A salt marsh is a marshy area occurring at the upstream portion of the estuary. Saltmarshes in estuaries are areas of high productivity and biodiversity. Food is supplied to marsh species through the decomposition of saltmarsh vegetation and other salt marsh organisms. Bacteria and algae aid in the decomposition of detritus, or dead and decaying, material resulting from marsh plants. Fish, crabs, shrimp, and worms eat the detritus material. The microorganisms then consume the feces of the fish, crabs, shrimp, and worms. Materials not taken-up by marsh inhabitants, act as fertilizer for the next generation of marsh plants. Salt marshes also provide protection from predators and nursery habitats for fish, turtles, bird species, and other organisms.