Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve [return to Home Page]

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve (DMWP)

DMWP, part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway National Park, is about ½ mile south of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia (www. dykemarsh.org). It is about 380 acres and borders the Potomac River. Congress set DMWP aside as an "irreplaceable wetland" in 1959. A major part of this Preserve is the largest still-extant freshwater tidal marsh in the Washington Area.

This Preserve is renowned for its rich bird life of about 296 species, plant life (about 380 species of which about 25% are alien, invasive species), scenery, and other wonderful attributes. Our lab is beginning to learn about the Preserve's very rich arthropod life as well.

Arthropod Ecosystem Services for DMWP

Arthropods aerate soil; break down and recycle nutrients in feces, plant litter, and other organic matter; consume pest species; feed on plants in ways that enhance their growth; pollinate plants resulting in fruit and seed set (Buchmann and Nabhan 1996); reduce the number of population outbreaks of other arthropods; and serve as nutritious food for many kinds of organisms (including many of DMWP's famous birds).

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