteen reference marshes averaged 11.6 percent with an observed range of 180 percent and half the observations in the range 4-16 percent (Kiviat et al., unpublished data). SOM (on a small plot basis) is correlated with marsh surface elevation, aboveground biomass and stature of vascular vegetation, and plant species richness, benthic macroinvertebrate andtaxonrichness,and (on a whole-marsh basis) fish species richness and mummichog density (Findlay et al., 2002a; Mi-hocko et al., 2003).

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