Insight Into: Marshes

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Once thought to be stinky and worthless, marshes are now known to be among the most vibrant ecosystems on the planet. 

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory.

All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA except:
·       Celtic Monster illustration by John Dickson Batten
·       Phosphate mine photo courtesy of Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, Washington, North Carolina
·       Horicon Marsh photos and marsh wildlife photos courtesy of Andrea Gianopoulos
·       Sea creature illustration copyright The National Library of Israel, Shapell Family Digitization Project _and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Geography – Historic Cities Research Project
·       Assateague Island marsh photos courtesy of Lucy Albert
·       Muskrat photo courtesy of Dan Leveille
·       Peat fire photo courtesy of Guillermo Rein
·       Marsh algae photos courtesy of Andrea Gianopoulos
·       Close-up Lake Carnegie satellite image courtesy of the USGS EROS Data Center Satellite Systems Branch
·       Photos of Tigris River and drained Mesopotamian Marshes courtesy of Dr. Michelle Stevens,
·       Photo of boatmen in an Iraqi marsh courtesy of Hassan Janali, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Music courtesy of Associated Production Music
Written by Andrea Gianopoulos
Designed by Marc Lussier

A satellite view of the planet from above showing blue-green wetlands between the land and sea masses. Text, Stinky, noxious, evil, and worthless are just a few of the words that have been used to describe marshes. An illustration of a beast with large bulging eyes, a wide grinning mouth of sharp teeth, webbed paws on long arms and spiky furry fins on its back. Text, During the Iron Age, the Celts believed spirits inhabited marshes. They appeased these phantoms by offering weapons, cauldrons, wagons, and perhaps even sacrificed humans to the marsh. A photo of a factory at the edge of a marsh and the land being stripped away. Text, Modern humans haven't been kind to marshes either. They've drained them to use the land for other purposes. Photos of geese and herons in the shallows. Text, But marsh lands are far from worthless. They are among the most vibrant ecosystems on the planet.