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Sample records for marine seagrass zostera

  1. Transcriptomic resilience to global warming in the seagrass Zostera marina, a marine foundation species

    PubMed Central

    Franssen, Susanne U.; Gu, Jenny; Bergmann, Nina; Winters, Gidon; Klostermeier, Ulrich C.; Rosenstiel, Philip; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Reusch, Thorsten B. H.

    2011-01-01

    Large-scale transcription profiling via direct cDNA sequencing provides important insights as to how foundation species cope with increasing climatic extremes predicted under global warming. Species distributed along a thermal cline, such as the ecologically important seagrass Zostera marina, provide an opportunity to assess temperature effects on gene expression as a function of their long-term adaptation to heat stress. We exposed a southern and northern European population of Zostera marina from contrasting thermal environments to a realistic heat wave in a common-stress garden. In a fully crossed experiment, eight cDNA libraries, each comprising ∼125 000 reads, were obtained during and after a simulated heat wave, along with nonstressed control treatments. Although gene-expression patterns during stress were similar in both populations and were dominated by classical heat-shock proteins, transcription profiles diverged after the heat wave. Gene-expression patterns in southern genotypes returned to control values immediately, but genotypes from the northern site failed to recover and revealed the induction of genes involved in protein degradation, indicating failed metabolic compensation to high sea-surface temperature. We conclude that the return of gene-expression patterns during recovery provides critical information on thermal adaptation in aquatic habitats under climatic stress. As a unifying concept for ecological genomics, we propose transcriptomic resilience, analogous to ecological resilience, as an important measure to predict the tolerance of individuals and hence the fate of local populations in the face of global warming. PMID:22084086

  2. Characterization (δ13C, δ15N and TOC/TN) of marine sediments from restored seagrass (Zostera marina) meadows in coastal lagoons of Virginia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egge, N.; Macko, S. A.

    2011-12-01

    Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its neighboring coastal areas has been a major focus of scientific research in the last ten years. The decline of the area is often linked with the explosive population growth and subsequent increases in agriculture and urbanization of the region. In the coastal bays of Virginia, large efforts have been made to restore seagrass (Zostera marina) meadows, which were devastated by a combination of events in the 1930s. As a result of the restoration efforts begun in 2001, seagrass has come to dominate portions of South Bay and Hog Island Bay. Sedimentary characterization (δ13C, δ15N, total organic carbon and total nitrogen) is used to assess sources of organic matter in marine environments. Push cores were used to collect samples from sites that have different records of seagrass cover. Sediments dominated by seagrass contain organic matter enriched in 13C relative to autochthonous algal sources. Within the sediment record there are two regions that show heightened 13C content-one near the surface and another at lower depths. Organic matter enriched in 13C near the surface is from current seagrass cover. Similar characteristics of sediment deeper in the core imply that the area was previously dominated comparable vegetation. Results may be used as a proxy to infer the spatial extent of the historic (prior to 1930) presence of seagrass and guide future restoration projects.

  3. The Genome of a Southern Hemisphere Seagrass Species (Zostera muelleri).

    PubMed

    Lee, HueyTyng; Golicz, Agnieszka A; Bayer, Philipp E; Jiao, Yuannian; Tang, Haibao; Paterson, Andrew H; Sablok, Gaurav; Krishnaraj, Rahul R; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Batley, Jacqueline; Kendrick, Gary A; Larkum, Anthony W D; Ralph, Peter J; Edwards, David

    2016-09-01

    Seagrasses are marine angiosperms that evolved from land plants but returned to the sea around 140 million years ago during the early evolution of monocotyledonous plants. They successfully adapted to abiotic stresses associated with growth in the marine environment, and today, seagrasses are distributed in coastal waters worldwide. Seagrass meadows are an important oceanic carbon sink and provide food and breeding grounds for diverse marine species. Here, we report the assembly and characterization of the Zostera muelleri genome, a southern hemisphere temperate species. Multiple genes were lost or modified in Z. muelleri compared with terrestrial or floating aquatic plants that are associated with their adaptation to life in the ocean. These include genes for hormone biosynthesis and signaling and cell wall catabolism. There is evidence of whole-genome duplication in Z. muelleri; however, an ancient pan-commelinid duplication event is absent, highlighting the early divergence of this species from the main monocot lineages. PMID:27373688

  4. Current European Labyrinthula zosterae are not virulent and modulate seagrass (Zostera marina) defense gene expression.

    PubMed

    Brakel, Janina; Werner, Franziska Julie; Tams, Verena; Reusch, Thorsten B H; Bockelmann, Anna-Christina

    2014-01-01

    Pro- and eukaryotic microbes associated with multi-cellular organisms are receiving increasing attention as a driving factor in ecosystems. Endophytes in plants can change host performance by altering nutrient uptake, secondary metabolite production or defense mechanisms. Recent studies detected widespread prevalence of Labyrinthula zosterae in European Zostera marina meadows, a protist that allegedly caused a massive amphi-Atlantic seagrass die-off event in the 1930's, while showing only limited virulence today. As a limiting factor for pathogenicity, we investigated genotype × genotype interactions of host and pathogen from different regions (10-100 km-scale) through reciprocal infection. Although the endophyte rapidly infected Z. marina, we found little evidence that Z. marina was negatively impacted by L. zosterae. Instead Z. marina showed enhanced leaf growth and kept endophyte abundance low. Moreover, we found almost no interaction of protist × eelgrass-origin on different parameters of L. zosterae virulence/Z. marina performance, and also no increase in mortality after experimental infection. In a target gene approach, we identified a significant down-regulation in the expression of 6/11 genes from the defense cascade of Z. marina after real-time quantitative PCR, revealing strong immune modulation of the host's defense by a potential parasite for the first time in a marine plant. Nevertheless, one gene involved in phenol synthesis was strongly up-regulated, indicating that Z. marina plants were probably able to control the level of infection. There was no change in expression in a general stress indicator gene (HSP70). Mean L. zosterae abundances decreased below 10% after 16 days of experimental runtime. We conclude that under non-stress conditions L. zosterae infection in the study region is not associated with substantial virulence. PMID:24691450

  5. Seagrass (Zostera spp.) as food for brent geese (Branta bernicla): an overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ganter, B.

    2000-07-01

    Brent geese (called brant in North America) are among the smallest and the most marine of all goose species, and they have very long migration routes between high Arctic breeding grounds and temperate wintering grounds. Like all other geese, brent geese are almost entirely herbivorous. Because of these ecological characteristics they have a high food demand and are strongly dependent on stopover sites to "refuel" during the migration period. Three subspecies of brent geese are distributed around the Holarctic, forming seven populations with distinct migration routes. Most or all of these populations make heavy use of Zostera spp. during migratory stopovers on spring and/or autumn migration. Examples of Zostera stopover areas being used by large numbers of brent geese for several weeks each year are Izembek Lagoon (Alaska), lagoons in Baja California, the German/Danish Wadden Sea, the Golfe du Morbihan (France), British estuaries, and the White Sea (Western Russian Arctic). Brent geese feed on Zostera wherever they can, but they can only reach the plants at low tide or in shallow water. Changes in Zostera abundance affect brent goose distribution, and the "wasting disease" affecting Atlantic Zostera stocks during the 1930s was at least partly responsible for a steep decline in brent goose population sizes on both sides of the Atlantic. While Zostera is of outstanding importance as food for brent geese, the impact of the geese on Zostera stocks seems to be less important - at many sites, the geese consume only a small amount of the available Zostera, or, if they consume more, the seagrass can regenerate fully until the following season.

  6. Radiocarbon isotopic evidence for assimilation of atmospheric CO2 by the seagrass Zostera marina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watanabe, K.; Kuwae, T.

    2015-10-01

    Submerged aquatic vegetation takes up water-column dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) as a carbon source across its thin cuticle layer. It is expected that marine macrophytes also use atmospheric CO2 when exposed to air during low tide, although assimilation of atmospheric CO2 has never been quantitatively evaluated. Using the radiocarbon isotopic signatures (Δ14C) of the seagrass Zostera marina, DIC and particulate organic carbon (POC), we show quantitatively that Z. marina takes up and assimilates atmospheric modern CO2 in a shallow coastal ecosystem. The Δ14C values of the seagrass (-40 to -10 ‰) were significantly higher than those of aquatic DIC (-46 to -18 ‰), indicating that the seagrass uses a 14C-rich carbon source (atmospheric CO2, +17 ‰). A carbon-source mixing model indicated that the seagrass assimilated 0-40 % (mean, 17 %) of its inorganic carbon as atmospheric CO2. CO2 exchange between the air and the seagrass might be enhanced by the presence of a very thin film of water over the air-exposed leaves during low tide. Our radiocarbon isotope analysis, showing assimilation of atmospheric modern CO2 as an inorganic carbon source, improves our understanding of the role of seagrass meadows in coastal carbon dynamics.

  7. Genome-wide survey of the seagrass Zostera muelleri suggests modification of the ethylene signalling network.

    PubMed

    Golicz, Agnieszka A; Schliep, Martin; Lee, Huey Tyng; Larkum, Anthony W D; Dolferus, Rudy; Batley, Jacqueline; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Sablok, Gaurav; Ralph, Peter J; Edwards, David

    2015-03-01

    Seagrasses are flowering plants which grow fully submerged in the marine environment. They have evolved a range of adaptations to environmental challenges including light attenuation through water, the physical stress of wave action and tidal currents, high concentrations of salt, oxygen deficiency in marine sediment, and water-borne pollination. Although, seagrasses are a key stone species of the costal ecosystems, many questions regarding seagrass biology and evolution remain unanswered. Genome sequence data for the widespread Australian seagrass species Zostera muelleri were generated and the unassembled data were compared with the annotated genes of five sequenced plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Phoenix dactylifera, Musa acuminata, and Spirodela polyrhiza). Genes which are conserved between Z. muelleri and the five plant species were identified, together with genes that have been lost in Z. muelleri. The effect of gene loss on biological processes was assessed on the gene ontology classification level. Gene loss in Z. muelleri appears to influence some core biological processes such as ethylene biosynthesis. This study provides a foundation for further studies of seagrass evolution as well as the hormonal regulation of plant growth and development. PMID:25563969

  8. Genome-wide survey of the seagrass Zostera muelleri suggests modification of the ethylene signalling network

    PubMed Central

    Golicz, Agnieszka A.; Schliep, Martin; Lee, Huey Tyng; Larkum, Anthony W.D.; Dolferus, Rudy; Batley, Jacqueline; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Sablok, Gaurav; Ralph, Peter J.; Edwards, David

    2015-01-01

    Seagrasses are flowering plants which grow fully submerged in the marine environment. They have evolved a range of adaptations to environmental challenges including light attenuation through water, the physical stress of wave action and tidal currents, high concentrations of salt, oxygen deficiency in marine sediment, and water-borne pollination. Although, seagrasses are a key stone species of the costal ecosystems, many questions regarding seagrass biology and evolution remain unanswered. Genome sequence data for the widespread Australian seagrass species Zostera muelleri were generated and the unassembled data were compared with the annotated genes of five sequenced plant species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Phoenix dactylifera, Musa acuminata, and Spirodela polyrhiza). Genes which are conserved between Z. muelleri and the five plant species were identified, together with genes that have been lost in Z. muelleri. The effect of gene loss on biological processes was assessed on the gene ontology classification level. Gene loss in Z. muelleri appears to influence some core biological processes such as ethylene biosynthesis. This study provides a foundation for further studies of seagrass evolution as well as the hormonal regulation of plant growth and development. PMID:25563969

  9. Science and Management of the Introduced Seagrass Zostera japonica in North America

    EPA Science Inventory

    Healthy seagrass is considered a prime indicator of estuarine ecosystem function. On the Pacific coast of North America, at least two congeners of Zostera occur: native Zostera marina, and introduced, Z. japonica. Z. japonica is considered “invasive” and therefore, ecologically...

  10. Sulfide Intrusion and Detoxification in the Seagrass Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Holmer, Marianne

    2015-01-01

    Gaseous sulfide intrusion into seagrasses growing in sulfidic sediments causes little or no harm to the plant, indicating the presence of an unknown sulfide tolerance or detoxification mechanism. We assessed such mechanism in the seagrass Zostera marina in the laboratory and in the field with scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, chromatographic and spectrophotometric methods, and stable isotope tracing coupled with a mass balance of sulfur compounds. We found that Z. marina detoxified gaseous sediment-derived sulfide through incorporation and that most of the detoxification occurred in underground tissues, where sulfide intrusion was greatest. Elemental sulfur was a major detoxification compound, precipitating on the inner wall of the aerenchyma of underground tissues. Sulfide was metabolized into thiols and entered the plant sulfur metabolism as well as being stored as sulfate throughout the plant. We conclude that avoidance of sulfide exposure by reoxidation of sulfide in the rhizosphere or aerenchyma and tolerance of sulfide intrusion by incorporation of sulfur in the plant are likely major survival strategies of seagrasses in sulfidic sediments. PMID:26030258

  11. Sulfide Intrusion and Detoxification in the Seagrass Zostera marina

    PubMed Central

    Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Holmer, Marianne

    2015-01-01

    Gaseous sulfide intrusion into seagrasses growing in sulfidic sediments causes little or no harm to the plant, indicating the presence of an unknown sulfide tolerance or detoxification mechanism. We assessed such mechanism in the seagrass Zostera marina in the laboratory and in the field with scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, chromatographic and spectrophotometric methods, and stable isotope tracing coupled with a mass balance of sulfur compounds. We found that Z. marina detoxified gaseous sediment-derived sulfide through incorporation and that most of the detoxification occurred in underground tissues, where sulfide intrusion was greatest. Elemental sulfur was a major detoxification compound, precipitating on the inner wall of the aerenchyma of underground tissues. Sulfide was metabolized into thiols and entered the plant sulfur metabolism as well as being stored as sulfate throughout the plant. We conclude that avoidance of sulfide exposure by reoxidation of sulfide in the rhizosphere or aerenchyma and tolerance of sulfide intrusion by incorporation of sulfur in the plant are likely major survival strategies of seagrasses in sulfidic sediments. PMID:26030258

  12. EFFECTS OF THE INVASIVE, NONINDIGENOUS SEAGRASS ZOSTERA JAPONICA ON NUTRIENT FLUXES BETWEEN THE WATER COLUMN AND BENTHOS IN A NE PACIFIC ESTUARY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Since its introduction in the early to mid-20th century, the Asian seagrass Zostera japonica has become established in marine and mesohaline portions of many estuaries in the Pacific Northwest. Z. japonica forms dense patches from 0.3-2.4m above mean lower low water, a zone that...

  13. The genome of the seagrass Zostera marina reveals angiosperm adaptation to the sea.

    PubMed

    Olsen, Jeanine L; Rouzé, Pierre; Verhelst, Bram; Lin, Yao-Cheng; Bayer, Till; Collen, Jonas; Dattolo, Emanuela; De Paoli, Emanuele; Dittami, Simon; Maumus, Florian; Michel, Gurvan; Kersting, Anna; Lauritano, Chiara; Lohaus, Rolf; Töpel, Mats; Tonon, Thierry; Vanneste, Kevin; Amirebrahimi, Mojgan; Brakel, Janina; Boström, Christoffer; Chovatia, Mansi; Grimwood, Jane; Jenkins, Jerry W; Jueterbock, Alexander; Mraz, Amy; Stam, Wytze T; Tice, Hope; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Green, Pamela J; Pearson, Gareth A; Procaccini, Gabriele; Duarte, Carlos M; Schmutz, Jeremy; Reusch, Thorsten B H; Van de Peer, Yves

    2016-02-18

    Seagrasses colonized the sea on at least three independent occasions to form the basis of one of the most productive and widespread coastal ecosystems on the planet. Here we report the genome of Zostera marina (L.), the first, to our knowledge, marine angiosperm to be fully sequenced. This reveals unique insights into the genomic losses and gains involved in achieving the structural and physiological adaptations required for its marine lifestyle, arguably the most severe habitat shift ever accomplished by flowering plants. Key angiosperm innovations that were lost include the entire repertoire of stomatal genes, genes involved in the synthesis of terpenoids and ethylene signalling, and genes for ultraviolet protection and phytochromes for far-red sensing. Seagrasses have also regained functions enabling them to adjust to full salinity. Their cell walls contain all of the polysaccharides typical of land plants, but also contain polyanionic, low-methylated pectins and sulfated galactans, a feature shared with the cell walls of all macroalgae and that is important for ion homoeostasis, nutrient uptake and O2/CO2 exchange through leaf epidermal cells. The Z. marina genome resource will markedly advance a wide range of functional ecological studies from adaptation of marine ecosystems under climate warming, to unravelling the mechanisms of osmoregulation under high salinities that may further inform our understanding of the evolution of salt tolerance in crop plants. PMID:26814964

  14. A comparative evaluation of biological activities and bioactive compounds of the seagrasses Zostera marina and Zostera noltei from southern Portugal.

    PubMed

    Custódio, Luísa; Laukaityte, Simona; Engelen, Aschwin H; Rodrigues, Maria João; Pereira, Hugo; Vizetto-Duarte, Catarina; Barreira, Luísa; Rodríguez, Hortensia; Alberício, Fernando; Varela, João

    2016-01-01

    This work assessed the antioxidant potential, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition and the in vitro cytotoxic activity of extracts of the seagrasses Zostera marina and Zostera noltei collected from southern Portugal. The total phenolic contents (TPCs), the rosmarinic acid (RA) concentration (HPLC/DAD) and the fatty acid (FA) profile (GC/MS) are also described. Z. marina had the highest TPC, radical scavenging activity against DPPH radicals and copper chelating activity. Z. noltei had metal chelation capacity to copper and iron ions. None of the species was able to inhibit AChE. Both seagrasses had high levels of polyunsaturated FAs. Z. marina significantly and selectively reduced the viability of tumorous neuronal cells. Z. noltei was highly toxic for the three cell lines tested and was selective against hepatocarcinoma cells at the concentration of 100 μg/mL. RA was the main compound identified in Z. marina, but not in Z. noltei. PMID:26189828

  15. A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the seagrass pathogen Labyrinthula zosterae.

    PubMed

    Bergmann, Nina; Fricke, Birgit; Schmidt, Martina C; Tams, Verena; Beining, Katrin; Schwitte, Hildegard; Boettcher, Anne A; Martin, Daniel L; Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Reusch, Thorsten B H; Rauch, Gisep

    2011-11-01

    The protist Labyrinthula zosterae (Phylum Bigyra, sensu Tsui et al. 2009) has been identified as a causative agent of wasting disease in eelgrass (Zostera marina), of which the most intense outbreak led to the destruction of 90% of eelgrass beds in eastern North America and western Europe in the 1930s. Outbreaks still occur today, albeit at a smaller scale. Traditionally, L. zosterae has been quantified by measuring the necrotic area of Z. marina leaf tissue. This indirect method can however only lead to a very rough estimate of pathogen load. Here, we present a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) approach to directly detect and quantify L. zosterae in eelgrass tissue. Based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of rRNA genes, species-specific primers were designed. Using our qPCR, we were able to quantify accurately and specifically L. zosterae load both from culture and eelgrass leaves using material from Europe and North America. Our detection limit was less than one L. zosterae cell. Our results demonstrate the potential of this qPCR assay to provide rapid, accurate and sensitive molecular identification and quantification of L. zosterae. In view of declining seagrass populations worldwide, this method will provide a valuable tool for seagrass ecologists and conservation projects. PMID:21777400

  16. Constraining the historic extent of seagrass (Zostera marina) cover in the coastal bays of Virginia using stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egge, N. E.; Macko, S. A.

    2012-12-01

    The environmental degradation of the areas of coastal Chesapeake Bay has been linked with explosive human population growth and subsequent increases in agriculture and urbanization of the region. In the coastal bays of Virginia, numerous efforts have been made to restore seagrass (Zostera marina) meadows. As a result of large-scale, seed-based restorations in South Bay (2001) and Hog Island Bay (2007), Z. marina has come to dominate portions of these bays. In this study, stable isotope and geochemical proxies are used to suggest the historic extent of seagrass within Virginia's coastal bays. Sedimentary cores were collected from sites with different historical records of seagrass meadows, including areas with no seagrass, reseeded seagrass, or naturally occurring seagrass. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were conducted on freeze-dried, acidified samples and used as proxies of the sources of the organic matter; sediments dominated by seagrass contained organic matter more enriched in 13C relative to autochthonous algal and plaktonic marine materials. Peak 137Cs activity along with 210Pb dating were used to infer the relative age of sediments. Several features are apparent from the preliminary characterization of marine sediments from these locations. The reseeded areas of South Bay and Hog Island Bay have a similar antithetical relationship between TOC (total organic carbon) and δ13C values in the topmost 15 cm of the sediment core; as the TOC increases the δ13C values become more depleted, suggesting that in those samples, seagrass provides only a minimal contribution to the preserved organic matter. Additionally there are large sections of the cores, at approximately 20 cm depth within the cores taken from South Bay, that have significantly lower TOC; this could be a result of the period without seagrass cover. The site with a natural seagrass meadow in Hog Island Bay is unlike any of the other sites analyzed: TOC increases from 0.2% at the surface to 1

  17. Meiobenthic communities of seagrass beds ( Zostera capricorni) and unvegetated sediments along the coast of New South Wales, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fonseca, Gustavo; Hutchings, Pat; Gallucci, Fabiane

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds have higher biomass, abundance, diversity and productivity of benthic organisms than unvegetated sediments. However, to date most studies have analysed only the macrofaunal component and ignored the abundant meiofauna present in seagrass meadows. This study was designed to test if meiobenthic communities, especially the free-living nematodes, differed between seagrass beds and unvegetated sediments. Sediment samples from beds of the eelgrass Zostera capricorni and nearby unvegetated sediments were collected in three estuaries along the coast of New South Wales, Australia. Results showed that sediments below the seagrass were finer, with a higher content of organic material and were less oxygenated than sediments without seagrass. Univariate measures of the fauna (i.e. abundance, diversity and taxa richness of total meiofauna and nematode assemblages) did not differ between vegetated and unvegetated sediments. However multivariate analysis of meiofaunal higher taxa showed significant differences between the two habitats, largely due to the presence and absence of certain taxa. Amphipods, tanaidacea, ostracods, hydrozoans and isopods occurred mainly in unvegetated sediments, while kinorhyncs, polychaetes, gastrotrichs and turbellarians were more abundant in vegetated sediments. Regarding the nematode assemblages, 32.4% of the species were restricted to Z. capricorni and 25% only occurred in unvegetated sediments, this suggests that each habitat is characterized by a particular suite of species. Epistrate feeding nematodes were more abundant in seagrass beds, and it is suggested that they graze on the microphytobenthos which accumulates underneath the seagrass. Most of the genera that characterized these estuarine unvegetated sediments are also commonly found on exposed sandy beaches. This may be explained by the fact that Australian estuaries have very little input of freshwater and experience marine conditions for most of the year. This study

  18. Effects of salinity on survival of the exotic seagrass Zostera japonica subjected to extreme high temperature stress

    EPA Science Inventory

    Zostera japonica is a non-indigenous seagrass that is expanding along the Pacific Coast of North America. The ecophysiology of this seagrass is poorly studied and management of the species is fragmented. We collected Z. japonica plants from Padilla Bay, WA., Yaquina Bay and Coo...

  19. De Novo Assembly and Characterization of the Transcriptome of Seagrass Zostera marina Using Illumina Paired-End Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Kong, Fanna; Li, Hong; Sun, Peipei; Zhou, Yang; Mao, Yunxiang

    2014-01-01

    Background The seagrass Zostera marina is a monocotyledonous angiosperm belonging to a polyphyletic group of plants that can live submerged in marine habitats. Zostera marina L. is one of the most common seagrasses and is considered a cornerstone of marine plant molecular ecology research and comparative studies. However, the mechanisms underlying its adaptation to the marine environment still remain poorly understood due to limited transcriptomic and genomic data. Principal Findings Here we explored the transcriptome of Z. marina leaves under different environmental conditions using Illumina paired-end sequencing. Approximately 55 million sequencing reads were obtained, representing 58,457 transcripts that correspond to 24,216 unigenes. A total of 14,389 (59.41%) unigenes were annotated by blast searches against the NCBI non-redundant protein database. 45.18% and 46.91% of the unigenes had significant similarity with proteins in the Swiss-Prot database and Pfam database, respectively. Among these, 13,897 unigenes were assigned to 57 Gene Ontology (GO) terms and 4,745 unigenes were identified and mapped to 233 pathways via functional annotation against the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway database (KEGG). We compared the orthologous gene family of the Z. marina transcriptome to Oryza sativa and Pyropia yezoensis and 11,667 orthologous gene families are specific to Z. marina. Furthermore, we identified the photoreceptors sensing red/far-red light and blue light. Also, we identified a large number of genes that are involved in ion transporters and channels including Na+ efflux, K+ uptake, Cl− channels, and H+ pumping. Conclusions Our study contains an extensive sequencing and gene-annotation analysis of Z. marina. This information represents a genetic resource for the discovery of genes related to light sensing and salt tolerance in this species. Our transcriptome can be further utilized in future studies on molecular adaptation to abiotic stress in

  20. Cerium Binding Activity of Pectins Isolated from the Seagrasses Zostera marina and Phyllospadix iwatensis

    PubMed Central

    Khotimchenko, Yuri; Khozhaenko, Elena; Kovalev, Valeri; Khotimchenko, Maxim

    2012-01-01

    Cerium binding activity of three different water soluble pectin compounds of different origin was studied in a batch sorption system. The Langmuir, Freundlich and BET sorption models were adopted to describe the binding reactions between metal ions and pectin molecules. The Langmuir model provided the best fit. Within the pH range from 4.0 to 6.0, the largest amount of the cerium ions was bound by pectin isolated from the seagrass Phylospadix iwatensis in comparison to pectin extracted from the seagrass Zostera marina and pectin obtained from citrus peel (commercial grade). The Langmuir constants were also highest for the pectin samples isolated from the seagrass P. iwatensis. The results obtained from this study suggest that pectin is a prospective source for the development of radioisotope-removing pharmaceuticals. PMID:22690146

  1. Cerium binding activity of pectins isolated from the seagrasses Zostera marina and Phyllospadix iwatensis.

    PubMed

    Khotimchenko, Yuri; Khozhaenko, Elena; Kovalev, Valeri; Khotimchenko, Maxim

    2012-04-01

    Cerium binding activity of three different water soluble pectin compounds of different origin was studied in a batch sorption system. The Langmuir, Freundlich and BET sorption models were adopted to describe the binding reactions between metal ions and pectin molecules. The Langmuir model provided the best fit. Within the pH range from 4.0 to 6.0, the largest amount of the cerium ions was bound by pectin isolated from the seagrass Phylospadix iwatensis in comparison to pectin extracted from the seagrass Zostera marina and pectin obtained from citrus peel (commercial grade). The Langmuir constants were also highest for the pectin samples isolated from the seagrass P. iwatensis. The results obtained from this study suggest that pectin is a prospective source for the development of radioisotope-removing pharmaceuticals. PMID:22690146

  2. Science and Management of the Introduced Seagrass Zostera japonica in North America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shafer, Deborah J.; Kaldy, James E.; Gaeckle, Jeffrey L.

    2014-01-01

    Healthy seagrass is considered a prime indicator of estuarine ecosystem function. On the Pacific coast of North America, at least two congeners of Zostera occur: native Zostera marina, and introduced, Zostera japonica. Z. japonica is considered "invasive" and therefore, ecologically and economically harmful by some, while others consider it benign or perhaps beneficial. Z. japonica does not appear on the Federal or the Oregon invasive species or noxious weed lists. However, the State of California lists it as both an invasive and noxious weed; Washington State recently listed it as a noxious weed. We describe the management dynamics in North America with respect to these congener species and highlight the science and policies behind these decisions. In recent years, management strategies at the state level have ranged from historical protection of Z. japonica as a priority habitat in Washington to eradication in California. Oregon and British Columbia, Canada appear to have no specific policies with regard to Z. japonica. This fractured management approach contradicts efforts to conserve and protect seagrass in other regions of the US and around the world. Science must play a critical role in the assessment of Z. japonica ecology and the immediate and long-term effects of management actions. The information and recommendations provided here can serve as a basis for providing scientific data in order to develop better informed management decisions and aid in defining a uniform management strategy for Z. japonica.

  3. Science and management of the introduced seagrass Zostera japonica in North America.

    PubMed

    Shafer, Deborah J; Kaldy, James E; Gaeckle, Jeffrey L

    2014-01-01

    Healthy seagrass is considered a prime indicator of estuarine ecosystem function. On the Pacific coast of North America, at least two congeners of Zostera occur: native Zostera marina, and introduced, Zostera japonica. Z. japonica is considered "invasive" and therefore, ecologically and economically harmful by some, while others consider it benign or perhaps beneficial. Z. japonica does not appear on the Federal or the Oregon invasive species or noxious weed lists. However, the State of California lists it as both an invasive and noxious weed; Washington State recently listed it as a noxious weed. We describe the management dynamics in North America with respect to these congener species and highlight the science and policies behind these decisions. In recent years, management strategies at the state level have ranged from historical protection of Z. japonica as a priority habitat in Washington to eradication in California. Oregon and British Columbia, Canada appear to have no specific policies with regard to Z. japonica. This fractured management approach contradicts efforts to conserve and protect seagrass in other regions of the US and around the world. Science must play a critical role in the assessment of Z. japonica ecology and the immediate and long-term effects of management actions. The information and recommendations provided here can serve as a basis for providing scientific data in order to develop better informed management decisions and aid in defining a uniform management strategy for Z. japonica. PMID:24100942

  4. Resilience of Zostera muelleri seagrass to small-scale disturbances: the relative importance of asexual versus sexual recovery

    PubMed Central

    Macreadie, Peter I; York, Paul H; Sherman, Craig DH

    2014-01-01

    Resilience is the ability of an ecosystem to recover from disturbance without loss of essential function. Seagrass ecosystems are key marine and estuarine habitats that are under threat from a variety of natural and anthropogenic disturbances. The ability of these ecosystems to recovery from disturbance will to a large extent depend on the internsity and scale of the disturbance, and the relative importance of sexual versus asexual reproduction within populations. Here, we investigated the resilience of Zostera muelleri seagrass (Syn. Zostera capricorni) to small-scale disturbances at four locations in Lake Macquarie – Australia's largest coastal lake – and monitored recovery over a 65-week period. Resilience of Z. muelleri varied significantly with disturbance intensity; Z. muelleri recovered rapidly (within 2 weeks) from low-intensity disturbance (shoot loss), and rates of recovery appeared related to initial shoot length. Recovery via rhizome encroachment (asexual regeneration) from high-intensity disturbance (loss of entire plant) varied among locations, ranging from 18-35 weeks, whereas the ability to recover was apparently lost (at least within the time frame of this study) when recovery depended on sexual regeneration, suggesting that seeds do not provide a mechanism of recovery against intense small-scale disturbances. The lack of sexual recruits into disturbed sites is surprising as our initial surveys of genotypic diversity (using nine polymorphic microsatellite loci) at these location indicate that populations are maintained by a mix of sexual and asexual reproduction (genotypic diversity [R] varied from 0.24 to 0.44), and populations consisted of a mosaic of genotypes with on average 3.6 unique multilocus genotypes per 300 mm diameter plot. We therefore conclude that Z. muelleri populations within Lake Macquarie rely on clonal growth to recover from small-scale disturbances and that ongoing sexual recruitment by seeds into established seagrass

  5. Development of microsatellite loci for the endangered seagrass Zostera japonica (Zosteraceae)1

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Xiaomei; Zhou, Yi; Xue, Dongxiu; Liu, Jin-Xian

    2015-01-01

    Premise of the study: New microsatellite markers were developed for the Asian endangered seagrass Zostera japonica (Zosteraceae) to assess genetic diversity and population structure of this species. In China, Z. japonica populations have drastically decreased since the 1970s. Methods and Results: A total of 12 polymorphic tetranucleotide microsatellite loci were isolated and characterized in Z. japonica. The number of alleles per locus ranged from one to 11. The expected and observed heterozygosity ranged from 0 to 0.772 and from 0 to 1.000, respectively. Conclusions: The new microsatellites will be useful in evaluating clonality and population structure of Z. japonica and aiding in conservation and management of the endangered seagrass in Asia. PMID:26421255

  6. Impacts of urban wastewater discharge on seagrass meadows ( Zostera noltii)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabaço, Susana; Machás, Raquel; Vieira, Vasco; Santos, Rui

    2008-06-01

    The abiotic disturbance of urban wastewater discharge and its effects in the population structure, plant morphology, leaf nutrient content, epiphyte load and macroalgae abundance of Zostera noltii meadows were investigated in Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, southern Portugal using both univariate and multivariate analysis. Four sites were assessed, on a seasonal basis, along a gradient from a major Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW) discharge to a main navigation channel. The wastewater discharge caused an evident environmental disturbance through the nutrient enrichment of the water and sediment, particularly of ammonium. Zostera noltii of the sites closest to the nutrient source showed higher leaf N content, clearly reflecting the nitrogen load. The anthropogenic nutrient enrichment resulted in higher biomass, and higher leaf and internode length, except for the meadow closest to the wastewater discharge (270 m). The high ammonium concentration (158-663 μM) in the water at this site resulted in the decrease of biomass, and both the leaf and internode length, suggesting a toxic effect on Z. noltii. The higher abundance of macroalgae and epiphytes found in the meadow closest to the nutrient source may also affect the species negatively. Shoot density was higher at the nutrient-undisturbed site. Two of the three abiotic processes revealed by Principal Component Analysis were clearly related to the WWTW discharge, a contrast between water column salinity and nutrient concentration and a sediment contrast between both porewater nutrients and temperature and redox potential. A multiple regression analysis showed that these abiotic processes had a significant effect on the biomass-density dynamics of meadows and on the overall size of Z. noltii plants, respectively. Results show that the wastewater discharge is an important source of environmental disturbance and nutrients availability in Ria Formosa lagoon affecting the population structure, morphology and N content of Z

  7. PRODUCTION ECOLOGY OF THE NON-INDIGENOUS SEAGRASS, DWARF EELGRASS (ZOSTERA JAPONICA ASCHER. & GRAEB.), IN A PACIFIC NORTHWEST ESTUARY, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The non-indigenous seagrass Zostera japonica Ascher. & Graeb. (dwarf eelgrass) was first identified in central Oregon (USA) estuaries about 30 years ago. The autecology of this species is poorly described at the southern end of its non-native range although several process orien...

  8. The Role of Seagrass Traits in Mediating Zostera noltei Vulnerability to Mesograzers.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Crego, Begoña; Arteaga, Pedro; Tomas, Fiona; Santos, Rui

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how intra-specific differences in plant traits mediate vulnerability to herbivores of relevant habitat-forming plants is vital to attain a better knowledge on the drivers of the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Such studies, however, are rare in seagrass-mesograzer systems despite the increasingly recognized relevance of mesograzers as seagrass consumers. We investigated the role and potential trade-offs of multiple leaf traits in mediating the vulnerability of the seagrass Zostera noltei to different mesograzer species, the amphipod Gammarus insensibilis and the isopod Idotea chelipes. We worked with plants from two different meadows for which contrasting chemical and structural traits were expected based on previous information. We found that plants with high vulnerability to mesograzers (i.e. those preferred and subjected to higher rates of leaf area loss) had not only higher nitrogen content and lower C:N, fibre, and phenolics, but also tender and thinner leaves. No trade-offs between chemical and structural traits of the seagrass were detected, as they were positively correlated. When leaf physical structure was removed using agar-reconstituted food, amphipod preference towards high-susceptibility plants disappeared; thus indicating that structural rather than chemical traits mediated the feeding preference. Removal of plant structure reduced the size of isopod preference to less than half, indicating a stronger contribution of structural traits (> 50%) but combined with chemical/nutritional traits in mediating the preference. We then hypothesized that the high environmental nutrient levels recorded in the meadow exhibiting high susceptibility modulate the differences observed between meadows in seagrass traits. To test this hypothesis, we exposed low-vulnerability shoots to eutrophic nutrient levels in a 6-week enrichment experiment. Nutrient enrichment increased Z. noltei nitrogen content and lowered C:N, fibre, and phenolics, but had

  9. The Role of Seagrass Traits in Mediating Zostera noltei Vulnerability to Mesograzers

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Crego, Begoña; Arteaga, Pedro; Tomas, Fiona; Santos, Rui

    2016-01-01

    Understanding how intra-specific differences in plant traits mediate vulnerability to herbivores of relevant habitat-forming plants is vital to attain a better knowledge on the drivers of the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Such studies, however, are rare in seagrass-mesograzer systems despite the increasingly recognized relevance of mesograzers as seagrass consumers. We investigated the role and potential trade-offs of multiple leaf traits in mediating the vulnerability of the seagrass Zostera noltei to different mesograzer species, the amphipod Gammarus insensibilis and the isopod Idotea chelipes. We worked with plants from two different meadows for which contrasting chemical and structural traits were expected based on previous information. We found that plants with high vulnerability to mesograzers (i.e. those preferred and subjected to higher rates of leaf area loss) had not only higher nitrogen content and lower C:N, fibre, and phenolics, but also tender and thinner leaves. No trade-offs between chemical and structural traits of the seagrass were detected, as they were positively correlated. When leaf physical structure was removed using agar-reconstituted food, amphipod preference towards high-susceptibility plants disappeared; thus indicating that structural rather than chemical traits mediated the feeding preference. Removal of plant structure reduced the size of isopod preference to less than half, indicating a stronger contribution of structural traits (> 50%) but combined with chemical/nutritional traits in mediating the preference. We then hypothesized that the high environmental nutrient levels recorded in the meadow exhibiting high susceptibility modulate the differences observed between meadows in seagrass traits. To test this hypothesis, we exposed low-vulnerability shoots to eutrophic nutrient levels in a 6-week enrichment experiment. Nutrient enrichment increased Z. noltei nitrogen content and lowered C:N, fibre, and phenolics, but had

  10. Nutrient dynamics in two seagrass species, Posidonia coriacea and Zostera tasmanica, on Success Bank, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, D. I.; Campey, M. L.; Kendrick, G. A.

    2004-06-01

    Nutrient concentrations and seasonal differences in atomic ratios (N:P) in plant tissue of Posidonia coriacea Kuo and Cambridge and Zostera tasmanica Aschers (formerly Heterozostera tasmanica (Syst Bot 27 (2002) 468) were measured from multiple locations on Success Bank, southwestern Australia, and used to infer nutritional constraints on seagrass vegetative growth, particularly by phosphorus. Posidonia plant tissue at the west site had higher nitrogen than the east site in both summer and winter. Nitrogen concentrations increased in winter, particularly in sheath tissue, but there was little change in root nitrogen concentrations between sites or seasons. Nitrogen concentrations of leaf tissue were all less than median seagrass values reported by Duarte (Mar Ecol Prog Ser 67 (1990) 201). The seasonality in nutrient concentrations in plant tissues suggests greater nutritional constraints in summer, during periods of high growth. Vegetative growth of Posidonia coriacea was more nutrient limited than that of Zostera tasmanica. Translocation of nutrients along rhizomes to the apex may ensure that growing points are not nutrient limited and that growth can be maintained, and was more apparent in Z. tasmanica than P. coriacea. Sexual reproduction placed large demands on P. coriacea through the high investment of nutrients into fruit, resulting in reduced nutritional constraints on successful seedling recruitment by initially providing seedlings with nutrients.

  11. Resolving the spatial variability of sediment geochemistry within a seagrass (Zostera marina) meadow in the coastal bays of Virginia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Egge, N. E.; Macko, S. A.; O'connell, M. T.

    2013-12-01

    The environmental degradation of the areas of coastal Chesapeake Bay has been linked with explosive urbanization associated with human population growth and dramatic increases in agricultural activities. Possible impacts of these have been associated with diminishing seagrass (Zostera marina) coverage. Numerous efforts have been made to restore seagrass meadows. As a result of large-scale, seed-based restorations in South Bay (2001) and Hog Island Bay (2007), Z. marina has come to dominate portions of these bays. In this study, a spatially random sampling pattern was used to assess the frequency at which a variety of geochemical characteristics within the South Bay study area were correlated. Initial sampling is within a hectare window; cores were collected in a plot of samples simulated as a homogeneous Poisson distribution. Stable isotope and geochemical proxies are used to suggest the source of organic material within the coastal bays. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were conducted on freeze-dried and acidified samples; sediments dominated by seagrass contain organic matter more enriched in 13C relative to autochthonous algal and planktonic marine materials. These data have been used to establish the spatial autocorrelation of sediment geochemistry for the surface, as well as deeper sediments. After the initial geostatistical parameter estimation, a random systematic grid pattern has been applied that satisfies assumptions of non-preferential design by randomly locating sampling points within the grid space. The systematic grid thus allows for the representation of the plot as a whole, as well as evaluation of spatial trends within the data. Fitting of geostatistical models will be presented using both conventional and Bayesian Kriging models. Results from this study may be able to be used to evaluate potential for carbon sequestration in these system as well as guide future restoration projects.

  12. Effects of CO2 enrichment on photosynthesis, growth, and nitrogen metabolism of the seagrass Zostera noltii

    PubMed Central

    Alexandre, Ana; Silva, João; Buapet, Pimchanok; Björk, Mats; Santos, Rui

    2012-01-01

    Seagrass ecosystems are expected to benefit from the global increase in CO2 in the ocean because the photosynthetic rate of these plants may be Ci-limited at the current CO2 level. As well, it is expected that lower external pH will facilitate the nitrate uptake of seagrasses if nitrate is cotransported with H+ across the membrane as in terrestrial plants. Here, we investigate the effects of CO2 enrichment on both carbon and nitrogen metabolism of the seagrass Zostera noltii in a mesocosm experiment where plants were exposed for 5 months to two experimental CO2 concentrations (360 and 700 ppm). Both the maximum photosynthetic rate (Pm) and photosynthetic efficiency (α) were higher (1.3- and 4.1-fold, respectively) in plants exposed to CO2-enriched conditions. On the other hand, no significant effects of CO2 enrichment on leaf growth rates were observed, probably due to nitrogen limitation as revealed by the low nitrogen content of leaves. The leaf ammonium uptake rate and glutamine synthetase activity were not significantly affected by increased CO2 concentrations. On the other hand, the leaf nitrate uptake rate of plants exposed to CO2-enriched conditions was fourfold lower than the uptake of plants exposed to current CO2 level, suggesting that in the seagrass Z. noltii nitrate is not cotransported with H+ as in terrestrial plants. In contrast, the activity of nitrate reductase was threefold higher in plant leaves grown at high-CO2 concentrations. Our results suggest that the global effects of CO2 on seagrass production may be spatially heterogeneous and depend on the specific nitrogen availability of each system. Under a CO2 increase scenario, the natural levels of nutrients will probably become limiting for Z. noltii. This potential limitation becomes more relevant because the expected positive effect of CO2 increase on nitrate uptake rate was not confirmed. PMID:23145346

  13. The potential effects of global climate change on the distribution of native and introduced Zostera seagrasses on the Pacific Coast of North America

    EPA Science Inventory

    At least two seagrass species in the genus Zostera occur on the Pacific coast of North America: the native species Zostera marina L., and an introduced species, Z. japonica Ascher. & Graeb. Z. marina occurs along the entire Pacific coast of the United States and Canada. Zos...

  14. Shift in fish assemblage structure due to loss of seagrass Zostera marina habitats in Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pihl, Leif; Baden, Susanne; Kautsky, Nils; Rönnbäck, Patrik; Söderqvist, Tore; Troell, Max; Wennhage, Håkan

    2006-03-01

    The areal extent of Zostera marina in the archipelago of the Swedish Skagerrak has decreased by 60% over two decades. To investigate the effects of Z. marina loss on the local fish assemblages, the fish fauna was compared between existing seagrass beds and sites where seagrass had vanished. A field study was carried out at four shallow locations in the outer archipelago of the coast in June 2004. Within each location two sites were sampled, one with an existing Z. marina bed and another where Z. marina had disappeared. Fish were sampled semi-quantitatively with a beach seine. Samples were taken during both day and night and captured fish were examined to species, enumerated and measured in the field, and released thereafter. The number of fish species was found to be significantly higher in Z. marina habitats compared to areas where seagrass was missing, and density and biomass of fish were generally lower in areas dominated by bare sediment compared to those in the seagrass habitats. Several species and groups of fishes (i.e., gadoids, labrids, syngnathids) were absent or occurred in low densities at sites where Z. marina was missing. For example, juvenile 0-group cod density was reduced by 96% at sites where Z. marina had disappeared. Such a reduction in recruitment of cod is in the same order of magnitude as the combined effect of seal predation and mortality due to by-catches in the eel fyke-net fishery estimated for the archipelago of the Swedish Skagerrak. Hence, the results clearly indicate a shift in the fish assemblage, including a loss of taxa at the family level as a result of degradation in habitat-forming vegetation.

  15. Natural expansion and experimental manipulation of seagrass ( Zostera spp.) abundance and the response of infaunal invertebrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, Paul G.

    1987-06-01

    A study of an expanding seagrass bed on the south-west coast of British Columbia, Canada involved documentation and explanation of the pattern of expansion of the vegetation as well as documentation and experimental investigation of the accompanying changes in the distribution of infaunal invertebrates. Expansion followed a major environmental change, improved water clarity initiated in 1969 when a causeway blocked access to the site for silty Fraser River water. The original eelgrass ( Zostera marina) bed expanded landward over 30 m year -1, probably causing more and more water to be retained in the bed at low tide and thus improving its own habitat. More rapid expansion occurred from 1979-1983 after Z.japonica colonized at the landward edge of the eelgrass bed and in a separate intertidal area. Expansion ceased around 1983 coincident with, but probably independent of, further construction. Burrowing shrimp ( Callianassa californiensis) decreased in abundance between 1977 and 1984 in areas where the two seagrasses colonized. Short-term experiment over one summer and fall showed that removal of all shoots allowed adult shrimp and tube worms to colonize the sediment while addition of shoots of Z. japonica by transplanting caused temporary decreases in shrimp abundance. After a few weeks an established shrimp population destroyed the transplants. Among reasonable alternate hypotheses for the decline in Callianassa, the effect of sediment texture can be eliminated, but either direct negative effects of seagrass, i.e. inhibition of the burrowing of adult shrimp or of settlement of juveniles, or indirect effects, i.e. the harboring of more predators of shrimp in seagrass beds, deserve further study.

  16. A tale of two seagrasses: Comparing the science and management of Zostera marina and Zostera japonica in the Pacific Northwest

    EPA Science Inventory

    On the Pacific coast of North America, at least two congeners of Zostera occur: native Zostera marina, and introduced, Z. japonica. Z. japonica is considered “invasive” and therefore, ecologically and economically harmful by some, while others consider it benign or perhaps benef...

  17. Biomass density relationships of the seagrass Zostera noltii: A tool for monitoring anthropogenic nutrient disturbance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabaço, Susana; Machás, Raquel; Santos, Rui

    2007-09-01

    In order to assess how anthropogenic nutrient disturbance affects the populations of the seagrass Zostera noltii, the temporal variation of the stand biomass and shoot density expressed by the population-specific biomass-density relationships were studied along nutrient gradients associated with discharge from Waste Water Treatment Works, in two coastal systems of southern Portugal. Two sites were studied in Ria Formosa lagoon (Faro NW and Tavira) and one in the Arade estuary. Four stations were sampled along the nutrient gradient in each of two sites (Faro NW along 2 years, and Arade along 1 year) and two stations were sampled in Tavira. The Z. noltii population structure reflected the anthropogenic nutrient disturbance. The nutrient-disturbed stations showed significant correlations between biomass and density, whereas at nutrient-undisturbed stations the biomass-density data were uncorrelated. The Z. noltii population parameters derived from the temporal variation of the population structure, i.e. the slope of the biomass-density relationships, the coefficient of variation of biomass and the ratio of the maximum/minimum biomass increased with nutrient availability, whereas the intercept of the biomass-density relationships decreased with nutrient availability. These patterns resulted mostly from the higher variability of biomass at nutrient-disturbed stations as shoot density varied little among stations. The higher biomass variability may reflect both the beneficial effects (availability) and the detrimental effects (toxicity) of nutrients along the year. Very high concentrations of DIN (>400 μM) caused toxic effects on plants limiting the biomass development. The described relationships and patterns of variation may be used to assess the global nutrient disturbance level of areas within the coastal systems in southern Portugal. Validation of these patterns for other geographical areas and other seagrass species may provide a general valuable tool to assess

  18. Regional scale patterns in seagrass defences: Phenolic acid content in Zostera noltii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grignon-Dubois, Micheline; Rezzonico, Bernadette; Alcoverro, Teresa

    2012-12-01

    Secondary metabolites play an important role in protecting plants from herbivores or pathogens. Despite this, few studies have investigated the presence and the concentration of those compounds over broad spatial scales in seagrasses. Here we analysed the presence and abundance of specific phenolic compounds of Zostera noltii from four different meadows located across the Atlantic and the Mediterranean coast. Three phenolic acids have been found in the samples of Z. noltii: rosmarinic, caffeic and zosteric acids. The proportion of the three compounds varied substantially with the major proportion comprising rosmarinic acid (RA, mean value 94%) followed by zosteric acid (ZA, mean value 4%) and caffeic acid (CAF, mean value 2%). Z. noltii metabolic compounds varied notably between sites. The highest concentrations in RA were found in the Cadiz Bay with values of 11,254 (55 SD) μg g-1 dry wt, while the lowest were observed in the Alfacs Bay (Ebro) with values of 823 (7 SD) μg g-1 dry wt. The highest concentrations in ZA were also observed in the Cadiz Bay with values of 727 (6 SD) μg g-1 dry wt, while the lowest were observed in the Sa Nitja Bay (Menorca Island) with values of 20 (4 SD) μg g-1 dry wt. Finally, the concentrations in CAF remain very low at each site (17-69 μg g-1 dry wt), with the lowest observed in Arcachon. Their proportions remained relatively constant, indicating that most phenolic acids responded together. Documenting the presence of those compounds in living tissues of Z. noltii and how they vary in abundance between seagrass meadows across large geographical scales is a crucial first step to understand the large-scale level response of the plant to potential pathogens, herbivore outbreaks or other ecological processes.

  19. Heterogeneity of macrozoobenthic assemblages within a Zostera noltii seagrass bed: diversity, abundance, biomass and structuring factors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blanchet, Hugues; de Montaudouin, Xavier; Lucas, Aurélien; Chardy, Pierre

    2004-09-01

    The macrobenthic fauna community of a 70-km 2Zostera noltii seagrass bed (Arcachon bay, France) was studied by sampling 49 stations systematically. A total of 126 taxa were identified. Cluster Analysis based on χ2 distance showed that in this apparently homogeneous habitat, four distinct macrobenthic communities could be identified. Multiple Discriminant Analysis highlighted the major contribution of the overlying water mass as a forcing variable, and, to a lesser extent, of tidal level and Z. noltii's below-ground parts. Seven stations did not constitute any conspicuous group, and were characterized by a low biomass of leaf (<28 g DW m -2), considered as the lowest value to constitute a Z. noltii community. Less than 24% of the seagrass bed was situated in more oceanic waters and at a quite low tidal level. In this relatively stable environment, the macrofauna community was characterized by a high species richness (mean = 39) and a moderate density and high biomass (12 638 individuals m -2 and 25 g AFDW m -2, respectively). Annelids dominated, particularly the oligochaetes. When physical constraints increased (emersion or brackish water conditions), diversity decreased, abundance and biomass increased. The seagrass bed (55%) was flooded with highly fluctuating waters in term of temperature and salinity, here species richness was low (mean = 27) but abundance and biomass were high (24 384 individuals m -2 and 28 g AFDW m -2, respectively), with a dominance of molluscs. The meadow (7%) was in external waters but at a higher tidal level (2.4 m vs 1.8 m above medium low tide level). This community was characterized by the particularly high density (41 826 individuals m -2) and dominance of oligochaetes (79% of total abundance). Species richness was high (mean = 37) here. A fourth community, extending over 12% of the meadow was dominated by the gastropod Hydrobia ulvae but could not be linked to a specific forcing variable. This study confirmed the almost

  20. Effect of Shoot Density on the Infaunal Macro-invertebrate Community within a Zostera marinaSeagrass Bed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Webster, P. J.; Rowden, A. A.; Attrill, M. J.

    1998-09-01

    A seagrass ( Zostera marina) bed in south-west United Kingdom was mapped using SCUBA in July 1996. Within the bed, three seagrass density ranges (shoots m -2) were sampled, low (1-50), medium (51-100) and high (>100), to assess infaunal macro-invertebrate community structure. At each of the sites seagrass and sediment parameters were measured (shoot density, number of leaves per shoot, root-rhizome biomass, median grain size, sorting coefficient, silt fraction). As seagrass density increased, a corresponding increase in infaunal diversity was observed, multivariate analysis indicating that there were significant differences in community structure between the shoot density ranges sampled. The main factors explaining community structure were above-ground parameters (leaf number per shoot, shoot density), whilst sediment and root-rhizome measures were apparently unimportant in structuring the infaunal community. The influence of increased seagrass structural complexity on the infauna is possibly indirect (e.g. increased detrital deposition, reduced predator efficiency), however, the direct influence of root-rhizome complexity requires further investigation.

  1. Genome-wide transcriptomic responses of the seagrasses Zostera marina and Nanozostera noltii under a simulated heatwave confirm functional types.

    PubMed

    Franssen, Susanne U; Gu, Jenny; Winters, Gidon; Huylmans, Ann-Kathrin; Wienpahl, Isabell; Sparwel, Maximiliane; Coyer, James A; Olsen, Jeanine L; Reusch, Thorsten B H; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich

    2014-06-01

    Genome-wide transcription analysis between related species occurring in overlapping ranges can provide insights into the molecular basis underlying different ecological niches. The co-occurring seagrass species, Zostera marina and Nanozostera noltii, are found in marine coastal environments throughout the northern hemisphere. Z. marina is often dominant in subtidal environments and subjected to fewer temperature extremes compared to the predominately intertidal and more stress-tolerant N. noltii. We exposed plants of both species to a realistic heat wave scenario in a common-stress-garden experiment. Using RNA-seq (~7million reads/library), four Z. marina and four N. noltii libraries were compared representing northern (Denmark) and southern (Italy) locations within the co-occurring range of the species' European distribution. A total of 8977 expressed genes were identified, of which 78 were directly related to heat stress. As predicted, both species were negatively affected by the heat wave, but showed markedly different molecular responses. In Z. marina the heat response was similar across locations in response to the heatwave at 26°C, with a complex response in functions related to protein folding, synthesis of ribosomal chloroplast proteins, proteins involved in cell wall modification and heat shock proteins (HSPs). In N. noltii the heat response markedly differed between locations, while HSP genes were not induced in either population. Our results suggest that as coastal seawater temperatures increase, Z. marina will disappear along its southern most ranges, whereas N. noltii will continue to move north. As a consequence, sub- and intertidal habitat partitioning may weaken in more northern regions because the higher thermal tolerance of N. noltii provides a competitive advantage in both habitats. Although previous studies have focused on HSPs, the present study clearly demonstrates that a broader examination of stress related genes is necessary. PMID:24703884

  2. Individual and population plasticity of the seagrass Zostera noltii along a vertical intertidal gradient

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabaço, Susana; Machás, Raquel; Santos, Rui

    2009-04-01

    The seasonal plasticity of individual Zostera noltii architectural, reproductive and elemental content features, of plant epiphyte load and of meadow biomass-density relationships was investigated along a vertical intertidal gradient at Ria Formosa lagoon, southern Portugal. The vertical variability of the seagrass environment was evident in the sediment characteristics, which showed coarser grain size, less organic matter, lower N content and higher ammonium concentration in the low intertidal than in medium and high intertidal. A clear vertical differentiation in Z. noltii morphology was observed from longer and wider leaves, longer and wider internodes and shorter roots at low intertidal, to shorter and narrow leaves, shorter and narrower internodes and longer roots at high intertidal. The leaf size was negatively related to light availability and positively related to nutrient availability whereas the root size was negatively related to nutrient availability. The lower leaf N and P content found in low intertidal plants may reflect a dilution effect of the nutrients due to higher growth rates. Lower N content of low intertidal leaves supports previous findings that the nitrate reductase activity is lower in plants from this level. The higher epiphyte load observed in Z. noltii leaves of the low intertidal may be a consequence of the lower exposure period, but also of higher hydrodynamics that increase the availability of nutrients. No evidence of the influence of the intertidal level on the flowering shoot density was found. The cyclic temporal pattern of the biomass-density relationship was much wider at low and medium intertidal than at high intertidal. At low intertidal, the decline in shoot density during fall and winter was coincident with a biomass decrease and its increase in spring and summer coincided with the biomass increase. In medium and high intertidal, the biomass and density seasonal variations were decoupled. As a result, only at low intertidal

  3. ABUNDANCE OF SEAGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA L.) AND MACROALGAE IN RELATION TO THE SALINITY-TEMPERATURE GRADIENT IN YAQUINA BAY, OREGON, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The distribution and abundance of the seagrass, Zostera marina, and the associated macroalgae are described for Yaquina Bay, Oregon, U.S.A. Possible relationships between plant abundance and physical-chemical characteristics of the water column were also explored. Study sites w...

  4. Effects of salinity on photosynthesis and respiration of the seagrass Zostera japonica: A comparison of two established populations in North America

    EPA Science Inventory

    Zostera japonica is a non-native seagrass along the Pacific Coast of North America that is distributed from Northern California, USA to British Columbia, Canada. Recent observations indicate that the species is expanding both latitudinally and into areas of lower salinity. Ther...

  5. Development and validation of a habitat suitability model for the non-indigenous seagrass Zostera japonica in North AmericaOF THE INTRODUCED SEAGRASS ZOSTERA JAPONICA

    EPA Science Inventory

    We developed a spatially-explicit, flexible 3-parameter habitat suitability model that can be used to identify and predict areas at higher risk for non-native dwarf eelgrass (Zostera japonica) invasion. The model uses simple environmental parameters (depth, nearshore slope, and s...

  6. Protecting the hand that feeds us: seagrass (Zostera marina) serves as commercial juvenile fish habitat.

    PubMed

    Bertelli, Chiara M; Unsworth, Richard K F

    2014-06-30

    Although fisheries are of major economic and food security importance we still know little about specific juvenile habitats that support such production. This is a major issue given the degradation to and lack of protection afforded to potential juvenile habitats such as seagrass meadows. In the present study we investigate the role of seagrass in supporting juvenile fish of commercial value. By assessing seagrass relative to adjacent sand we determined the presence of abundant juvenile fish. Nine commercial species were recorded and the most abundant of these were Plaice, Pollock and Herring. We provide the first quantitative evidence of the presence of juvenile fish of commercial value in seagrass surrounding Great Britain. Although the species that we found in seagrass as juveniles are not obligate seagrass users the resources that seagrass meadows offer to these fish provide significant long-term fitness benefits, potentially enhancing the whole population. PMID:23998854

  7. Influence of model selection on the predicted distribution of the seagrass Zostera marina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Downie, Anna-Leena; von Numers, Mikael; Boström, Christoffer

    2013-04-01

    There is an increasing need to model the distribution of species and habitats for effective conservation planning, but there is a paucity of models for the marine environment. We used presence (131) and absence (219) records of the marine angiosperm Zostera marina L. from the archipelago of SW Finland, northern Baltic Sea, to model its distribution in a 5400 km2 area. We used depth, slope, turbidity, wave exposure and distance to sandy shores as environmental predictors, and compared a presence-absence method: generalised additive model (GAM), with a presence only method: maximum entropy (Maxent). Models were validated using semi-independent data sets. Both models performed well and described the niche of Z. marina fairly consistently, although there were differences in the way the models weighted the environmental variables, and consequently the spatial predictions differed somewhat. A notable outcome from the process was that with relatively equal model performance, the area actually predicted in geographical space can vary by twofold. The area predicted as suitable for Z. marina by the ensemble was almost half of that predicted by the GAM model by itself. The ensemble of model predictions increased the model predictive capability marginally and clearly shifted the model towards a more conservative prediction, increasing specificity, but at the same time sacrificing sensitivity. The environmental predictors selected into the final models described the potential distribution of Z. marina well and showed that in the northern Baltic the species occupies a narrow niche, typically thriving in shallow and moderately exposed to exposed locations near sandy shores. We conclude that a prediction based on a combination of model results provides a more realistic estimate of the core area suitable for Z. marina and should be the modelling approach implemented in conservation planning and management.

  8. Range-edge genetic diversity: locally poor extant southern patches maintain a regionally diverse hotspot in the seagrass Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    Diekmann, Onno E; Serrão, Ester A

    2012-04-01

    Refugial populations at the rear edge are predicted to contain higher genetic diversity than those resulting from expansion, such as in post-glacial recolonizations. However, peripheral populations are also predicted to have decreased diversity compared to the centre of a species' distribution. We aim to test these predictions by comparing genetic diversity in populations at the limits of distribution of the seagrass Zostera marina, with populations in the species' previously described central diversity 'hotspot'. Zostera marina populations show decreased allelic richness, heterozygosity and genotypic richness in both the 'rear' edge and the 'leading' edge compared to the diversity 'hotspot' in the North Sea/Baltic region. However, when populations are pooled, genetic diversity at the southern range is as high as in the North Sea/Baltic region while the 'leading edge' remains low in genetic diversity. The decreased genetic diversity in these southern Iberian populations compared to more central populations is possibly the effect of drift because of small effective population size, as a result of reduced habitat, low sexual reproduction and low gene flow. However, when considering the whole southern edge of distribution rather than per population, diversity is as high as in the central 'hotspot' in the North Sea/Baltic region. We conclude that diversity patterns assessed per population can mask the real regional richness that is typical of rear edge populations, which have played a key role in the species biogeographical history and as marginal diversity hotspots have very high conservation value. PMID:22369278

  9. Anti-oxidative feedback and biomarkers in the intertidal seagrass Zostera japonica induced by exposure to copper, lead and cadmium.

    PubMed

    Lin, Haiying; Sun, Tao; Zhou, Yi; Zhang, Xiaomei

    2016-08-15

    To investigate the potential influences of anthropogenic pollutants, we evaluated the responses of the intertidal seagrass Zostera japonica to three heavy metals: copper (Cu), lead (Pb), and cadmium (Cd). Z. japonica was exposed to various concentrations of Cu, Pb, and Cd (0, 0.5, 5, 50μM) over seven days. The effects were then analyzed using the antioxidant enzyme catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and lipid peroxidation measured using malondialdehyde (MDA) as proxy. Metal accumulation in the above-ground tissues and phenotypic changes were also investigated. Our results revealed that heavy metal concentration increased in seagrass exposed to high levels of metals. Z. japonica has great potential for metal accumulation and a suitable candidate for the decontamination of moderately Cu contaminated bodies of water and can also potentially enhanced efforts of environmental decontamination, either through phytoextraction abilities or by functioning as an indicator for monitoring programs that use SOD, CAT, GPX, POD and MDA as biomarkers. PMID:27287861

  10. Evaluation of Reference Genes for RT-qPCR Studies in the Seagrass Zostera muelleri Exposed to Light Limitation

    PubMed Central

    Schliep, M.; Pernice, M.; Sinutok, S.; Bryant, C. V.; York, P. H.; Rasheed, M. A.; Ralph, P. J.

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows are threatened by coastal development and global change. In the face of these pressures, molecular techniques such as reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) have great potential to improve management of these ecosystems by allowing early detection of chronic stress. In RT-qPCR, the expression levels of target genes are estimated on the basis of reference genes, in order to control for RNA variations. Although determination of suitable reference genes is critical for RT-qPCR studies, reports on the evaluation of reference genes are still absent for the major Australian species Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni (Z. muelleri). Here, we used three different software (geNorm, NormFinder and Bestkeeper) to evaluate ten widely used reference genes according to their expression stability in Z. muelleri exposed to light limitation. We then combined results from different software and used a consensus rank of four best reference genes to validate regulation in Photosystem I reaction center subunit IV B and Heat Stress Transcription factor A- gene expression in Z. muelleri under light limitation. This study provides the first comprehensive list of reference genes in Z. muelleri and demonstrates RT-qPCR as an effective tool to identify early responses to light limitation in seagrass. PMID:26592440

  11. Evaluation of Reference Genes for RT-qPCR Studies in the Seagrass Zostera muelleri Exposed to Light Limitation.

    PubMed

    Schliep, M; Pernice, M; Sinutok, S; Bryant, C V; York, P H; Rasheed, M A; Ralph, P J

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows are threatened by coastal development and global change. In the face of these pressures, molecular techniques such as reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) have great potential to improve management of these ecosystems by allowing early detection of chronic stress. In RT-qPCR, the expression levels of target genes are estimated on the basis of reference genes, in order to control for RNA variations. Although determination of suitable reference genes is critical for RT-qPCR studies, reports on the evaluation of reference genes are still absent for the major Australian species Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni (Z. muelleri). Here, we used three different software (geNorm, NormFinder and Bestkeeper) to evaluate ten widely used reference genes according to their expression stability in Z. muelleri exposed to light limitation. We then combined results from different software and used a consensus rank of four best reference genes to validate regulation in Photosystem I reaction center subunit IV B and Heat Stress Transcription factor A- gene expression in Z. muelleri under light limitation. This study provides the first comprehensive list of reference genes in Z. muelleri and demonstrates RT-qPCR as an effective tool to identify early responses to light limitation in seagrass. PMID:26592440

  12. Growth dynamics of the seagrass Zostera japonica at its upper and lower distributional limits in the intertidal zone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jong-Hyeob; Kim, Seung Hyeon; Kim, Young Kyun; Park, Jung-Im; Lee, Kun-Seop

    2016-06-01

    The seagrass Zostera japonica occurs mainly in the intertidal zone and is thus exposed to widely varying environmental conditions affecting its growth and distribution compared to subtidal seagrasses. The growth dynamics of Z. japonica at its upper and lower distributional limits in the intertidal zone were investigated in Koje Bay on the southern coast of Korea to examine the environmental stresses and limiting factors on the growth of intertidal seagrasses. The shoot density and morphology, biomass, and leaf productivity of Z. japonica were measured in relation to coincident measurements of environmental factors at its upper and lower distributional limits and in an intermediate zone of the intertidal area. The mean exposure time to the atmosphere during low tide in the upper intertidal zone was approximately 1.5- and 1.9-fold longer than that in the intermediate and lower intertidal zones, respectively. Shoot density and biomass were significantly higher in the intermediate zone than at the upper and lower distributional limits. Longer emersion leading to a various of environmental stresses appeared to reduce Z. japonica growth in the upper intertidal zone, whereas interspecific competitive interactions related to irradiance seemed to affect Z. japonica growth in the lower intertidal zone. Shoot size, density, biomass, and leaf productivity were lower in the upper than in the lower zone, implying that emersion-associated stresses in the upper zone had a greater detrimental effect on Z. japonica growth than did stresses occurring in the lower zone. The productivity of Z. japonica showed strong positive correlations with air and water temperature, suggesting enhancement of Z. japonica production at higher temperatures. Thus, the predicted increases in air and water temperature associated with global climate change might have positive effects on the growth and extension in distributional range of this species.

  13. Seagrasses and the Coastal Marine Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Phillips, Ronald C.

    1978-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems are the most highly productive in the world. This article discusses seagrasses, major coastal producers, and provides information on their ecology, productivity, position in food chains, and role in sediment stabilization. Recent attempts to restore seagrasses in areas of massive kills are described. (MA)

  14. Effects of current exposure on habitat preference of mobile 0-group epibenthos for intertidal seagrass beds ( Zostera noltii) in the northern Wadden Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Polte, Patrick; Schanz, Anja; Asmus, Harald

    2005-03-01

    In the northern Wadden Sea, the extent of intertidal seagrass beds, their plant biomass and shoot density highly depends on local current regimes. This study deals with the role of intertidal Zostera noltii beds as nursery for mobile epibenthic macrofauna and the impact of seagrass bed characteristics on their abundance and distribution patterns. According to their exposure to the main tidal gullies, sampling sites were separated into exposed, semi-exposed and sheltered. Dominant species of crustaceans and demersal fish were studied in respect of their abundances within seagrass beds and adjacent unvegetated areas. Quantitative sampling was performed at day and night high tide using a portable drop trap. In general, species composition varied little between seagrass beds and bare sand. However, the presence of vegetation had a quantitative effect increasing individual numbers of common epifaunal species. Abundances of 0-group shore crabs ( Carcinus maenas), common gobies ( Pomatoschistus microps) and brown shrimps ( Crangon crangon) were highest within sheltered seagrass beds. With decreasing plant density habitat preference of epibenthos changed on species level. By regulating the habitat complexity the currents regime is profoundly influencing the nursery function of intertidal seagrass beds in the Wadden Sea.

  15. Factors Affecting Trophic Control of Community Structure and Ecosystem Functioning in Experimental Mesocosms of Seagrass (Zostera marina L.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefcheck, J.; Duffy, J.

    2008-12-01

    Nutrient loading of coastal and estuarine waters threatens seagrass communities by promoting the growth of micro- and macroalgae, which then reduce the availability of light and nutrients. However, populations of invertebrate mesograzers are able to mitigate the negative impact of eutrophication through top-down control. We performed a factorial mesocosm experiment to examine the interactive relationships between light, nutrients, and mesograzer presence in structuring experimental ecosystems of eelgrass (Zostera marina). We found that mesograzer presence strongly reduced epiphytic algal biomass in every case, which remains consistent with previous mesocosm studies. We also observed a synergistic light-by-nutrient interaction that enhanced both epiphyte biomass and mesograzer abundance. The timing of this relationship is suggestive of weaker bottom-up control. Unlike previous studies, we found that light alone rarely affected either epiphyte biomass or mesograzer abundance. We believe that this result may be due to a combination of macroalgal shading and persistent grazing. Further processing of primary and secondary producer biomasses and elemental ratios, as well as the completion of feeding assays to gauge mesograzer feeding rates on different types of algae, will serve to reinforce these conclusions and to better define the relationship between these factors.

  16. Phylogenetic analyses of Zostera species based on rbcL and matK nucleotide sequences: implications for the origin and diversification of seagrasses in Japanese waters.

    PubMed

    Kato, Yumiko; Aioi, Keiko; Omori, Yuji; Takahata, Naoyuki; Satta, Yoko

    2003-10-01

    Seagrasses are composed of four families belonging to angiosperms and they are thought to become adaptive to aquatic life independently. Zosteraceae is one such family and because of the relatively high species diversity around Japan and Korea coast areas, the family might have arisen therefrom. To elucidate the origin and evolution of Zosteraceae which consists of three genera, Phyllospadix, Zostera, and Heterozostera, 2.8 kb nucleotide sequences of rbcL and matK genes in the chloroplast genome were examined for various species, including cosmopolitan Z. marina and endemic Z. caulescens. The phylogenetic analysis reveals the following three features. First, based on the synonymous nucleotide substitution rate of the rice chloroplast genome, we estimated the divergence times between Zosteraceae and its closest relative, Potamogetonaceae, and between different genera, Zostera and Phyllospadix, as approximately 100 million years (myr) and 36 myr, respectively, suggesting that Zosteraceae emerged somewhere in the period from 36 myr ago to 100 myr ago. Second, two subgenera of Zostera, Zostera and Zosterella, exhibit their reciprocal monophyly and appear to have differentiated from each other approximately 33 myr ago. However, the third genus Heterozostera branched off only 5 myr ago from the stem lineage leading to Zosterella and this seems too recent in comparison with the ancient divergence of the two subgenera. Third, we estimated the most recent common ancestor of subgenus Zostera as 6 myr. In Z. marina four haplotypes were found in the sample and have diversified in the past 1.5 myr. One haplotype is shared by both sides of the Japan Archipelago and its closely related haplotypes occur also in eastern Pacific Ocean. Based on these phylogeographic analyses, we propose a provisional age related classification of Zosteraceae to argue the origin and evolution. PMID:14676424

  17. Accumulation of Trace Metal Elements (Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb) in Surface Sediment via Decomposed Seagrass Leaves: A Mesocosm Experiment Using Zostera marina L.

    PubMed Central

    Konuma, Susumu; Nakamura, Yoshiyuki

    2016-01-01

    Accumulation of Cu, Zn, Cd, and Pb in the sediment of seagrass ecosystems was examined using mesocosm experiments containing Zostera marina (eelgrass) and reference pools. Lead was approximately 20-fold higher in the surface sediment in the eelgrass pool than in eelgrass leaves and epiphytes on the eelgrass leaves, whereas zinc and cadmium were significantly lower in the surface sediment than in the leaves, with intermediate concentrations in epiphytes. Copper concentrations were similar in both the surface sediment and leaves but significantly lower in epiphytes. Carbon and nitrogen contents increased significantly with increasing δ13C in surface sediments of both the eelgrass and reference pools. Copper, Zn, Cd, and Pb also increased significantly with increasing δ13C in the surface sediment in the eelgrass pool but not in the reference pool. By decomposition of eelgrass leaves with epiphytes, which was examined in the eelgrass pool, copper and lead concentrations increased more than 2-fold and approximately a 10-fold, whereas zinc and cadmium concentrations decreased. The high copper and lead concentrations in the surface sediment result from accumulation in decomposed, shed leaves, whereas zinc and cadmium remobilized from decomposed shed leaves but may remain at higher concentrations in the leaves than in the original sediments. The results of our mesocosm study demonstrate that whether the accumulation or remobilization of trace metals during the decomposition of seagrass leaves is trace metal dependent, and that the decomposed seagrass leaves can cause copper and lead accumulation in sediments in seagrass ecosystems. PMID:27336306

  18. The ecological importance of the dwarf seagrass Zostera japonica in intertidal areas on the southern coast of Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, Sun Kyeong; Kim, Sangil; Lee, Kun-Seop; Li, Wen-Tao; Park, Sang Rul

    2016-03-01

    The intertidal seagrass Zostera japonica, which is distributed in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones, is exposed to nutrients from over-enriched land-based discharge and storm water runoff before they can be washed out to sea. Despite its ecological importance, only a few studies have examined the ecology and physiology of Z. japonica in northeast Asia. In this study, we investigated the productivity and tissue nutrient contents of above- and below-ground tissues to evaluate the potential role of Z. japonica in carbon capture and as a nutrient sink. The average total, above-, and below-ground productivity per shoot was 0.56, 0.34, and 0.21 mg DW shoot-1 day-1, respectively. Annual leaf production was 1.5 times higher than annual below-ground production. Estimated annual whole-plant carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus incorporation based on shoot production and tissue nutrient contents was 312.8 g C m-2 y-1, 25.7 g N m-2 y-1, and 1.6 g P m-2 y-1, respectively. These values were equivalent to 7.8 × 103 kg C y-1, 6.4 × 102 kg N y-1, and 40 kg P y-1 for all Z. japonica beds in Geoje Bay. This suggests that Z. japonica meadows can incorporate a considerable amount of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the intertidal zone. High N:P ratios of above- and below-ground tissues suggest that Z. japonica growth is probably limited by phosphorus availability in the study area.

  19. A tale of two seagrasses: Comparing the science and management of Zostera marina and Zostera japonica in the Pacific Northwest - CERF

    EPA Science Inventory

    On the Pacific coast of North America, at least two congeners of Zostera occur: native Z. marina, and introduced, Z. japonica. Z. marina is protected by State and Federal laws as essential fish habitat. Z. japonica is considered “invasive” and therefore, ecologicall...

  20. The effect of oyster aquaculture on seagrass (Zostera marina) at the estuarine landscape scale in Willapa Bay, Washington (USA)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Both seagrasses and bivalve shellfish provide valuable ecosystem services including nursery habitat in estuaries worldwide. Seagrasses are protected by no-net-loss provisions in US federal and state regulations resulting in a precautionary approach by managers that avoids any direct impacts from d...

  1. Physiological and Morphological Responses of the Temperate Seagrass Zostera muelleri to Multiple Stressors: Investigating the Interactive Effects of Light and Temperature

    PubMed Central

    York, Paul H.; Gruber, Renee K.; Hill, Ross; Ralph, Peter J.; Booth, David J.; Macreadie, Peter I.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding how multiple environmental stressors interact to affect seagrass health (measured as morphological and physiological responses) is important for responding to global declines in seagrass populations. We investigated the interactive effects of temperature stress (24, 27, 30 and 32°C) and shading stress (75, 50, 25 and 0% shade treatments) on the seagrass Zostera muelleri over a 3-month period in laboratory mesocosms. Z. muelleri is widely distributed throughout the temperate and tropical waters of south and east coasts of Australia, and is regarded as a regionally significant species. Optimal growth was observed at 27°C, whereas rapid loss of living shoots and leaf mass occurred at 32°C. We found no difference in the concentration of photosynthetic pigments among temperature treatments by the end of the experiment; however, up-regulation of photoprotective pigments was observed at 30°C. Greater levels of shade resulting in high photochemical efficiencies, while elevated irradiance suppressed effective quantum yield (ΔF/FM’). Chlorophyll fluorescence fast induction curves (FIC) revealed that the J step amplitude was significantly higher in the 0% shade treatment after 8 weeks, indicating a closure of PSII reaction centres, which likely contributed to the decline in ΔF/FM’ and photoinhibition under higher irradiance. Effective quantum yield of PSII (ΔF/FM’) declined steadily in 32°C treatments, indicating thermal damage. Higher temperatures (30°C) resulted in reduced above-ground biomass ratio and smaller leaves, while reduced light led to a reduction in leaf and shoot density, above-ground biomass ratio, shoot biomass and an increase in leaf senescence. Surprisingly, light and temperature had few interactive effects on seagrass health, even though these two stressors had strong effects on seagrass health when tested in isolation. In summary, these results demonstrate that populations of Z. muelleri in south-eastern Australia are sensitive

  2. Quantitative PCR Reveals Strong Spatial and Temporal Variation of the Wasting Disease Pathogen, Labyrinthula zosterae in Northern European Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Beds

    PubMed Central

    Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Tams, Verena; Ploog, Jana; Schubert, Philipp R.; Reusch, Thorsten B. H.

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass beds are the foundation species of functionally important coastal ecosystems worldwide. The world’s largest losses of the widespread seagrass Zostera marina (eelgrass) have been reported as a consequence of wasting disease, an infection with the endophytic protist Labyrinthula zosterae. During one of the most extended epidemics in the marine realm, ∼90% of East and Western Atlantic eelgrass beds died-off between 1932 and 1934. Today, small outbreaks continue to be reported, but the current extent of L. zosterae in European meadows is completely unknown. In this study we quantify the abundance and prevalence of the wasting disease pathogen among 19 Z. marina populations in northern European coastal waters, using quantitative PCR (QPCR) with primers targeting a species specific portion of the internally transcribed spacer (ITS1) of L. zosterae. Spatially, we found marked variation among sites with abundances varying between 0 and 126 cells mg−1 Z. marina dry weight (mean: 5.7 L. zosterae cells mg−1 Z. marina dry weight ±1.9 SE) and prevalences ranged from 0–88.9%. Temporarily, abundances varied between 0 and 271 cells mg−1 Z. marina dry weight (mean: 8.5±2.6 SE), while prevalences ranged from zero in winter and early spring to 96% in summer. Field concentrations accessed via bulk DNA extraction and subsequent QPCR correlated well with prevalence data estimated via isolation and cultivation from live plant tissue. L. zosterae was not only detectable in black lesions, a sign of Labyrinthula-induced necrosis, but also occurred in green, apparently healthy tissue. We conclude that L. zosterae infection is common (84% infected populations) in (northern) European eelgrass populations with highest abundances during the summer months. In the light of global climate change and increasing rate of marine diseases our data provide a baseline for further studies on the causes of pathogenic outbreaks of L. zosterae. PMID:23658711

  3. Quantitative PCR reveals strong spatial and temporal variation of the wasting disease pathogen, Labyrinthula zosterae in northern European eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds.

    PubMed

    Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Tams, Verena; Ploog, Jana; Schubert, Philipp R; Reusch, Thorsten B H

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass beds are the foundation species of functionally important coastal ecosystems worldwide. The world's largest losses of the widespread seagrass Zostera marina (eelgrass) have been reported as a consequence of wasting disease, an infection with the endophytic protist Labyrinthula zosterae. During one of the most extended epidemics in the marine realm, ∼90% of East and Western Atlantic eelgrass beds died-off between 1932 and 1934. Today, small outbreaks continue to be reported, but the current extent of L. zosterae in European meadows is completely unknown. In this study we quantify the abundance and prevalence of the wasting disease pathogen among 19 Z. marina populations in northern European coastal waters, using quantitative PCR (QPCR) with primers targeting a species specific portion of the internally transcribed spacer (ITS1) of L. zosterae. Spatially, we found marked variation among sites with abundances varying between 0 and 126 cells mg(-1) Z. marina dry weight (mean: 5.7 L. zosterae cells mg(-1) Z. marina dry weight ±1.9 SE) and prevalences ranged from 0-88.9%. Temporarily, abundances varied between 0 and 271 cells mg(-1) Z. marina dry weight (mean: 8.5±2.6 SE), while prevalences ranged from zero in winter and early spring to 96% in summer. Field concentrations accessed via bulk DNA extraction and subsequent QPCR correlated well with prevalence data estimated via isolation and cultivation from live plant tissue. L. zosterae was not only detectable in black lesions, a sign of Labyrinthula-induced necrosis, but also occurred in green, apparently healthy tissue. We conclude that L. zosterae infection is common (84% infected populations) in (northern) European eelgrass populations with highest abundances during the summer months. In the light of global climate change and increasing rate of marine diseases our data provide a baseline for further studies on the causes of pathogenic outbreaks of L. zosterae. PMID:23658711

  4. APPARENT LACK OF VESICULAR-ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZA (VAM) IN SEAGRASSES ZOSTERA MARINA L. AND THALASSIA TESTUDIUM BANKS EX KONIG

    EPA Science Inventory

    We examined two populations of Zostera marina L. and one of Thalassia testudinum Banks ex Konig for presence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM). None of these plants showed any VAM colonization. In addition, we were unable to find any literature references on the presence o...

  5. Development and validation of a habitat suitability model for the non-indigenous seagrass Zostera japonica in North America

    EPA Science Inventory

    We developed a spatially-explicit, flexible 3-parameter habitat suitability model that can be used to identify and predict areas at higher risk for non-native dwarf eelgrass (Zostera japonica) invasion. The model uses simple environmental parameters (depth, nearshore slope, and s...

  6. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Pseudoalteromonas Strains Isolated from Roots and Leaf Blades of the Seagrass Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    Alexiev, Alexandra; Krusor, Megan L; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M; Eisen, Jonathan A; Coil, David A

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences for Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain UCD-33C and Pseudoalteromonas lipolytica UCD-48B. Pseudoalteromonas sp. UCD-33C was isolated from Zostera marina roots and P. lipolytica UCD-48B from Z. marina leaf blades, both collected in Woods Hole, MA. These assemblies contain 4,479,285 bp and 4,592,435 bp, respectively. PMID:26893412

  7. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Pseudoalteromonas Strains Isolated from Roots and Leaf Blades of the Seagrass Zostera marina

    PubMed Central

    Alexiev, Alexandra; Krusor, Megan L.; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M.; Coil, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences for Pseudoalteromonas sp. strain UCD-33C and Pseudoalteromonas lipolytica UCD-48B. Pseudoalteromonas sp. UCD-33C was isolated from Zostera marina roots and P. lipolytica UCD-48B from Z. marina leaf blades, both collected in Woods Hole, MA. These assemblies contain 4,479,285 bp and 4,592,435 bp, respectively. PMID:26893412

  8. Seagrass (Zostera marina) Colonization Promotes the Accumulation of Diazotrophic Bacteria and Alters the Relative Abundances of Specific Bacterial Lineages Involved in Benthic Carbon and Sulfur Cycling

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Feifei; Zhang, Xiaoli; Zhang, Qianqian; Liu, Fanghua

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass colonization changes the chemistry and biogeochemical cycles mediated by microbes in coastal sediments. In this study, we molecularly characterized the diazotrophic assemblages and entire bacterial community in surface sediments of a Zostera marina-colonized coastal lagoon in northern China. Higher nitrogenase gene (nifH) copy numbers were detected in the sediments from the vegetated region than in the sediments from the unvegetated region nearby. The nifH phylotypes detected were mostly affiliated with the Geobacteraceae, Desulfobulbus, Desulfocapsa, and Pseudomonas. Redundancy analysis based on terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis showed that the distribution of nifH genotypes was mostly shaped by the ratio of total organic carbon to total organic nitrogen, the concentration of cadmium in the sediments, and the pH of the overlying water. High-throughput sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of bacterial 16S rRNA genes also indicated the presence of Geobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae phylotypes in these samples. A comparison of these results with those of previous studies suggests the prevalence and predominance of iron(III)-reducing Geobacteraceae and sulfate-reducing Desulfobulbaceae diazotrophs in coastal sedimentary environments. Although the entire bacterial community structure was not significantly different between these two niches, Desulfococcus (Deltaproteobacteria) and Anaerolineae (Chloroflexi) presented with much higher proportions in the vegetated sediments, and Flavobacteriaceae (Bacteroidetes) occurred more frequently in the bare sediments. These data suggest that the high bioavailability of organic matter (indicated by relatively lower carbon-to-nitrogen ratios) and the less-reducing anaerobic condition in vegetated sediments may favor Desulfococcus and Anaerolineae lineages, which are potentially important populations in benthic carbon and sulfur cycling in the highly productive seagrass ecosystem. PMID:26209674

  9. Seagrass (Zostera marina) Colonization Promotes the Accumulation of Diazotrophic Bacteria and Alters the Relative Abundances of Specific Bacterial Lineages Involved in Benthic Carbon and Sulfur Cycling.

    PubMed

    Sun, Feifei; Zhang, Xiaoli; Zhang, Qianqian; Liu, Fanghua; Zhang, Jianping; Gong, Jun

    2015-10-01

    Seagrass colonization changes the chemistry and biogeochemical cycles mediated by microbes in coastal sediments. In this study, we molecularly characterized the diazotrophic assemblages and entire bacterial community in surface sediments of a Zostera marina-colonized coastal lagoon in northern China. Higher nitrogenase gene (nifH) copy numbers were detected in the sediments from the vegetated region than in the sediments from the unvegetated region nearby. The nifH phylotypes detected were mostly affiliated with the Geobacteraceae, Desulfobulbus, Desulfocapsa, and Pseudomonas. Redundancy analysis based on terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis showed that the distribution of nifH genotypes was mostly shaped by the ratio of total organic carbon to total organic nitrogen, the concentration of cadmium in the sediments, and the pH of the overlying water. High-throughput sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of bacterial 16S rRNA genes also indicated the presence of Geobacteraceae and Desulfobulbaceae phylotypes in these samples. A comparison of these results with those of previous studies suggests the prevalence and predominance of iron(III)-reducing Geobacteraceae and sulfate-reducing Desulfobulbaceae diazotrophs in coastal sedimentary environments. Although the entire bacterial community structure was not significantly different between these two niches, Desulfococcus (Deltaproteobacteria) and Anaerolineae (Chloroflexi) presented with much higher proportions in the vegetated sediments, and Flavobacteriaceae (Bacteroidetes) occurred more frequently in the bare sediments. These data suggest that the high bioavailability of organic matter (indicated by relatively lower carbon-to-nitrogen ratios) and the less-reducing anaerobic condition in vegetated sediments may favor Desulfococcus and Anaerolineae lineages, which are potentially important populations in benthic carbon and sulfur cycling in the highly productive seagrass ecosystem. PMID:26209674

  10. Rhizosphere Microbiomes of European Seagrasses Are Selected by the Plant, But Are Not Species Specific

    PubMed Central

    Cúcio, Catarina; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Costa, Rodrigo; Muyzer, Gerard

    2016-01-01

    Seagrasses are marine flowering plants growing in soft-body sediments of intertidal and shallow sub-tidal zones. They play an important role in coastal ecosystems by stabilizing sediments, providing food and shelter for animals, and recycling nutrients. Like other plants, seagrasses live intimately with both beneficial and unfavorable microorganisms. Although much is known about the microbiomes of terrestrial plants, little is known about the microbiomes of seagrasses. Here we present the results of a detailed study on the rhizosphere microbiome of seagrass species across the North-eastern Atlantic Ocean: Zostera marina, Zostera noltii, and Cymodocea nodosa. High-resolution amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes showed that the rhizobiomes were significantly different from the bacterial communities of surrounding bulk sediment and seawater. Although we found no significant differences between the rhizobiomes of different seagrass species within the same region, those of seagrasses in different geographical locations differed strongly. These results strongly suggest that the seagrass rhizobiomes are shaped by plant metabolism, but not coevolved with their host. The core rhizobiome of seagrasses includes mostly bacteria involved in the sulfur cycle, thereby highlighting the importance of sulfur-related processes in seagrass ecosystems. PMID:27065991

  11. Rhizosphere Microbiomes of European + Seagrasses Are Selected by the Plant, But Are Not Species Specific.

    PubMed

    Cúcio, Catarina; Engelen, Aschwin H; Costa, Rodrigo; Muyzer, Gerard

    2016-01-01

    Seagrasses are marine flowering plants growing in soft-body sediments of intertidal and shallow sub-tidal zones. They play an important role in coastal ecosystems by stabilizing sediments, providing food and shelter for animals, and recycling nutrients. Like other plants, seagrasses live intimately with both beneficial and unfavorable microorganisms. Although much is known about the microbiomes of terrestrial plants, little is known about the microbiomes of seagrasses. Here we present the results of a detailed study on the rhizosphere microbiome of seagrass species across the North-eastern Atlantic Ocean: Zostera marina, Zostera noltii, and Cymodocea nodosa. High-resolution amplicon sequencing of 16S rRNA genes showed that the rhizobiomes were significantly different from the bacterial communities of surrounding bulk sediment and seawater. Although we found no significant differences between the rhizobiomes of different seagrass species within the same region, those of seagrasses in different geographical locations differed strongly. These results strongly suggest that the seagrass rhizobiomes are shaped by plant metabolism, but not coevolved with their host. The core rhizobiome of seagrasses includes mostly bacteria involved in the sulfur cycle, thereby highlighting the importance of sulfur-related processes in seagrass ecosystems. PMID:27065991

  12. Seagrass-Watch: Engaging Torres Strait Islanders in marine habitat monitoring

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellors, Jane E.; McKenzie, Len J.; Coles, Robert G.

    2008-09-01

    Involvement in scientifically structured habitat monitoring is a relatively new concept to the peoples of Torres Strait. The approach we used was to focus on awareness, and to build the capacity of groups to participate using Seagrass-Watch as the vehicle to provide education and training in monitoring marine ecosystems. The project successfully delivered quality scientifically rigorous baseline information on the seasonality of seagrasses in the Torres Strait—a first for this region. Eight seagrass species were identified across the monitoring sites. Seagrass cover varied within and between years. Preliminary evidence indicated that drivers for seagrass variability were climate related. Generally, seagrass abundance increased during the north-west monsoon ( Kuki), possibly a consequence of elevated nutrients, lower tidal exposure times, less wind, and higher air temperatures. Low seagrass abundance coincided with the presence of greater winds and longer periods of exposure at low tides during the south-east trade wind season ( Sager). No seasonal patterns were apparent when frequency of disturbance from high sedimentation and human impacts was high. Seagrass-Watch has been incorporated in to the Thursday Island High School's Marine Studies Unit ensuring continuity of monitoring. The students, teachers, and other interested individuals involved in Seagrass-Watch have mastered the necessary scientific procedures to monitor seagrass meadows, and developed skills in coordinating a monitoring program and skills in mentoring younger students. This has increased the participants' self-esteem and confidence, and given them an insight into how they may participate in the future management of their sea country.

  13. Effects of anaerobiosis on in vivo protein synthesis in the roots of a marine angiosperm zostera marina

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, R.D.; Alberte, R.S. )

    1989-04-01

    The roots of the temperate seagrass Zostera marina undergo daily periods of anaerobiosis at night. These diurnal periods of anoxia alter many metabolic processes in the roots including carbon and nitrogen metabolism, amino acid synthesis, and synthesis and levels of ATP, ADP and AMP. To further characterize the effects of anaerobiosis, we determined in vivo rates of protein synthesis by measuring the relative incorporation of {sup 35}S-MET in TCA precipitated protein samples. Results from these studies show that in vivo protein synthesis decreases continuously during 12 h of anaerobiosis and correlates with changes in ATP levels under similar conditions. Furthermore, polypeptide patterns obtained by SDS-PAGE and 2D-SDSPAGE indicate that anaerobiosis leads to differential protein synthesis in the roots.

  14. Towards adaptive management of the natural capital: Disentangling trade-offs among marine activities and seagrass meadows.

    PubMed

    Bas Ventín, Leticia; de Souza Troncoso, Jesús; Villasante, Sebastián

    2015-12-15

    This paper investigates the ecological, social and institutional dimensions of the synergies and trade-offs between seagrasses and human activities operating in the Natura 2000 protected site of San Simón Bay (Galicia, NW Spain). By means of a multidisciplinary approach that brings together the development of a biological inventory combined with participatory mapping processes we get key spatial and contextual understanding regarding how, where and why marine users interact with seagrasses and how seagrasses are considered in policy making. The results highlight the fisheries' reliance on seagrass meadows and the controversial links with shellfisheries. The study also reveals unresolved conflicts among those management plans that promote the protection of natural values and those responsible for the exploitation of marine resources. We conclude that the adoption of pre-planning bottom-up participatory processes is crucial for the design of realistic strategies where both seagrasses and human activities were considered as a couple system. PMID:26589639

  15. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Pseudoalteromonas porphyrae Strains Isolated from Seagrass Sediment

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Ruth D.; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M.; Coil, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences of Pseudoalteromonas porphyrae UCD-SED9 and UCD-SED14 (phylum Proteobacteria). These strains were isolated from sediment surrounding the roots of the seagrass, Zostera marina, collected near the UC, Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (Bodega Bay, California). The assemblies contain 4,847,456 bp and 4,817,752 bp, respectively. PMID:26988038

  16. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Pseudoalteromonas porphyrae Strains Isolated from Seagrass Sediment.

    PubMed

    Lee, Ruth D; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M; Eisen, Jonathan A; Coil, David A

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences of Pseudoalteromonas porphyrae UCD-SED9 and UCD-SED14 (phylum Proteobacteria). These strains were isolated from sediment surrounding the roots of the seagrass, Zostera marina, collected near the UC, Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (Bodega Bay, California). The assemblies contain 4,847,456 bp and 4,817,752 bp, respectively. PMID:26988038

  17. Effects of Temperature, Salinity and Seed Age on Induction of Zostera japonica Germination in North America, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses can colonize unstructured mudflats either through clonal growth or seed germination and survival. Zostera japonica is an introduced seagrass in North America that has rapidly colonized mudflats along the Pacific Coast, leading to active management of the species. Gro...

  18. Diel trophic structuring of seagrass bed fish assemblages in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unsworth, Richard K. F.; Wylie, Elizabeth; Smith, David J.; Bell, James J.

    2007-03-01

    The faunal communities of seagrass beds throughout SE Asia are highly threatened by continued overexploitation, yet their ecology is poorly understood. Developing a greater understanding of the faunal linkages between seagrass beds and associated coastal habitats can facilitate more informed ecosystem level management. The present study used beach seine netting to sample seagrass bed fish assemblages in the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia, to investigate diel migrations of fish into and out of seagrass beds. These fish assemblages were found to be diverse relative to other studies within the region, with many species being economically important to local subsistence fisheries. The abundance, species richness and trophic structure of these fish assemblages changed with time of day indicating that fish populations are in a dynamic state. Mean fish abundance increased by ≈45% from day to night (Day: 8.61 ± 0.13 fish 100 m -2; Night: 15.6 ± 1.4 fish 100 m -2) while mean species richness increased from 6.6 ± 1.9 per seine haul to 11.4 ± 0.2. Increasing abundance and diversity of fish at night suggests migration onto these habitats from nearby habitats such as reefs, mangroves or deep water; and/or increased activity of those fish resident within seagrass habitats. Division of species into trophic categories enabled the trophic structure of changing fish assemblages to be examined. Assemblages were dominated during both the day and night by invertebrate and fish feeders; however, a major diel change in trophic structure occurred in the abundance of omnivores. During the day omnivores were abundant, but they were replaced at night by exclusive invertebrate feeders. We therefore propose that diel changes in seagrass fish assemblages are predominantly structured by food availability, although other factors such as increased night-time shelter provision were also found to be important albeit to a much lesser extent.

  19. In-situ Phytoremediation of PAH and PCB Contaminated Marine Sediments with Eelgrass (Zostera marina)

    SciTech Connect

    Huesemann, Michael H.; Hausmann, Tom S.; Fortman, Timothy J.; Thom, Ronald M.; Cullinan, Valerie I.

    2009-10-01

    In view of the fact that there are presently no cost-effective in-situ treatment technologies for contaminated sediments, a 60 week long phytoremediation feasibility study was conducted in seawater-supplied outdoor ponds to determine whether eelgrass (Zostera marina) is capable of removing polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from submerged marine sediments. It was determined that all PAHs and PCBs, independent of the number of aromatic rings and degree of chlorination, respectively, were removed to a much larger extent in planted sediments compared to unplanted controls. After 60 weeks of treatment, the concentration of total PAHs decreased by 73% in planted sediments but only 25% in unplanted controls. Similarly, total PCBs declined by 60% in the presence of plants while none were removed in the unplanted sediment. Overall, PAH and PCB biodegradation was greatest in the sediment layer that contained most of the eelgrass roots. Abiotic desorption tests conducted at week 32 confirmed that the phytoremediation process was not controlled by mass-transfer or bioavailability limitations since all PAHs and PCBs desorbed rapidly and to a large extent from the sediment. PAHs were detected in both roots and shoots, with root and shoot bioaccumulation factors for total PAHs amounting to approximately 3 and 1, respectively, after 60 weeks of phytoremediation treatment. Similarly, the root bioccumulation factor for total PCBs was around 4, while no PCBs were detected in the eelgrass leaves at the end of the experiment. The total mass fraction of PAHs and PCBs absorbed and translocated by plant biomass during the 60 week period was insignificant, amounting to less than 0.5% of the total mass of PAHs and PCBs which was initially present in the sediment. Finally, the number of total heterotrophic bacteria and hydrocarbon degraders was slightly but not statistically significantly greater in planted sediments than in unplanted controls

  20. Seagrass as pasture for seacows: Landscape-level dugong habitat evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheppard, James K.; Lawler, Ivan R.; Marsh, Helene

    2007-01-01

    A 24 km 2 seagrass meadow in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia, was confirmed as important dugong habitat by a satellite tracking study. Marine videography, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and geographic information systems (GIS) were used to survey, analyse and map seagrass species composition, nutrient profile and patch structure at high resolution (200 m). Five species of seagrass covered 91% of the total habitat area. The total above and below-ground seagrass biomass was estimated to be 222.7 ± 19.6 t dry-weight. Halodule uninervis dominated the pasture (81.8%, 162.2 t), followed by Halophila ovalis (35.3%, 16.5 t), Zostera capricorni (15.9%, 22.2 t), Halophila spinulosa (14.5%, 21.9 t), and traces of Halodule pinifolia. Because seagrass distributions overlapped, their combined percentage totalled >100% of the survey area. The seagrass formed a continuous meadow of varying density. Abiotic variables explained relatively little of the spatial patterns in the seagrass. For all seagrass species, the above-ground component (shoots and leaves) possessed greater total nitrogen than the below-ground component (roots and rhizomes), which possessed greater total starch. Because of the relatively low intraspecific variation in nutrient composition, nutrients were concentrated according to seagrass biomass density. Halodule uninervis was the most nutritious seagrass species because of its superior whole-plant nitrogen (1.28 ± 0.05% DW) and starch (6.42 ± 0.50 DW %) content. Halodule uninervis formed large, clustered patches of dense biomass across the pasture and thus nitrogen and starch were concentrated where H. uninervis was prevalent. This seagrass meadow appears to be utilised well below its potential dugong carrying capacity. The survey and analytical techniques used enabled rapid, economical and accurate quantification and characterisation of seagrass habitat at scales relevant to a large forager.

  1. The detrimental consequences for seagrass of ineffective marine park management related to boat anchoring.

    PubMed

    La Manna, G; Donno, Y; Sarà, G; Ceccherelli, G

    2015-01-15

    Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile meadows are recognized as priority habitat for conservation by the EU Habitats Directive. The La Maddalena Archipelago National Park (Mediterranean Sea) P. oceanica meadow, the dominant coastal habitat of the area, is mostly threatened by boat anchoring. 12 years after the establishment of mooring fields and anchoring restrictions, a study was conducted to measure their effectiveness on the conservation of seagrass and the mitigation of anchoring damage. We found that: (i) the condition of P. oceanica was disturbed, both in the mooring fields and in control locations; (ii) mooring fields and anchoring restrictions did not show to be an efficient system for the protection of seagrass, in fact anchor scars increased after the tourist season; (iii) the mooring systems had an impact on the surrounding area of the meadow, probably due to their misuse. On the basis of these results, management recommendations for marine parks are proposed. PMID:25467874

  2. Habitat characteristics and spatial arrangement affecting the diversity of fish and decapod assemblages of seagrass ( Zostera marina) beds around the coast of Jersey (English Channel)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Emma L.; Attrill, Martin J.; Jones, Malcolm B.

    2006-07-01

    Recent research and management plans for seagrass habitats have called for landscape level approaches. The present study examines the spatial utilisation of subtidal seagrass beds by fish and decapods around the coast of Jersey (49°N 02° W). A hierarchical scale of landscape configuration and the plant characteristics of eight seagrass beds were measured and the contributions of these variables as predictors of the properties of the fish and decapod assemblages were evaluated using multiple linear regression models. The results indicated that total diversity had a negative relationship with transect heterogeneity and total species number had a weak negative association with increasing fragmentation. Both total diversity and total species number showed a positive relationship with depth. In fact, in all models of species number and densities, values were higher in deeper seagrass beds. Total decapod density increased with aggregation of seagrass patches within a landscape. In addition to landscape configuration, smaller-scale structural changes in both canopy height and epiphyte load appeared to influence densities of decapod crustaceans. At night, fewer patterns could be explained by the independent variables in the model.

  3. Dr. Zompo: an online data repository for Zostera marina and Posidonia oceanica ESTs.

    PubMed

    Wissler, L; Dattolo, E; Moore, A D; Reusch, T B H; Olsen, J L; Migliaccio, M; Bornberg-Bauer, E; Procaccini, G

    2009-01-01

    As ecosystem engineers, seagrasses are angiosperms of paramount ecological importance in shallow shoreline habitats around the globe. Furthermore, the ancestors of independent seagrass lineages have secondarily returned into the sea in separate, independent evolutionary events. Thus, understanding the molecular adaptation of this clade not only makes significant contributions to the field of ecology, but also to principles of parallel evolution as well. With the use of Dr. Zompo, the first interactive seagrass sequence database presented here, new insights into the molecular adaptation of marine environments can be inferred. The database is based on a total of 14 597 ESTs obtained from two seagrass species, Zostera marina and Posidonia oceanica, which have been processed, assembled and comprehensively annotated. Dr. Zompo provides experimentalists with a broad foundation to build experiments and consider challenges associated with the investigation of this class of non-domesticated monocotyledon systems. Our database, based on the Ruby on Rails framework, is rich in features including the retrieval of experimentally determined heat-responsive transcripts, mining for molecular markers (SSRs and SNPs), and weighted key word searches that allow access to annotation gathered on several levels including Pfam domains, GeneOntology and KEGG pathways. Well established plant genome sites such as The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) and the Rice Genome Annotation Project are interfaced by Dr. Zompo. With this project, we have initialized a valuable resource for plant biologists in general and the seagrass community in particular. The database is expected to grow together with more data to come in the near future, particularly with the recent initiation of the Zostera genome sequencing project.The Dr. Zompo database is available at http://drzompo.uni-muenster.de/ PMID:20157482

  4. Seagrass beds as ocean acidification refuges for mussels? High resolution measurements of pCO2 and O2 in a Zostera marina and Mytilus edulis mosaic habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saderne, V.; Fietzek, P.; Aßmann, S.; Körtzinger, A.; Hiebenthal, C.

    2015-07-01

    It has been speculated that macrophytes beds might act as a refuge for calcifiers from ocean acidification. In the shallow nearshores of the western Kiel Bay (Baltic Sea), mussel and seagrass beds are interlacing, forming a mosaic habitat. Naturally, the diverse physiological activities of seagrasses and mussels are affected by seawater carbonate chemistry and they locally modify it in return. Calcification by shellfishes is sensitive to seawater acidity; therefore the photosynthetic activity of seagrasses in confined shallow waters creates favorable chemical conditions to calcification at daytime but turn the habitat less favorable or even corrosive to shells at night. In contrast, mussel respiration releases CO2, turning the environment more favorable for photosynthesis by adjacent seagrasses. At the end of summer, these dynamics are altered by the invasion of high pCO2/low O2 coming from the deep water of the Bay. However, it is in summer that mussel spats settle on the leaves of seagrasses until migrating to the permanent habitat where they will grow adult. These early life phases (larvae/spats) are considered as most sensitive with regard to seawater acidity. So far, the dynamics of CO2 have never been continuously measured during this key period of the year, mostly due to the technological limitations. In this project we used a combination of state-of-the-art technologies and discrete sampling to obtain high-resolution time-series of pCO2 and O2 at the interface between a seagrass and a mussel patch in Kiel Bay in August and September 2013. From these, we derive the entire carbonate chemistry using statistical models. We found the monthly average pCO2 more than 50 % (approx. 640 μatm for August and September) above atmospheric equilibrium right above the mussel patch together with large diel variations of pCO2 within 24 h: 887 ± 331 μatm in August and 742 ± 281 μatm in September (mean ± SD). We observed important daily corrosiveness for calcium

  5. ZOSTERA MARINA IN A PACIFIC NORTHWEST ESTUARY: WHAT FACTORS CONTROL INTERTIDAL DISTRIBUTION?

    EPA Science Inventory

    The impact of four factors (desiccation, macroalgae, erosion, light) on the distribution of Zostera marina was examined across tidal and bathymetric slope gradients. Data detailing seagrass characteristics, including 1 production, macroalgae biomass and sediment characteristics ...

  6. Contrasting shell morphology, ingestion and grazing preferences in the neritid gastropod Smaragdia viridis (L.) on two seagrass species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rueda, José L.; Salas, Carmen; Gofas, Serge

    2011-10-01

    The neritid Smaragdia viridis represents the only known native marine mollusc that feeds on seagrass tissues in the European coasts, displaying a strong association with the seagrasses Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera marina in southern Spain. Seasonal dynamics, shell and radular morphology, growth and feeding of this gastropod have been studied in relation to each seagrass species for contrasting trends resulting from a different type of substrate and food source. In both seagrass species, stable populations of this gastropod occur at similar densities and displaying similar growth rates. Nevertheless shells of individuals from C. nodosa are narrower than those from Z. marina and some differences, possibly a consequence of increased wearing on C. nodosa, were noted amongst the radulae. In C. nodosa, a pre-ingestive selection for young epidermal tissues occurs as it was previously observed in Z. marina. The ingestion rate is higher in C. nodosa than in Z. marina but the absorption of ingested tissues is lower in the former. If both seagrasses are present, most individuals ingested preferentially Z. marina rather than C. nodosa, probably due to the lower digestibility of the epidermal tissues in the latter. Seagrass beds, especially those of Z. marina, are suffering a strong regression in southern Spain and the presence of stable populations of this neritid may be restricted to other declining seagrass species in the area.

  7. Small is beautiful: An inverted view of habitat fragmentation in seagrass beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hirst, Jane A.; Attrill, Martin J.

    2008-07-01

    An intertidal Zostera marina landscape in Torbay, Devon, UK, was sampled to investigate the relationship between patch size, diversity and infaunal assemblage composition with the intention of defining a minimum Zostera patch size where the infaunal seagrass assemblage becomes distinct from the bare sand assemblage. All Zostera patches were found to support a higher level of biodiversity than the surrounding bare sand. However, the size of the Zostera patch had no impact on the level of diversity; it was just the presence or absence of seagrass that made a difference. The sediment and seagrass variables were not significantly different across the range of Zostera patch sizes, indicating that the environment characteristics were homogeneous within the Zostera patches at the patch scale. Multivariate analysis revealed that assemblage composition did vary between the patch types, although the opportunistic polychaete Capitella capitata was present in all patch types and was the most abundant species overall. The presence of opportunistic species and the homogeneity of the Zostera patch variables may be due to the location of this intertidal seagrass bed, which is relatively exposed compared to the locations of other seagrass beds along the south coast of Devon, resulting in a more dynamic and disturbed environment. Nevertheless, our results demonstrate that even small patches of seagrass comprising a few plants support a higher abundance and diversity of infaunal invertebrates than bare sand, indicating that Zostera patches have conservation value whatever their size.

  8. Diversity, ecological role and potential biotechnological applications of marine fungi associated to the seagrass Posidonia oceanica.

    PubMed

    Panno, Luigi; Bruno, Maurizio; Voyron, Samuele; Anastasi, Antonella; Gnavi, Giorgio; Miserere, Luca; Varese, Giovanna Cristina

    2013-09-25

    The marine environment is characterized by high salinity and exerts a strong selective pressure on the biota, favouring the development of halo-tolerant microorganisms. Part of this microbial diversity is made up of fungi, important organisms from ecological and biotechnological points of view. In this study, for the first time, the qualitative and quantitative composition of the mycoflora associated to leaves, rhizomes, roots and matte of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica was estimated. A total of 88 fungal taxa, mainly belonging to Ascomycota, were identified by morphological and molecular methods. The most represented genera were Penicillium, Cladosporium and Acremonium. Most of the species (70) were selectively associated with one district; only two species (Penicillium chrysogenum var. chrysogenum and P. janczewskii) were isolated from all the districts. Moreover the capability to produce laccases, peroxidases and tannases by 107 fungal isolated by the different districts of P. oceanica was carried out. These results show that the mycoflora associated to P. oceanica is very rich and characterized by fungi able to produce ligninolytic enzymes and tannases useful to degrade and detoxify lignocellulose residues in presence of high salt concentrations. These fungi, hence, may play important ecological roles in marine environments but can also be very useful in different biotechnological areas. PMID:23410985

  9. Development of approaches to predict the distribution of Zostera marina and Z. japonica in Pacific Northwest estuaries

    EPA Science Inventory

    The dominant species of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in Pacific Northwest (PNW) estuaries is the intertidal and shallow subtidal seagrass, Zostera marina. Beds of Z. marina constitute a critical habitat, including providing habitat for juvenile salmon. Additionally, the n...

  10. In Situ Carbon Stable Isotope Tracer Experiments Elucidate Carbon Translocation Rates and Allocation Patterns in Zostera marina L. (eelgrass)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The intertidal seagrass Zostera marina is an important species that provides critical habitat for a number of estuarine species. Despite its widespread distribution, there is limited information on seasonal patterns of carbon dynamics of plants growing in situ, particularly esti...

  11. Secondary metabolites of seagrasses (Alismatales and Potamogetonales; Alismatidae): Chemical diversity, bioactivity, and ecological function.

    PubMed

    Zidorn, Christian

    2016-04-01

    Seagrasses are the only higher plants living in fully marine environments; they play a significant role in coastal ecosystems. Seagrasses inhabit the coastal shelves of all continents except Antarctica and can grow in depths of up to 90m. Because of their eminent ecological importance, innumerous studies have been dedicated to seagrasses and their ecology. However, the phytochemistry has not been equally well investigated yet and many of the existing studies in chemical ecology are only investigating the chemistry at the level of compound classes, e.g. phenolics, and not at the level of chemically defined metabolites. In the present review, the existing literature on secondary metabolites of seagrasses, their known source seagrasses, their bioactivity, and ecological function are compiled and critically assessed. Moreover, research gaps are highlighted and avenues for future research are discussed. Currently, a total of 154 chemically defined natural products have been reported from the about 70 seagrass species known worldwide. Compounds reported include simple phenols derivatives (four compounds), phenylmethane derivatives (14 compounds), phenylethane derivatives (four compounds), phenylpropane derivatives including their esters and dimers (20 compounds), chalkones (four compounds), flavonoids including catechins (57 compounds), phenylheptanoids (four compounds), one monoterpene derivative, one sesquiterpene, diterpenoids (13 compounds), steroids (31 compounds), and one alkaloid. Most of the existing bioactivity studies of seagrass metabolites and extracts have been directed to potential cytotoxic, antimicrobial, or antimacrofouling activity. Antimicrobial studies have been performed towards panels of both human pathogens and ecologically relevant pathogens. In the antimacrofouling studies, investigations of the potential of zosteric acid from the genus Zostera are the most numerous and have yielded so far the most interesting results. Studies on the chemical

  12. Food-Web Structure of Seagrass Communities across Different Spatial Scales and Human Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Coll, Marta; Schmidt, Allison; Romanuk, Tamara; Lotze, Heike K.

    2011-01-01

    Seagrass beds provide important habitat for a wide range of marine species but are threatened by multiple human impacts in coastal waters. Although seagrass communities have been well-studied in the field, a quantification of their food-web structure and functioning, and how these change across space and human impacts has been lacking. Motivated by extensive field surveys and literature information, we analyzed the structural features of food webs associated with Zostera marina across 16 study sites in 3 provinces in Atlantic Canada. Our goals were to (i) quantify differences in food-web structure across local and regional scales and human impacts, (ii) assess the robustness of seagrass webs to simulated species loss, and (iii) compare food-web structure in temperate Atlantic seagrass beds with those of other aquatic ecosystems. We constructed individual food webs for each study site and cumulative webs for each province and the entire region based on presence/absence of species, and calculated 16 structural properties for each web. Our results indicate that food-web structure was similar among low impact sites across regions. With increasing human impacts associated with eutrophication, however, food-web structure show evidence of degradation as indicated by fewer trophic groups, lower maximum trophic level of the highest top predator, fewer trophic links connecting top to basal species, higher fractions of herbivores and intermediate consumers, and higher number of prey per species. These structural changes translate into functional changes with impacted sites being less robust to simulated species loss. Temperate Atlantic seagrass webs are similar to a tropical seagrass web, yet differed from other aquatic webs, suggesting consistent food-web characteristics across seagrass ecosystems in different regions. Our study illustrates that food-web structure and functioning of seagrass habitats change with human impacts and that the spatial scale of food-web analysis

  13. Influence of light, temperature and salinity on dissolved organic carbon exudation rates in Zostera marina L.

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Marine angiosperms, seagrasses, are sentinel species of marine ecosystem health and function. Seagrass carbon budgets provide insight on the minimum requirements needed to maintain this valuable resource. Carbon budgets are a balance between C fixation, growth, storage and loss rates, most of which are well characterized. However, relatively few measurements of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) leaf exudation or rhizodeposition rates exist for most seagrass species. Here I evaluate how eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) DOC exudation is affected by a single factor manipulation (light, temperature or salinity). Eelgrass plants were hydroponically exposed to treatments in experimental chambers (separate leaf and rhizome/root compartments) with artificial seawater medium. Regression analysis of changes in the DOC concentration through time was used to calculate DOC exudation rates. Results Exudation rates were similar across all treatments in all experiments. For all experiments, pooled leaf DOC exudation ranged between 0.032 and 0.069 mg C gdw-1 h-1, while rhizodeposition ranged between 0.024 and 0.045 mg C gdw-1 h-1. These rates are consistent with previously published values and provide first-order estimates for mechanistic models. Conclusions Zostera marina carbon losses from either leaf exudation or rhizodeposition account for a small proportion of gross primary production (1.2-4.6%) and appear to be insensitive to short-term (e.g., hours to days) environmental variations in chamber experiments. Based on these preliminary experiments, I suggest that Z. marina DOC exudation may be a passive process and not an active transport process. PMID:22938529

  14. SEAGRASS RHIZOSPHERE MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Devereux, Richard. 2005. Seagrass Rhizosphere Microbial Communities. In: Interactions Between Macro- and Microorganisms in Marine Sediments. E. Kristense, J.E. Kostka and R.H. Haese, Editors. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC. p199-216. (ERL,GB 1213).

    Seagrasses ...

  15. The roles of flowering, overwinter survival and sea surface temperature in the long-term population dynamics of Zostera marina around the Isles of Scilly, UK.

    PubMed

    Potouroglou, Maria; Kenyon, Emma J; Gall, Angie; Cook, Kevan J; Bull, James C

    2014-06-30

    Interaction between biotic and abiotic drivers of dynamics is an important topic in ecology. Despite numerous short-term studies, there is a paucity of evidence about how environmental structure modifies dynamics in marine systems. We quantified Zostera marina flowering and non-flowering shoot density annually from 1996 to 2012 around the Isles of Scilly, UK, parameterizing a population dynamic model. Flowering is structured in time and space, with temperature and flowering positively associated at some locations only. We found no evidence that flower production contributes to seagrass density but 'patchiness' was positively associated with flowering in the previous year. With evidence of substantial overwinter survival, findings support the hypothesis that local populations are maintained largely through vegetative reproduction but sexual reproduction may contribute to colonisation of vacant habitat. This long-term study (1) tests validity of shorter-term investigations, (2) quantifies interaction between biotic and abiotic factors and (3) promotes seagrass as a model ecosystem. PMID:24731880

  16. Seagrass tolerance to herbivory under increased ocean temperatures.

    PubMed

    Garthwin, Ruby G; Poore, Alistair G B; Vergés, Adriana

    2014-06-30

    Climate change is acknowledged as a major threat to marine ecosystems, but the effect of temperature on species interactions remains poorly understood. We quantified the effects of long-term warming on plant-herbivore interactions of a dominant seagrass, Zostera muelleri. Growth, herbivory and tolerance to damage were compared between a meadow warmed by the thermal plume from a power station for 30 years (2-3 °C above background temperatures) and three control locations. Leaf growth rates and tissue loss were spatially variable but unrelated to temperature regimes. Natural herbivory was generally low. Simulated herbivory experiments showed that the tolerance of Z. muelleri to defoliation did not differ between warm and unimpacted meadows, with damaged and undamaged plants maintaining similar growth rates irrespective of temperature. These results suggest that the ability of temperate Z. muelleri to tolerate herbivory is not strongly influenced by warming, and this species may be relatively resilient to future environmental change. PMID:23993389

  17. Marine Phytophthora species can hamper conservation and restoration of vegetated coastal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Govers, Laura L; Man In 't Veld, Willem A; Meffert, Johan P; Bouma, Tjeerd J; van Rijswick, Patricia C J; Heusinkveld, Jannes H T; Orth, Robert J; van Katwijk, Marieke M; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-08-31

    Phytophthora species are potent pathogens that can devastate terrestrial plants, causing billions of dollars of damage yearly to agricultural crops and harming fragile ecosystems worldwide. Yet, virtually nothing is known about the distribution and pathogenicity of their marine relatives. This is surprising, as marine plants form vital habitats in coastal zones worldwide (i.e. mangrove forests, salt marshes, seagrass beds), and disease may be an important bottleneck for the conservation and restoration of these rapidly declining ecosystems. We are the first to report on widespread infection of Phytophthora and Halophytophthora species on a common seagrass species, Zostera marina (eelgrass), across the northern Atlantic and Mediterranean. In addition, we tested the effects of Halophytophthora sp. Zostera and Phytophthora gemini on Z. marina seed germination in a full-factorial laboratory experiment under various environmental conditions. Results suggest that Phytophthora species are widespread as we found these oomycetes in eelgrass beds in six countries across the North Atlantic and Mediterranean. Infection by Halophytophthora sp. Zostera, P. gemini, or both, strongly affected sexual reproduction by reducing seed germination sixfold. Our findings have important implications for seagrass ecology, because these putative pathogens probably negatively affect ecosystem functioning, as well as current restoration and conservation efforts. PMID:27559058

  18. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SEAGRASSES, BENTHIC MACROALGAE AND NUTRIENTS IN A PACIFIC NORTHWEST ESTUARY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Pacific Northwest estuaries are characterized by large tidal ranges (2-3 m) that routinely expose submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) such as seagrass and benthic macroalgae. The dominant native seagrass in PNW estuaries is the eelgrass Zostera marina. However, in recent decades...

  19. Hydroacoustic basis for detection and characterization of eelgrass (Zostera marina)

    SciTech Connect

    Sabol, B.; McCarthy, E.; Rocha, K.

    1997-06-01

    Understanding the distribution and density of seagrasses is important for a variety of environmental applications. Physical techniques for detection and characterization are labor and cost intensive and provide little insight into spatial distribution. optical-based techniques are limited by water clarity - frequently resulting in systematic underestimation of the extent of seagrasses. Active hydroacoustic techniques have shown the ability to detect seagrasses but the phenomenology behind detection is poorly understood. Laboratory and in-situ hydroacoustic measurements are presented for eelgrass (Zostera marina), a common seagrass in the United States. Based on these data, hydroacoustic approaches for wide area detection and mapping are discussed and several are demonstrated within areas of established eelgrass beds in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.

  20. Sodium-Dependent Nitrate Transport at the Plasma Membrane of Leaf Cells of the Marine Higher Plant Zostera marina L.1

    PubMed Central

    García-Sánchez, María J.; Jaime, M. Paz; Ramos, Alberto; Sanders, Dale; Fernández, José A.

    2000-01-01

    NO3− is present at micromolar concentrations in seawater and must be absorbed by marine plants against a steep electrochemical potential difference across the plasma membrane. We studied NO3− transport in the marine angiosperm Zostera marina L. to address the question of how NO3− uptake is energized. Electrophysiological studies demonstrated that micromolar concentrations of NO3− induced depolarizations of the plasma membrane of leaf cells. Depolarizations showed saturation kinetics (Km = 2.31 ± 0.78 μm NO3−) and were enhanced in alkaline conditions. The addition of NO3− did not affect the membrane potential in the absence of Na+, but depolarizations were restored when Na+ was resupplied. NO3−-induced depolarizations at increasing Na+ concentrations showed saturation kinetics (Km = 0.72 ± 0.18 mm Na+). Monensin, an ionophore that dissipates the Na+ electrochemical potential, inhibited NO3−-evoked depolarizations by 85%, and NO3− uptake (measured by depletion from the external medium) was stimulated by Na+ ions and by light. Our results strongly suggest that NO3− uptake in Z. marina is mediated by a high-affinity Na+-symport system, which is described here (for the first time to our knowledge) in an angiosperm. Coupling the uptake of NO3− to that of Na+ enables the steep inwardly-directed electrochemical potential for Na+ to drive net accumulation of NO3− within leaf cells. PMID:10712552

  1. Temporal shifts in top-down vs. bottom-up control of epiphytic algae in a seagrass ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whalen, Matthew A.; Duffy, J. Emmett; Grace, James B.

    2013-01-01

    In coastal marine food webs, small invertebrate herbivores (mesograzers) have long been hypothesized to occupy an important position facilitating dominance of habitat-forming macrophytes by grazing competitively superior epiphytic algae. Because of the difficulty of manipulating mesograzers in the field, however, their impacts on community organization have rarely been rigorously documented. Understanding mesograzer impacts has taken on increased urgency in seagrass systems due to declines in seagrasses globally, caused in part by widespread eutrophication favoring seagrass overgrowth by faster-growing algae. Using cage-free field experiments in two seasons (fall and summer), we present experimental confirmation that mesograzer reduction and nutrients can promote blooms of epiphytic algae growing on eelgrass (Zostera marina). In this study, nutrient additions increased epiphytes only in the fall following natural decline of mesograzers. In the summer, experimental mesograzer reduction stimulated a 447% increase in epiphytes, appearing to exacerbate seasonal dieback of eelgrass. Using structural equation modeling, we illuminate the temporal dynamics of complex interactions between macrophytes, mesograzers, and epiphytes in the summer experiment. An unexpected result emerged from investigating the interaction network: drift macroalgae indirectly reduced epiphytes by providing structure for mesograzers, suggesting that the net effect of macroalgae on seagrass depends on macroalgal density. Our results show that mesograzers can control proliferation of epiphytic algae, that top-down and bottom-up forcing are temporally variable, and that the presence of macroalgae can strengthen top-down control of epiphytic algae, potentially contributing to eelgrass persistence.

  2. Temporal shifts in top-down vs. bottom-up control of epiphytic algae in a seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Whalen, Matthew A; Duffy, J Emmett; Grace, James B

    2013-02-01

    In coastal marine food webs, small invertebrate herbivores (mesograzers) have long been hypothesized to occupy an important position facilitating dominance of habitat-forming macrophytes by grazing competitively superior epiphytic algae. Because of the difficulty of manipulating mesograzers in the field, however, their impacts on community organization have rarely been rigorously documented. Understanding mesograzer impacts has taken on increased urgency in seagrass systems due to declines in seagrasses globally, caused in part by widespread eutrophication favoring seagrass overgrowth by faster-growing algae. Using cage-free field experiments in two seasons (fall and summer), we present experimental confirmation that mesograzer reduction and nutrients can promote blooms of epiphytic algae growing on eelgrass (Zostera marina). In this study, nutrient additions increased epiphytes only in the fall following natural decline of mesograzers. In the summer, experimental mesograzer reduction stimulated a 447% increase in epiphytes, appearing to exacerbate seasonal dieback of eelgrass. Using structural equation modeling, we illuminate the temporal dynamics of complex interactions between macrophytes, mesograzers, and epiphytes in the summer experiment. An unexpected result emerged from investigating the interaction network: drift macroalgae indirectly reduced epiphytes by providing structure for mesograzers, suggesting that the net effect of macroalgae on seagrass depends on macroalgal density. Our results show that mesograzers can control proliferation of epiphytic algae, that top-down and bottom-up forcing are temporally variable, and that the presence of macroalgae can strengthen top-down control of epiphytic algae, potentially contributing to eelgrass persistence. PMID:23691669

  3. Modelling suitable estuarine habitats for Zostera noltii , using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis and Bathymetric LiDAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle, Mireia; Borja, Ángel; Chust, Guillem; Galparsoro, Ibon; Garmendia, Joxe Mikel

    2011-08-01

    Predicting species distribution and habitat suitability is of considerable use in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation, protection and conservation of marine waters and ecosystem-based management. As other seagrasses, Zostera noltii has declined worldwide, mainly due to human pressures, such as eutrophication and habitat loss. In the case of the Basque Country (northern Spain), the species is present only in 3 out of 12 estuaries. From the literature, it is known that at least 6 of these estuaries were formerly vegetated by this seagrass. Consequently, efforts to monitor and restore (potential) habitats have been enhanced. Therefore, we aim: (i) to determine the main environmental variables explaining Zostera noltii distribution, within the Basque estuaries based upon the Oka estuary; (ii) to model habitat suitability for this species, as a wider applicable management-decision tool for seagrass restoration; and (iii) to assess the applicability and predicted accuracy of the model by using internal and external validation methods. For this purpose, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) has been used to model habitat suitability, based upon topographical variables, obtained from bathymetric Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR); sediment characteristics variables; and hydrodynamic variables. The results obtained from the ecological factors of the ENFA (Marginality: 1.00; Specialization: 2.59) indicate that the species habitat differs considerably from the mean environmental conditions over the study area; likewise, that the species is restrictive in the selection of the range of conditions within which it dwells. The main environmental variables relating to the species distribution, in order of importance, are: mean grain size; redox potential; intertidal height; sediment sorting; slope of intertidal flat; percentage of gravels; and percentage of organic matter content. The model has a high predicted accuracy (Boyce index: 0.92). Model

  4. Duration of Temperature exposure controls growth of Zostera japonica: implications for zonation and colonization

    EPA Science Inventory

    At least two seagrass congeners in the genus Zostera are found along the Pacific Coast of North America: native Z. marina L. and the non-native Z. japonica Aschers. & Graebn. Efforts to understand the drivers behind the expanding colonization of Z. japonica have led to interest ...

  5. Production of 16.5% v/v ethanol from seagrass seeds.

    PubMed

    Uchida, Motoharu; Miyoshi, Tatsuo; Kaneniwa, Masaki; Ishihara, Kenji; Nakashimada, Yutaka; Urano, Naoto

    2014-12-01

    Ethanol fermentation on seeds of seagrass Zostera marina was studied. The seeds were collected from the annual plant colony of Z. marina at Hinase Bay, Okayama. The seeds contained 83.5% carbohydrates including 48.1% crude starch on a dry weight basis, which is comparable to cereals such as wheat flour and corns. The seeds were saccharified with glucoamylase (50°C, 96 h) and 103.4 g/l concentration of glucose juice was obtained. The glucose juice was further fermented (23°C-35°C, 15 days) with Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains NBRC10217(T) and Kyokai 7-go, and ethanol was obtained at a 65.0 g/l (82.3 ml/l) level by monographic double-fermentation and at a 130.4 g/l (165.1 ml/l) level by parallel double-fermentation. Fermented products of seagrass seeds containing such a high ethanol concentration as the present study have potential to be utilized not only for biofuel but also for foods and beverages in the future. Culturing of seagrass seeds as a crop may enable development of a new marine fermentation industry. PMID:24969514

  6. Cadmium effects on oxidative metabolism in a marine seagrass: Posidonia oceanica

    SciTech Connect

    Hamoutene, D.; Romeo, M.; Gnassia, M.

    1996-02-01

    Posidonia oceanica, a seagrass in contact with sediment, is an interesting organism for environmental biomonitoring. In fact, up to now, scientists have studied some pollutant effects on growth rate leaf length, or productivity of this species. In recent years, the topic of metabolism of xenobiotics in plants has arisen. Many of the environmental chemicals are biotransformed by plants in a manner similar to those in mammalian systems. Studies of the influence of pollutants on biotransformation enzymes in posidonia oceanica are of great interest in pollution monitoring programs especially in the Mediterranean sea. In a previous study, we characterized some enzymatic systems involved in the metabolism of xenobiotics in Posidonia oceanica. This study was designed to determine the effects of cadmium on certain biochemical functions in this species.

  7. The role of O2 as an electron acceptor alternative to CO2 in photosynthesis of the common marine angiosperm Zostera marina L.

    PubMed

    Buapet, Pimchanok; Björk, Mats

    2016-07-01

    This study investigates the role of O2 as an electron acceptor alternative to CO2 in photosynthesis of the common marine angiosperm Zostera marina L. Electron transport rates (ETRs) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of Z. marina were measured under saturating irradiance in synthetic seawater containing 2.2 mM DIC and no DIC with different O2 levels (air-equilibrated levels, 3 % of air equilibrium and restored air-equilibrated levels). Lowering O2 did not affect ETR when DIC was provided, while it caused a decrease in ETR and an increase in NPQ in DIC-free media, indicating that O2 acted as an alternative electron acceptor under low DIC. The ETR and NPQ as a function of irradiance were subsequently assessed in synthetic seawater containing (1) 2.2 mM DIC, air-equilibrated O2; (2) saturating CO2, no O2; and (3) no DIC, air-equilibrated O2. These treatments were combined with glycolaldehyde pre-incubation. Glycolaldehyde caused a marked decrease in ETR in DIC-free medium, indicating significant electron flow supported by photorespiration. Combining glycolaldehyde with O2 depletion completely suppressed ETR suggesting the operation of the Mehler reaction, a possibility supported by the photosynthesis-dependent superoxide production. However, no notable effect of suppressing the Mehler reaction on NPQ was observed. It is concluded that during DIC-limiting conditions, such as those frequently occurring in the habitats of Z. marina, captured light energy exceeds what is utilised for the assimilation of available carbon, and photorespiration is a major alternative electron acceptor, while the contribution of the Mehler reaction is minor. PMID:27125819

  8. The influence of wave energy and sediment transport on seagrass distribution

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stevens, Andrew W.; Lacy, Jessica R.

    2012-01-01

    A coupled hydrodynamic and sediment transport model (Delft3D) was used to simulate the water levels, waves, and currents associated with a seagrass (Zostera marina) landscape along a 4-km stretch of coast in Puget Sound, WA, USA. A hydroacoustic survey of seagrass percent cover and nearshore bathymetry was conducted, and sediment grain size was sampled at 53 locations. Wave energy is a primary factor controlling seagrass distribution at the site, accounting for 73% of the variability in seagrass minimum depth and 86% of the variability in percent cover along the shallow, sandy portions of the coast. A combination of numerical simulations and a conceptual model of the effect of sea-level rise on the cross-shore distribution of seagrass indicates that the area of seagrass habitat may initially increase and that wave dynamics are an important factor to consider in predicting the effect of sea-level rise on seagrass distributions in wave-exposed areas.

  9. Interannual variability in seagrass carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a preliminary study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fourqurean, J. W.; Fourqurean, J. W.; Anderson, W. T.; Anderson, W. T.

    2001-12-01

    The shallow marine waters surrounding the southern tip of Florida provide an ideal environment for seagrasses, which are the most common benthic community in the region. Yet, these communities are susceptible to a variety of anthropogenic disturbances, especially changes in water quality caused by an increase the nutrient flux to the near shore environment. In order to better understand the carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratio in marine plants, an extensive times series analysis was constructed from quarterly sampling of Thalassia testudinum (the dominate species in the study area) from 1996 through 1998. Sites for study where selected from permanent stations within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS), from both sides of the Florida Keys - two stations on the bay side and two stations on the reef side. These data will also help to constrain elements of the carbon and nitrogen cycles affecting this region. The data analyzed over the three year study period show unique cyclic trends associated with seasonal changes in primary productivity and potentially changes in the nitrogen and carbon pools. Additionally, the analysis of our time series indicates that isotope food web studies need to take into account spatial and temporal changes when evaluating trophic levels. The mean carbon and nitrogen isotope values of T. testudinum from all 4 stations vary respectively from -7.2 per mil to -10.41 and 1.1 per mil to 2.2 per mil (n = 48). However, certain stations displayed anonymously depleted nitrogen isotope values, values as low as -1.2 per mil. These values potentially indicated that biogeochmical processes like N fixation, ammonification and denitrification cause regional pattern in the isotopic composition of the source DIN. Both carbon and nitrogen isotopes displayed seasonal enrichment-depletion trends, with maximum enrichment occurring during the summer. The overall seasonal variation for carbon 13 from the different stations ranged from 1 per mil to

  10. Assessing diversity and phytoremediation potential of seagrass in tropical region

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Seagrass ecosystem is one of the most important resources in the coastal areas. Seagrasses support and provide habitats for many coastal organisms in tropical region. Seagrasses are specialized marine flowering plants that have adapted to the nearshore environment with heterogeneous landscape struct...

  11. Transport, deposition and in situ decay of seagrasses in a tropical mudflat area (Banc D'Arguin, Mauritania)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hemminga, M. A.; Nieuwenhuize, J.

    Extensive seagrass beds cover large areas of the mudflats and subtidal parts of the Banc d'Arguin (Mauritania, West Africa). The fate of seagrass biomass (mainly Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) was investigated during a 1-month expedition to the area (May 1988). Only minor amounts of leaf material were found to be transported by water currents at that time. Subtidal detritus depositions were not found in the area. Though conspicuous accumulations of leaf material were present on some parts of the shore, the amounts washed ashore per flood tide formed only a minor proportion of the daily seagrass production. Thus, transport of leaf litter away from the seagrass beds of the Banc d'Arguin appears insignificant. The major part of senescent leaves probably remains trapped within the seagrass beds and will decompose in situ. The observation that a large part of the particulate carbon present in the surface sediment of seagrass beds was derived from above-ground biomass (55% and 37% in Zostera and Cymodocea beds, respectively), is in agreement with this conclusion. Using the litterbag technique, the rate of leaf decomposition in a seagrass bed was investigated. The time required for 50% weight loss of Zostera and Cymodocea leaf litter in the intertidal zone of the seagrass bed was 158 and 50 days, respectively. In the subtidal zone these figures were 49 and 37 days.

  12. EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS CONTROLLING THE DISTRIBUTION OF ZOSTERA ZAPONICA IN THE EXTREME UPPER TITAL PORTION OF YAQUINA BAY, OREGON

    EPA Science Inventory

    The seagrass Zostera japonica was introduced to the Pacific Northwest from Asia 50 to 100 years ago. Since its introduction, Z. japonica has spread throughout the Pacific Northwest and now ranges between southern Oregon and British Columbia. Little information is available rega...

  13. Are large macroalgal blooms necessarily bad? Nutrient impacts on seagrass in upwelling-influenced estuaries.

    PubMed

    Hessing-Lewis, Margot L; Hacker, Sally D; Menge, Bruce A; McConville, Sea-oh; Henderson, Jeremy

    2015-07-01

    Knowledge of nutrient pathways and their resulting ecological interactions can alleviate numerous environmental problems associated with nutrient increases in both natural and managed systems. Although not unique, coastal systems are particularly prone to complex ecological interactions resulting from nutrient inputs from both the land and sea. Nutrient inputs to coastal systems often spur ulvoid macroalgal blooms, with negative consequences for seagrasses, primarily through shading, as well as through changes in local biogeochemistry. We conducted complementary field and mesocosm experiments in an upwelling-influenced estuary, where marine-derived nutrients dominate, to understand the direct and indirect effects of nutrients on the macroalgal-eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) interaction. In the field experiment, we found weak evidence that nutrients and/or macroalgal treatments had a negative effect on eelgrass. However, in the mesocosm experiment, we found that a combination of nutrient and macroalgal treatments led to strongly negative eelgrass responses, primarily via indirect effects associated with macroalgal additions. Together, increased total light attenuation and decreased sediment oxygen levels were associated with larger effects on eelgrass than shading alone, which was evaluated using mimic algae treatments that did not alter sediment redox potential. Nutrient addition in the mesocosms directly affected seagrass density; biomass, and morphology, but not as strongly as macroalgae. We hypothesize that the contrary results from these parallel experiments are a consequence of differences in the hydrodynamics between field and mesocosm settings. We suggest that the high rates of water movement and tidal submersion of our intertidal field experiments alleviated the light reduction and negative biogeochemical changes in the sediment associated with macroalgal canopies, as well as the nutrient effects observed in the mesocosm experiments. Furthermore, adaptation

  14. Trophic cascades on the edge: fostering seagrass resilience via a novel pathway.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Brent B; Hammerstrom, Kamille K; Grant, Nora E; Hoshijima, Umi; Eby, Ron; Wasson, Kerstin

    2016-09-01

    Despite widespread degradation, some coastal ecosystems display remarkable resilience. For seagrasses, a century-old paradigm has implicated macroalgal blooms stimulated by anthropogenic nutrient, loading as a primary driver of seagrass decline, yet relatively little attention has been given to drivers of seagrass resilience. In Elkhorn Slough, CA, an estuarine system characterized by extreme anthropogenic nutrient loading and macroalgal (Ulva spp.) blooms, seagrass (Zostera marina) beds have recovered concurrent with colonization of the estuary by top predators, sea otters (Enhydra lutris). Here, we follow up on the results of a previous experiment at the seagrass interior, showing how sea otters can generate a trophic cascade that promotes seagrass. We conducted an experiment and constructed structural equation models to determine how sea otters, through a trophic cascade, might affect the edge of seagrass beds where expansion occurs. We found that at the edge, sea otters promoted both seagrass and ephemeral macroalgae, with the latter contributing beneficial grazers to the seagrass. The surprising results that sea otters promote two potentially competing vegetation types, and a grazer assemblage at their boundary provides a mechanism by which seagrasses can expand in eutrophic environments, and contributes to a growing body of literature demonstrating that ephemeral macroalgae are not always negatively associated with seagrass. Our results highlight the potential for top predator recovery to enhance ecosystem resilience to anthropogenic alterations through several cascading mechanisms. PMID:27167224

  15. Use of a high-resolution profiling sonar and a towed video camera to map a Zostera marina bed, Solent, UK

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefebvre, A.; Thompson, C. E. L.; Collins, K. J.; Amos, C. L.

    2009-04-01

    Seagrasses are flowering plants that develop into extensive underwater meadows and play a key role in the coastal ecosystem. In the last few years, several techniques have been developed to map and monitor seagrass beds in order to protect them. Here, we present the results of a survey using a profiling sonar, the Sediment Imager Sonar (SIS) and a towed video sledge to study a Zostera marina bed in the Solent, southern UK. The survey aimed to test the instruments for seagrass detection and to describe the area for the first time. On the acoustic data, the bed produced the strongest backscatter along a beam. A high backscatter above the bottom indicated the presence of seagrass. The results of an algorithm developed to detect seagrass from the sonar data were tested against video data. Four parameters were calculated from the SIS data: water depth, a Seagrass Index (average backscatter 10-15 cm above the bed), canopy height (height above the bed where the backscatter crosses a threshold limit) and patchiness (percentage of beams in a sweep where the backscatter 10-15 cm above the bed is greater than a threshold limit). From the video, Zostera density was estimated together with macroalgae abundance and bottom type. Patchiness calculated from the SIS data was strongly correlated to seagrass density evaluated from the video, indicating that this parameter could be used for seagrass detection. The survey area has been classified based upon seagrass density, macroalgae abundance and bottom type. Only a small area was occupied by a dense canopy whereas most of the survey area was characterised by patchy seagrass. Results indicated that Zostera marina developed only on sandy bottoms and was not found in regions of gravel. Furthermore, it was limited to a depth shallower than 1.5 m below the level of Lowest Astronomical Tide and present in small patches across the intertidal zone. The average canopy height was 15 cm and the highest density was 150 shoots m -2.

  16. Seagrass feeding choices and digestive strategies of the herbivorous fish Sarpa salpa.

    PubMed

    Goldenberg, S U; Erzini, K

    2014-05-01

    This is the first study investigating the plant-herbivore interaction between Sarpa salpa, which has overgrazed seagrass transplants in Portugal, and the seagrasses Cymodocea nodosa, Zostera marina and Zostera noltii, which have been considered for restoration. When offered the choice between the three seagrasses in outdoor tanks, adult S. salpa clearly preferred Z. noltii. Testing the seagrasses separately, mean ± s.d. feeding rates ranged from 21 ± 11 g seagrass fresh mass kg⁻¹ fish mass day⁻¹ for Z. marina to 32 ± 9 g seagrass fresh mass kg⁻¹ fish mass day⁻¹ for C. nodosa and 40 ± 11 g seagrass fresh mass kg⁻¹ fish mass day⁻¹ for Z. noltii (temperature = 16° C). Food-processing rate in S. salpa did not differ between seagrasses, and there was no evidence of a regulation of processing rate according to food intake. Seagrasses differed substantially in nitrogen content and C:N, with C. nodosa containing the highest nitrogen content and lowest C:N (2·5 ± 0·1% and 14·0 ± 1·0), followed by Z. noltii (2·1 ± 0·1% and 17·0 ± 1·0) and Z. marina (1·4 ± 0·1% and 26·0 ± 2·0). Food-processing rate in S. salpa and the nutritional value of the seagrasses were not correlated with the observed feeding preference and rate. The study suggests that C. nodosa and Z. marina are less at risk of overgrazing by S. salpa and might thus be preferable to Z. noltii for seagrass restoration in areas with noticeable abundances of this fish. PMID:24684485

  17. Mobile epifauna on Zostera marina, and infauna of its inflorescences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hellwig-Armonies, Monika

    1988-06-01

    The faunal colonization of the leaves and inflorescences of intertidal Zostera marina L. and of the ambient water has been studied at the Island of Sylt (North Sea). The abundance of the snail Littorina littorea L. and the isopod Jaera albifrons Leach correlates significantly with leaf surface area. This is not the case with the abundance of meiofaunal Plathelminthes, Nematoda, Copepoda, and Polychaeta. However, they increase significantly with the numbers of generative shoots in the sampled seagrass bunches. Members of these taxa inhabit the Zostera inflorescences, and average abundance increases with the degree of decay of inflorescences. This temporary microhabitat presumably offers food and shelter. Copepods and ostracods dominate in the ambient water. Planktonic calanoid copepods correlate with the amount of sampled seawater, while Ostracoda correlate with the amount of resuspended detritus suggesting that they were resuspended themselves. The study shows that some meiofaunal taxa can rapidly exploit a short-lived habitat such as the Zostera inflorescences. Juvenile polychaetes use inflorescences as a nursery.

  18. ASSESSMENT OF WATER QUALITY AND SEAGRASSES IN MARGINAL HABITATS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Water quality and seagrasses will be monitored for estuarine to marine seagrass species at selected locations in northern Gulf of Mexico coastal waters, focusing on areas within boundaries of the Gulf Island National Seashore in Mississippi and Florida. Fresh to marine species ...

  19. Patterns in the abundance and size-distribution of syngnathid fishes among habitats in a seagrass-dominated marine environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kendrick, A. J.; Hyndes, G. A.

    2003-07-01

    Syngnathid fishes were sampled using a 1 m wide beam trawl during the day and night in each season from summer 1996/1997 to summer 1997/1998 in five habitat types in an approximately 90 km 2 area located on the lower west coast of Australia. The seagrasses Amphibolis griffithii, Posidonia sinuosa and Posidonia coriacea and shallow unvegetated sand were all in depths of 4-9 m, while deep habitat, which comprised mainly bare sand with isolated patches of the seagrasses Heterozostera tasmanica and Halophila ovalis, occurred at depths of 12-16 m. While A. griffithii and P. sinuosa each formed dense monospecific meadows, P. coriacea occurred in sparse clumps surrounded by areas of bare sand and patches of H. tasmanica. While catches of spotted pipefish Stigmatopora argus occurred mainly in P. sinuosa and P. coriacea, individuals of this species that exceeded ca. 55 mm in snout-vent length were far more abundant in the former habitat whereas smaller fish occurred mostly in the latter. Densities of S. argus were similar in P. sinuosa and P. coriacea, but differed between seasons, and a season/habitat interaction was present. In contrast, wide-bodied pipefish Stigmatopora nigra were collected mainly in P. coriacea and deep habitat and, although the densities were greater in P. coriacea than in deep habitat, the size-distributions of this species in these habitats were similar. Notably, S. nigra was never collected in P. sinuosa. Although less abundant than the above pipefish, the long-snouted pipefish Vanacampus poecilolaemus was collected almost exclusively in P. sinuosa. Few syngnathids were collected from shallow unvegetated sand or from A. griffithii, which differed markedly in plant structure from both Posidonia species. It is suggested that these syngnathid species occupy habitats that best enable them to remain inconspicuous to predators. Both S. argus and S. nigra have green or brown colouration and mimic strap-like seagrass leaves which they grasp with prehensile

  20. Long term changes in Zostera meadows in the Berre lagoon (Provence, Mediterranean Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bernard, Guillaume; Boudouresque, Charles F.; Picon, Philippe

    2007-07-01

    The Berre lagoon (Provence, France), one of the largest Mediterranean brackish lagoons (155 km 2), was occupied, at the turn of the 20th century, by extensive Zostera meadows ( Zostera marina and probably Zostera noltii; perhaps over 6000 ha). Subsequently, the lagoon was disturbed by urban and industrial pollution and, from 1966, by the diversion of the Durance River. This resulted in a 10-49-fold and 8-31-fold increase of the freshwater and silt inputs, respectively. By means of digital analysis of aerial photographs for the years 1944, 1992, 1998 and 2004, coupled with ground truth for the last three dates, we mapped the Zostera meadows. The replacement of Z. marina by Z. noltii, the latter species being already dominant in the 1970s, was completed in 1990. In parallel to this substitution, the Zostera beds underwent a dramatic decline. Their depth limit, which was (6-9) m in the early 20th century, withdrew to 3.5, 3, 1 and less than 1 m by 1944, the 1970s, 1992 and 1998, respectively. Since 1998, Zostera must be considered as functionally extinct. The total surface area of Zostera meadows was of the order of 1.5 ha in 2004. In an attempt to alleviate disturbance, the input of freshwater and silt from the Durance River was significantly reduced from the early 1980s and 1990s respectively. Similarly, from the 1970s to the 1990s, urban and domestic pollution was drastically reduced. Despite these steps, Zostera meadows continued to shrink to near extinction. The lagoon has shifted from a system dominated by seagrass beds to a system with bare silt bottoms, which now occupy most of the lagoon. The reasons could be, in addition to continuing nutrient inputs, the resuspension of silt, no longer trapped under the seagrass canopy, during wind episodes, which are frequent in the area, and/or the release of nutrients from the bare silt habitat, which would constitute an indication of a possible hysteresis of the system. However, since 2000, the establishment of the

  1. Experimental assessment of critical anthropogenic sediment burial in eelgrass Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    Munkes, Britta; Schubert, Philipp R; Karez, Rolf; Reusch, Thorsten B H

    2015-11-15

    Seagrass meadows, one of the world's most important and productive coastal habitats, are threatened by a range of anthropogenic actions. Burial of seagrass plants due to coastal activities is one important anthropogenic pressure leading to the decline of local populations. In our study, we assessed the response of eelgrass Zostera marina to sediment burial from physiological, morphological, and population parameters. In a full factorial field experiment, burial level (5-20cm) and burial duration (4-16weeks) were manipulated. Negative effects were visible even at the lowest burial level (5cm) and shortest duration (4weeks), with increasing effects over time and burial level. Buried seagrasses showed higher shoot mortality, delayed growth and flowering and lower carbohydrate storage. The observed effects will likely have an impact on next year's survival of buried plants. Our results have implications for the management of this important coastal plant. PMID:26388446

  2. An experimental transplantation to select the optimal site for restoration of the eelgrass Zostera marina in the Taehwa River estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Jung-Im; Kim, Jeong Bae; Lee, Kun-Seop; Son, Min Ho

    2013-12-01

    To select the optimal site for the restoration of seagrass habitats in the Taehwa River estuary, we transplanted the eelgrass Zostera marina to three potential candidate sites in March 2007 and monitored the transplanted seagrass and associated environmental factors for six months. In all three sites, the transplanted seagrasses exhibited no initial morphological loss due to transplanting stress. The transplanted seagrass communities at sites 2 and 3 showed more than a 180% increase in density over the entire survey period. In contrast, despite a density increase in the first month after transplantation, most of the transplanted seagrasses at site 1 died. This may be due to the large decrease in underwater irradiance reaching the seagrass leaves at site 1 for two months during June and July, which fell below the level of compensation irradiance. The growth rate and size of the seagrass shoots were also larger at sites 2 and 3 compared with site 1. This is probably due to higher nutrient concentrations in the sediment pore water at sites 2 and 3 compared with site 1, although water depth, salinity, and the nutrient concentrations in the water columns from the three sites were similar. Therefore, for the restoration of seagrass habitats in the Taehwa River estuary, sites 2 and 3 were preferable to site 1 as transplantation sites.

  3. An acoustic method for the remote measurement of seagrass metrics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paul, M.; Lefebvre, A.; Manca, E.; Amos, C. L.

    2011-05-01

    Seagrass meadows are ecosystems of great ecological and economical value and their monitoring is an important task within coastal environmental management. In this paper, an acoustic mapping technique is presented using a profiling sonar. The method has been applied to three different sites with meadows of Zostera marina, Zostera noltii and Posidonia oceanica respectively, with the aim to test the method's applicability. From the backscatter data the seabed could be identified as the strongest scatterer along an acoustic beam. The presented algorithm was used to compute water depth, seagrass canopy height and seagrass coverage and to produce maps of the survey areas. Canopy height was estimated as the distance between the bed and the point where backscatter values decrease to water column values. The algorithm was extended from previous methods to account for a variety of meadow types. Seagrass coverage was defined as the percentage of beams in a sweep where the backscatter 5-10 cm above the bed was higher than a threshold value. This threshold value is dynamic and depends on the average backscatter value throughout the water column. The method is therefore applicable in a range of turbidity conditions. Comparison with results from other survey techniques (i.e. dive surveys, underwater videos) yielded a high correlation which indicates that the method is suited to measure seagrass coverage and height. Analysis of the data showed that each seagrass species has a characteristic canopy height and spatial coverage distribution. These differences were used to undertake a preliminary species identification, as each species has a typical canopy height and preferred depth range. Furthermore, the results show that these differences can be used to track boundaries between species remotely. Finally, the application of the meadow distribution pattern to the health of a meadow is discussed.

  4. Rapidly spreading seagrass invades the Caribbean with unknown ecological consequences

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, Caroline S.; Willette, Demian A; Miller, Jeff

    2014-01-01

    The non-native seagrass Halophila stipulacea has spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean Sea (Willette et al. 2014); without additional research, the ecological ramifications of this invasion are difficult to predict. Biodiversity, connectivity of marine ecosystems, and recovery of degraded coral reefs could all be affected. The invasive seagrass, native to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, has taken over sand bottoms and intermixed with or replaced native seagrasses, including Thalassia testudinum, Syringodium filiforme, and Halodule wrightii.

  5. Structural characterization and cytotoxic properties of an apiose-rich pectic polysaccharide obtained from the cell wall of the marine phanerogam Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    Gloaguen, Vincent; Brudieux, Véronique; Closs, Brigitte; Barbat, Aline; Krausz, Pierre; Sainte-Catherine, Odile; Kraemer, Michel; Maes, Emmanuel; Guerardel, Yann

    2010-06-25

    Zosterin, an apiose-rich pectic polysaccharide, was extracted and purified from the sea grass Zostera marina. Structural studies conducted by gas chromatography and NMR spectroscopy on a purified zosterin fraction (AGU) revealed a typical apiogalacturonan structure comprising an alpha-1,4-d-galactopyranosyluronan backbone substituted by 1,2-linked apiofuranose oligosaccharides and single apiose residues. The average molecular mass of AGU was estimated to be about 4100 Da with a low polydispersity. AGU inhibited proliferation of A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells with an approximate IC(50) value of 3 microg/mL (0.7 microM). In addition, AGU inhibited A431 cell migration and invasion. Preliminary experiments showed that inhibition of metalloproteases expression could play a role in these antimigration and anti-invasive properties. Autohydrolysis of AGU, which eliminated apiose and oligo-apiose substituents, led to a virtual disappearance of cytotoxic properties, thus suggesting a direct structure-function relationship with the apiose-rich hairy region of AGU. PMID:20465284

  6. Development of hydroacoustical techniques for the monitoring and classification of benthic habitats in Puck Bay: Modeling of acoustic waves scattering by seagrass

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raczkowska, A.; Gorska, N.

    2012-12-01

    Puck Bay is an area of high species biodiversity belonging to the Coastal Landscape Park of Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA) and is also included in the list of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and covered by the protection program "Natura 2000". The underwater meadows of the Puck Bay are important for Europe's natural habitats due to their role in enhancing the productivity of marine ecosystems and providing shelter and optimal feeding conditions for many marine organisms. One of the dominant species comprising the underwater meadows of the Southern Baltic Sea is the seagrass Zostera marina. The spatial extent of underwater seagrass meadows is altered by pollution and eutrophication; therefore, to properly manage the area one must monitor its ecological state. Remote acoustic methods are useful tools for the monitoring of benthic habitats in many marine areas because they are non-invasive and allow researchers to obtain data from a large area in a short period of time. Currently there is a need to apply these methods in the Baltic Sea. Here we present an analysis of the mechanism of scattering of acoustic waves on seagrass in the Southern Baltic Sea based on the numerical modeling of acoustic wave scattering by the biological tissues of plants. The study was conducted by adapting a model developed on the basis of DWBA (Distorted Wave Born Approximation) developed by Stanton and Chu (2005) for fluid-like objects, including the characteristics of the Southern Baltic seagrass. Input data for the model, including the morphometry of seagrass leaves, their angle of inclination and the density plant cover, was obtained through the analysis of biological materials collected in the Puck Bay in the framework of a research project financed by the Polish Government (Development of hydroacoustic methods for studies of underwater meadows of Puck Bay, 6P04E 051 20). On the basis of the developed model, we have analyzed the dependence of the target strength of a single

  7. Seagrass meadows in a globally changing environment.

    PubMed

    Unsworth, Richard K F; van Keulen, Mike; Coles, Rob G

    2014-06-30

    Seagrass meadows are valuable ecosystem service providers that are now being lost globally at an unprecedented rate, with water quality and other localised stressors putting their future viability in doubt. It is therefore critical that we learn more about the interactions between seagrass meadows and future environmental change in the anthropocene. This needs to be with particular reference to the consequences of poor water quality on ecosystem resilience and the effects of change on trophic interactions within the food web. Understanding and predicting the response of seagrass meadows to future environmental change requires an understanding of the natural long-term drivers of change and how these are currently influenced by anthropogenic stress. Conservation management of coastal and marine ecosystems now and in the future requires increased knowledge of how seagrass meadows respond to environmental change, and how they can be managed to be resilient to these changes. Finding solutions to such issues also requires recognising people as part of the social-ecological system. This special issue aims to further enhance this knowledge by bringing together global expertise across this field. The special issues considers issues such as ecosystem service delivery of seagrass meadows, the drivers of long-term seagrass change and the socio-economic consequences of environmental change to seagrass. PMID:24874505

  8. 50 CFR 226.213 - Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 9 2011-10-01 2011-10-01 false Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.213 Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass. Critical habitat is designated to include substrate and water...

  9. 50 CFR 226.213 - Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 7 2010-10-01 2010-10-01 false Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.213 Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass. Critical habitat is designated to include substrate and water...

  10. Effects of bioturbation on seagrasses: Implications for management and restoration

    EPA Science Inventory

    Marine and estuarine fauna can diminish or enhance seagrass condition simply as a result of their burrowing, excavating, re-working, and feeding activities (e.g., bioturbation). We present the first comprehensive review of the effects of bioturbators on seagrasses and associated ...

  11. 50 CFR 226.213 - Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2012-10-01 2012-10-01 false Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.213 Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass. Critical habitat is designated to include substrate and water...

  12. 50 CFR 226.213 - Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2014-10-01 2014-10-01 false Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.213 Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass. Critical habitat is designated to include substrate and water...

  13. 50 CFR 226.213 - Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... 50 Wildlife and Fisheries 10 2013-10-01 2013-10-01 false Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass... ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT § 226.213 Critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass. Critical habitat is designated to include substrate and water...

  14. Seagrass ecosystems in the Western Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Gullström, Martin; de la Torre Castro, Maricela; Bandeira, Salomão; Björk, Mats; Dahlberg, Mattis; Kautsky, Nils; Rönnbäck, Patrik; Ohman, Marcus C

    2002-12-01

    Seagrasses are marine angiosperms widely distributed in both tropical and temperate coastal waters creating one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems on earth. In the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region, with its 13 reported seagrass species, these ecosystems cover wide areas of near-shore soft bottoms through the 12 000 km coastline. Seagrass beds are found intertidally as well as subtidally, sometimes down to about 40 m, and do often occur in close connection to coral reefs and mangroves. Due to the high primary production and a complex habitat structure, seagrass beds support a variety of benthic, demersal and pelagic organisms. Many fish and shellfish species, including those of commercial interest, are attracted to seagrass habitats for foraging and shelter, especially during their juvenile life stages. Examples of abundant and widespread fish species associated to seagrass beds in the WIO belong to the families Apogonidae, Blenniidae, Centriscidae, Gerreidae, Gobiidae, Labridae, Lethrinidae Lutjanidae, Monacanthidae, Scaridae, Scorpaenidae, Siganidae, Syngnathidae and Teraponidae. Consequently, seagrass ecosystems in the WIO are valuable resources for fisheries at both local and regional scales. Still, seagrass research in the WIO is scarce compared to other regions and it is mainly focusing on botanic diversity and ecology. This article reviews the research status of seagrass beds in the WIO with particular emphasis on fish and fisheries. Most research on this topic has been conducted along the East African coast, i.e. in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and eastern South Africa, while less research was carried out in Somalia and the Island States of the WIO (Seychelles, Comoros, Reunion (France), Mauritius and Madagascar). Published papers on seagrass fish ecology in the region are few and mainly descriptive. Hence, there is a need of more scientific knowledge in the form of describing patterns and processes through both field and experimental work

  15. Sexual Recruitment in Zostera marina: Progress toward a Predictive Model

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Ecophysiological stress and physical disturbance are capable of structuring meadows through a combination of direct biomass removal and recruitment limitation; however, predicting these effects at landscape scales has rarely been successful. To model environmental influence on sexual recruitment in perennial Zostera marina, we selected a sub-tidal, light-replete study site with seasonal extremes in temperature and wave energy. During an 8-year observation period, areal coverage increased from 4.8 to 42.7%. Gains were stepwise in pattern, attributable to annual recruitment of patches followed by centrifugal growth and coalescence. Recruitment varied from 13 to 4,894 patches per year. Using a multiple linear regression approach, we examined the association between patch appearance and relative wave energy, atmospheric condition and water temperature. Two models were developed, one appropriate for the dispersal of naked seeds, and another for rafted flowers. Results indicated that both modes of sexual recruitment varied as functions of wind, temperature, rainfall and wave energy, with a regime shift in wind-wave energy corresponding to periods of rapid colonization within our site. Temporal correlations between sexual recruitment and time-lagged climatic summaries highlighted floral induction, seed bank and small patch development as periods of vulnerability. Given global losses in seagrass coverage, regions of recovery and re-colonization will become increasingly important. Lacking landscape-scale process models for seagrass recruitment, temporally explicit statistical approaches presented here could be used to forecast colonization trajectories and to provide managers with real-time estimates of future meadow performance; i.e., when to expect a good year in terms of seagrass expansion. To facilitate use as forecasting tools, we did not use statistical composites or normalized variables as our predictors. This study, therefore, represents a first step toward linking

  16. Sexual Recruitment in Zostera marina: Progress toward a Predictive Model.

    PubMed

    Furman, Bradley T; Peterson, Bradley J

    2015-01-01

    Ecophysiological stress and physical disturbance are capable of structuring meadows through a combination of direct biomass removal and recruitment limitation; however, predicting these effects at landscape scales has rarely been successful. To model environmental influence on sexual recruitment in perennial Zostera marina, we selected a sub-tidal, light-replete study site with seasonal extremes in temperature and wave energy. During an 8-year observation period, areal coverage increased from 4.8 to 42.7%. Gains were stepwise in pattern, attributable to annual recruitment of patches followed by centrifugal growth and coalescence. Recruitment varied from 13 to 4,894 patches per year. Using a multiple linear regression approach, we examined the association between patch appearance and relative wave energy, atmospheric condition and water temperature. Two models were developed, one appropriate for the dispersal of naked seeds, and another for rafted flowers. Results indicated that both modes of sexual recruitment varied as functions of wind, temperature, rainfall and wave energy, with a regime shift in wind-wave energy corresponding to periods of rapid colonization within our site. Temporal correlations between sexual recruitment and time-lagged climatic summaries highlighted floral induction, seed bank and small patch development as periods of vulnerability. Given global losses in seagrass coverage, regions of recovery and re-colonization will become increasingly important. Lacking landscape-scale process models for seagrass recruitment, temporally explicit statistical approaches presented here could be used to forecast colonization trajectories and to provide managers with real-time estimates of future meadow performance; i.e., when to expect a good year in terms of seagrass expansion. To facilitate use as forecasting tools, we did not use statistical composites or normalized variables as our predictors. This study, therefore, represents a first step toward linking

  17. Combined nutrient and macroalgae loads lead to response in seagrass indicator properties.

    PubMed

    Han, Qiuying; Soissons, Laura M; Bouma, Tjeerd J; van Katwijk, Marieke M; Liu, Dongyan

    2016-05-15

    Excess nutrients are potential factors that drive phase shifts from seagrasses to macroalgae. We carried out a manipulative field experiment to study the effects of macroalgae Ulva pertusa loading and nutrient addition to the water column on the nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) contents (i.e., fast indicators) as well as on the morphology and structure (i.e., slow indicators) of Zostera marina. Our results showed rapid impact of increased macroalgae and nutrient load on Z. marina C/N ratios. Also, macroalgae addition resulted in a trend of decreasing belowground biomass of seagrasses, and nutrient load significantly decreased above to belowground biomass ratio. Although some morphological/structural variables showed relatively fast responses, the effects of short-term disturbance by macroalgae and nutrients were less often significant than on physiological variables. Monitoring of seagrass physiological indicators may allow for early detection of eutrophication, which may initiate timely management interventions to avert seagrass loss. PMID:26975613

  18. Cover versus recovery: contrasting responses of two indicators in seagrass beds.

    PubMed

    Soissons, Laura M; Han, Qiuying; Li, Baoquan; van Katwijk, Marieke M; Ysebaert, Tom; Herman, Peter M J; Bouma, Tjeerd J

    2014-10-15

    Despite being a highly valuable key-stone ecosystem, seagrass meadows are threatened and declining worldwide, creating urgent need for indicators of their health status. We compared two indicators for seagrass health: standing leaf area index versus relative recovery from local disturbance. Disturbance was created by removing aboveground biomass and recording the rate of regrowth for Zostera marina meadows exposed to contrasting wave regimes and nutrient stress levels. Within the experimental period, relative regrowth in gaps was around 50% in most plots, except for the ambient nutrient treatment at the sheltered site, where it exceeded 100%. The two indicators showed an opposite response to disturbance: the higher the standing leaf area index, the lower the relative recovery from disturbance. This conflicting response raises the question on the proper interpretation of such indicators to estimate seagrass health and resilience, and how to ideally monitor seagrass ecosystems in order to predict collapse. PMID:25131417

  19. Heavy metal spatial variation, bioaccumulation, and risk assessment of Zostera japonica habitat in the Yellow River Estuary, China.

    PubMed

    Lin, Haiying; Sun, Tao; Xue, Sufeng; Jiang, Xiangli

    2016-01-15

    Globally, seagrass habitats are decreasing due to both natural and environmental contaminations by human activities, including heavy metal pollution. To expand the global seagrass detection network, this study reports the spatial distributions of Zostera japonica seagrass habitats in the Yellow River Estuary, China. In addition, heavy metal concentrations of Z. japonica tissue, sediment, and surface seawater were analyzed to determine the bioaccumulation and consequent ecological risk to Z. japonica habitats due to the effects of heavy metals. It was found that concentrations of heavy metals were 1.00-2.03 times higher in seagrass-rooted sediment than in adjacent non-seagrass sediment, except for Mn (with a factor of 0.99). Pb and Hg concentrations in sediments exceeded background values more than the other heavy metals, by factors of 1.74 and 1.24, respectively. Metal concentrations in the surrounding seawater were 2.60-4.63 times higher at seagrass sites than at non-seagrass sites, except for Hg (factor of 0.97). Metal concentrations were much higher in seagrass tissues than in the sediment (e.g., bioconcentration factor of Cd is 30.95). Pb concentrations in water may cause the greatest adverse reactions among aquatic organisms, while As, Cr, Hg, Mn and Cu in sediments may occasionally cause negative ecological effects. Z. japonica showed higher bioaccumulation of Cd and Pb in the above-ground tissues. Among other recent studies of seagrasses from other parts of the world, Cd concentrations are similar to the results of the present study, but Pb concentration in present study is higher than in other studies. In conclusion, Pb and As in the surrounding environment present potential risks to the seagrass habitats of the Yellow River Estuary, China. PMID:26410718

  20. Pelagicoccus croceus sp. nov., a novel marine member of the family Puniceicoccaceae within the phylum 'Verrucomicrobia' isolated from seagrass.

    PubMed

    Yoon, Jaewoo; Oku, Naoya; Matsuda, Satoru; Kasai, Hiroaki; Yokota, Akira

    2007-12-01

    An obligately aerobic, spherical, non-motile, pale-yellow pigmented bacterium was isolated from a piece of leaf of seagrass, Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle, grown in Okinawa, Japan and was subjected to a polyphasic taxonomic study. Phylogenetic analyses based on 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed that the novel isolate N5FB36-5(T) shared approximately 96-98 % sequence similarity with the species of the genus Pelagicoccus of the family Puniceicoccaceae within the phylum 'Verrucomicrobia'. The DNA-DNA relatedness values of strain N5FB36-5(T) with Pelagicoccus mobilis 02PA-Ca-133(T) and Pelagicoccus albus YM14-201(T) were below 70 %, which is accepted as the phylogenetic definition of a novel species. beta-Lactam antibiotic susceptibility test and amino acid analysis of the cell wall hydrolysates indicated the absence of muramic acid and diaminopimelic acid in the cell walls, which suggested that this strain lacks an ordinary Gram-negative type of peptidoglycan in the cell wall. The DNA G+C content of strain N5FB36-5(T) was 51.6 mol%; MK-7 was the major menaquinone; and the presence of C(16 : 0), C(16 : 1)omega7c and anteiso-C(15 : 0) as the major cellular fatty acids supported the identification of the novel isolate as a member of the genus Pelagicoccus. On the basis of polyphasic taxonomic data, it was concluded that this strain should be classified as a novel species of the genus Pelagicoccus, for which the name Pelagicoccus croceus sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is N5FB36-5(T) (=MBIC08283(T)=KCTC [corrected] 12903(T)). PMID:18048742

  1. Microbial biomass and productivity in seagrass beds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moriarty, D. J.; Boon, P. I.; Hansen, J. A.; Hunt, W. G.; Poiner, I. R.; Pollard, P. C.; Skyring, G. W.; White, D. C.

    1985-01-01

    Different methods for measuring the rates of processes mediated by bacteria in sediments and the rates of bacterial cell production have been compared. In addition, net production of the seagrass Zostera capricorni and bacterial production have been compared and some interrelationships with the nitrogen cycle discussed. Seagrass productivity was estimated by measuring the plastochrone interval using a leaf stapling technique. The average productivity over four seasons was 1.28 +/- 0.28 g C m-2 day-1 (mean +/- standard deviation, n = 4). Bacterial productivity was measured five times throughout a year using the rate of tritiated thymidine incorporated into DNA. Average values were 33 +/- 12 mg C m-2 day-1 for sediment and 23 +/- 4 for water column (n = 5). Spatial variability between samples was greater than seasonal variation for both seagrass productivity and bacterial productivity. On one occasion, bacterial productivity was measured using the rate of 32P incorporated into phospholipid. The values were comparable to those obtained with tritiated thymidine. The rate of sulfate reduction was 10 mmol SO4(-2) m-2 day-1. The rate of methanogenesis was low, being 5.6 mg CH4 produced m-2 day-1. A comparison of C flux measured using rates of sulfate reduction and DNA synthesis indicated that anaerobic processes were predominant in these sediments. An analysis of microbial biomass and community structure, using techniques of phospholipid analysis, showed that bacteria were predominant members of the microbial biomass and that of these, strictly anaerobic bacteria were the main components. Ammonia concentration in interstitial water varied from 23 to 71 micromoles. Estimates of the amount of ammonia required by seagrass showed that the ammonia would turn over about once per day. Rapid recycling of nitrogen by bacteria and bacterial grazers is probably important.

  2. Specificity in Mesograzer-Induced Defences in Seagrasses.

    PubMed

    Martínez-Crego, Begoña; Arteaga, Pedro; Ueber, Alexandra; Engelen, Aschwin H; Santos, Rui; Molis, Markus

    2015-01-01

    Grazing-induced plant defences that reduce palatability to herbivores are widespread in terrestrial plants and seaweeds, but they have not yet been reported in seagrasses. We investigated the ability of two seagrass species to induce defences in response to direct grazing by three associated mesograzers. Specifically, we conducted feeding-assayed induction experiments to examine how mesograzer-specific grazing impact affects seagrass induction of defences within the context of the optimal defence theory. We found that the amphipod Gammarus insensibilis and the isopod Idotea chelipes exerted a low-intensity grazing on older blades of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa, which reflects a weak grazing impact that may explain the lack of inducible defences. The isopod Synischia hectica exerted the strongest grazing impact on C. nodosa via high-intensity feeding on young blades with a higher fitness value. This isopod grazing induced defences in C. nodosa as indicated by a consistently lower consumption of blades previously grazed for 5, 12 and 16 days. The lower consumption was maintained when offered tissues with no plant structure (agar-reconstituted food), but showing a reduced size of the previous grazing effect. This indicates that structural traits act in combination with chemical traits to reduce seagrass palatability to the isopod. Increase in total phenolics but not in C:N ratio and total nitrogen of grazed C. nodosa suggests chemical defences rather than a modified nutritional quality as primarily induced chemical traits. We detected no induction of defences in Zostera noltei, which showed the ability to replace moderate losses of young biomass to mesograzers via compensatory growth. Our study provides the first experimental evidence of induction of defences against meso-herbivory that reduce further consumption in seagrasses. It also emphasizes the relevance of grazer identity in determining the level of grazing impact triggering resistance and compensatory

  3. Specificity in Mesograzer-Induced Defences in Seagrasses

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Crego, Begoña; Arteaga, Pedro; Ueber, Alexandra; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Santos, Rui; Molis, Markus

    2015-01-01

    Grazing-induced plant defences that reduce palatability to herbivores are widespread in terrestrial plants and seaweeds, but they have not yet been reported in seagrasses. We investigated the ability of two seagrass species to induce defences in response to direct grazing by three associated mesograzers. Specifically, we conducted feeding-assayed induction experiments to examine how mesograzer-specific grazing impact affects seagrass induction of defences within the context of the optimal defence theory. We found that the amphipod Gammarus insensibilis and the isopod Idotea chelipes exerted a low-intensity grazing on older blades of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa, which reflects a weak grazing impact that may explain the lack of inducible defences. The isopod Synischia hectica exerted the strongest grazing impact on C. nodosa via high-intensity feeding on young blades with a higher fitness value. This isopod grazing induced defences in C. nodosa as indicated by a consistently lower consumption of blades previously grazed for 5, 12 and 16 days. The lower consumption was maintained when offered tissues with no plant structure (agar-reconstituted food), but showing a reduced size of the previous grazing effect. This indicates that structural traits act in combination with chemical traits to reduce seagrass palatability to the isopod. Increase in total phenolics but not in C:N ratio and total nitrogen of grazed C. nodosa suggests chemical defences rather than a modified nutritional quality as primarily induced chemical traits. We detected no induction of defences in Zostera noltei, which showed the ability to replace moderate losses of young biomass to mesograzers via compensatory growth. Our study provides the first experimental evidence of induction of defences against meso-herbivory that reduce further consumption in seagrasses. It also emphasizes the relevance of grazer identity in determining the level of grazing impact triggering resistance and compensatory

  4. Has the rapidly expanding invasive dwarf eelgrass Zostera japonica in Yaquina estuary, Oregon impacted the distribution of native eelgrass Zostera marina – a critical intertidal habitat? - CERF

    EPA Science Inventory

    Native eelgrass, Zostera marina, occupies a significant portion of marine-dominated intertidal and near-subtidal sectors of many coastal estuaries. In recent decades an invasive congener, Z. japonica, has become established in many Pacific Northwest estuaries. We measured the h...

  5. Has the rapidly expanding invasive dwarf eelgrass Zostera japonica in Yaquina estuary, Oregon impacted the distribution of native eelgrass Zostera marina – a critical intertidal habitat?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Native eelgrass, Zostera marina, occupies a significant portion of marine-dominated intertidal and near-subtidal sectors of many coastal estuaries. In recent decades an invasive congener, Z. japonica, has become established in many Pacific Northwest estuaries. We measured the h...

  6. Long-term evolution (1988-2008) of Zostera spp. meadows in Arcachon Bay (Bay of Biscay)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Plus; Sébastien, Dalloyau; Gilles, Trut; Isabelle, Auby; de Montaudouin, Xavier; Emery, Éric; Claire, Noël; Christophe, Viala

    2010-04-01

    The spatial variability of seagrass meadows in Arcachon Bay, was studied between 1988 and 2008 using a combination of mapping techniques based on aerial photographs for intertidal dwarf-grass ( Zostera noltii) beds and acoustic sonar for permanently submerged eelgrass ( Zostera marina) populations. The results show a severe decline over the period for both species, as well as an acceleration of the decline since 2005 for Z. noltii. The total surface regression over the studied period is estimated to be 22.8 km 2 for Z. noltii and 2.7 km 2 for Z. marina, which represent declines of 33 and 74% respectively. Environmental data time series spanning the same period were investigated in order to seek the causes for such a decline. The calculated inter-annual trends for temperature, salinity, nitrate plus nitrite, ammonia, suspended sediment and chlorophyll a did not identify any clear environmental change capable of explaining the observed seagrass regression. For instance, no evident sign of eutrophication was observed over the study period. On the other hand, we suggest that the observed variations of ammonia in the inner part of the lagoon are a symptom of the seagrasses' disappearance and thus, a first sign indicating a change of the Arcachon Bay ecosystem towards more instability and vulnerability. Several hypotheses to explain the observed seagrass decay are proposed.

  7. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings

    PubMed Central

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  8. Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Food Web Structure in Different Environmental Settings.

    PubMed

    Thormar, Jonas; Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Baden, Susanne; Boström, Christoffer; Clausen, Kevin Kuhlmann; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Olesen, Birgit; Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Svensson, Carl Johan; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-01-01

    This study compares the structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows and associated food webs in two eelgrass habitats in Denmark, differing in exposure, connection to the open sea, nutrient enrichment and water transparency. Meadow structure strongly reflected the environmental conditions in each habitat. The eutrophicated, protected site had higher biomass of filamentous algae, lower eelgrass biomass and shoot density, longer and narrower leaves, and higher above to below ground biomass ratio compared to the less nutrient-enriched and more exposed site. The faunal community composition and food web structure also differed markedly between sites with the eutrophicated, enclosed site having higher biomass of consumers and less complex food web. These relationships resulted in a column shaped biomass distribution of the consumers at the eutrophicated site whereas the less nutrient-rich site showed a pyramidal biomass distribution of consumers coupled with a more diverse consumer community. The differences in meadow and food web structure of the two seagrass habitats, suggest how physical setting may shape ecosystem response and resilience to anthropogenic pressure. We encourage larger, replicated studies to further disentangle the effects of different environmental variables on seagrass food web structure. PMID:26752412

  9. Patterns and mechanisms of dispersal in a keystone seagrass species.

    PubMed

    Jahnke, Marlene; Christensen, Asbjørn; Micu, Dragos; Milchakova, Nataliya; Sezgin, Murat; Todorova, Valentina; Strungaru, Stefan; Procaccini, Gabriele

    2016-06-01

    Mechanisms and vectors of long-distance dispersal remain unknown for many coastal benthic species, including plants. Indications for the possibility for long-distance dispersal come from dispersal modelling and from genetic assessments, but have rarely been assessed with both methods. To this end, we assessed dispersal of the seagrass Zostera noltei, an important foundation species of the coastal zone. We investigate whether small scale seed dispersal and long-distance propagule dispersal do play a role for meta-population dynamics, using both genetic assessments based on eight microsatellite markers and physical modelling of ocean currents. Such assessments enhance our understanding of the biology and population dynamics of an important coastal foundation species. They are relevant for large scale conservation strategies as they give insights in the maintenance of genetic diversity and connectivity that may enhance resilience and resistance to stresses associated with seagrass loss. PMID:27085058

  10. Community structure of caprellids (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Caprellidae) on seagrasses from southern Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González, A. R.; Guerra-García, J. M.; Maestre, M. J.; Ruiz-Tabares, A.; Espinosa, F.; Gordillo, I.; Sánchez-Moyano, J. E.; García-Gómez, J. C.

    2008-09-01

    The community structure of caprellids inhabiting two species of seagrass ( Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera marina) was investigated on the Andalusian coast, southern Spain, using uni and multivariate analyses. Three meadows were selected (Almería, AL; Málaga, MA; Cádiz, CA), and changes in seagrass cover and biomass were measured from 2004 to 2005. Four caprellid species were found; the density of Caprella acanthifera, Phtisica marina and Pseudoprotella phasma was correlated to seagrass biomass. No such correlation was found for Pariambus typicus, probably because this species inhabits sediments and does not cling to the seagrass leaves. We recorded a significant decrease in seagrass cover and biomass in MA due to illegal bottom trawling fisheries. Phtisica marina and P. typicus were favoured by this perturbation and increased their densities after the trawling activities. A survey of reports on caprellids in seagrass meadows around the world showed no clear latitudinal patterns in caprellid densities (ranging from 6 to 1,000 ind/m2 per meadow) and species diversity. While caprellid abundances in seagrass meadows are often very high, the number of species per meadow is low (range 1-5).

  11. Photosynthetic response to globally increasing CO2 of co-occurring temperate seagrass species.

    PubMed

    Borum, Jens; Pedersen, Ole; Kotula, Lukasz; Fraser, Matthew W; Statton, John; Colmer, Timothy D; Kendrick, Gary A

    2016-06-01

    Photosynthesis of most seagrass species seems to be limited by present concentrations of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Therefore, the ongoing increase in atmospheric CO2 could enhance seagrass photosynthesis and internal O2 supply, and potentially change species competition through differential responses to increasing CO2 availability among species. We used short-term photosynthetic responses of nine seagrass species from the south-west of Australia to test species-specific responses to enhanced CO2 and changes in HCO3 (-) . Net photosynthesis of all species except Zostera polychlamys were limited at pre-industrial compared to saturating CO2 levels at light saturation, suggesting that enhanced CO2 availability will enhance seagrass performance. Seven out of the nine species were efficient HCO3 (-) users through acidification of diffusive boundary layers, production of extracellular carbonic anhydrase, or uptake and internal conversion of HCO3 (-) . Species responded differently to near saturating CO2 implying that increasing atmospheric CO2 may change competition among seagrass species if co-occurring in mixed beds. Increasing CO2 availability also enhanced internal aeration in the one species assessed. We expect that future increases in atmospheric CO2 will have the strongest impact on seagrass recruits and sparsely vegetated beds, because densely vegetated seagrass beds are most often limited by light and not by inorganic carbon. PMID:26476101

  12. Seasonal variation in species composition and abundance of demersal fish and invertebrates in a Seagrass Natural Reserve on the eastern coast of the Shandong Peninsula, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xu, Qiang; Guo, Dong; Zhang, Peidong; Zhang, Xiumei; Li, Wentao; Wu, Zhongxin

    2016-03-01

    Seagrass habitats are structurally complex ecosystems, which support high productivity and biodiversity. In temperate systems the density of seagrass may change seasonally, and this may influence the associated fish and invertebrate community. Little is known about the role of seagrass beds as possible nursery areas for fish and invertebrates in China. To study the functioning of a seagrass habitat in northern China, demersal fish and invertebrates were collected monthly using traps, from February 2009 to January 2010. The density, leaf length and biomass of the dominant seagrass Zostera marina and water temperature were also measured. The study was conducted in a Seagrass Natural Reserve (SNR) on the eastern coast of the Shandong Peninsula, China. A total of 22 fish species and five invertebrate species were recorded over the year. The dominant fish species were Synechogobius ommaturus, Sebastes schlegelii, Pholis fangi, Pagrus major and Hexagrammos otakii and these species accounted for 87% of the total number of fish. The dominant invertebrate species were Charybdis japonica and Octopus variabilis and these accounted for 98% of the total abundance of invertebrates. There was high temporal variation in species composition and abundance. The peak number of fish species occurred in August-October 2009, while the number of individual fish and biomass was highest during November 2009. Invertebrate numbers and biomass was highest in March, April, July and September 2009. Temporal changes in species abundance of fishes and invertebrates corresponded with changes in the shoot density and leaf length of the seagrass, Zostera marina.

  13. Photorespiration and carbon limitation determine productivity in temperate seagrasses.

    PubMed

    Buapet, Pimchanok; Rasmusson, Lina M; Gullström, Martin; Björk, Mats

    2013-01-01

    The gross primary productivity of two seagrasses, Zostera marina and Ruppia maritima, and one green macroalga, Ulva intestinalis, was assessed in laboratory and field experiments to determine whether the photorespiratory pathway operates at a substantial level in these macrophytes and to what extent it is enhanced by naturally occurring shifts in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and O2 in dense vegetation. To achieve these conditions in laboratory experiments, seawater was incubated with U. intestinalis in light to obtain a range of higher pH and O2 levels and lower DIC levels. Gross photosynthetic O2 evolution was then measured in this pretreated seawater (pH, 7.8-9.8; high to low DIC:O2 ratio) at both natural and low O2 concentrations (adjusted by N2 bubbling). The presence of photorespiration was indicated by a lower gross O2 evolution rate under natural O2 conditions than when O2 was reduced. In all three macrophytes, gross photosynthetic rates were negatively affected by higher pH and lower DIC. However, while both seagrasses exhibited significant photorespiratory activity at increasing pH values, the macroalga U. intestinalis exhibited no such activity. Rates of seagrass photosynthesis were then assessed in seawater collected from the natural habitats (i.e., shallow bays characterized by high macrophyte cover and by low DIC and high pH during daytime) and compared with open baymouth water conditions (where seawater DIC is in equilibrium with air, normal DIC, and pH). The gross photosynthetic rates of both seagrasses were significantly higher when incubated in the baymouth water, indicating that these grasses can be significantly carbon limited in shallow bays. Photorespiration was also detected in both seagrasses under shallow bay water conditions. Our findings indicate that natural carbon limitations caused by high community photosynthesis can enhance photorespiration and cause a significant decline in seagrass primary production in shallow waters. PMID

  14. Photorespiration and Carbon Limitation Determine Productivity in Temperate Seagrasses

    PubMed Central

    Buapet, Pimchanok; Rasmusson, Lina M.; Gullström, Martin; Björk, Mats

    2013-01-01

    The gross primary productivity of two seagrasses, Zostera marina and Ruppia maritima, and one green macroalga, Ulva intestinalis, was assessed in laboratory and field experiments to determine whether the photorespiratory pathway operates at a substantial level in these macrophytes and to what extent it is enhanced by naturally occurring shifts in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and O2 in dense vegetation. To achieve these conditions in laboratory experiments, seawater was incubated with U. intestinalis in light to obtain a range of higher pH and O2 levels and lower DIC levels. Gross photosynthetic O2 evolution was then measured in this pretreated seawater (pH, 7.8–9.8; high to low DIC:O2 ratio) at both natural and low O2 concentrations (adjusted by N2 bubbling). The presence of photorespiration was indicated by a lower gross O2 evolution rate under natural O2 conditions than when O2 was reduced. In all three macrophytes, gross photosynthetic rates were negatively affected by higher pH and lower DIC. However, while both seagrasses exhibited significant photorespiratory activity at increasing pH values, the macroalga U. intestinalis exhibited no such activity. Rates of seagrass photosynthesis were then assessed in seawater collected from the natural habitats (i.e., shallow bays characterized by high macrophyte cover and by low DIC and high pH during daytime) and compared with open baymouth water conditions (where seawater DIC is in equilibrium with air, normal DIC, and pH). The gross photosynthetic rates of both seagrasses were significantly higher when incubated in the baymouth water, indicating that these grasses can be significantly carbon limited in shallow bays. Photorespiration was also detected in both seagrasses under shallow bay water conditions. Our findings indicate that natural carbon limitations caused by high community photosynthesis can enhance photorespiration and cause a significant decline in seagrass primary production in shallow waters. PMID

  15. Photosynthethic carbon reduction by seagrasses exposed to ultraviolet B radiation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1979-01-01

    The species of seagrasses were selected on the basis of their dominance in the marine system, contribution to total productivity, and importance to the life histories of organisms in the Indian River lagoon system along the central Florida east coast. The three seagrasses were Halophilia engelmannii, Halodule wrightii, and Syringodium filiforme. These seagrasses form an excellent experimental system as their areas of dominance fall more or less along a natural gradient of UV-B and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) penetration. The sensitivity of photosynthesis in the seagrasses was determined and their photosynthetic response to levels of UV-B simulating atmospheric ozone depletion was monitored. Further experiments explore the possible attenuation or repair of UV-B induced photosynthetic inhibition by PAR, the role of epiphytic growth upon seagrasses as a protective UV-B shield, and the inhibition of photosynthesis in response to UV-A is studied.

  16. The movement ecology of seagrasses

    PubMed Central

    McMahon, Kathryn; van Dijk, Kor-jent; Ruiz-Montoya, Leonardo; Kendrick, Gary A.; Krauss, Siegfried L.; Waycott, Michelle; Verduin, Jennifer; Lowe, Ryan; Statton, John; Brown, Eloise; Duarte, Carlos

    2014-01-01

    A movement ecology framework is applied to enhance our understanding of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of movement in seagrasses: marine, clonal, flowering plants. Four life-history stages of seagrasses can move: pollen, sexual propagules, vegetative fragments and the spread of individuals through clonal growth. Movement occurs on the water surface, in the water column, on or in the sediment, via animal vectors and through spreading clones. A capacity for long-distance dispersal and demographic connectivity over multiple timeframes is the novel feature of the movement ecology of seagrasses with significant evolutionary and ecological consequences. The space–time movement footprint of different life-history stages varies. For example, the distance moved by reproductive propagules and vegetative expansion via clonal growth is similar, but the timescales range exponentially, from hours to months or centuries to millennia, respectively. Consequently, environmental factors and key traits that interact to influence movement also operate on vastly different spatial and temporal scales. Six key future research areas have been identified. PMID:25297859

  17. Monitoring in the Western Pacific region shows evidence of seagrass decline in line with global trends.

    PubMed

    Short, Frederick T; Coles, Robert; Fortes, Miguel D; Victor, Steven; Salik, Maxwell; Isnain, Irwan; Andrew, Jay; Seno, Aganto

    2014-06-30

    Seagrass systems of the Western Pacific region are biodiverse habitats, providing vital services to ecosystems and humans over a vast geographic range. SeagrassNet is a worldwide monitoring program that collects data on seagrass habitats, including the ten locations across the Western Pacific reported here where change at various scales was rapidly detected. Three sites remote from human influence were stable. Seagrasses declined largely due to increased nutrient loading (4 sites) and increased sedimentation (3 sites), the two most common stressors of seagrass worldwide. Two sites experienced near-total loss from of excess sedimentation, followed by partial recovery once sedimentation was reduced. Species shifts were observed at every site with recovering sites colonized by pioneer species. Regulation of watersheds is essential if marine protected areas are to preserve seagrass meadows. Seagrasses in the Western Pacific experience stress due to human impacts despite the vastness of the ocean area and low development pressures. PMID:24746094

  18. Local Knowledge and Conservation of Seagrasses in the Tamil Nadu State of India

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Local knowledge systems are not considered in the conservation of fragile seagrass marine ecosystems. In fact, little is known about the utility of seagrasses in local coastal communities. This is intriguing given that some local communities rely on seagrasses to sustain their livelihoods and have relocated their villages to areas with a rich diversity and abundance of seagrasses. The purpose of this study is to assist in conservation efforts regarding seagrasses through identifying Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) from local knowledge systems of seagrasses from 40 coastal communities along the eastern coast of India. We explore the assemblage of scientific and local traditional knowledge concerning the 1. classification of seagrasses (comparing scientific and traditional classification systems), 2. utility of seagrasses, 3. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of seagrasses, and 4. current conservation efforts for seagrass ecosystems. Our results indicate that local knowledge systems consist of a complex classification of seagrass diversity that considers the role of seagrasses in the marine ecosystem. This fine-scaled ethno-classification gives rise to five times the number of taxa (10 species = 50 local ethnotaxa), each with a unique role in the ecosystem and utility within coastal communities, including the use of seagrasses for medicine (e.g., treatment of heart conditions, seasickness, etc.), food (nutritious seeds), fertilizer (nutrient rich biomass) and livestock feed (goats and sheep). Local communities are concerned about the loss of seagrass diversity and have considerable local knowledge that is valuable for conservation and restoration plans. This study serves as a case study example of the depth and breadth of local knowledge systems for a particular ecosystem that is in peril. Key words: local health and nutrition, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), conservation and natural resources management, consensus, ethnomedicine, ethnotaxa

  19. Persisting intertidal seagrass beds in the northern Wadden Sea since the 1930s

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dolch, Tobias; Buschbaum, Christian; Reise, Karsten

    2013-09-01

    In contrast to the global crisis of seagrass ecosystems, intertidal Zostera-beds in the Northfrisian Wadden Sea (coastal North Sea) have recovered recently. Present areal extent resembles that of the mid 1930s. In spite of an intermittent loss in area by about 60% in the 1970s to 1990s, beds have maintained their general spatial distribution pattern. Aerial photographs from parts of the region in 1935-37, and the total region in 1958-59 and 2005 were visually analysed, and seagrass beds were recorded and quantified with a geographic information system (GIS). Data from direct aerial mapping were added to extend the survey until 2010. From the mid 2000s to 2010, intertidal seagrass areas estimated from these records range between 84 and 142 km2 (10-16% of the intertidal area), while records from the 1970 to 90s merely range between 30 and 40 km2 (3-5%) (Reise and Kohlus, 2008). Despite variation in size, core positions of individual seagrass beds were identified and they shifted very little over the last decades. Most beds occur in the upper intertidal zone and where barrier islands offer shelter against swell from the open sea. While land claim activities since the 1930s have irreversibly eliminated at least 11 km2 of seagrass beds, we suggest that intermittent losses of seagrass area were mainly caused by sediment dynamics and a phase of elevated eutrophication.

  20. Seagrass colonization: Knock-on effects on zoobenthic community, populations and individual health

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tu Do, V.; de Montaudouin, Xavier; Lavesque, Nicolas; Blanchet, Hugues; Guyard, Hervé

    2011-12-01

    This study provided evidence that Zostera noltii presence affects macrofauna community structure independently from median sediment grain-size and that the notion of ecosystem health is rather subjective: in the present case, we recorded "good health" in terms of seagrass development, "no impact" in terms of macrobenthic biotic indices and "negative effect" for a given key-population. The occurrence and development of a Z. noltii seagrass bed was surveyed at Banc d'Arguin, Arcachon Bay (France), to estimate the modification of the macrozoobenthic community and of the dynamics of a key-population for the local ecosystem, - the cockle Cerastoderma edule. Even though median grain-size of the sediment decreased only at the very end of the survey, i.e. when seagrass totally invaded the area, most of the macrofauna community characteristics (such as abundance and biomass) increased as soon as Z. noltii patches appeared. The structure of the macrofauna community also immediately diverged between sand and seagrass habitats, without however modifying the tested biotic indices (BENTIX, BOPA, AMBI). The health of the cockle population (growth, abundance, recruitment) was impacted by seagrass development. Related parasite communities slowly diverged between habitats, with more parasites in the cockles from seagrass areas. However, the number of parasites per cockle was always insufficient to alter cockle fitness.

  1. Sediment modification by seagrass beds: Muddification and sandification induced by plant cover and environmental conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Katwijk, M. M.; Bos, A. R.; Hermus, D. C. R.; Suykerbuyk, W.

    2010-09-01

    Seagrasses are well-known ecosystem engineers. They reduce water dynamics and sediment resuspension, and trap fine sediments. However, exceptions of this paradigm have been reported. To test whether these exceptions could be related to plant cover and environmental conditions, we investigated sediment modification under influence of seagrass presence in various annual eelgrass ( Zostera marina) beds with varying plant cover and sediment composition. At the relatively wave-exposed, sandy sites, dense vegetation caused muddification (increase in fine sediments and organic content) of the sediments. Sparse vegetation (<35% cover) had no effect, as such confirming the classical sediment trapping paradigm. In contrast, at the sheltered sites with muddy sediments, dense vegetation had no effect on the sediment composition, and in sparse vegetation sandification (decrease in fine sediments and organic content) was recorded. Sandification was never recorded before and was probably related to turbulence enhancement. Both, muddification and sandification are likely to provide a feedback on seagrass performance. Muddification may increase the nutrient input and, depending on the nutrient status of the system, either stimulate or reduce seagrass development. Similarly, sandification may postpone and even prevent extinction of seagrass beds when it occurs in areas that may have become too muddy for seagrass growth.

  2. Phytotoxicity of Four Photosystem II Herbicides to Tropical Seagrasses

    PubMed Central

    Flores, Florita; Collier, Catherine J.; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P.

    2013-01-01

    Coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are contaminated with agricultural pesticides, including the photosystem II (PSII) herbicides which are the most frequently detected at the highest concentrations. Designed to control weeds, these herbicides are equally potent towards non-target marine species, and the close proximity of seagrass meadows to flood plumes has raised concerns that seagrasses may be the species most threatened by herbicides from runoff. While previous work has identified effects of PSII herbicides on the photophysiology, growth and mortality in seagrass, there is little comparative quantitative toxicity data for seagrass. Here we applied standard ecotoxicology protocols to quantify the concentrations of four priority PSII herbicides that inhibit photochemistry by 10, 20 and 50% (IC10, IC20 and IC50) over 72 h in two common seagrass species from the GBR lagoon. The photosystems of seagrasses Zosteramuelleri and Haloduleuninervis were shown to be generally more sensitive to the PSII herbicides Diuron, Atrazine, Hexazinone and Tebuthiuron than corals and tropical microalgae. The herbicides caused rapid inhibition of effective quantum yield (∆F/Fm′), indicating reduced photosynthesis and maximum effective yields (Fv/Fm) corresponding to chronic damage to PSII. The PSII herbicide concentrations which affected photosynthesis have been exceeded in the GBR lagoon and all of the herbicides inhibited photosynthesis at concentrations lower than current marine park guidelines. There is a strong likelihood that the impacts of light limitation from flood plumes and reduced photosynthesis from PSII herbicides exported in the same waters would combine to affect seagrass productivity. Given that PSII herbicides have been demonstrated to affect seagrass at environmental concentrations, we suggest that revision of environmental guidelines and further efforts to reduce PSII herbicide concentrations in floodwaters may both help protect seagrass meadows of

  3. Phytotoxicity of four photosystem II herbicides to tropical seagrasses.

    PubMed

    Flores, Florita; Collier, Catherine J; Mercurio, Philip; Negri, Andrew P

    2013-01-01

    Coastal waters of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are contaminated with agricultural pesticides, including the photosystem II (PSII) herbicides which are the most frequently detected at the highest concentrations. Designed to control weeds, these herbicides are equally potent towards non-target marine species, and the close proximity of seagrass meadows to flood plumes has raised concerns that seagrasses may be the species most threatened by herbicides from runoff. While previous work has identified effects of PSII herbicides on the photophysiology, growth and mortality in seagrass, there is little comparative quantitative toxicity data for seagrass. Here we applied standard ecotoxicology protocols to quantify the concentrations of four priority PSII herbicides that inhibit photochemistry by 10, 20 and 50% (IC10, IC20 and IC50) over 72 h in two common seagrass species from the GBR lagoon. The photosystems of seagrasses Zosteramuelleri and Haloduleuninervis were shown to be generally more sensitive to the PSII herbicides Diuron, Atrazine, Hexazinone and Tebuthiuron than corals and tropical microalgae. The herbicides caused rapid inhibition of effective quantum yield (∆F/F m '), indicating reduced photosynthesis and maximum effective yields (Fv/Fm ) corresponding to chronic damage to PSII. The PSII herbicide concentrations which affected photosynthesis have been exceeded in the GBR lagoon and all of the herbicides inhibited photosynthesis at concentrations lower than current marine park guidelines. There is a strong likelihood that the impacts of light limitation from flood plumes and reduced photosynthesis from PSII herbicides exported in the same waters would combine to affect seagrass productivity. Given that PSII herbicides have been demonstrated to affect seagrass at environmental concentrations, we suggest that revision of environmental guidelines and further efforts to reduce PSII herbicide concentrations in floodwaters may both help protect seagrass meadows of

  4. The effects of the polychaete Nereis diversicolor on the distribution and transplanting success of Zostera noltii

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, R. G.; Lloyd, D.; Ball, L.; Emson, D.

    2000-07-01

    Loss of saltmarsh vegetation in south-east England is a significant problem for conservation and coastal defence. The losses of vegetation began in the 1930s with the loss of intertidal Zostera marina and have continued more recently. Some preliminary trials at re-establishing Zostera in some estuaries of Essex have not been successful. This paper addresses the hypothesis that the infauna, particularly the polychaete Nereis diversicolor, may restrict natural colonisation by Zostera and reduce the success of transplanting trials. In field experiments, Z. noltii were transplanted into areas where Nereis were common, close to an established seagrass bed and into two other estuaries. The transplants protected from the effects of the polychaetes by netting had a higher survival rate, lower index of root damage and greater biomass at the end of the experiments than those that were unprotected. In laboratory experiments, Nereis reduced the survival of Z. noltii. They were observed grasping the leaves and pulling them into their burrows. These results indicate that herbivory and disturbance by N. diversicolor is responsible, at least in part, for the restriction of the distribution of Z. noltii and may have been important in limiting the success of previous transplanting experiments. A hypothesis is proposed which states that there are two stable states on the upper mud-flats. One state is dominated by plants, including Zostera spp., which prevent colonisation by burrowing infauna, and the other is dominated by infauna which prevent colonisation by plants. Managing these two states could be the key to re-establishing the early successional stages of saltmarsh development.

  5. The contribution of scarid herbivory to seagrass ecosystem dynamics in the Indo-Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unsworth, Richard K. F.; Taylor, Joe D.; Powell, Abigail; Bell, James J.; Smith, David J.

    2007-08-01

    The functional importance of herbivory is well established within terrestrial ecosystems yet within marine ecosystems, specifically seagrass beds, consumption by herbivores has generally been considered to be of little importance due to its minor contribution to turnover of growth. The present paper challenges this assumption within the Indo-Pacific and shows that scarid (parrotfish) herbivory may have a functionally important role in the export of seagrass detrital material. Estimation of scarid herbivory on dominant Indo-Pacific seagrass species was conducted using a three pronged approach. We estimated: background levels of scarid seagrass bites; in-situ rates of grazing using tethering experiments; and seagrass grazing effect per individual scarid, which was scaled up to estimate the grazing effects of the local scarid population. All research was carried out within the Wakatobi Marine National Park, Indonesia. Research found scarid herbivory to be an important process within an Indo-Pacific seagrass bed causing the loss of up to ten times (average, four times) the daily seagrass growth. T. hemprichii was found to be lost at a rate of 0.28 ± 0.08 g DW day -1, while E. acoroides was lost at a rate of 2.85 ± 0.43 g DW day -1. We propose that such high rates of seagrass consumption are the combined effects of seasonally high grazing rates by resident scarids and short-term effects from shoals of juvenile reef scarids. Scarid grazing was indiscriminate between seagrass species and grazing was dependant on seagrass availability rather than nutritional quality. In conclusion, the present research finds scarids to be major herbivores within an Indo-Pacific seagrass bed; they not only take up carbon into the food chain through direct seagrass consumption, but also make an important indirect contribution to the detrital food chain through the export of discarded decaying seagrass material.

  6. Material exchange and food web of seagrass beds in the Sylt-Rømø Bight: how significant are community changes at the ecosystem level?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asmus, H.; Asmus, R.

    2000-07-01

    Material exchange, biodiversity and trophic transfer within the food web were investigated in two different types of intertidal seagrass beds: a sheltered, dense Zostera marina bed and a more exposed, sparse Z. noltii bed, in the Northern Wadden Sea. Both types of Zostera beds show a seasonal development of above-ground biomass, and therefore measurements were carried out during the vegetation period in summer. The exchange of particles and nutrients between seagrass beds and the overlying water was measured directly using an in situ flume. Particle sedimentation [carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) constituents] from the water column prevailed in dense seagrass beds. In the sheltered, dense seagrass bed, a net particle uptake was found even on windy days (7-8 Beaufort). Dissolved inorganic N and orthophosphate were mainly taken up by the dense seagrass bed. At times of strong winds, nutrients were released from the benthic community to tidal waters. In a budget calculation of total N and total P, the dense seagrass beds were characterised as a material sink. The seagrass beds with sparse Z. noltii were a source of particles even during calm weather. The uptake of dissolved inorganic N in the sparse seagrass bed was low but significant, while the uptake of inorganic phosphate and silicate by seagrasses and their epiphytes was exceeded by release processes from the sediment into the overlying water. Estimates at the ecosystem level showed that material fluxes of seagrass beds in the Sylt-Rømø Bight are dominated by the dense type of Zostera beds. Therefore, seagrass beds act as a sink for particles and for dissolved inorganic nutrients. During storms, seagrass beds are distinct sources for inorganic nutrients. The total intertidal area of the Sylt-Rømø Bight could be described as a sink for particles and a source for dissolved nutrients. This balance of the material budget was estimated by either including or excluding seagrass beds. Including the

  7. Relative foraminiferan abundance as an indicator of seagrass sediment health:

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cajandig, P.; Quiros, A.; Nolan, H.; Tallman, R.; Cooper, N.; Ayala, J.; Courtier, C.

    2013-12-01

    Authors: Patrick Cajandig*, Jose Ayala**, Nathaniel Cooper**, Catherine Courtier**, Hannah Nolan**, Rachelle Tallman**, T.E. Angela L. Quiros** * Davis High-School CA, **University of California Santa Cruz, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Seagrasses are a key component in coastal ecosystems. Found in shallow marine environments, they make a large contribution to coastal ecosystem health by sustaining water quality, stabilizing the sea bottom, and providing habitat as well as food for other organisms. Seagrasses accumulate tiny grains of sediment, increasing water clarity. Just like barren hills are prone to erosion compared to vegetated, rooted down hills, we find a similar situation in the ocean. Seagrasses have broad roots that extend vertically and horizontally to help stabilize the seabed. Seagrasses support a whole ecosystem, because some organisms feed off of the seagrass alone, while others feed off the inhabitants of the seagrass. The quality of sediment is a vital part of seagrass health, just like nutrient rich soils are important to land plants. But what in seagrass sediment is a good indication of health? We hypothesize that seagrass health measures such as percent cover and seagrass species diversity are related to the abundance of foraminiferans relative to other seagrass sediment components. My mentor, T. E. Angela L. Quiros, from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), collected the sediment samples from seagrass beds in the Philippines. Samples were dried and brought to UCSC for sediment sieving. We used different sized sieves to sort the sediment. These sieves ranged from coarse to very fine sieves (Phi -2.0 (coarse) through +3.0 (fine) going in 0.5 intervals on a log scale). We weighed the sediment that was caught in each tray and separated them into bags of different size classes. To analyze each sample, we subsampled four size classes (Phi's -2.0, -1.5,-1.0, 0.0), and used a dissecting scope to identify and then weigh the

  8. Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fourqurean, James W.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Kennedy, Hilary; Marbà, Núria; Holmer, Marianne; Mateo, Miguel Angel; Apostolaki, Eugenia T.; Kendrick, Gary A.; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; McGlathery, Karen J.; Serrano, Oscar

    2012-07-01

    The protection of organic carbon stored in forests is considered as an important method for mitigating climate change. Like terrestrial ecosystems, coastal ecosystems store large amounts of carbon, and there are initiatives to protect these `blue carbon' stores. Organic carbon stocks in tidal salt marshes and mangroves have been estimated, but uncertainties in the stores of seagrass meadows--some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth--hinder the application of marine carbon conservation schemes. Here, we compile published and unpublished measurements of the organic carbon content of living seagrass biomass and underlying soils in 946 distinct seagrass meadows across the globe. Using only data from sites for which full inventories exist, we estimate that, globally, seagrass ecosystems could store as much as 19.9Pg organic carbon; according to a more conservative approach, in which we incorporate more data from surface soils and depth-dependent declines in soil carbon stocks, we estimate that the seagrass carbon pool lies between 4.2 and 8.4Pg carbon. We estimate that present rates of seagrass loss could result in the release of up to 299Tg carbon per year, assuming that all of the organic carbon in seagrass biomass and the top metre of soils is remineralized.

  9. Learning about Coastal Trends: What Is the Story with Seagrass... and How Does It Affect Me?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ksiazek, Kelly; McGlathery, Karen; Reynolds, Laura; Schwarzschild, Arthur; Wilkerson, Carissa; Carruthers, Tim; Gurbisz, Cassie; Woerner, Joanna L.; Murray, Laura

    2009-01-01

    Flowering plants that live underwater in marine and estuarine habitats (seagrasses) are important because they support human food sources, such as crabs and fish, as well as endangered animals, such as turtles and manatees. Seagrasses are now known to be declining globally, largely as a result of increasing pressure from human populations living…

  10. DISTRIBUTION AND QUALITY OF SEAGRASS MEADOWS IN THE PENSACOLA BAY SYSTEM

    EPA Science Inventory

    Abstract for oral presentation: Seagrass meadows have 22 ecological benefits and have an estimated value of $20,500 per acre in Florida. Seagrass meadows support a variety of marine life that includes macroalgae (148 species), epiphytes (1 13 species), macroinvertebrates (230 spe...

  11. Faunal communities and habitat characteristics of the Big Bend seagrass meadows, 2009-2010.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrass meadows are important habitats that serve as nursery, feeding, and sheltering grounds for many marine species. In addition to the ecosystem functions and services they provide, seagrass habitats and associated fauna are commonly observed to have naturally high levels of...

  12. Influence of temperature and salinity on germination of eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) seeds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Jinhua; Jiang, Xin; Li, Xiaojie; Cong, Yizhou; Zhang, Zhuangzhi; Li, Zhiling; Zhou, Weili; Han, Houwei; Luo, Shiju; Yang, Guanpin

    2011-06-01

    Seagrass restoration as part of ocean ecosystem protection has been launched for many years all over the world, but intensive research on this subject in China has just begun in recent years. Seed broadcasting has been widely accepted as the most potentially useful method for seagrass restoration over large areas. We examined the influence of key environmental factors on seed germination to help promote eelgrass bed restoration. Under anoxic conditions, the influence of temperature and salinity on the germination rate of eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) seeds was examined at different combinations of four temperatures (4, 9, 14, and 24°C) and nine salinities (5 to 45, increment of 5). The effect of significant interaction of temperature and salinity on germination rate was observed (ANOVA) ( P<0.001). The highest germination rate (83.3 ± 3.5)% was reached in 8 weeks at 14°C and salinity 5. Higher temperature significantly increased the germination rate at salinity 5 ( P<0.001) during the whole observation period except for 24°C, while lower salinity significantly increased the germination rate at 14°C ( P<0.001). Although significant interaction was found between temperature and salinity ( P<0.001), the influence of salinity was stronger than that of temperature for the germination of eelgrass seeds. These results provide useful information for the propagation of artificial seedlings for seagrass restoration in China.

  13. Predictive Seagrass Habitat Model

    EPA Science Inventory

    Restoration of ecosystem services provided by seagrass habitats in estuaries requires a firm understanding of the modes of action of multiple interacting stressors including nutrients, climate change, coastal land-use change, and habitat modification. We explored the application...

  14. Simulation of seagrass bed mapping by satellite images based on the radiative transfer model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sagawa, Tatsuyuki; Komatsu, Teruhisa

    2015-06-01

    Seagrass and seaweed beds play important roles in coastal marine ecosystems. They are food sources and habitats for many marine organisms, and influence the physical, chemical, and biological environment. They are sensitive to human impacts such as reclamation and pollution. Therefore, their management and preservation are necessary for a healthy coastal environment. Satellite remote sensing is a useful tool for mapping and monitoring seagrass beds. The efficiency of seagrass mapping, seagrass bed classification in particular, has been evaluated by mapping accuracy using an error matrix. However, mapping accuracies are influenced by coastal environments such as seawater transparency, bathymetry, and substrate type. Coastal management requires sufficient accuracy and an understanding of mapping limitations for monitoring coastal habitats including seagrass beds. Previous studies are mainly based on case studies in specific regions and seasons. Extensive data are required to generalise assessments of classification accuracy from case studies, which has proven difficult. This study aims to build a simulator based on a radiative transfer model to produce modelled satellite images and assess the visual detectability of seagrass beds under different transparencies and seagrass coverages, as well as to examine mapping limitations and classification accuracy. Our simulations led to the development of a model of water transparency and the mapping of depth limits and indicated the possibility for seagrass density mapping under certain ideal conditions. The results show that modelling satellite images is useful in evaluating the accuracy of classification and that establishing seagrass bed monitoring by remote sensing is a reliable tool.

  15. Use of digital multispectral videography to assess seagrass distribution in San Quintin Bay, Baja California, Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ward, D.H.; Tibbitts, T.L.; Morton, Alexandra; Carrera-Gonzalez, Eduardo; Kempka, R.

    2004-01-01

    Apparent threats to the spatial distribution of seagrass in San Quinti??n Bay prompted us to make a detailed assessment of habitats in the bay. Six coastal habitats and three seagrass subclasses were delineated using airborne digital multispectral videography (DMSV), Eelgrass, Zostera marina, was the predominant seagrass and covered 40% (1949 ha) of the areal extent of the bay in 1999. Eelgrass grew over a wide range of tidal depths from about -3.0 in mean lower low water (MLLW) to about 1.0 m MLLW, but greatest spatial extent occurred in intertidal areas -0.6 m to 1.0 m MLLW. Exposed-continuous (i.e., high density) eelgrass was the most abundant habitat in the bay. Widgeongrass, Ruppia maritima, was the only other seagrass present and covered 3% (136 ha) of the areal extent of the entire bay. Widgeongrass grew in single species stands in the upper intertidal (??? 0.4 MLLW) and intermixed with eelgrass at lower tidal depths. Overall accuracy of the six habitat classes and three subclasses in the DMSV map was relatively high at 84%. Our detailed map of San Quintin Bay can be used in future change detection analyses to monitor the health of seagrasses in the bay.

  16. Growth effects of shading and sedimentation in two tropical seagrass species: Implications for port management and impact assessment.

    PubMed

    Benham, Claudia F; Beavis, Sara G; Hendry, Rebecca A; Jackson, Emma L

    2016-08-15

    Seagrass meadows in many parts of the globe are threatened by a range of processes including port development, dredging and land clearing in coastal catchments, which can reduce water clarity and increase sedimentation pressure. As rates of seagrass loss increase, there is an urgent need to understand the potential impacts of development on these critical species. This research compares the effects of shading and burial by fine sand on two seagrass species Zostera muelleri and Halophila ovalis in Port Curtis Bay, an industrial harbour located on the continental margin adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Heritage Area, Australia. The research finds that shading in combination with burial causes a significant decline in growth rates in both species, but that burial ≥10mm reduces growth rates to a greater extent than shading. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for port management and impact assessment. PMID:27269385

  17. Resource utilization and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods in and adjacent to Zostera noltii beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vafeiadou, A.-M.; Materatski, P.; Adão, H.; De Troch, M.; Moens, T.

    2014-01-01

    This study examines the resource use and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods at the genus/species level in an estuarine food web in Zostera noltii beds and in adjacent bare sediments, using the natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Microphytobenthos is among the main resources of most taxa, but seagrass-associated resources (i.e. seagrass detritus and epiphytes) also contribute to meiobenthos nutrition, with seagrass detritus being available also in deeper sediments and in unvegetated patches close to seagrass beds. A predominant dependence on chemoautotrophic bacteria was demonstrated for the nematode genus Terschellingia and the copepod family Cletodidae. A predatory feeding mode is illustrated for Paracomesoma and other Comesomatidae, which were previously considered first-level consumers (deposit feeders) according to their buccal morphology. The considerable variation found in both resource use and trophic level among nematode genera from the same feeding type, and even among congeneric nematode species, shows that interpretation of nematode feeding ecology based purely on mouth morphology should be avoided.

  18. Top-down control of epifauna by fishes enhances seagrass production.

    PubMed

    Lewis, Levi S; Anderson, Todd W

    2012-12-01

    Predators can influence the structure and function of ecosystems by altering the composition or behavior of herbivore communities. Overexploitation of predators, therefore, may lead to habitat loss by altering important top-down interactions that facilitate habitat-forming species. In seagrass beds, top-down control of algal growth by mesograzers appears to facilitate seagrass production. The indirect consequences of higher-order trophic interactions, however, remain unclear. Although predators may limit the beneficial effects of algal mesograzers, it is also possible that they limit the abundance of invertebrates that consume and foul seagrasses. We used experimental enclosure and exclosure cages to explore the direct and indirect effects of microcarnivorous fishes on epifaunal invertebrates, epiphytic loads, and seagrass growth in a natural eelgrass (Zostera marina) bed in San Diego Bay, California, USA. Contrary to expectations, when fishes were excluded, invertebrate abundance increased by 300-1000%, fouling on eelgrass leaves increased by 600%, and eelgrass production declined by 50%. Despite high densities of predators in enclosures, subsequent effects did not differ from ambient conditions. When predators were excluded, however, abundances of epifauna (including tube-building crustaceans and an eelgrass-grazing limpet) increased dramatically, resulting in reduced seagrass production. Our results are supported by several studies of eelgrass communities in the northeastern Pacific, characterized by coastal upwelling, inverse estuaries, and a voracious seagrass-consuming limpet. These strong, positive, indirect effects of microcarnivores on seagrass production contrast with the beneficial mesograzer paradigm, highlighting the need for hypotheses to be tested across a variety of ecosystems with varying biophysical characteristics. PMID:23431604

  19. Local competition and metapopulation processes drive long-term seagrass-epiphyte population dynamics.

    PubMed

    Lobelle, Delphine; Kenyon, Emma J; Cook, Kevan J; Bull, James C

    2013-01-01

    It is well known that ecological processes such as population regulation and natural enemy interactions potentially occur over a range of spatial scales, and there is a substantial body of literature developing theoretical understanding of the interplay between these processes. However, there are comparatively few studies quantifying the long-term effects of spatial scaling in natural ecosystems. A key challenge is that trophic complexity in real-world biological communities quickly obscures the signal from a focal process. Seagrass meadows provide an excellent opportunity in this respect: in many instances, seagrasses effectively form extensive natural monocultures, in which hypotheses about endogenous dynamics can be formulated and tested. We present amongst the longest unbroken, spatially explict time series of seagrass abundance published to date. Data include annual measures of shoot density, total above-ground abundance, and associated epiphyte cover from five Zostera marina meadows distributed around the Isles of Scilly, UK, from 1996 to 2011. We explore empirical patterns at the local and metapopulation scale using standard time series analysis and develop a simple population dynamic model, testing the hypothesis that both local and metapopulation scale feedback processes are important. We find little evidence of an interaction between scales in seagrass dynamics but that both scales contribute approximately equally to observed local epiphyte abundance. By quantifying the long-term dynamics of seagrass-epiphyte interactions we show how measures of density and extent are both important in establishing baseline information relevant to predicting responses to environmental change and developing management plans. We hope that this study complements existing mechanistic studies of physiology, genetics and productivity in seagrass, whilst highlighting the potential of seagrass as a model ecosystem. More generally, this study provides a rare opportunity to test

  20. Local Competition and Metapopulation Processes Drive Long-Term Seagrass-Epiphyte Population Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Lobelle, Delphine; Kenyon, Emma J.; Cook, Kevan J.; Bull, James C.

    2013-01-01

    It is well known that ecological processes such as population regulation and natural enemy interactions potentially occur over a range of spatial scales, and there is a substantial body of literature developing theoretical understanding of the interplay between these processes. However, there are comparatively few studies quantifying the long-term effects of spatial scaling in natural ecosystems. A key challenge is that trophic complexity in real-world biological communities quickly obscures the signal from a focal process. Seagrass meadows provide an excellent opportunity in this respect: in many instances, seagrasses effectively form extensive natural monocultures, in which hypotheses about endogenous dynamics can be formulated and tested. We present amongst the longest unbroken, spatially explict time series of seagrass abundance published to date. Data include annual measures of shoot density, total above-ground abundance, and associated epiphyte cover from five Zostera marina meadows distributed around the Isles of Scilly, UK, from 1996 to 2011. We explore empirical patterns at the local and metapopulation scale using standard time series analysis and develop a simple population dynamic model, testing the hypothesis that both local and metapopulation scale feedback processes are important. We find little evidence of an interaction between scales in seagrass dynamics but that both scales contribute approximately equally to observed local epiphyte abundance. By quantifying the long-term dynamics of seagrass-epiphyte interactions we show how measures of density and extent are both important in establishing baseline information relevant to predicting responses to environmental change and developing management plans. We hope that this study complements existing mechanistic studies of physiology, genetics and productivity in seagrass, whilst highlighting the potential of seagrass as a model ecosystem. More generally, this study provides a rare opportunity to test

  1. Seagrasses are negatively affected by organic matter loading and Arenicola marina activity in a laboratory experiment.

    PubMed

    Govers, Laura L; Pieck, Timon; Bouma, Tjeerd J; Suykerbuyk, Wouter; Smolders, Alfons J P; van Katwijk, Marieke M

    2014-06-01

    When two ecosystem engineers share the same natural environment, the outcome of their interaction will be unclear if they have contrasting habitat-modifying effects (e.g., sediment stabilization vs. sediment destabilization). The outcome of the interaction may depend on local environmental conditions such as season or sediment type, which may affect the extent and type of habitat modification by the ecosystem engineers involved. We mechanistically studied the interaction between the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltii and the bioturbating and sediment-destabilizing lugworm Arenicola marina, which sometimes co-occur for prolonged periods. We investigated (1) if the negative sediment destabilization effect of A. marina on Z. noltii might be counteracted by positive biogeochemical effects of bioirrigation (burrow flushing) by A. marina in sulfide-rich sediments, and (2) if previously observed nutrient release by A. marina bioirrigation could affect seagrasses. We tested the individual and combined effects of A. marina presence and high porewater sulfide concentrations (induced by organic matter addition) on seagrass biomass in a full factorial lab experiment. Contrary to our expectations, we did not find an effect of A. marina on porewater sulfide concentrations. A. marina activities affected the seagrass physically as well as by pumping nutrients, mainly ammonium and phosphate, from the porewater to the surface water, which promoted epiphyte growth on seagrass leaves in our experimental set-up. We conclude that A. marina bioirrigation did not alleviate sulfide stress to seagrasses. Instead, we found synergistic negative effects of the presence of A. marina and high sediment sulfide levels on seagrass biomass. PMID:24633960

  2. Seasonality in vegetation biometrics and its effects on sediment characteristics and meiofauna in Baltic seagrass meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jankowska, Emilia; Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria; Kotwicki, Lech; Balazy, Piotr; Kuliński, Karol

    2014-02-01

    Seagrass meadows can act as ecosystem engineers, i.e., organisms that modify the availability of resources to other organisms. However, their possible positive impacts depend on the characteristics of the vegetation, and these can vary strongly seasonally. This study assesses seasonal variability in macrophyte taxonomic composition and seagrass biometrics in the temperate Baltic Sea eelgrass meadows. We hypothesize that the anticipated strong seasonality in vegetation cover induces parallel seasonal changes in seagrass engineering effects as indicated by changes in sediment characteristics and meiozoobenthic abundance, composition and diversity. Macrophytes, sediments, and fauna were sampled at two locations in the Puck Bay from vegetated bottoms and bare sands five times in one year. Zostera marina vegetation occurred throughout the year and showed strong seasonality with the highest values of shoot density, leaf length, and biomass in July (202.3 ± 30.0 95% CI shoots m-2) and the lowest in March (55.4 ± 15.0 shoots m-2). POC was significantly higher in vegetated sands, and these effects were evident throughout the study period regardless of variability in macrophyte vegetation. The density and diversity of meiofauna did not differ between the seagrass beds and bare sands even in summer months when vegetation was best developed. The lack of an effect of the seagrass meadows on the meiofauna can be explained by the relatively low shoot density and biomass of the studied seagrass meadows and/or higher macrobenthic predation on the vegetated bottom compared to bare sands. However, both the canopies of macrophytes and the effects of the vegetation on benthic systems could increase substantially over the course of the gradual, natural restoration of the seagrass meadows.

  3. Wave-induced velocities inside a model seagrass bed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luhar, Mitul; Coutu, Sylvain; Infantes, Eduardo; Fox, Samantha; Nepf, Heidi

    2010-12-01

    Laboratory measurements reveal the flow structure within and above a model seagrass meadow (dynamically similar to Zostera marina) forced by progressive waves. Despite being driven by purely oscillatory flow, a mean current in the direction of wave propagation is generated within the meadow. This mean current is forced by a nonzero wave stress, similar to the streaming observed in wave boundary layers. The measured mean current is roughly four times that predicted by laminar boundary layer theory, with magnitudes as high as 38% of the near-bed orbital velocity. A simple theoretical model is developed to predict the magnitude of this mean current based on the energy dissipated within the meadow. Unlike unidirectional flow, which can be significantly damped within a meadow, the in-canopy orbital velocity is not significantly damped. Consistent with previous studies, the reduction of in-canopy velocity is a function of the ratio of orbital excursion and blade spacing.

  4. Dietary preferences of two seagrass inhabiting gastropods: Allochthonous vs autochthonous resources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doropoulos, C.; Hyndes, G. A.; Lavery, P. S.; Tuya, F.

    2009-06-01

    The movement of allochthonous resources between habitats can provide important trophic linkages in marine landscapes. In coastal south-western Australia, the kelp Ecklonia radiata is removed from reefs and accumulates in large quantities in neighbouring seagrass meadows. This study investigated the feeding preferences and grazing rates of two locally abundant gastropods, Pyrene bidentata and Cantharidus lepidus, which exhibit inverse distribution patterns with proximity to reefs in seagrass meadows, to determine whether allochthonous kelp has the potential to contribute to the seagrass food web. Using laboratory choice and no-choice feeding experiments, we tested whether detached kelp is consumed preferentially, and at greater rates, by these two species than autochthonous resources (i.e. seagrass, epiphytic red macroalgae and seagrass periphyton). Both species displayed a preference for macroalgae and seagrass periphyton over seagrass leaves. In choice experiments, neither species displayed any clear preference between kelp (fresh or aged), red macroalgae or periphyton (consumption rates ranged between 0.39 and 3.64 mg ind -1 day -1), but consumption rates were always higher relative to seagrass. In no-choice experiments, P. bidentata displayed minimal consumption of seagrass, but consumed fresh and aged kelp, red macroalgae and seagrass periphyton at similar rates (2.00-7.22 mg ind -1 day -1). In comparison, C. lepidus consumed periphyton at far greater rates than any other food source (3.61 vs 0.33-1.10 mg ind -1 day -1). The results indicate that both P. bidentata and C. lepidus showed a clear preference for macroalgae and periphyton over seagrass, but no consistent preference towards any autochthonous or allochthonous algal resource. Reef-derived kelp therefore has the potential to contribute to the food web of seagrass meadows, and subsidise secondary production.

  5. Oxic microshield and local pH enhancement protects Zostera muelleri from sediment derived hydrogen sulphide.

    PubMed

    Brodersen, Kasper Elgetti; Nielsen, Daniel Aagren; Ralph, Peter J; Kühl, Michael

    2015-02-01

    Seagrass is constantly challenged with transporting sufficient O₂ from above- to belowground tissue via aerenchyma in order to maintain aerobic metabolism and provide protection against phytotoxins. Electrochemical microsensors were used in combination with a custom-made experimental chamber to analyse the belowground biogeochemical microenvironment of Zostera muelleri under changing environmental conditions. Measurements revealed high radial O₂ release of up to 500 nmol O2 cm(-2) h(-1) from the base of the leaf sheath, maintaining a c. 300-μm-wide plant-mediated oxic microzone and thus protecting the vital meristematic regions of the rhizome from reduced phytotoxic metabolites such as hydrogen sulphide (H₂S). H₂S intrusion was prevented through passive diffusion of O₂ to belowground tissue from leaf photosynthesis in light, as well as from the surrounding water column into the flow-exposed plant parts during darkness. Under water column hypoxia, high belowground H₂S concentrations at the tissue surface correlated with the inability to sustain the protecting oxic microshield around the meristematic regions of the rhizome. We also found increased pH levels in the immediate rhizosphere of Z. muelleri, which may contribute to further detoxification of H₂S through shifts in the chemical speciation of sulphide. Zostera muelleri can modify the geochemical conditions in its immediate rhizosphere, thereby reducing its exposure to H₂S. PMID:25367685

  6. Genetic relatedness influences plant biomass accumulation in eelgrass (Zostera marina).

    PubMed

    Stachowicz, John J; Kamel, Stephanie J; Hughes, A Randall; Grosberg, Richard K

    2013-05-01

    In multispecies assemblages, phylogenetic relatedness often predicts total community biomass. In assemblages dominated by a single species, increasing the number of genotypes increases total production, but the role of genetic relatedness is unknown. We used data from three published experiments and a field survey of eelgrass (Zostera marina), a habitat-forming marine angiosperm, to examine the strength and direction of the relationship between genetic relatedness and plant biomass. The genetic relatedness of an assemblage strongly predicted its biomass, more so than the number of genotypes. However, contrary to the pattern observed in multispecies assemblages, maximum biomass occurred in assemblages of more closely related individuals. The mechanisms underlying this pattern remain unclear; however, our data support a role for both trait differentiation and cooperation among kin. Many habitat-forming species interact intensely with conspecifics of varying relatedness; thus, genetic relatedness could influence the functioning of ecosystems dominated by such species. PMID:23594554

  7. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Vibrio splendidus Strains, Isolated from Seagrass Sediment

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Ruth D.; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M.; Coil, David A.

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences of Vibrio splendidus UCD-SED7 and UCD-SED10 (phylum Proteobacteria). These strains were isolated from sediment surrounding Zostera marina roots near the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (Bodega, Bay, California). These assemblies contain 5,334,236 bp and 5,904,824 bp, respectively. PMID:26893436

  8. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Vibrio splendidus Strains, Isolated from Seagrass Sediment.

    PubMed

    Lee, Ruth D; Jospin, Guillaume; Lang, Jenna M; Eisen, Jonathan A; Coil, David A

    2016-01-01

    Here, we present the draft genome sequences of Vibrio splendidus UCD-SED7 and UCD-SED10 (phylum Proteobacteria). These strains were isolated from sediment surrounding Zostera marina roots near the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory (Bodega, Bay, California). These assemblies contain 5,334,236 bp and 5,904,824 bp, respectively. PMID:26893436

  9. Quantifying the dispersal potential of seagrass vegetative fragments: A comparison of multiple subtropical species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weatherall, E. J.; Jackson, E. L.; Hendry, R. A.; Campbell, M. L.

    2016-02-01

    Seagrass meadows are threatened by anthropogenic and natural disturbances on both a local and global scale. Understanding the potential for seagrasses to disperse, connecting populations separated by unsuitable habitat is important to assess the resilience of regional populations. This study investigated the relative dispersal potential of vegetative fragments of seagrass from five subtropical species (Zostera muelleri, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Halophila spinulosa, Halophila decipiens). Five questions were examined: 1) do vegetative fragments of different species settle at different velocities; 2) does a species morphometric variables influence settling velocities; 3) is a species settling velocity related to the species local distribution; 4) does temperature stress affect settling velocity; and 5) what is the composition and potential viability of seagrass fragments floating in the bay. A proportional distribution index for each species was determined using data from a habitat prediction model. It was found that H. spinulosa settled significantly faster than the remaining species and Z. muelleri settled the slowest. Variables influencing settling velocity included rhizome length, weight and surface area. In both Z. muelleri and H. ovalis settling velocities were significantly greater at higher temperatures (although there was no significant difference between approximately 5 and 10 °C above ambient temperature). H. uninervis was not significantly influenced by temperature. There was a significant negative correlation between species settling velocities and their distribution.

  10. Long-Term Field Study Reveals Subtle Effects of the Invasive Alga Sargassum muticum upon the Epibiota of Zostera marina

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species can alter coastal ecosystems both directly, e.g. through competition for substratum and nutrients, and indirectly. Indirect effects may be mediated by creation of dissimilar or inimical habitats, changes in predator and/or prey assemblages, alterations in associated biota, and perturbations of water movement and thermal regimes. Previous studies have shown that invasive algae can modify native habitat architecture, disrupt intricately linked food webs and alter epibiotic assemblages. In the UK, the seagrass Zostera marina supports a diverse epibiotic assemblage, influencing key factors such as sediment dynamics, depositional regime and trophic linkages. Increasing encroachment of the invasive alga Sargassum muticum into seagrass meadows changes the physical and chemical characteristics of the local environment and creates the potential for changes in the epibionts associated with the seagrass blades, threatening the integrity of the seagrass ecosystem. We investigated the effects of S. muticum invasion upon the epibiota of Z. marina in a drowned river valley in SW England seasonally from spring to autumn over four years in an in-situ manipulative experiment, comparing permanent quadrats with and without artificially introduced S. muticum. Epibiota were weighed, identified to the most detailed operational taxonomic unit (OTU) possible, and unitary organisms were enumerated. Multivariate PERMANOVA+ analysis revealed significant differences in epibiont assemblages between Sargassum treatments. Linear mixed effects models indicated that differences in epibiota assemblage composition were not reflected as significant differences in mean biomass per sample, or number of epibiont OTUs per sample. We conclude that S. muticum invasion into Z. marina meadows may significantly alter the species composition and abundance distribution of epibiotic assemblages found on the blades of the seagrass. Thus S. muticum invasion could have more wide-reaching effects on

  11. A comparative analysis of benthic nematode assemblages from Zostera noltii beds before and after a major vegetation collapse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Materatski, Patrick; Vafeiadou, Anna-Maria; Ribeiro, Rui; Moens, Tom; Adão, Helena

    2015-12-01

    Benthic nematodes are widely regarded as very suitable organisms to monitor potential ecological effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances in aquatic ecosystems. During 2008, the seagrass beds of Zostera noltii located in the Mira estuary (SW Portugal) disappeared completely. However, during 2009, slight symptoms of natural recovery were observed, a process which has since evolved intermittently. This study aims to investigate changes in patterns of nematode density, diversity, and trophic composition between two distinct habitat conditions: "before" the collapse of seagrass beds, and during the early recovery "after" the seagrass habitat loss, through the analysis of: i) temporal and spatial distribution patterns of nematode communities, and ii) the most important environmental variables influencing the nematode assemblages. The following hypotheses were tested: i) there would be differences in nematode assemblage density, biodiversity and trophic composition during both ecological conditions, "before" and "after"; and ii) there would be differences in nematode assemblage density, biodiversity and trophic composition at different sampling occasions during both ecological conditions. Nematode density and diversity were significantly different between the two ecological situations. A higher density was recorded before, but a higher diversity was evident after the collapse of Z. noltii. In spite of the disturbance caused by the seagrass habitat loss in the Mira estuary, the nematode trophic composition did not significantly differ between the before and after seagrass collapse situations. Despite the significant differences found among sampling occasions, a consistent temporal pattern was not evident. The response of nematode communities following this extreme event exhibited considerable resistance and resilience to the new environmental conditions.

  12. Long-Term Field Study Reveals Subtle Effects of the Invasive Alga Sargassum muticum upon the Epibiota of Zostera marina.

    PubMed

    DeAmicis, Stacey; Foggo, Andrew

    2015-01-01

    Invasive species can alter coastal ecosystems both directly, e.g. through competition for substratum and nutrients, and indirectly. Indirect effects may be mediated by creation of dissimilar or inimical habitats, changes in predator and/or prey assemblages, alterations in associated biota, and perturbations of water movement and thermal regimes. Previous studies have shown that invasive algae can modify native habitat architecture, disrupt intricately linked food webs and alter epibiotic assemblages. In the UK, the seagrass Zostera marina supports a diverse epibiotic assemblage, influencing key factors such as sediment dynamics, depositional regime and trophic linkages. Increasing encroachment of the invasive alga Sargassum muticum into seagrass meadows changes the physical and chemical characteristics of the local environment and creates the potential for changes in the epibionts associated with the seagrass blades, threatening the integrity of the seagrass ecosystem. We investigated the effects of S. muticum invasion upon the epibiota of Z. marina in a drowned river valley in SW England seasonally from spring to autumn over four years in an in-situ manipulative experiment, comparing permanent quadrats with and without artificially introduced S. muticum. Epibiota were weighed, identified to the most detailed operational taxonomic unit (OTU) possible, and unitary organisms were enumerated. Multivariate PERMANOVA+ analysis revealed significant differences in epibiont assemblages between Sargassum treatments. Linear mixed effects models indicated that differences in epibiota assemblage composition were not reflected as significant differences in mean biomass per sample, or number of epibiont OTUs per sample. We conclude that S. muticum invasion into Z. marina meadows may significantly alter the species composition and abundance distribution of epibiotic assemblages found on the blades of the seagrass. Thus S. muticum invasion could have more wide-reaching effects on

  13. Role of two contrasting ecosystem engineers ( Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) on the food intake rate of Cerastoderma edule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brun, Fernando G.; van Zetten, Elleke; Cacabelos, Eva; Bouma, Tjeerd J.

    2009-03-01

    Seagrasses are well known ecosystem engineers that can significantly influence local hydrodynamics and the abundance and biodiversity of macrobenthic organisms. This study focuses on the potential role of the seagrass canopy structure in altering the abundance of filter-feeding organisms by modifying the hydrodynamic driven food supply. We quantified the effect of two ecosystem engineers with contrasting canopy properties (i.e. Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) on the food intake rate of a suspension-feeding bivalve Cerastoderma edule living in these seagrass meadows. Field experiments were carried out in two seagrass beds ( Z. noltii and C. nodosa) and bare sediment, located on sandflat characterised by a relatively high hydrodynamic energy from waves and currents. Results demonstrated that the filter-feeding rate was almost twofold increased when C. edule was inhabiting Z. noltii meadows (1.10 ± 0.24 μg Chl g Fresh Weight-1) when compared to cockles living on the bare sediment (0.65 ± 0.14 μg Chl g FW-1). Intermediate values were found within C. nodosa canopy (0.97 ± 0.24 μg Chl g FW-1), but filter feeding rate showed no significant differences with values for Z. noltii meadows. There were no apparent correlations between canopy properties and filter-feeding rates. Our results imply that food refreshment within the seagrass canopies was enough to avoid food depletion. We therefore expect that the ameliorated environmental conditions within vegetated areas (i.e. lower hydrodynamic conditions, higher sediment stability, lower predation pressure…) in combination with sufficient food supply to prevent depletion within both canopies are the main factors underlying our observations.

  14. Comparing the performance of species distribution models of Zostera marina: Implications for conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle, Mireia; van Katwijk, Marieke M.; de Jong, Dick J.; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Schipper, Aafke M.; Chust, Guillem; Benito, Blas M.; Garmendia, Joxe M.; Borja, Ángel

    2013-10-01

    Intertidal seagrasses show high variability in their extent and location, with local extinctions and (re-)colonizations being inherent in their population dynamics. Suitable habitats are identified usually using Species Distribution Models (SDM), based upon the overall distribution of the species; thus, accounting solely for spatial variability. To include temporal effects caused by large interannual variability, we constructed SDMs for different combinations and fusions of yearly distribution data. The main objectives were to: (i) assess the spatio-temporal dynamics of an intertidal seagrass bed of Zostera marina; (ii) select the most accurate SDM techniques to model different temporal distribution data subsets of the species; (iii) assess the relative importance of the environmental variables for each data subset; and (iv) evaluate the accuracy of the models to predict species conservation areas, addressing implications for management. To address these objectives, a time series of 14-year distribution data of Zostera marina in the Ems estuary (The Netherlands) was used to build different data subsets: (1) total presence area; (2) a conservative estimate of the total presence area, defined as the area which had been occupied during at least 4 years; (3) core area, defined as the area which had been occupied during at least 2/3 of the total period; and (4-6) three random selections of monitoring years. On average, colonized and disappeared areas of the species in the Ems estuary showed remarkably similar transition probabilities of 12.7% and 12.9%, respectively. SDMs based upon machine-learning methods (Boosted Regression Trees and Random Forest) outperformed regression-based methods. Current velocity and wave exposure were the most important variables predicting the species presence for widely distributed data. Depth and sea floor slope were relevant to predict conservative presence area and core area. It is concluded that, the fusion of the spatial distribution

  15. Interaction between Ammonium Toxicity and Green Tide Development Over Seagrass Meadows: A Laboratory Study.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Marín, Francisco; Vergara, Juan J; Pérez-Llorens, J Lucas; Pedersen, Morten F; Brun, Fernando G

    2016-01-01

    Eutrophication affects seagrasses negatively by increasing light attenuation through stimulation of biomass of fast-growing, bloom-forming algae and because high concentrations of ammonium in the water can be toxic to higher plants. We hypothesized nevertheless, that moderate amounts of nitrophilic macroalgae that coexists with seagrasses under eutrophic conditions, can alleviate the harmful effects of eutrophication on seagrasses by reducing ammonium concentrations in the seawater to non-toxic levels because such algae have a very large capacity to take up inorganic nutrients. We studied therefore how combinations of different ammonium concentrations (0, 25 and 50 μM) and different standing stocks of macroalgae (i.e. 0, 1 and 6 layers of Ulva sp.) affected survival, growth and net production of the seagrass Zostera noltei. In the absence of Ulva sp., increasing ammonium concentrations had a negative influence on the performance of Z. noltei. The presence of Ulva sp. without ammonium supply had a similar, but slightly smaller, negative effect on seagrass fitness due to light attenuation. When ammonium enrichment was combined with presence of Ulva sp., Ulva sp. ameliorated some of negative effects caused by high ammonium availability although Ulva sp. lowered the availability of light. Benthic microalgae, which increased in biomass during the experiment, seemed to play a similar role as Ulva sp.--they contributed to remove ammonium from the water, and thus, aided to keep the ammonium concentrations experienced by Z. noltei at relatively non-toxic levels. Our findings show that moderate amounts of drift macroalgae, eventually combined with increasing stocks of benthic microalgae, may aid seagrasses to alleviate toxic effects of ammonium under eutrophic conditions, which highlights the importance of high functional diversity for ecosystem resistance to anthropogenic disturbance. PMID:27035662

  16. Interaction between Ammonium Toxicity and Green Tide Development Over Seagrass Meadows: A Laboratory Study

    PubMed Central

    Moreno-Marín, Francisco; Vergara, Juan J.; Pérez-Llorens, J. Lucas; Pedersen, Morten F.; Brun, Fernando G.

    2016-01-01

    Eutrophication affects seagrasses negatively by increasing light attenuation through stimulation of biomass of fast-growing, bloom-forming algae and because high concentrations of ammonium in the water can be toxic to higher plants. We hypothesized nevertheless, that moderate amounts of nitrophilic macroalgae that coexists with seagrasses under eutrophic conditions, can alleviate the harmful effects of eutrophication on seagrasses by reducing ammonium concentrations in the seawater to non-toxic levels because such algae have a very large capacity to take up inorganic nutrients. We studied therefore how combinations of different ammonium concentrations (0, 25 and 50 μM) and different standing stocks of macroalgae (i.e. 0, 1 and 6 layers of Ulva sp.) affected survival, growth and net production of the seagrass Zostera noltei. In the absence of Ulva sp., increasing ammonium concentrations had a negative influence on the performance of Z. noltei. The presence of Ulva sp. without ammonium supply had a similar, but slightly smaller, negative effect on seagrass fitness due to light attenuation. When ammonium enrichment was combined with presence of Ulva sp., Ulva sp. ameliorated some of negative effects caused by high ammonium availability although Ulva sp. lowered the availability of light. Benthic microalgae, which increased in biomass during the experiment, seemed to play a similar role as Ulva sp.–they contributed to remove ammonium from the water, and thus, aided to keep the ammonium concentrations experienced by Z. noltei at relatively non-toxic levels. Our findings show that moderate amounts of drift macroalgae, eventually combined with increasing stocks of benthic microalgae, may aid seagrasses to alleviate toxic effects of ammonium under eutrophic conditions, which highlights the importance of high functional diversity for ecosystem resistance to anthropogenic disturbance. PMID:27035662

  17. Assessing establishment success of Zostera marina transplants through measurements of shoot morphology and growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Wen-Tao; Kim, Jong-Hyeob; Park, Jung-Im; Lee, Kun-Seop

    2010-07-01

    Since significant seagrass declines have been reported worldwide, numerous seagrass restoration projects through transplantation have been attempted in recent decades. In this study, Zostera marina shoots were transplanted into Jindong Bay on the southern coast of Korea in November 2006 to assess establishment success of the transplants to a new transplant environment. Shoot density, individual shoot weight, productivity, and morphological characteristics of transplants and reference plants in the vicinity of the planting site were monitored monthly for 13 months. Although shoot size of transplants was smaller than that of reference plants at the start of transplantation, individual shoot weight, leaf width, shoot height, and rhizome diameter of transplants increased rapidly, reaching even higher values than those of reference plants 5 months after transplantation. These results suggest that eelgrass transplants established morphologically 5 months after transplantation. Shoot productivity of transplants was lower than that of reference population during the first 5-6 months following transplantation, but became higher than that of reference population 6 months after transplantation. The higher transplant productivity was likely due to the lower shoot density at the transplant site than that at the reference population. Rapid changes in shoot morphology and growth of transplants indicated that eelgrass transplants had great morphological plasticity and established successfully in the new environment within 5-6 months. In addition to survival rates of transplants, monitoring of shoot morphology and growth appeared to be an effective approach for accurate assessment of the establishment success of eelgrass transplant.

  18. Population structure and genetic diversity among eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds and depths in San Francisco Bay.

    PubMed

    Ort, Brian S; Cohen, C Sarah; Boyer, Katharyn E; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy

    2012-07-01

    The seagrass Zostera marina is widely distributed in coastal regions throughout much of the northern hemisphere, forms the foundation of an important ecological habitat, and is suffering population declines. Studies in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans indicate that the degree of population genetic differentiation is location dependent. San Francisco Bay, California, USA, is a high-current, high-wind environment where rafting of seed-bearing shoots has the potential to enhance genetic connectivity among Z. marina populations. We tested Z. marina from six locations, including one annual population, within the bay to assess population differentiation and to compare levels of within-population genetic diversity. Using 7 microsatellite loci, we found significant differentiation among all populations. The annual population had significantly higher clonal diversity than the others but showed no detectible differences in heterozygosity or allelic richness. There appears to be sufficient input of genetic variation through sexual reproduction or immigration into the perennial populations to prevent significant declines in the number and frequency of alleles. In additional depth comparisons, we found differentiation among deep and shallow portions in 1 of 3 beds evaluated. Genetic drift, sweepstakes recruitment, dispersal limitation, and possibly natural selection may have combined to produce genetic differentiation over a spatial scale of 3-30 km in Z. marina. This implies that the scale of genetic differentiation may be smaller than expected for seagrasses in other locations too. We suggest that populations in close proximity may not be interchangeable for use as restoration material. PMID:22577191

  19. Wasting disease regulates long-term population dynamics in a threatened seagrass.

    PubMed

    Bull, James C; Kenyon, Emma J; Cook, Kevan J

    2012-05-01

    The role of disease in the long-term dynamics of threatened species is poorly quantified, as well as being under-represented in ecology and conservation management. To understand persistent host-pathogen interaction operating in a vulnerable habitat, we quantified dynamics driving patterns of seagrass density using a longitudinal study in a relatively pristine site (Isles of Scilly, UK). Replicated samples of eelgrass (Zostera marina) density and wasting disease prevalence, presumably caused by Labyrinthula zosterae, were taken from five meadows at the height of the growing season, over the years 1997-2010. Data were used to parameterise a population dynamic model, incorporating density-dependent factors and sea temperature records. We found that direct density and disease-mediated feedback operate within a network of local populations. Furthermore, our results indicate that the strength of limitation to seagrass growth by disease was increased at higher temperatures. This modification of the coupled host-pathogen dynamics forms a novel hypothesis to account for dramatic die-backs of Z. marina widely reported elsewhere. Our findings highlight the importance of disease in structuring distributions of vulnerable species, as well as the application of population modelling in order to reveal ecological processes and prioritize future mechanistic investigation. PMID:22076311

  20. Peracarid assemblages of Zostera meadows in an estuarine ecosystem (O Grove inlet, NW Iberian Peninsula): spatial distribution and seasonal variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esquete, Patricia; Moreira, Juan; Troncoso, Jesús S.

    2011-12-01

    The Galician rias are singular and complex estuarine systems of great economic importance. Seagrasses are key elements of the ecosystem and favor the maintenance of high species diversity in benthic communities. Nevertheless, the ecological role of seagrass meadows in the Galician rias has been only partially assessed. Peracarid crustaceans are an important component of soft-bottom faunas and have great importance for the structure of benthic assemblages. In this work, species diversity, patterns of distribution and seasonal fluctuations of peracarids (Crustacea, Peracarida) are studied in estuarine sediments colonized by two species of Zostera ( Z. marina and Z. noltii) at the O Grove inlet (Ría de Arousa, Galicia, NW Iberian Peninsula). The spatial distribution of peracarid assemblages was characterized by high numerical dominances due to a few species, particularly tanaidaceans. The temporal study at a Z. marina meadow showed a strongly seasonal pattern defined by great fluctuations of the amphipod population, the latter being the dominant group in abundance and number of species. The highest numbers of species and individuals were observed in September, with minimum values in March. Analyses pointed out a high correlation among the granulometric features of the studied bottoms and the faunistic attributes. Nevertheless, the presence of the seagrasses should influence in a major way the hydrodynamic and sedimentary features of the habitat and utterly the spatial and temporal patterns observed in the peracarid assemblage in the O Grove inlet.

  1. Modelling the effects of Zostera noltei meadows on sediment dynamics: application to the Arcachon lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kombiadou, Katerina; Ganthy, Florian; Verney, Romaric; Plus, Martin; Sottolichio, Aldo

    2014-10-01

    A three-dimensional model has been modified to describe the complex interactions between hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics and biological parameters in the presence of Zostera noltei. The model treats seagrass leafs as flexible blades that bend under hydrodynamic forcing and alter the local momentum and turbulence fluxes and, therefore, the benthic shear conditions; these changes cause related changes to the mass balance at the boundary of the bed, in turn affecting the suspended matter in the column and ultimately primary productivity and the growth of the dwarf-grass. Modelling parameters related to the impact of Z. noltei to the local flow and to erosion and deposition rates were calibrated using flume experimental measurements; results from the calibration of the model are presented and discussed. The coupled model is applied in the Arcachon Bay, an area with high environmental significance and large abundance of dwarf-grass meadows. In the present paper, results from preliminary applications of the model are presented and discussed; the effectiveness of the coupled model is assessed comparing modelling results with available field measurements of suspended sediment concentrations and seagrass growth parameters. The model generally reproduces sediment dynamics and dwarf-grass seasonal growth in the domain efficiently. Investigations regarding the effects of the vegetation to the near-bed hydrodynamics and to the sediment suspension in the domain show that dwarf-grass meadows play an important part to velocity attenuation and to sediment stabilisation, with flow and suspended sediment concentrations damping, compared to an unvegetated state, to reach 35-50 and 65 %, respectively, at peak seagrass growth.

  2. Impacts of Groundwater Discharge at Myora Springs (North Stradbroke Island, Australia) on the Phenolic Metabolism of Eelgrass, Zostera muelleri, and Grazing by the Juvenile Rabbitfish, Siganus fuscescens

    PubMed Central

    Arnold, Thomas; Freundlich, Grace; Weilnau, Taylor; Verdi, Arielle; Tibbetts, Ian R.

    2014-01-01

    Myora Springs is one of many groundwater discharge sites on North Stradbroke Island (Queensland, Australia). Here spring waters emerge from wetland forests to join Moreton Bay, mixing with seawater over seagrass meadows dominated by eelgrass, Zostera muelleri. We sought to determine how low pH / high CO2 conditions near the spring affect these plants and their interactions with the black rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens), a co-occurring grazer. In paired-choice feeding trials S. fuscescens preferentially consumed Z. muelleri shoots collected nearest to Myora Springs. Proximity to the spring did not significantly alter the carbon and nitrogen contents of seagrass tissues but did result in the extraordinary loss of soluble phenolics, including Folin-reactive phenolics, condensed tannins, and phenolic acids by ≥87%. Conversely, seagrass lignin contents were, in this and related experiments, unaffected or increased, suggesting a shift in secondary metabolism away from the production of soluble, but not insoluble, (poly)phenolics. We suggest that groundwater discharge sites such as Myora Springs, and other sites characterized by low pH, are likely to be popular feeding grounds for seagrass grazers seeking to reduce their exposure to soluble phenolics. PMID:25127379

  3. Impacts of groundwater discharge at Myora Springs (North Stradbroke Island, Australia) on the phenolic metabolism of eelgrass, Zostera muelleri, and grazing by the juvenile rabbitfish, Siganus fuscescens.

    PubMed

    Arnold, Thomas; Freundlich, Grace; Weilnau, Taylor; Verdi, Arielle; Tibbetts, Ian R

    2014-01-01

    Myora Springs is one of many groundwater discharge sites on North Stradbroke Island (Queensland, Australia). Here spring waters emerge from wetland forests to join Moreton Bay, mixing with seawater over seagrass meadows dominated by eelgrass, Zostera muelleri. We sought to determine how low pH/high CO2 conditions near the spring affect these plants and their interactions with the black rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens), a co-occurring grazer. In paired-choice feeding trials S. fuscescens preferentially consumed Z. muelleri shoots collected nearest to Myora Springs. Proximity to the spring did not significantly alter the carbon and nitrogen contents of seagrass tissues but did result in the extraordinary loss of soluble phenolics, including Folin-reactive phenolics, condensed tannins, and phenolic acids by ≥87%. Conversely, seagrass lignin contents were, in this and related experiments, unaffected or increased, suggesting a shift in secondary metabolism away from the production of soluble, but not insoluble, (poly)phenolics. We suggest that groundwater discharge sites such as Myora Springs, and other sites characterized by low pH, are likely to be popular feeding grounds for seagrass grazers seeking to reduce their exposure to soluble phenolics. PMID:25127379

  4. Mapping seagrass beds and coral reefs in the coastal region of Vietnam using VNREDSAT-1 data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lau, K. V.; Chen, C. F.; Nguyen, S. T.; Chen, C. R.; Tong Phuoc, H. S.; Nguyen, H. H.

    2015-12-01

    Seagrass beds and coral reefs are two important ecosystems in the coastal zone. They play an important role to protect and shelter various marine organisms. Both seagrass beds and coral reefs could prevent the coastline from erosion. While seagrass stabilizes sediments and acts as a biofilter, coral reefs can control carbon dioxide in the ocean water. Besides, seagrass also provides direct food for many fish and marine animals. Therefore, mapping seagrass beds and coral reefs is very important for coastal management and conservation. In May 2013, Vietnam launched the first satellite for earth observations, called Vietnam Natural Resources, Environment and Disaster Monitoring Satellite (VNREDSAT-1). It is a great opportunity for environmental monitoring in the country using the data from this satellite. The objective of this study is to use the VNREDSAT-1 data to map seagrass beds and coral reefs in the coastal region of Ninh Hai district, Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam, where the seagrass still remains in good a condition. We processed the VNREDSAT-1 image through four steps: (1) Atmospheric correction using Second Simulation of the Satellite Signal in the Solar Spectrum radiative transfer model (6S), (2) Sun glint removal by using Hedley method, (3) Water column correction using the depth-variant index (DII) proposed by Lyzenga, and (4) Image classification using the maximum likelihood algorithm. The mapping results verified with the ground reference data showed a good overall accuracy of 75% and Kappa coefficient of 0.7. The total area of seagrass beds was approximately 323.09 ha, which mainly distributed in My Hoa and Thai An villages. The total area of coral reefs was approximately 564.42 ha, located along the coast and on outer area to seagrass and shoreline reefs. This study demonstrates the applicability of VNREDSAT-1 for underwater habitat monitoring. The results could be useful for natural resources managers to devise strategies for management and

  5. Seagrasses and sediment response to the changing physical forcing in a coastal lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Figueiredo da Silva, J.; Duck, R. W.; Pereira, M. J.; Catarino, J. B.

    2003-04-01

    The Ria de Aveiro is an estuary - coastal lagoon system connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a channel with a cross-sectional area that has steadily increased over more than one century. Local ocean tides, with amplitudes of 1-3 m, are today transmitted to the lagoon by the single, engineered inlet channel and propagate to the end of the lagoon channels as a damped progressive wave. The natural channel connecting the lagoon to the ocean evolved during historical times, moving southward and reducing its cross-section. The natural evolution was reverted in 1808 by opening the new inlet channel that has since been protected by breakwaters and deepened by dredging. This controlled evolution has caused an increase in the tidal prism associated with a larger tidal oscillation inside the lagoon. The change in tidal amplitude has important effects on the lagoon ecosystem, which are related to the increase in tidal currents, water level and salinity of the water. The pollution load reaching the lagoon from its catchment area is now, however, more readily flushed to the ocean. Most affected by the change are mudflat and intertidal areas, including the old salt-pans, some showing signs of erosion while others accumulate sediment that is transported in suspension by the strong tidal currents. Important indicators of ecosystem change are the seagrass beds. Until 1980 large areas of the lagoon bed were covered by seagrasses (Zostera, Ruppia, Potamogeton), which were collected in large quantities for use in agriculture. After 1980, the collection declined and the seagrass beds became sediment-covered. This resulted in a large decrease in the area of seagrasses in spite of the decline in the quantity collected. Our results show a pattern in the change of the seagrass populations that can be related to the changes in the physical forcing associated with tidal wave propagation. A parallel change in sediment texture was also observed.

  6. The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area seagrasses: Managing this iconic Australian ecosystem resource for the future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coles, Robert G.; Rasheed, Michael A.; McKenzie, Len J.; Grech, Alana; York, Paul H.; Sheaves, Marcus; McKenna, Skye; Bryant, Catherine

    2015-02-01

    The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA) includes one of the world's largest areas of seagrass (35,000 km2) encompassing approximately 20% of the world's species. Mapping and monitoring programs sponsored by the Australian and Queensland Governments and Queensland Port Authorities have tracked a worrying decrease in abundance and area since 2007. This decline has almost certainly been the result of a series of severe tropical storms and associated floods exacerbating existing human induced stressors. A complex variety of marine and terrestrial management actions and plans have been implemented to protect seagrass and other habitats in the GBRWHA. For seagrasses, these actions are inadequate. They provide an impression of effective protection of seagrasses; reduce the sense of urgency needed to trigger action; and waste the valuable and limited supply of "conservation capital". There is a management focus on ports, driven by public concerns about high profile development projects, which exaggerates the importance of these relatively concentrated impacts in comparison to the total range of threats and stressors. For effective management of seagrass at the scale of the GBRWHA, more emphasis needs to be placed on the connectivity between seagrass meadow health, watersheds, and all terrestrial urban and agricultural development associated with human populations. The cumulative impacts to seagrass from coastal and marine processes in the GBRWHA are not evenly distributed, with a mosaic of high and low vulnerability areas. This provides an opportunity to make choices for future coastal development plans that minimise stress on seagrass meadows.

  7. Using MODIS data for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health: a case study in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

    PubMed

    Petus, Caroline; Collier, Catherine; Devlin, Michelle; Rasheed, Michael; McKenna, Skye

    2014-07-01

    Stretching more than 2000 km along the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBR) shelters over 43,000 square km of seagrass meadows. Despite the status of marine protected area and World Heritage listing of the GBR, local seagrass meadows are under stress from reduced water quality levels; with reduction in the amount of light available for seagrass photosynthesis defined as the primary cause of seagrass loss throughout the GBR. Methods have been developed to map GBR plume water types by using MODIS quasi-true colour (hereafter true colour) images reclassified in function of their dominant colour. These data can be used as an interpretative tool for understanding changes in seagrass meadow health (as defined in this study by the seagrass area and abundance) at different spatial and temporal scales. We tested this method in Cleveland Bay, in the northern GBR, where substantial loss in seagrass area and biomass was detected by annual monitoring from 2007 to 2011. A strong correlation was found between bay-wide seagrass meadow area and biomass and exposure to turbid Primary (sediment-dominated) water type. There was also a strong correlation between the changes of biomass and area of individual meadows and exposure of seagrass ecosystems to Primary water type over the 5-year period. Seagrass meadows were also grouped according to the dominant species within each meadow, irrespective of location within Cleveland Bay. These consolidated community types did not correlate well with the exposure to Primary water type, and this is likely to be due to local environmental conditions with the individual meadows that comprise these groupings. This study proved that remote sensing data provide the synoptic window and repetitivity required to investigate changes in water quality conditions over time. Remote sensing data provide an opportunity to investigate the risk of marine-coastal ecosystems to light limitation due to increased water turbidity when in situ

  8. Spatial and diurnal distribution of invertebrate and fish fauna of a Zostera marina bed and nearby unvegetated sediments in Damariscotta River, Maine (USA)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mattila, Johanna; Chaplin, Glen; Eilers, Michele R.; Heck, Kenneth L.; O'Neal, Jonathan P.; Valentine, John F.

    1999-06-01

    Fish, epibenthos and macroinfauna were collected in a Zostera marina bed and nearby unvegetated sediments in the estuary of the Damariscotta River, on the mid-coast of Maine. Samples of epibenthic fauna and fish were collected at low tides both during day and night, and samples of infauna at low tides during the day. The mean density of Zostera shoots in the study area was 335 m -2. Abundance and species number of fish were greater at night than during the day and greater in eelgrass beds ( Z. marina) than in unvegetated habitats. Daytime fish collections were dominated by Atlantic silversides ( Medinia medinia), while juvenile winter flounder ( Pseudopleuronectes americanus) dominated night collections. Also Zostera-associated epifaunal abundances and number of species were significantly higher at night than during the day. Mysis stenolepis, Idotea balthica and Littorina obtusata were dominant species in the epifauna samples. Of the total of 37 invertebrate species encountered, only five occurred both in the infaunal and epifaunal samples. Nineteen different taxa were collected from the benthic core samples. The most abundant invertebrate infaunal taxa were sipunculids, the polychaete Nereis virens, and oligochaetes. Infaunal invertebrate abundances and species diversity were significantly higher in eelgrass beds than in unvegetated sediments. The abundance and number of species of benthic invertebrates were also positively correlated to seagrass biomass. Community diversity values ( H') were relatively low but fit well in the general pattern of decreasing diversity towards northern latitudes.

  9. Dependence of eelgrass (Zostera marina) light requirements on sediment organic matter in Massachusetts coastal bays: implications for remediation and restoration.

    PubMed

    Kenworthy, W J; Gallegos, C L; Costello, Charles; Field, Donald; di Carlo, Giuseppe

    2014-06-30

    Using a calibrated bio-optical model we determined that the optical water quality conditions in several nitrogen-impaired embayments and in one unimpaired system were within the range of values known to support eelgrass growth. We also used the model to identify a range of light requirements for eelgrass (Zostera marina). Higher eelgrass light requirements, expressed as a percentage of surface-incident irradiance, corresponded with higher sediment organic matter content. These results corroborated findings by previous studies which indicate a generalized relationship: seagrasses growing in turbid conditions with poorer water and sediment quality have higher light requirements than those growing in less degraded conditions. The mechanistic reason for the variation in light requirements is still not completely explained and cannot be attributed to a single independent variable. Varying light requirement have important implications for eelgrass protection and should be considered when setting restoration targets for eelgrass in water quality and nitrogen remediation programs. PMID:24308994

  10. Benthic macrofauna changes in areas of Venice lagoon populated by seagrasses or seaweeds.

    PubMed

    Sfriso, A; Birkemeyer, T; Ghetti, P F

    2001-10-01

    Two areas of the Venice lagoon populated by seagrasses (three stations covered by Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Asherson, Zostera marina Linnaeus, Zostera noltii Hornemann) or seaweeds (two stations: one covered by Ulva rigida C. Agardh and another at present without seaweed biomass) were monitored by means of six surveys over a year in order to study macrofaunal composition and seasonal changes. The seagrass stations showed a mean species richness (28-30 S m(-2)), individual abundance (1854-4018 N m(-2)) and biomass (22.3-37.7 g m(-2) ash-free-dry-weight, AFDW) ca. 3-8 times higher than those populated by seaweeds (10-15 S m(-2), 494-1395 N m(-2) and 5.6-13.7 g m(-2) AFDW). Differences among seagrass or seaweed stations were much lower. The Ulva-dominated station showed a macrofauna completely different both from the other stations and the communities recorded ca. 30 years ago, before the prolific growth of Ulva. In this station, frequent biomass decompositions and anoxic crises created critical conditions for life favouring organisms with reduced life cycles, younger individuals and the epifaunal species instead of the infaunal ones. In particular, Ulva grazers and scrapers such as Gammarus aequicauda Stock and Gibbula adriatica Philippi were found to be by far the most abundant species, whereas the taxa characteristic of the associations found in the past, in the presence of seagrasses or seaweeds and typical of low eutrophicated environments, appear strongly reduced. Marked differences in the macrophyte dominance and in the bio-physico-chemical variables which characterise the main environmental conditions of the Venice lagoon support the different distribution and composition of macrofaunal communities. Seaweed stations appear mainly governed by the seasonal cycles of these un-rooted macrophytes which, by alternating periods of production and decomposition, are responsible for the drastic reduction of macrofauna biodiversity and biomass. Conversely, seagrass

  11. Acute and additive toxicity of ten photosystem-II herbicides to seagrass.

    PubMed

    Wilkinson, Adam D; Collier, Catherine J; Flores, Florita; Negri, Andrew P

    2015-01-01

    Photosystem II herbicides are transported to inshore marine waters, including those of the Great Barrier Reef, and are usually detected in complex mixtures. These herbicides inhibit photosynthesis, which can deplete energy reserves and reduce growth in seagrass, but the toxicity of some of these herbicides to seagrass is unknown and combined effects of multiple herbicides on seagrass has not been tested. Here we assessed the acute phytotoxicity of 10 PSII herbicides to the seagrass Halophila ovalis over 24 and/or 48 h. Individual herbicides exhibited a broad range of toxicities with inhibition of photosynthetic activity (∆F/F(m)') by 50% at concentrations ranging from 3.5 μg l(-1) (ametryn) to 132 μg l(-1) (fluometuron). We assessed potential additivity using the Concentration Addition model of joint action for binary mixtures of diuron and atrazine as well as complex mixtures of all 10 herbicides. The effects of both mixture types were largely additive, validating the application of additive effects models for calculating the risk posed by multiple PSII herbicides to seagrasses. This study extends seagrass ecotoxicological data to ametryn, metribuzin, bromacil, prometryn and fluometuron and demonstrates that low concentrations of PSII herbicide mixtures have the potential to impact ecologically relevant endpoints in seagrass, including ∆F/F(m)'. PMID:26616444

  12. Acute and additive toxicity of ten photosystem-II herbicides to seagrass

    PubMed Central

    Wilkinson, Adam D.; Collier, Catherine J.; Flores, Florita; Negri, Andrew P.

    2015-01-01

    Photosystem II herbicides are transported to inshore marine waters, including those of the Great Barrier Reef, and are usually detected in complex mixtures. These herbicides inhibit photosynthesis, which can deplete energy reserves and reduce growth in seagrass, but the toxicity of some of these herbicides to seagrass is unknown and combined effects of multiple herbicides on seagrass has not been tested. Here we assessed the acute phytotoxicity of 10 PSII herbicides to the seagrass Halophila ovalis over 24 and/or 48 h. Individual herbicides exhibited a broad range of toxicities with inhibition of photosynthetic activity (∆F/Fm′) by 50% at concentrations ranging from 3.5 μg l−1 (ametryn) to 132 μg l−1 (fluometuron). We assessed potential additivity using the Concentration Addition model of joint action for binary mixtures of diuron and atrazine as well as complex mixtures of all 10 herbicides. The effects of both mixture types were largely additive, validating the application of additive effects models for calculating the risk posed by multiple PSII herbicides to seagrasses. This study extends seagrass ecotoxicological data to ametryn, metribuzin, bromacil, prometryn and fluometuron and demonstrates that low concentrations of PSII herbicide mixtures have the potential to impact ecologically relevant endpoints in seagrass, including ∆F/Fm′. PMID:26616444

  13. Acute and additive toxicity of ten photosystem-II herbicides to seagrass

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilkinson, Adam D.; Collier, Catherine J.; Flores, Florita; Negri, Andrew P.

    2015-11-01

    Photosystem II herbicides are transported to inshore marine waters, including those of the Great Barrier Reef, and are usually detected in complex mixtures. These herbicides inhibit photosynthesis, which can deplete energy reserves and reduce growth in seagrass, but the toxicity of some of these herbicides to seagrass is unknown and combined effects of multiple herbicides on seagrass has not been tested. Here we assessed the acute phytotoxicity of 10 PSII herbicides to the seagrass Halophila ovalis over 24 and/or 48 h. Individual herbicides exhibited a broad range of toxicities with inhibition of photosynthetic activity (∆F/Fm‧) by 50% at concentrations ranging from 3.5 μg l-1 (ametryn) to 132 μg l-1 (fluometuron). We assessed potential additivity using the Concentration Addition model of joint action for binary mixtures of diuron and atrazine as well as complex mixtures of all 10 herbicides. The effects of both mixture types were largely additive, validating the application of additive effects models for calculating the risk posed by multiple PSII herbicides to seagrasses. This study extends seagrass ecotoxicological data to ametryn, metribuzin, bromacil, prometryn and fluometuron and demonstrates that low concentrations of PSII herbicide mixtures have the potential to impact ecologically relevant endpoints in seagrass, including ∆F/Fm‧.

  14. Influence of Zostera marina canopies on unidirectional flow, hydraulic roughness and sediment movement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lefebvre, A.; Thompson, C. E. L.; Amos, C. L.

    2010-09-01

    Seagrasses develop extensive or patchy underwater meadows in coastal areas around the world, forming complex, highly productive ecosystems. Seagrass canopies exert strong effects on water flow inside and around them, thereby affecting flow structure, sediment transport and benthic ecology. The influence of Zostera marina canopies on flow velocity, turbulence, hydraulic roughness and sediment movement was evaluated through laboratory experiments in 2 flumes and using live Z. marina and a mobile sand bed. Profiles of instantaneous velocities were measured and sediment movement was identified upstream, within and downstream of patches of different sizes and shoot density and at different free-stream velocities. Flow structure was characterised by time-averaged velocity, turbulence intensity and Turbulent Kinetic Energy (TKE). When velocity data were available above the canopy, they were fitted to the Law of the Wall and shear velocities and roughness lengths were calculated. When a seagrass canopy was present, three layers were distinguishable in the water column: (1) within canopy represented by low velocities and high turbulence; (2) transition zone around the height of the canopy, where velocities increased, turbulence decreased and TKE was high; and (3) above canopy where velocities were equal or higher than free-stream velocities and turbulence and TKE were lower than below. Shoot density and patch-width influenced this partitioning of the flow when the canopy was long enough (based on flume experiments, at least more than 1 m-long). The enhanced TKE observed at the canopy/water interface suggests that large-scale turbulence is generated at the canopy surface. These oscillations, likely to be related to the canopy undulations, are then broken down within the canopy and high-frequency turbulence takes place near the bed. This turbulence 'cascade' through the canopy may have an important impact on biogeochemical processes. The velocity above the canopy generally

  15. Negative effects of blue mussel ( Mytilus edulis) presence in eelgrass ( Zostera marina) beds in Flensborg fjord, Denmark

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinther, Hanne Fogh; Laursen, Jens Sund; Holmer, Marianne

    2008-03-01

    The effect of blue mussel ( Mytilus edulis) presence in eelgrass ( Zostera marina) beds was studied from June 2004 to July 2005 in Flensborg fjord, Denmark. The field experiments were conducted at two stations, one with only Z. marina (Eelgrass station) present and one where M. edulis were present in the Z. marina beds (Mixed station). Zostera marina parameters were measured (growth of leaves, shoot density, leaf length, and nutrient content) in combination with epiphyte cover and sediment parameters (sulphate reduction rates, sediment nutrient fluxes, organic content, C, N and P content) to examine possible positive and negative effects of the mussels on eelgrass performance. The fluxes of ammonium from the sediments were stimulated at all sampling dates at the Mixed station, and possibly stimulated epiphyte growth at this station. Further 15N signals in epiphytes from the Mixed station suggested that excretion products from the mussels were important nitrogen sources at this station. Sulphate reduction rates were enhanced at the Mixed station and also sediment sulphide concentrations increased under mussel influence, which may have resulted in sulphide toxicity and decreased growth of Z. marina at this station. The study indicates that for Z. marina beds in Flensborg Fjord the effects of M. edulis in seagrass beds are primarily negative, and raises the question whether this leads to negative effects on the stability and expansion of Z. marina beds.

  16. Applications of C and N stable isotopes to ecological and environmental studies in seagrass ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Lepoint, Gilles; Dauby, Patrick; Gobert, Sylvie

    2004-12-01

    Stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen are increasingly used in marine ecosystems, for ecological and environmental studies. Here, we examine some applications of stable isotopes as ecological integrators or tracers in seagrass ecosystem studies. We focus on both the use of natural isotope abundance as food web integrators or environmental tracers and on the use of stable isotopes as experimental tools. As ecosystem integrators, stable isotopes have helped to elucidate the general structure of trophic webs in temperate, Mediterranean and tropical seagrass ecosystems. As environmental tracers, stable isotopes have proven their utility in sewage impact measuring and mapping. However, to make such environmental studies more comprehensible, future works on understanding of basic reasons for variations of N and C stable isotopes in seagrasses should be encouraged. At least, as experimental tracers, stable isotopes allow the study of many aspects of N and C cycles at the scale of a plant or at the scale of the seagrass ecosystem. PMID:15556172

  17. Seagrass biofilm communities at a naturally CO2 -rich vent.

    PubMed

    Hassenrück, Christiane; Hofmann, Laurie C; Bischof, Kai; Ramette, Alban

    2015-06-01

    Seagrass meadows are a crucial component of tropical marine reef ecosystems. Seagrass plants are colonized by a multitude of epiphytic organisms that contribute to broadening the ecological role of seagrasses. To better understand how environmental changes like ocean acidification might affect epiphytic assemblages, the microbial community composition of the epiphytic biofilm of Enhalus acroides was investigated at a natural CO2 vent in Papua New Guinea using molecular fingerprinting and next-generation sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes. Both bacterial and eukaryotic epiphytes formed distinct communities at the CO2 -impacted site compared with the control site. This site-related CO2 effect was also visible in the succession pattern of microbial epiphytes. We further found an increased relative sequence abundance of bacterial types associated with coral diseases at the CO2 -impacted site (Fusobacteria, Thalassomonas), whereas eukaryotes such as certain crustose coralline algae commonly related to healthy reefs were less diverse. These trends in the epiphytic community of E. acroides suggest a potential role of seagrasses as vectors of coral pathogens and may support previous predictions of a decrease in reef health and prevalence of diseases under future ocean acidification scenarios. PMID:25727314

  18. Seagrass biofilm communities at a naturally CO2-rich vent

    PubMed Central

    Hassenrück, Christiane; Hofmann, Laurie C; Bischof, Kai; Ramette, Alban

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows are a crucial component of tropical marine reef ecosystems. Seagrass plants are colonized by a multitude of epiphytic organisms that contribute to broadening the ecological role of seagrasses. To better understand how environmental changes like ocean acidification might affect epiphytic assemblages, the microbial community composition of the epiphytic biofilm of Enhalus acroides was investigated at a natural CO2 vent in Papua New Guinea using molecular fingerprinting and next-generation sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes. Both bacterial and eukaryotic epiphytes formed distinct communities at the CO2-impacted site compared with the control site. This site-related CO2 effect was also visible in the succession pattern of microbial epiphytes. We further found an increased relative sequence abundance of bacterial types associated with coral diseases at the CO2-impacted site (Fusobacteria, Thalassomonas), whereas eukaryotes such as certain crustose coralline algae commonly related to healthy reefs were less diverse. These trends in the epiphytic community of E. acroides suggest a potential role of seagrasses as vectors of coral pathogens and may support previous predictions of a decrease in reef health and prevalence of diseases under future ocean acidification scenarios. PMID:25727314

  19. Biomechanical factors contributing to self-organization in seagrass landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fonseca, M.S.; Koehl, M.A.R.; Kopp, B.S.

    2007-01-01

    Field observations have revealed that when water flow is consistently from one direction, seagrass shoots align in rows perpendicular to the primary axis of flow direction. In this study, live Zostera marina shoots were arranged either randomly or in rows perpendicular to the flow direction and tested in a seawater flume under unidirectional flow and waves to determine if shoot arrangement: a) influenced flow-induced force on individual shoots, b) differentially altered water flow through the canopy, and c) influenced light interception by the canopy. In addition, blade breaking strength was compared with flow-induced force to determine if changes in shoot arrangement might reduce the potential for damage to shoots. Under unidirectional flow, both current velocity in the canopy and force on shoots were significantly decreased when shoots were arranged in rows as compared to randomly. However, force on shoots was nearly constant with downstream distance, arising from the trade-off of shoot bending and in-canopy flow reduction. The coefficient of drag was higher for randomly-arranged shoots at low velocities (< 30 cm s- 1) but converged rapidly among the two shoot arrangements at higher velocities. Shoots arranged in rows tended to intercept slightly more light than those arranged randomly. Effects of shoot arrangement under waves were less clear, potentially because we did not achieve the proper plant size?row spacing ratio. At this point, we may only suggest that water motion, as opposed to light capture, is the dominant physical mechanism responsible for these shoot arrangements. Following a computation of the Environmental Stress Factor, we concluded that even photosynthetically active blades may be damaged or broken under frequently encountered storm conditions, irrespective of shoot arrangement. We hypothesize that when flow is generally from one direction, seagrass bed patterns over multiple scales of consideration may arise as a cumulative effect of

  20. Growth dynamics of eelgrass, Zostera marina, in the intertidal zone of Seomjin Estuary, Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Jeong Bae; Lee, Won-Chan; Lee, Kun-Seop; Park, Jung-Im

    2013-09-01

    To examine the growth dynamics of eelgrass, Zostera marina, in the intertidal zone of Seomjin Estuary, Korea, we surveyed environmental factors such as water temperature, underwater irradiance, tidal exposure, and nutrient concentrations in the water column and sediment pore water in relation to the shoot density, biomass, morphological characteristics, and growth of Z. marina inhabiting the upper and lower intertidal zones. The survey was conducted monthly from January 2003 to December 2004. The water temperature of the two areas displayed seasonal fluctuations. Underwater irradiance was significantly higher in the upper intertidal zone than in the lower intertidal zone. Tidal exposure was also markedly longer in the upper intertidal zone than in the lower intertidal zone, whereas tidal exposure was highest in the spring and lowest in the summer in both areas. Water column NH4 + and sediment pore water NO3 -+NO2 - concentrations were significantly higher in the upper intertidal zone than the lower intertidal zone. The eelgrass shoot density, biomass, morphology, and leaf productivity were significantly higher in the lower intertidal zone than in the upper intertidal zone. Both areas displayed a clear seasonal variation depending on changes in water temperature. However, leaf turnover time was significantly shorter in the upper intertidal zone than in the lower intertidal zone, with a higher turnover rate in the upper intertidal zone. Compared to the seagrasses in the lower intertidal zone, those in the upper intertidal zone showed more effective adaptations to the stress of long tidal exposure through downsizing and increased turnover time. These results suggest that tidal exposure, coupled with desiccation stress, can be a limiting factor for seagrass growth in the intertidal zone, along with underwater irradiance, water temperature, and nutrient availability.

  1. Establishing a baseline for regional scale monitoring of eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat on the lower Alaska Peninsula

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hogrefe, Kyle R.; Ward, David H.; Donnelly, Tyrone F.; Dau, Niels

    2014-01-01

    Seagrass meadows, one of the world’s most widespread and productive ecosystems, provide a wide range of services with real economic value. Worldwide declines in the distribution and abundance of seagrasses and increased threats to coastal ecosystems from climate change have prompted a need to acquire baseline data for monitoring and protecting these important habitats. We assessed the distribution and abundance of eelgrass (Zostera marina) along nearly 1200 km of shoreline on the lower Alaska Peninsula, a region of expansive eelgrass meadows whose status and trends are poorly understood. We demonstrate the effectiveness of a multi-scale approach by using Landsat satellite imagery to map the total areal extent of eelgrass while integrating field survey data to improve map accuracy and describe the physical and biological condition of the meadows. Innovative use of proven methods and processing tools was used to address challenges inherent to remote sensing in high latitude, coastal environments. Eelgrass was estimated to cover ~31,000 ha, 91% of submerged aquatic vegetation on the lower Alaska Peninsula, nearly doubling the known spatial extent of eelgrass in the region. Mapping accuracy was 80%–90% for eelgrass distribution at locations containing adequate field survey data for error analysis.

  2. Resource utilization and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods in and adjacent to Zostera noltii beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vafeiadou, A.-M.; Materatski, P.; Adão, H.; De Troch, M.; Moens, T.

    2014-07-01

    This study examines the resource use and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods at the genus/species level in an estuarine food web in Zostera noltii beds and in adjacent bare sediments using the natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Microphytobenthos and/or epiphytes are among the main resources of most taxa, but seagrass detritus and sediment particulate organic matter contribute as well to meiobenthos nutrition, which are also available in deeper sediment layers and in unvegetated patches close to seagrass beds. A predominant dependence on chemoautotrophic bacteria was demonstrated for the nematode genus Terschellingia and the copepod family Cletodidae. A predatory feeding mode is illustrated for Paracomesoma and other Comesomatidae, which were previously considered first-level consumers (deposit feeders) according to their buccal morphology. The considerable variation found in both resource use and trophic level among nematode genera from the same feeding type, and even among congeneric nematode species, shows that the interpretation of nematode feeding ecology based purely on mouth morphology should be avoided.

  3. Drought, Mutualism Breakdown, and Landscape-Scale Degradation of Seagrass Beds.

    PubMed

    de Fouw, Jimmy; Govers, Laura L; van de Koppel, Johan; van Belzen, Jim; Dorigo, Wouter; Sidi Cheikh, Mohammed A; Christianen, Marjolijn J A; van der Reijden, Karin J; van der Geest, Matthijs; Piersma, Theunis; Smolders, Alfons J P; Olff, Han; Lamers, Leon P M; van Gils, Jan A; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2016-04-25

    In many marine ecosystems, biodiversity critically depends on foundation species such as corals and seagrasses that engage in mutualistic interactions [1-3]. Concerns grow that environmental disruption of marine mutualisms exacerbates ecosystem degradation, with breakdown of the obligate coral mutualism ("coral bleaching") being an iconic example [2, 4, 5]. However, as these mutualisms are mostly facultative rather than obligate, it remains unclear whether mutualism breakdown is a common risk in marine ecosystems, and thus a potential accelerator of ecosystem degradation. Here, we provide evidence that drought triggered landscape-scale seagrass degradation and show the consequent failure of a facultative mutualistic feedback between seagrass and sulfide-consuming lucinid bivalves that in turn appeared to exacerbate the observed collapse. Local climate and remote sensing analyses revealed seagrass collapse after a summer with intense low-tide drought stress. Potential analysis-a novel approach to detect feedback-mediated state shifts-revealed two attractors (healthy and degraded states) during the collapse, suggesting that the drought disrupted internal feedbacks to cause abrupt, patch-wise degradation. Field measurements comparing degraded patches that were healthy before the collapse with patches that remained healthy demonstrated that bivalves declined dramatically in degrading patches with associated high sediment sulfide concentrations, confirming the breakdown of the mutualistic seagrass-lucinid feedback. Our findings indicate that drought triggered mutualism breakdown, resulting in toxic sulfide concentrations that aggravated seagrass degradation. We conclude that external disturbances can cause sudden breakdown of facultative marine mutualistic feedbacks. As this may amplify ecosystem degradation, we suggest including mutualisms in marine conservation and restoration approaches. PMID:26972316

  4. Seagrass Proliferation Precedes Mortality during Hypo-Salinity Events: A Stress-Induced Morphometric Response

    PubMed Central

    Collier, Catherine J.; Villacorta-Rath, Cecilia; van Dijk, Kor-jent; Takahashi, Miwa; Waycott, Michelle

    2014-01-01

    Halophytes, such as seagrasses, predominantly form habitats in coastal and estuarine areas. These habitats can be seasonally exposed to hypo-salinity events during watershed runoff exposing them to dramatic salinity shifts and osmotic shock. The manifestation of this osmotic shock on seagrass morphology and phenology was tested in three Indo-Pacific seagrass species, Halophila ovalis, Halodule uninervis and Zostera muelleri, to hypo-salinity ranging from 3 to 36 PSU at 3 PSU increments for 10 weeks. All three species had broad salinity tolerance but demonstrated a moderate hypo-salinity stress response – analogous to a stress induced morphometric response (SIMR). Shoot proliferation occurred at salinities <30 PSU, with the largest increases, up to 400% increase in shoot density, occurring at the sub-lethal salinities <15 PSU, with the specific salinity associated with peak shoot density being variable among species. Resources were not diverted away from leaf growth or shoot development to support the new shoot production. However, at sub-lethal salinities where shoots proliferated, flowering was severely reduced for H. ovalis, the only species to flower during this experiment, demonstrating a diversion of resources away from sexual reproduction to support the investment in new shoots. This SIMR response preceded mortality, which occurred at 3 PSU for H. ovalis and 6 PSU for H. uninervis, while complete mortality was not reached for Z. muelleri. This is the first study to identify a SIMR in seagrasses, being detectable due to the fine resolution of salinity treatments tested. The detection of SIMR demonstrates the need for caution in interpreting in-situ changes in shoot density as shoot proliferation could be interpreted as a healthy or positive plant response to environmental conditions, when in fact it could signal pre-mortality stress. PMID:24705377

  5. Seagrass proliferation precedes mortality during hypo-salinity events: a stress-induced morphometric response.

    PubMed

    Collier, Catherine J; Villacorta-Rath, Cecilia; van Dijk, Kor-jent; Takahashi, Miwa; Waycott, Michelle

    2014-01-01

    Halophytes, such as seagrasses, predominantly form habitats in coastal and estuarine areas. These habitats can be seasonally exposed to hypo-salinity events during watershed runoff exposing them to dramatic salinity shifts and osmotic shock. The manifestation of this osmotic shock on seagrass morphology and phenology was tested in three Indo-Pacific seagrass species, Halophila ovalis, Halodule uninervis and Zostera muelleri, to hypo-salinity ranging from 3 to 36 PSU at 3 PSU increments for 10 weeks. All three species had broad salinity tolerance but demonstrated a moderate hypo-salinity stress response--analogous to a stress induced morphometric response (SIMR). Shoot proliferation occurred at salinities <30 PSU, with the largest increases, up to 400% increase in shoot density, occurring at the sub-lethal salinities <15 PSU, with the specific salinity associated with peak shoot density being variable among species. Resources were not diverted away from leaf growth or shoot development to support the new shoot production. However, at sub-lethal salinities where shoots proliferated, flowering was severely reduced for H. ovalis, the only species to flower during this experiment, demonstrating a diversion of resources away from sexual reproduction to support the investment in new shoots. This SIMR response preceded mortality, which occurred at 3 PSU for H. ovalis and 6 PSU for H. uninervis, while complete mortality was not reached for Z. muelleri. This is the first study to identify a SIMR in seagrasses, being detectable due to the fine resolution of salinity treatments tested. The detection of SIMR demonstrates the need for caution in interpreting in-situ changes in shoot density as shoot proliferation could be interpreted as a healthy or positive plant response to environmental conditions, when in fact it could signal pre-mortality stress. PMID:24705377

  6. DIGITAL IMAGE ANALYSIS OF ZOSTERA MARINA LEAF INJURY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Current methods for assessing leaf injury in Zostera marina (eelgrass) utilize subjective indexes for desiccation injury and wasting disease. Because of the subjective nature of these measures, they are inherently imprecise making them difficult to use in quantifying complex leaf...

  7. Faunal Communities Are Invariant to Fragmentation in Experimental Seagrass Landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lefcheck, Jonathan S; Marion, Scott R; Lombana, Alfonso V; Orth, Robert J

    2016-01-01

    Human-driven habitat fragmentation is cited as one of the most pressing threats facing many coastal ecosystems today. Many experiments have explored the consequences of fragmentation on fauna in one foundational habitat, seagrass beds, but have either surveyed along a gradient of existing patchiness, used artificial materials to mimic a natural bed, or sampled over short timescales. Here, we describe faunal responses to constructed fragmented landscapes varying from 4-400 m2 in two transplant garden experiments incorporating live eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). In experiments replicated within two subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, USA across multiple seasons and non-consecutive years, we comprehensively censused mesopredators and epifaunal communities using complementary quantitative methods. We found that community properties, including abundance, species richness, Simpson and functional diversity, and composition were generally unaffected by the number of patches and the size of the landscape, or the intensity of sampling. Additionally, an index of competition based on species co-occurrences revealed no trends with increasing patch size, contrary to theoretical predictions. We extend conclusions concerning the invariance of animal communities to habitat fragmentation from small-scale observational surveys and artificial experiments to experiments conducted with actual living plants and at more realistic scales. Our findings are likely a consequence of the rapid life histories and high mobility of the organisms common to eelgrass beds, and have implications for both conservation and restoration, suggesting that even small patches can rapidly promote abundant and diverse faunal communities. PMID:27244652

  8. Faunal Communities Are Invariant to Fragmentation in Experimental Seagrass Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Marion, Scott R.; Lombana, Alfonso V.; Orth, Robert J.

    2016-01-01

    Human-driven habitat fragmentation is cited as one of the most pressing threats facing many coastal ecosystems today. Many experiments have explored the consequences of fragmentation on fauna in one foundational habitat, seagrass beds, but have either surveyed along a gradient of existing patchiness, used artificial materials to mimic a natural bed, or sampled over short timescales. Here, we describe faunal responses to constructed fragmented landscapes varying from 4–400 m2 in two transplant garden experiments incorporating live eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). In experiments replicated within two subestuaries of the Chesapeake Bay, USA across multiple seasons and non-consecutive years, we comprehensively censused mesopredators and epifaunal communities using complementary quantitative methods. We found that community properties, including abundance, species richness, Simpson and functional diversity, and composition were generally unaffected by the number of patches and the size of the landscape, or the intensity of sampling. Additionally, an index of competition based on species co-occurrences revealed no trends with increasing patch size, contrary to theoretical predictions. We extend conclusions concerning the invariance of animal communities to habitat fragmentation from small-scale observational surveys and artificial experiments to experiments conducted with actual living plants and at more realistic scales. Our findings are likely a consequence of the rapid life histories and high mobility of the organisms common to eelgrass beds, and have implications for both conservation and restoration, suggesting that even small patches can rapidly promote abundant and diverse faunal communities. PMID:27244652

  9. Sustainable Management of Seagrass Meadows: the GEOSS AIP-6 Pilot

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santoro, Mattia; Pastres, Roberto; Zucchetta, Matteo; Venier, Chiara; Roncella, Roberto; Bigagli, Lorenzo; Mangin, Antoine; Amine Taji, Mohamed; Gonzalo Malvarez, Gonzalo; Nativi, Stefano

    2014-05-01

    Seagrass meadows (marine angiosperm plants) occupy less than 0.2% of the global ocean surface, annually store about 10-18% of the so-called "Blue Carbon", i.e. the Carbon stored in coastal vegetated areas. Recent literature estimates that the flux to the long-term carbon sink in seagrasses represents 10-20% of seagrasses global average production. Such figures can be translated into economic benefits, taking into account that a ton of carbon dioxide in Europe is paid at around 15 € in the carbon market. This means that the organic carbon retained in seagrass sediments in the Mediterranean is worth 138 - 1128 billion €, which represents 6-23 € per square meter. This is 9-35 times more than one square meter of tropical forest soil (0.66 € per square meter), or 5-17 times when considering both the above and the belowground compartments in tropical forests. According the most conservative estimations, about 10% of the Mediterranean meadows have been lost during the last century. To estimate seagrass meadows distribution, a Species Distribution Model (SDM) can be used. SDM is a tool that is used to evaluate the potential distribution of a given species (e.g. Posidonia oceanica for seagrass) on the basis of the features (bio-chemical-physical parameters) of the studied environment. In the framework of the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) initiative, the FP7 project MEDINA developed a showcase as part of the GEOSS Architecture Interoperability Pilot - phase 6 (AIP-6). The showcase aims at providing a tool for the sustainable management of seagrass meadows along the Mediterranean coastline by integrating the SDM with available GEOSS resources. This way, the required input data can be searched, accessed and ingested into the model leveraging the brokering framework of the GEOSS Common Infrastructure (GCI). This framework is comprised of a set of middle-ware components (Brokers) that are in charge of implementing the needed interoperability

  10. Long-term Changes of a Brackish-water Eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) Community Indicate Effects of Coastal Eutrophication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boström, C.; Bonsdorff, E.; Kangas, P.; Norkko, A.

    2002-11-01

    The distribution and importance of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) meadows for associated faunal communities in the coastal waters of the Baltic Sea are still poorly known. In these low-saline (5-7), shallow coastal areasZ. marina grows at its limit of distribution, forming mostly patchy meadows. In June 1993, a seagrass locality (Tvärminne, SW Finland) thoroughly studied in 1968-71 was revisited in order to detect possible long-term changes in both vegetation structure (distribution, density, biomass) and benthic fauna (species composition, abundance, biomass, distribution and diversity patterns). The same sampling design as in the 1970s was used in both sparse (<20 shoots m-2) and dense (>150 shoots m-2) Z. marina. In addition, the feeding-efficiency of adult flounder (Platichtys flesus L.) on infauna was measured by counting feeding pits in vegetated and bare sand. The analysis shows that the shoot density had increased in sparse Z. marina, while dense Z. marina patches showed similar biomass values (20 g AFDW m-2) as in the 1970s. In contrast to the vegetation, where little apparent change could be recorded, the total abundance and biomass of zoobenthos has increased significantly between 1968-71 and 1993 in the dense Z. marina patches. These changes are mainly attributed to significant increases of the bivalve Macoma balthica L., mudsnails Hydrobia spp. and oligochaetes. In sparseZ. marina diversity in terms of number of taxa exhibited minor changes over time, whereas in dense Z. marina patches the mean number of taxa has increased from 16 to 20. The vegetation cover was sufficient to reduce significantly the predation effects of flounder on seagrass infauna. This study represents a rare example of long-term persistence of seagrass communities in an area where the negative effects of nutrient enrichment are evident. The faunal changes in the Z. marina community indicate increased food availability, which is associated with positive effects of coastal

  11. Physiological responses of Zostera marina and Cymodocea nodosa to light-limitation stress.

    PubMed

    Silva, João; Barrote, Isabel; Costa, Monya M; Albano, Sílvia; Santos, Rui

    2013-01-01

    The effects of light-limitation stress were investigated in natural stands of the seagrasses Zostera marina and Cymodocea nodosa in Ria Formosa coastal lagoon, southern Portugal. Three levels of light attenuation were imposed for 3 weeks in two adjacent meadows (2-3 m depth), each dominated by one species. The response of photosynthesis to light was determined with oxygen electrodes. Chlorophylls and carotenoids were determined by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Soluble protein, carbohydrates, malondialdehyde and phenol contents were also analysed. Both species showed evident signs of photoacclimation. Their maximum photosynthetic rates were significantly reduced with shading. Ratios between specific light harvesting carotenoids and the epoxidation state of xanthophyll cycle carotenoids revealed significantly higher light harvesting efficiency of C. nodosa, a competitive advantage in a low light environment. The contents of both soluble sugars and starch were considerably lower in Z. marina plants, particularly in the rhizomes, decreasing even further with shading. The different carbohydrate energy storage strategies found between the two species clearly favour C. nodosa's resilience to light deprivation, a condition enhanced by its intrinsic arrangement of the pigment pool. On the other hand, Z. marina revealed a lower tolerance to light reduction, mostly due to a less plastic arrangement of the pigment pool and lower carbohydrate storage. Our findings indicate that Z. marina is close to a light-mediated ecophysiological threshold in Ria Formosa. PMID:24312260

  12. Conversion of Eelgrass into effective building insulation. [Eelgrass-Zostera marina

    SciTech Connect

    Rue, M.L.

    1984-03-23

    To test the suitability of accelerated solar drying of Zostera marina (Eelgrass), a solar heated drying chamber was constructed. Initially, a small pilot unit was assembled to verify the concept. Temperatures well over 200/sup 0/F were achieved with this unit, so a larger version of approximately 50 square feet of solar surface was constructed. The principal used in the construction was as noted on the following description, however, a stationary unit, not floating, was used for the drying tests. It was found that eelgrass could be dried to a form suitable for use in approximately 4 to 6 hours. During that time, the water content of the leaves was reduced from 4 to 5 times their dry weight to equilibrium moisture level. This compares wtih a reported 3 to 4 weeks drying time required of open air sun drying used in the early part of this century. See following chart for a typical drying run. The major problem encountered during the drying cycle was that the eelgrass on the top surface, as it dried, formed an insulating blanket over the grass below. It became necessary to periodically turn over the material for more uniform drying. A slowly rotating drying chamber would resolve this problem on future designs. The paper contains further information on various seagrasses.

  13. Influence of neighboring plants on shading stress resistance and recovery of eelgrass, Zostera marina L.

    PubMed

    Gustafsson, Camilla; Boström, Christoffer

    2013-01-01

    Stressful environments may enhance the occurrence of facilitative interspecific interactions between plants. In several regions, Zostera marina occurs in mixed assemblages. However, the potential effects of plant diversity on stress responses and stability properties of Z. marina are poorly understood. We investigated the resistance and recovery of Z. marina subjected to shading (1 mo) in a field experiment lasting 2.5 mo. We shaded Z. marina planted in mono- and polycultures (Potamogeton perfoliatus, P. pectinatus, P. filiformis) in a factorial design (Shading×Richness) at 2 m depth. We estimated the resistance and recovery of Z. marina by measuring four response variables. Polyculture Z. marina lost proportionally less biomass than monocultures, thus having a greater resistance to shading. In contrast, after a 1 mo recovery period, monocultures exhibited higher biomass gain, and a faster recovery than polycultures. Our results suggest that plant species richness enhances the resistance of Z. marina through facilitative mechanisms, while the faster recovery in monocultures is possibly due to interspecific competition. Our results highlight the need of a much better understanding of the effects of interspecific interactions on ecosystem processes in mixed seagrass meadows, and the preservation of diverse plant assemblages to maintain ecosystem functioning. PMID:23717532

  14. Temporal and spatial dynamics of ephemeral drift-algae in eelgrass, Zostera marina, beds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rasmussen, Jonas Ribergaard; Pedersen, Morten Foldager; Olesen, Birgit; Nielsen, Søren Laurentius; Pedersen, Troels Møller

    2013-03-01

    Aggregations of unattached, filamentous macroalgae showed high temporal and spatial dynamics in two shallow and relatively sheltered eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in Aarhus Bay and the Isefjord, Denmark. The changes in algal abundance were followed in permanent plots at 1-3 days intervals during three different periods of the growth season (May-September). Drift-algal assemblages were present within the 3000 m2 study areas in relatively high and constant abundance (>47% cover) throughout the study period. However, significant changes in average site cover did occur on short timescales (days) suggesting that variability in algal cover may be undetected in monthly assessments. The changes in cover were caused either by algal growth or by physical forces moving large aggregations of algae into or out of the study area. Within plots (1 m2) variability was even higher and algal cover changed regularly between observations (days). Hence, the algae were continuously rearranged within the eelgrass beds; also during periods with no change in average algal cover. The variability in cover of individual plots was negatively correlated to eelgrass cover, suggesting that algae were retained by the eelgrass leaves. This highly dynamic nature of filamentous macroalgal aggregations in eelgrass beds should be considered when evaluating implications of macroalgal blooms for seagrass growth and survival. A frequent relocation of drift-algae at small spatial scale may moderate the formation of poor oxygen conditions within mats and shorten the duration of exposure experienced by individual shoots.

  15. Genetic structure of eelgrass Zostera marina meadows in an embayment with restricted water flow

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Munoz-Salazar, R.; Talbot, S.L.; Sage, G.K.; Ward, D.H.; Cabello-Pasini, Alejandro

    2006-01-01

    Genetic structure of the seagrass Zostera marina in a coastal lagoon with restricted water flow, and with heterogeneous water residence times and oceanographic characteristics, was assessed using 8 polymorphic microsatellite loci. Analyses of genetic differentiation (??) and Bayesian clustering suggested that the Z. marina population in San Quintin Bay (SQB) is genetically substructured, with at least 4 genetically different groups: (1) West Head, (2) Mouth, (3) East Arm, and (4) East Head. The greatest ?? value was observed between the most distant sites (?? = 0.095). The lowest values were found among sites closest to the mouth of the coastal lagoon (?? = 0.000 to 0.009). The maximum likelihood approach showed that the sites at the mouth have a mixed pattern of gene flow without a unidirectional pattern. In contrast, there was a clear pattern of asymmetrical gene flow from the mouth towards the West Head. These results suggested that the restriction of water flow at the heads, current pattern, and the distance between sites can reduce genetic flow and promote genetic differences within Z. marina meadows in small water embayments such as SQB. Though the population is genetically substructured and a 14 % decline in cover has been detected, this study did not show evidence of a recent genetic bottleneck. In contrast, mouth sites have experienced a recent expansion in their population size, and also perhaps a recent influx of rare alleles from genetically distinct immigrants. ?? Inter-Research 2006.

  16. Influence of Neighboring Plants on Shading Stress Resistance and Recovery of Eelgrass, Zostera marina L

    PubMed Central

    Gustafsson, Camilla; Boström, Christoffer

    2013-01-01

    Stressful environments may enhance the occurrence of facilitative interspecific interactions between plants. In several regions, Zostera marina occurs in mixed assemblages. However, the potential effects of plant diversity on stress responses and stability properties of Z. marina are poorly understood. We investigated the resistance and recovery of Z. marina subjected to shading (1 mo) in a field experiment lasting 2.5 mo. We shaded Z. marina planted in mono- and polycultures (Potamogeton perfoliatus, P. pectinatus, P. filiformis) in a factorial design (Shading×Richness) at 2 m depth. We estimated the resistance and recovery of Z. marina by measuring four response variables. Polyculture Z. marina lost proportionally less biomass than monocultures, thus having a greater resistance to shading. In contrast, after a 1 mo recovery period, monocultures exhibited higher biomass gain, and a faster recovery than polycultures. Our results suggest that plant species richness enhances the resistance of Z. marina through facilitative mechanisms, while the faster recovery in monocultures is possibly due to interspecific competition. Our results highlight the need of a much better understanding of the effects of interspecific interactions on ecosystem processes in mixed seagrass meadows, and the preservation of diverse plant assemblages to maintain ecosystem functioning. PMID:23717532

  17. CO2 and nutrient-driven changes across multiple levels of organization in Zostera noltii ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez-Crego, B.; Olivé, I.; Santos, R.

    2014-04-01

    Increasing evidence emphasizes that the effects of human impacts on ecosystems must be investigated using designs that incorporate the responses across levels of biological organization as well as the effects of multiple stressors. Here we implemented a mesocosm experiment to investigate how the effects of CO2 enrichment and its interaction with eutrophication, scale-up from changes in primary producers at the individual- (biochemistry) or population-level (production, reproduction, and/or abundance) to higher levels of community (macroalgae abundance, herbivory, and global metabolism) and ecosystem organization (detritus release and carbon sink capacity). The responses of Zostera noltii seagrass meadows growing in low- and high- nutrient field conditions were compared. In both meadows, the effect of elevated CO2 levels was mediated by epiphyte proliferation (mostly the cyanobacterium Microcoleus spp.), but not through changes in plant biochemistry or population-level traits. In the low-nutrient meadow, epiphyte proliferation suppressed the CO2 benefits on Z. noltii leaf production and led to increased detritus and decreased organic matter in sediment. Faster and stronger responses to nutrients than to CO2 were observed. Nutrient addition enhanced the nutritional quality of Z. noltii (high N, low C : N and phenolics) and the loss of leaves and shoots, while promoted the proliferation of pennate diatoms and purple bacteria. These changes led to a reduced sediment organic matter, but had no significant effects on herbivory nor on community metabolism. Interestingly, the interaction with CO2 attenuated eutrophication effects. In the high-nutrient meadow, a striking shoot decline caused by amphipod overgrazing was observed, with no response to CO2 and nutrient additions. Our results reveal that under future scenarios of CO2, the responses of seagrass ecosystems will be complex, being mediated by epiphyte proliferation rather than by effects on plant biochemistry. The

  18. CO2 and nutrient-driven changes across multiple levels of organization in Zostera noltii ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martínez-Crego, B.; Olivé, I.; Santos, R.

    2014-12-01

    Increasing evidence emphasizes that the effects of human impacts on ecosystems must be investigated using designs that incorporate the responses across levels of biological organization as well as the effects of multiple stressors. Here we implemented a mesocosm experiment to investigate how the individual and interactive effects of CO2 enrichment and eutrophication scale-up from changes in primary producers at the individual (biochemistry) or population level (production, reproduction, and/or abundance) to higher levels of community (macroalgae abundance, herbivory, and global metabolism), and ecosystem organization (detritus release and carbon sink capacity). The responses of Zostera noltii seagrass meadows growing in low- and high-nutrient field conditions were compared. In both meadows, the expected CO2 benefits on Z. noltii leaf production were suppressed by epiphyte overgrowth, with no direct CO2 effect on plant biochemistry or population-level traits. Multi-level meadow response to nutrients was faster and stronger than to CO2. Nutrient enrichment promoted the nutritional quality of Z. noltii (high N, low C : N and phenolics), the growth of epiphytic pennate diatoms and purple bacteria, and shoot mortality. In the low-nutrient meadow, individual effects of CO2 and nutrients separately resulted in reduced carbon storage in the sediment, probably due to enhanced microbial degradation of more labile organic matter. These changes, however, had no effect on herbivory or on community metabolism. Interestingly, individual effects of CO2 or nutrient addition on epiphytes, shoot mortality, and carbon storage were attenuated when nutrients and CO2 acted simultaneously. This suggests CO2-induced benefits on eutrophic meadows. In the high-nutrient meadow, a striking shoot decline caused by amphipod overgrazing masked the response to CO2 and nutrient additions. Our results reveal that under future scenarios of CO2, the responses of seagrass ecosystems will be complex and

  19. Brevetoxin persistence in sediments and seagrass epiphytes of east Florida coastal waters

    PubMed Central

    Hitchcock, Gary L.; Fourqurean, James W.; Drake, Jeana L.; Mead, Ralph N.; Heil, Cynthia A.

    2012-01-01

    A bloom of Karenia brevis Davis developed in September 2007 near Jacksonville, Florida and subsequently progressed south through east Florida coastal waters and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Maximum cell abundances exceeded 106 cells L−1 through October in the northern ICW between Jacksonville and the Indian River Lagoon. The bloom progressed further south during November, and terminated in December 2007 at densities of 104 cells L−1 in the ICW south of Jupiter Inlet, Florida. Brevetoxins were subsequently sampled in sediments and seagrass epiphytes in July and August 2008 in the ICW. Sediment brevetoxins occurred at concentrations of 11–15 ng PbTx-3 equivalents (g dry wt sediment)−1 in three of five basins in the northern ICW during summer 2008. Seagrass beds occur south of the Mosquito Lagoon in the ICW. Brevetoxins were detected in six of the nine seagrass beds sampled between the Mosquito Lagoon and Jupiter Inlet at concentrations of 6–18 ng (g dry wt epiphytes)−1. The highest brevetoxins concentrations were found in sediments near Patrick Air Force Base at 89 ng (g dry wt sediment)−1. In general, brevetoxins occurred in either seagrass epiphytes or sediments. Blades of the resident seagrass species have a maximum life span of less than six months, so it is postulated that brevetoxins could be transferred between epibenthic communities of individual blades in seagrass beds. The occurrence of brevetoxins in east Florida coast sediments and seagrass epiphytes up to eight months after bloom termination supports observations from the Florida west coast that brevetoxins can persist in marine ecosystems in the absence of sustained blooms. Furthermore, our observations show that brevetoxins can persist in sediments where seagrass communities are absent. PMID:23762030

  20. Brevetoxin persistence in sediments and seagrass epiphytes of east Florida coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Hitchcock, Gary L; Fourqurean, James W; Drake, Jeana L; Mead, Ralph N; Heil, Cynthia A

    2012-01-01

    A bloom of Karenia brevis Davis developed in September 2007 near Jacksonville, Florida and subsequently progressed south through east Florida coastal waters and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Maximum cell abundances exceeded 10(6) cells L(-1) through October in the northern ICW between Jacksonville and the Indian River Lagoon. The bloom progressed further south during November, and terminated in December 2007 at densities of 10(4) cells L(-1) in the ICW south of Jupiter Inlet, Florida. Brevetoxins were subsequently sampled in sediments and seagrass epiphytes in July and August 2008 in the ICW. Sediment brevetoxins occurred at concentrations of 11-15 ng PbTx-3 equivalents (g dry wt sediment)(-1) in three of five basins in the northern ICW during summer 2008. Seagrass beds occur south of the Mosquito Lagoon in the ICW. Brevetoxins were detected in six of the nine seagrass beds sampled between the Mosquito Lagoon and Jupiter Inlet at concentrations of 6-18 ng (g dry wt epiphytes)(-1). The highest brevetoxins concentrations were found in sediments near Patrick Air Force Base at 89 ng (g dry wt sediment)(-1). In general, brevetoxins occurred in either seagrass epiphytes or sediments. Blades of the resident seagrass species have a maximum life span of less than six months, so it is postulated that brevetoxins could be transferred between epibenthic communities of individual blades in seagrass beds. The occurrence of brevetoxins in east Florida coast sediments and seagrass epiphytes up to eight months after bloom termination supports observations from the Florida west coast that brevetoxins can persist in marine ecosystems in the absence of sustained blooms. Furthermore, our observations show that brevetoxins can persist in sediments where seagrass communities are absent. PMID:23762030

  1. Landscape ecology of interactions between seagrass and mobile epifauna: The matrix matters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tanner, Jason E.

    2006-07-01

    There is increasing interest among ecologists about how the type of matrix surrounding a habitat patch influences the organisms living in that patch. This question is virtually unstudied in marine systems. In this paper I show that the mobile faunal assemblage in seagrass patches does depend on the surrounding matrix. Faunal assemblages in patches of Posidonia surrounded by sand are different than in those surrounded by Heterozostera, another seagrass, having more than double the abundance of both amphipods and polychaetes. However, the differences are not simply due to spillover from the matrix habitat, but rather are an emergent property of the patch context that cannot be predicted. Posidonia surrounded by sand actually has an assemblage that is intermediate between Heterozostera and Posidonia surrounded by Heterozostera. Differences in habitat structure do not account for this pattern, as seagrass biomass did not vary, and the same result was found in artificial seagrass. The faunal assemblage did not vary depending on the location within the patch (edge or centre) for Heterozostera, Posidonia or artificial seagrass. Patch size, however, did have an effect for Heterozostera, with smaller patches having 2-3 times as many isopods per sample as large, but less than half the number of some amphipod families. These results suggest that the landscape context is as important in marine systems as it is known to be in terrestrial systems.

  2. INTRACELLULAR COLONIZATION OF SEAGRASS ROOTS BY ACETOGENIC AND SULFIDOGENIC BACTERIA

    EPA Science Inventory

    The contribution of seagrasses to the stability and fertility of estuarine ecosystems is well established. Loss of seagrasses in recent years to disease and coastal development underscores the importance of understanding the microbial ecology of seagrasses, and the possible roles...

  3. SEAGRASS BASELINE CHARACTERIZATION MX974334

    EPA Science Inventory

    This project will continue to develop baseline data to document the current status of seagrass habitat and its relationship to water quality in the region. Implement monitoring programs and map seagrassess throughout the entire Big Bend region. Within this study area, three ap...

  4. Contribution of different functional groups to the diet of major predatory fishes at a seagrass meadow in northeastern Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamada, Katsumasa; Hori, Masakazu; Tanaka, Yoshiyuki; Hasegawa, Natsuki; Nakaoka, Masahiro

    2010-01-01

    We examined the variation in habitat use and diet of three dominant fish species ( Myoxocephalus brandti, Pholidapus dybowskii, and Pholis crassispina) in a seagrass meadow in the Akkeshi-ko estuary in northeastern Japan, where broad and dense Zostera marina beds exist, using a semi-quantitative census of the fishes and analyses of their stomach contents. Differences among the three fish species in the temporal variation in abundance of each age class (mainly 1- and 2-year age classes) indicated that the temporal pattern of utilization of the seagrass meadow were different among them. In the semi-quantitative dietary analysis, two prey categories, i.e., taxonomic group (order and suborder) and functional group, were used to explain the variation in prey composition with size-dependent changes. The six prey functional groups were classified based on the ecological traits of the prey, i.e., trophic level, size, and life type (habitat and behavior). Ontogenetic shifts in prey of the three fish species could be fully explained by a combination of the two prey categories, and not by the use of only one category (taxonomic or functional group). The pattern of ontogenetic shifts in prey differed among the fish species and size (age) classes. These results indicate that segregation of habitat (seagrass meadow) and prey group (taxonomic and functional group) is performed among the three species, which may contribute to their coexistence in this estuary.

  5. Interoperability challenges for the Sustainable Management of seagrass meadows (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nativi, S.; Pastres, R.; Bigagli, L.; Venier, C.; Zucchetta, M.; Santoro, M.

    2013-12-01

    Seagrass meadows (marine angiosperm plants) occupy less than 0.2% of the global ocean surface, annually store about 10-18% of the so-called 'Blue Carbon', i.e. the Carbon stored in coastal vegetated areas. Recent literature estimates that the flux to the long-term carbon sink in seagrasses represents 10-20% of seagrasses global average production. Such figures can be translated into economic benefits, taking into account that a ton of carbon dioxide in Europe is paid at around 15 € in the carbon market. This means that the organic carbon retained in seagrass sediments in the Mediterranean is worth 138 - 1128 billion €, which represents 6-23 € per square meter. This is 9-35 times more than one square meter of tropical forest soil (0.66 € per square meter), or 5-17 times when considering both the above and the belowground compartments in tropical forests. According the most conservative estimations, about 10% of the Mediterranean meadows have been lost during the last century. In the framework of the GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems) initiative, the MEDINA project (funded by the European Commission and coordinated by the University of Ca'Foscari in Venice) prepared a showcase as part of the GEOSS Architecture Interoperability Pilot -phase 6 (AIP-6). This showcase aims at providing a tool for the sustainable management of seagrass meadows along the Mediterranean coastline. The application is based on an interoperability framework providing a set of brokerage services to easily ingest and run a Habitat Suitability model (a model predicting the probability a given site to provide a suitable habitat for the development of seagrass meadow and the average coverage expected). The presentation discusses such a framework explaining how the input data is discovered, accessed and processed to ingest the model (developed in the MEDINA project). Furthermore, the brokerage framework provides the necessary services to run the model and visualize results

  6. Seagrass vegetation and meiofauna enhance the bacterial abundance in the Baltic Sea sediments (Puck Bay).

    PubMed

    Jankowska, Emilia; Jankowska, Katarzyna; Włodarska-Kowalczuk, Maria

    2015-09-01

    This study presents the first report on bacterial communities in the sediments of eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in the shallow southern Baltic Sea (Puck Bay). Total bacterial cell numbers (TBNs) and bacteria biomass (BBM) assessed with the use of epifluorescence microscope and Norland's formula were compared between bare and vegetated sediments at two localities and in two sampling summer months. Significantly higher TBNs and BBM (PERMANOVA tests, P < 0.05) were recorded at bottom covered by the seagrass meadows in both localities and in both sampling months. The relationships between bacteria characteristics and environmental factors (grain size, organic matter, photopigments in sediments), meiofauna and macrofauna densities, as well as macrophyte vegetation characteristics (shoot density, phytobenthos biomass) were tested using PERMANOVA distance-based linear model (DISTLM) procedures and showed that the main factors explaining bacteria characteristics are bottom type (vegetated vs. unvegetated) and meiofauna density. These two factors explained together 48.3% of variability in TBN and 40.5% in BBM, and their impacts did not overlap (as indicated by DISTLM sequential tests) demonstrating the different natures of these relationships. The effects of seagrass were most probably related to the increase of organic matter and providing habitat while higher numbers of meiofauna organisms may have stimulated the bacterial growth by increased grazing. PMID:26178839

  7. Level of contamination by metallic trace elements and organic molecules in the seagrass beds of Guadeloupe Island.

    PubMed

    Bouchon, Claude; Lemoine, Soazig; Dromard, Charlotte; Bouchon-Navaro, Yolande

    2016-01-01

    Seagrass bed ecosystems occupy the most important part of coastal shelf in the French West Indies. They also constitute nurseries for many invertebrates and fishes harvested by local fisheries. In Guadeloupe, coastal fish stocks are declining meanwhile several agroecosystems revealed to be heavily contaminated by pollutants (agricultural lands, rivers, mangroves, seagrass beds, and coral reefs). Considering these facts, a study of the contamination of seagrass beds (8000 ha) of the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin (GCSM) bay was conducted on their sediments and marine phanerogams. The analyses concerned six metals (Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, V, Zn), tributyltin, 18 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), eight polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 38 polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), dithiocarbamates (CS2 residues), and 225 pesticide molecules.Overall, the level of contamination of the seagrass beds was low for both sediments and phanerogams. Metallic trace elements were the main pollutants but with higher concentrations recorded in coastal sites, and their distribution can be explained by the proximity of river mouths and current patterns. The level of contamination was lower in plants than in sediments. However, the level of contamination between these two compartments was significantly correlated. The conclusion of this study is that, unlike other coastal ecosystems of Guadeloupe such as mangroves, the seagrass beds in the GCSM present a low degree of pollution. The observed level of contaminants does not seem to threaten the role of nursery played by the seagrass beds and does not likely present a risk for the reintroduction of manatees. PMID:26538258

  8. Temporal patterns in coral reef, seagrass and mangrove communities from Chengue bay CARICOMP site (Colombia): 1993-2008.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Ramírez, Alberto; Garzón-Ferreira, Jaime; Batista-Morales, Angélica; Gil, Diego L; Gómez-López, Diana Isabel; Gómez-Campo, Kelly; López-Londoño, Tomás; Navas-Camacho, Raúl; Reyes-Nivia, María Catalina; Vega-Sequeda, Johanna

    2010-10-01

    Few monitoring programs have simultaneously assessed the dynamics of linked marine ecosystems (coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves) to document their temporal and spatial variability. Based on CARICOMP protocol we evaluated permanent stations in coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves from 1993 to 2008 in Chengue Bay at the Tayrona Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean. Overall, the studied ecosystems showed a remarkable stability pattern over the monitoring period. While there were annual variations in coral reefs (coral cover) and mangroves (litterfall) caused by hurricane Lenny in 1999, particular trends in seagrass (leaf area index and leaf productivity) appear to reflect the natural variability in this ecosystem. We suggest that monitoring sites at the three marine ecosystems had in general a healthy development in the last 16 years. Our results are critical to locally improve the management strategies (Tayrona Natural Park) and to understand the long-term dynamics of closely associated marine ecosystems in the Caribbean. PMID:21299095

  9. [Hurricane Paloma's effects on seagrasses along Jardines de la Reina Archipelago, Cuba].

    PubMed

    Guimarais, Mayrene; Zúñiga, Adán; Pina, Fabián; Matos, Felipe

    2013-09-01

    Seagrasses are one of the most important coastal ecosystems since they promote organic matter flow, nutrient cycling, food availability and refuge. Until now, reports on damages caused by storms and hurricanes on seagrass beds are uncommon and highly variable. The seagrass meadows of the East end of Jardines de la Reina archipelago were surveyed from Nov. 29th to Dec. 5th of 2008, in order to determinate the effects from the passing of Hurricane Paloma: a category three storm on the Saffir-Simpsom scale. A rapid field assessment of the affected areas was carried out using the manta tow technique. In six sites, seagrass was quantitatively evaluated using a 15cm diameter core (four sampling units per site) and shoot density was calculated. Remote sensing techniques were used to estimate seagrass cover. To estimate the percentage of affected areas, a Region of Interest (ROI) was first created over a Landsat image. The percentage of seagrass affected within the ROI was estimated through direct georeferentiation of the contours of the damaged area and with a comparison to the total seagrass extension. To find possible explanations for damages, a false colour image was created using the near infrared band, to highlight the differences between emerged and submerged zones. The direction of winds was estimated using ArcGis 9.2 creating circular buffers, from the centre of the hurricane and generating lines tangent to the buffers. Seagrass in the region was dominated by the angiosperm Thalassia testudinum. Regional mean density was 1 321 +/- 721 shoots/m2, a value regarded as high for the Caribbean area. Seagrass meadows were partly affected by sediment accumulation on the shoots of T. testudinum and uprooting rhizomes. The 7.6 km2 disturbed area represented 1% of the total seagrass area. Other sites, closer to the centre of the hurricane, did not show any damages on the marine vegetation. The keys location with respect to the hurricane track was the most likely cause of the

  10. Recovery of a top predator mediates negative eutrophic effects on seagrass.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Brent B; Eby, Ron; Van Dyke, Eric; Tinker, M Tim; Marks, Corina I; Johnson, Kenneth S; Wasson, Kerstin

    2013-09-17

    A fundamental goal of the study of ecology is to determine the drivers of habitat-forming vegetation, with much emphasis given to the relative importance to vegetation of "bottom-up" forces such as the role of nutrients and "top-down" forces such as the influence of herbivores and their predators. For coastal vegetation (e.g., kelp, seagrass, marsh, and mangroves) it has been well demonstrated that alterations to bottom-up forcing can cause major disturbances leading to loss of dominant vegetation. One such process is anthropogenic nutrient loading, which can lead to major changes in the abundance and species composition of primary producers, ultimately affecting important ecosystem services. In contrast, much less is known about the relative importance of apex predators on coastal vegetated ecosystems because most top predator populations have been depleted or lost completely. Here we provide evidence that an unusual four-level trophic cascade applies in one such system, whereby a top predator mitigates the bottom-up influences of nutrient loading. In a study of seagrass beds in an estuarine ecosystem exposed to extreme nutrient loading, we use a combination of a 50-y time series analysis, spatial comparisons, and mesocosm and field experiments to demonstrate that sea otters (Enhydra lutris) promote the growth and expansion of eelgrass (Zostera marina) through a trophic cascade, counteracting the negative effects of agriculturally induced nutrient loading. Our results add to a small but growing body of literature illustrating that significant interactions between bottom-up and top-down forces occur, in this case with consequences for the conservation of valued ecosystem services provided by seagrass. PMID:23983266