Muddy shores occur where the energy of coastal currents and wave action is minimal, allowing fine particles of silt to settle to the bottom. The result is an accumulation of mud on the shores of protected bays and mouths of coastal streams and rivers. Most muddy beaches occur in estuarine areas. However, some muddy shore areas may be found in coastal inlets and embayments where salinity is about the same as the adjacent sea.
Plant Life & Growth
Few plants have adapted to living on muddy shores. Their growth is restricted by turbidity which reduces light penetration into the water and thereby inhibits photosynthesis. In addition, the lack of solid structures to which algae may attach itself and siltation which smothers plants effectively prevents much plant colonization of muddy shores. While the lack of oxygen in mud makes life for fauna in muddy shores difficult, the abundance of food as organic detritus provides nutrition for a large number of detritus feeders.