Marsh Vegetation Analysis of Delaware Blackbird Creek Using Ground Surveys and Aerial Photography
Kris Roeske, Gulnihal Ozbay

The marsh surface vegetation in the downstream portions of Blackbird Creek has been subject to loss of biodiversity over the past several decades due largely to the expansion of a non-native subspecies of the common reed (Phragmitesaustralis subspecies australis). This may be considered a highly disturbed ecosystem due to the invasion of Phragmites and the intensive management (i.e. herbicide spraying) has occurred since the early 1990’s.We aimed to document the presence/absence of Phragmites, average cover class, stem density, and average stem height at the six sites for 2 years. A decrease in total richness (sites pooled) was observed confirming that only specific plants are capable of thriving in the zone most prone to prolonged tidal inundation. Average cover class was lowest at the end location for Phrag site 2 and the highest at Phrag site 4. The tallest average live vegetation was observed at Phrag site 4, as well as the average height of 10 randomly selected stems. The combination of ground survey and aerial photography techniques are invaluable for conducting research in hard to access areas, when other methods of obtaining aerial photography are not financially feasible, or in areas which are subject to unfavorable weather conditions.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jges.v6n2a1