ACE Basin Characterization Study: Species Gallery

The ACE Basin contains six distinct ecosystem habitat types that range from subtidal areas and vast wetlands to uplands. These habitats are characterized by more than 1500 different plant and animal species that interact with the physical environment to create the ACE Basin ecosystem.


Decapod crustaceans are known to play a critical role in metabolizing and controlling the flow of energy in estuarine ecosystems. Decapod crustaceans in the ACE Basin study area occupy subtidal and intertidal estuarine habitats where they are provided a refuge from predation and a source of food. Given the baseline information collected on decapod crustaceans from the ACE Basin study area, it appears that this system is similar to others that have been studied throughout the state. This system supports a diverse assemblage of decapods, and provides seasonal habitats for transient species and permanent year-round habitats for resident species. Given differences in life history, sizes, and behaviors of decapod crustaceans, further efforts to understand their community structure in the ACE Basin study area should focus on shallow marsh and freshwater areas where there is a paucity of information.

Benthic invertebrates are the small animals, such as clams, worms, and crustaceans that live on or in the bottom substrate of a water body. These organisms are an important food source for many fish and crustaceans, including many recreationally and commercially important species. In addition, benthic organisms can be important organisms for monitoring the adverse effects from anthropogenic impacts. Numerous studies have described benthic invertebrate communities in coastal South Carolina, a few of which have occurred in the ACE Basin study area.