Natural Communities of NH -- Photo Guide

Maritime cobble beach  (S1)



Maritime cobble beaches are characterized by a low to moderate cover of forbs and graminoids. They occur above the reach of spring tides, but are overwashed during severe storms. These dynamic, sparsely-vegetated beaches can be significantly altered over relatively short periods of time. On Lunging Island, one of the Isles of Shoals, the cobble beach rose 3.5 m in elevation over a 20 year time span as a result of storm waves moving sand, gravel, cobble, and larger rock landward onto the beach. The substrate is primarily cobble and/or gravel.

Characteristic Vegetation: Frequent species are yarrow (Achillea millefolium), common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), sea rocket (Cakile edentula), hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium), pigweed (Chenopodium album), quack grass (Elymus repens), brittlestem hemp nettle (Galeopsis tetrahit), beach pea (Lathyrus japonicus), wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum), curly dock (Rumex crispus), tumble mustard (Sisymbrium altissimum), nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), and seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens). Due to the dynamic nature of this community, a higher proportion of non-natives may occur here compared to most other natural community types. One of the cobble beaches on the Isles of Shoals supports the only extant population of sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) in New Hampshire.


Good examples
of this community can be found on the Isles of Shoals and at Odiorne Point State Park.


Maritime cobble beaches sometimes occur as part of a larger
maritime rocky shore system.


maritime cobble beach community at Odiorne Point State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)
maritime cobble beach community at Odiorne Point State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)

maritime cobble beach community at Odiorne Point State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)
maritime cobble beach
community (right) at Odiorne Point State Park (photo by Ben Kimball)


maritime cobble beach community (inside green oval) at Odiorne Point State Park (photo by Dan Sperduto for the NH Natural Heritage Bureau)
maritime cobble beach community (inside green oval) at Odiorne Point State Park
(photo by Dan Sperduto) 

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