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Rates of decay of organic matter in wetland environments are strongly influenced by the species of emergent vascular plants and the chemical composition of plant tissues (Polunin 1984; Webster and Benfield 1986).
One short-term approach which appears practicable is to examine the effect of recent deep cuts such as sewer trenches and cellars: can a profile of decay of organic matter be discerned in the archaeological deposits into which they have cut?
This provides nutrients for a greater number of marine organisms, which in turn use up more and more oxygen in respiration and in the bacterial decay of organic matter.