Alternate Title

A Geochemical Study of a Marsh Environment

Document Type



The goal of this study was twofold: 1) chemically to characterize a specific salt marsh, the sediments and associated biota and 2) to establish clear relationships between the chemical substances residing in the sediments and similar or identical substances occurring in the biological specimens. In this particular study it was felt that the hydrocarbons would yield the most significant organic geochemical information. These compounds are ubiquitous but minor components of all organisms. Though their function is not entirely understood, it is known that they are concentrated in the waxy coatings of plants and most likely aid in the protective mechanisms of plants. Among the several classes of biochemical materials, the hydrocarbons exhibit probably the greatest resistance to biological and chemical degradation and therefore may be preferentially concentrated and preserved in sedimentary environments. An extreme variety of specific hydrocarbons occurs naturally in plants and hence the possible combinations and distributions of these hydrocarbons are limitless. The stability and unique distributions of hydrocarbons ranks them as a very important tool in the correlation of biolipids and geolipids.

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