Meiofauna and Algal Distribution on Spartina Alterniflora Stems along the Connecticut Coast

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Spartina alterniflora is a sea grass essential to the salt marsh communities along the East Coast of the United States and host a variety of both animal and algal species, such as Cladophora and tardigrades. Several sites across Connecticut were measured for the height of the plants as well as the percentage of algae present on both the live and dead stems at areas closer to the water and farther away from the water. Samples were taken from each stem and analyzed microscopically for the presence and abundance of algal and animal species. Phenolic data will also be measured to examine the chemical makeup of live and dead stems, as live stems are hypothesized to have chemical deterrents which protect them against growth from animals and algae. Live stems were more prevalent than dead stems; however, the dead stems supported more algae and animal species as well as a higher abundance of those species. Overall, dead stems in both the high and low marsh areas and across all of the sites on the coast of Connecticut tended to support more microfauna and algal life than the live stems of Spartina alterniflora.


Eastern Colleges Science Conference, Wilkes-Barre, PA April 2017. E-105. Program retrieved from

Mentored by LaTina Steele.

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