Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Contribution (Virginia Institute of Marine Science) no. 1880.


Tidal freshwater ecosystems represent an important transition zone between saline reaches of estuaries and non-tidal riverine environments. Tidal freshwater systems are distributed worldwide, but have been intensively studied in only a few geographic regions, such as the U.S. east coast and western Europe. Typically, tidal freshwater systems are characterized by high physical stress due to sediment instability and tidal action, which results in low species diversity. However, a number of anadromous and resident fish species utilize tidal freshwater reaches of estuaries as a spawning and nursery area, including economically significant species such as striped bass, American shad, and Atlantic sturgeon. Tidal freshwater marshes are a unique wetland community type, and are utilized extensively by migratory and wading bird species. Much of the research conducted in tidal freshwater ecosystems, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., has focused on the ecology of tidal freshwater marshes.

The existing literature on tidal freshwater ecosystems is scattered among numerous technical journals spanning a variety of scientific disciplines. A considerable body of gray literature, in the form of agency and institutional reports, is available. We have included both the primary and grey literature in our compilation, and indexed the body of work by author and subject. We hope that this resource will benefit current and future scientists and resource managers working in tidal freshwater ecosystems.

Publication Statement

Virginia sea grant publication ; no. VSG-94-12



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