Swamp Things: Clear Your Mind for ACES 2012 NOLA
A few weeks ago, my husband and I traveled the Gulf Coast from Tallahassee to New Orleans. As we drove, we wondered about and researched the differences between various wetland areas: bayous, marshes, bogs, etc. This is typical road-trip behavior for us. Inquiring minds and all that. Along the way, I remembered that the national conference of the American Copy Editors Society will be in New Orleans this year, April 14-16. By the way, TODAY is the last day for early bird registration rates, so you might want to hustle on over to ACES 2012 NOLA and register.
It would be a shame for any conference-going copyeditors to be preoccupied by swampy vocabulary, so I’m sharing my swamplands cheat sheet with you. Now you can give your full attention to the conference sessions.
wetlands areas that have moisture-saturated soil or areas sometimes covered with shallow water
swamp an area with up to several inches of standing water (fresh or salt); plants are mostly woody varieties (trees and shrubs)
marsh a freshwater or saltwater wetland that contains mostly herbaceous plants (those without woody stems and branches); usually shallower than a swamp
bog a freshwater, acidic wetland in a cold region; includes a layer of peat (very slowly decomposing, organically rich matter) on the bottom and a layer of thick, mossy vegetation floating on the top; also called peatland, moor (usually European), quagmire, or mire
fen freshwater wetland in a poorly draining cold region; with less acidic water and more nutrients than a bog, contains mostly grass-like plants
bayou from Choctaw bayuk "small stream"; an American term for a sluggish, marshy creek or small river with a mostly undefined shoreline
slough any area of mud, mire, swamp, marsh, backwaters, etc.
American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language; International Carnivorous Plant Society, “FAQ”; Online Etymology Dictionary; Merriam-Webster.com; USDA Forest Service, “Organic Soil Wetlands”; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Types of Wetlands” and “Wetlands - Wetland Types”.
Image of Lütt-Witt Moor in northern Germany courtesy of Jan van der Crabben.