Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

Department name when degree awarded

Wildlife Biology

Committee Chair(s)

J. B. Low


J. B. Low


A. W. Stokes


T. W. Box


A. H. Holmgren


Any marsh is a distinctive land-form of varied interest. To the agriculturist it is wasteland to be reclaimed; to the naturalist, a habitat of aesthetic value. To the ecologist, however, a marsh represents a complexity of vegetation under the influences of many and often inseparable factors. It becomes a place of challenging study.

There exists a notable lack of information treating the ecology of inland salt-marshes. Still less known are the ecological conditions imposed upon plant life in marshes arising from saline springs. The presence of such a wetland in western Utah afforded the opportunity to study salt-marsh vegetation in a highly specialized habitat.

The study had two phases. First was a study of the vegetation. Data were secured from collections and study plots within each of the major marsh communities. General descriptions of other plant life were additionally compiled.

It is not within the scope of this paper to discuss or rigidly define the requirements embraced in the use of "community" as a unit of vegetation. Sufficient references are available for those who wish to pursue the point. In this study, a community is a congregation of plants exhibiting differences in appearance and species composition from other plant congregations.

Secondly, studies were directed to the influences of soil and water on the ecology of each community. Transects were used to investigate many of these relationships. Transition zones between communities were narrow and usually sharply delineated. Transects intersected ecotones of this sort; environmental differences which may have occurred in the few broader ecotones were assumed to be of equal magnitude but of more gradual rate of change . Relatively short transects thus adequately represented each community yet allowed collection of intensive data.

Information and data were collected during a 5-week period in August and September 1959 and a 6-month period beginning in March 1960.