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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

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

    2011-11-29

    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.

  2. Current European Labyrinthula zosterae Are Not Virulent and Modulate Seagrass (Zostera marina) Defense Gene Expression

    PubMed Central

    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

  3. The Genome of a Southern Hemisphere Seagrass Species (Zostera muelleri)1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Golicz, Agnieszka A.; Paterson, Andrew H.; Sablok, Gaurav; Krishnaraj, Rahul R.; Chan, Chon-Kit Kenneth; Batley, Jacqueline; Ralph, Peter J.

    2016-01-01

    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. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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...

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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...

  12. Temporal pattern in biometrics and nutrient stoichiometry of the intertidal seagrass Zostera japonica and its adaptation to air exposure in a temperate marine lagoon (China): Implications for restoration and management.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Xiaomei; Zhou, Yi; Liu, Peng; Wang, Feng; Liu, Bingjian; Liu, Xujia; Yang, Hongsheng

    2015-05-15

    In coastal areas of China, the seagrass Zostera japonica has drastically decreased in the past decades. Swan Lake is an exception, where we found extensive areas of Z. japonica beds. The growth of Z. japonica in the lagoon exhibited strong seasonal variation. The maximum shoot density of 9880±2786 shoots m(-2) occurred in August. The maximum specific growth rate (SGR) of 4.99±1.99%⋅d(-1) was recorded in June 2012. SGR might be a good parameter for assessing the growth status of Z. japonica population. N and P contents in the rhizome were significantly lower than those in the leaf and leaf sheath. Lower C/P ratios suggested P enrichment of the seagrass. The occurrence of Z. japonica in Swan Lake was featured by adapting to the intertidal harsh environments. The transplantation method using sectioned rhizomes would be a potential way for restoration of degraded Z. japonica beds. The establishment of the Rongcheng Swan National Nature Reserve in China has contributed to the survival and expansion of Z. japonica in Swan Lake.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. North Atlantic phylogeography and large-scale population differentiation of the seagrass Zostera marina L.

    PubMed

    Olsen, Jeanine L; Stam, Wytze T; Coyer, James A; Reusch, Thorsten B H; Billingham, Martin; Boström, Christoffer; Calvert, Elizabeth; Christie, Hartvig; Granger, Stephen; la Lumière, Richard; Milchakova, Nataliya; Oudot-Le Secq, Marie-Pierre; Procaccini, Gabriele; Sanjabi, Bahram; Serrao, Ester; Veldsink, Jan; Widdicombe, Stephen; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy

    2004-07-01

    As the most widespread seagrass in temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere, Zostera marina provides a unique opportunity to investigate the extent to which the historical legacy of the last glacial maximum (LGM18 000-10 000 years bp) is detectable in modern population genetic structure. We used sequences from the nuclear rDNA-internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and chloroplast matK-intron, and nine microsatellite loci to survey 49 populations (> 2000 individuals) from throughout the species' range. Minimal sequence variation between Pacific and Atlantic populations combined with biogeographical groupings derived from the microsatellite data, suggest that the trans-Arctic connection is currently open. The east Pacific and west Atlantic are more connected than either is to the east Atlantic. Allelic richness was almost two-fold higher in the Pacific. Populations from putative Atlantic refugia now represent the southern edges of the distribution and are not genetically diverse. Unexpectedly, the highest allelic diversity was observed in the North Sea-Wadden Sea-southwest Baltic region. Except for the Mediterranean and Black Seas, significant isolation-by-distance was found from ~150 to 5000 km. A transition from weak to strong isolation-by-distance occurred at ~150 km among northern European populations suggesting this scale as the natural limit for dispersal within the metapopulation. Links between historical and contemporary processes are discussed in terms of the projected effects of climate change on coastal marine plants. The identification of a high genetic diversity hotspot in Northern Europe provides a basis for restoration decisions.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Proteome Analysis Reveals Extensive Light Stress-Response Reprogramming in the Seagrass Zostera muelleri (Alismatales, Zosteraceae) Metabolism

    PubMed Central

    Kumar, Manoj; Padula, Matthew P.; Davey, Peter; Pernice, Mathieu; Jiang, Zhijian; Sablok, Gaurav; Contreras-Porcia, Loretto; Ralph, Peter J.

    2017-01-01

    Seagrasses are marine ecosystem engineers that are currently declining in abundance at an alarming rate due to both natural and anthropogenic disturbances in ecological niches. Despite reports on the morphological and physiological adaptations of seagrasses to extreme environments, little is known of the molecular mechanisms underlying photo-acclimation, and/or tolerance in these marine plants. This study applies the two-dimensional isoelectric focusing (2D-IEF) proteomics approach to identify photo-acclimation/tolerance proteins in the marine seagrass Zostera muelleri. For this, Z. muelleri was exposed for 10 days in laboratory mesocosms to saturating (control, 200 μmol photons m−2 s−1), super-saturating (SSL, 600 μmol photons m−2 s−1), and limited light (LL, 20 μmol photons m−2 s−1) irradiance conditions. Using LC-MS/MS analysis, 93 and 40 protein spots were differentially regulated under SSL and LL conditions, respectively, when compared to the control. In contrast to the LL condition, Z. muelleri robustly tolerated super-saturation light than control conditions, evidenced by their higher relative maximum electron transport rate and minimum saturating irradiance values. Proteomic analyses revealed up-regulation and/or appearances of proteins belonging to the Calvin-Benson and Krebs cycle, glycolysis, the glycine cleavage system of photorespiration, and the antioxidant system. These proteins, together with those from the inter-connected glutamate-proline-GABA pathway, shaped Z. muelleri photosynthesis and growth under SSL conditions. In contrast, the LL condition negatively impacted the metabolic activities of Z. muelleri by down-regulating key metabolic enzymes for photosynthesis and the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids, which is consistent with the observation with lower photosynthetic performance under LL condition. This study provides novel insights into the underlying molecular photo-acclimation mechanisms in Z. muelleri, in

  20. 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...

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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...

  4. Influence of New Zealand cockles (Austrovenus stutchburyi) on primary productivity in sandflat-seagrass (Zostera muelleri) ecotones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lohrer, Andrew M.; Townsend, Michael; Hailes, Sarah F.; Rodil, Iván F.; Cartner, Katie; Pratt, Daniel R.; Hewitt, Judi E.

    2016-11-01

    New Zealand cockles (Austrovenus stutchburyi) are ecologically important, intertidal bivalves that have been shown to influence nutrient cycles and the productivity of microphytobenthos on sandflats. Here, we investigated the potential for cockles to impact the productivity of seagrass, Zostera muelleri, and examined interactions between these habitat-defining species where they co-occur. We sampled bivalve densities and sizes, sediment properties, and seagrass shoot densities across the boundaries of two seagrass patches on an intertidal sandflat in northern New Zealand, and measured dissolved oxygen and nutrient fluxes in light and dark benthic incubation chambers in conjunction with a 0-97% gradient in seagrass cover. Although gross primary production (GPP, μmol O2 m-2 h-1) increased predictably with the cover of live seagrass, the density of cockles and sediment properties also contributed directly and indirectly. Seagrass cover was positively correlated with cockle density (ranging from 225 to 1350 individuals per m2), sediment mud percentage (0.5-9.5%), and organic matter content (0.5-2.2%), all of which can affect the efflux of ammonium (readily utilisable inorganic nitrogen) from sediments. Moreover, the cover of green seagrass blades plateaued (never exceeded 70%) in the areas of highest total seagrass cover, adding complexity to cockle-seagrass interactions and contributing to a unimodal cockle-GPP relationship.

  5. The impact of extreme weather events on the seagrass Zostera noltii and related Hydrobia ulvae population.

    PubMed

    Cardoso, P G; Raffaelli, D; Pardal, M A

    2008-03-01

    Coastal areas are typically subjected to a range of stressors, but they now face the additional stressor of climate change, manifested in part by an increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Thus, the Mondego estuary (Portugal) has experienced organic enrichment (eutrophication) issues and these are potentially exacerbated by extreme weather events (floods, droughts and heat waves). In this paper, we explore the impact of interactions of these different stressors on the ecology of the system, specifically on the two key components, the seagrass Zostera noltii and the mud snail Hydrobia ulvae. Extreme events affected different components of the estuarine ecosystem (primary producers and macrofauna) differently. Whilst the floods directly impacted on H. ulvae, by wiping out part of its population, they did not directly affect the biomass of Z. noltii. In contrast, drought events, through their effects on salinity, directly impacted the biomass of Zostera, which had knock-on effects on the dynamics of H. ulvae. We conclude that over the period when the estuary experienced eutrophication, extreme weather events contributed to the overall degradation of the estuary, while during the recovery phase following the introduction of a management programme, those extreme weather episodes delayed the recovery process significantly.

  6. 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...

  7. Susceptibility of seagrass to oil spills: A case study with eelgrass, Zostera marina in San Francisco Bay, USA.

    PubMed

    Fonseca, Mark; Piniak, Gregory A; Cosentino-Manning, Natalie

    2017-02-15

    Existing literature illustrates inconsistent responses of seagrasses to oil exposure, both in the field and in the laboratory. Here, we add a new study that combined morphometric, demographic and photophysiology assessments to determine the potential oiling impacts to eelgrass (Zostera marina) from the 2007 Cosco Busan event in San Francisco Bay. Shoot densities, reproductive status, and rhizome elongation of Z. marina were examined at sites with pre-spill data, and eelgrass photosynthetic efficiency was measured post-spill. Shoot densities and percent elongation of rhizome internodes formed after the oil spill varied but with no consistent relationship to adjacent shoreline cleanup assessment team (SCAT) oiling categories. Similarly, differences in seagrass photosynthetic efficiency were not consistent with SCAT oiling categories. While thresholds for negative impacts on seagrass in general remain to be defined, conclusive oiling indicators for degree and duration of exposure would be important considerations and need examination under controlled study.

  8. Granulosicoccus coccoides sp. nov., isolated from leaves of seagrass (Zostera marina).

    PubMed

    Kurilenko, Valerie V; Christen, Richard; Zhukova, Natalia V; Kalinovskaya, Nataliya I; Mikhailov, Valery V; Crawford, Russell J; Ivanova, Elena P

    2010-04-01

    A non-pigmented, motile, Gram-negative bacterium, strain Z 271(T), was isolated from the surface of leaves of the seagrass Zostera marina which was collected in Troitza Bay (Sea of Japan, Pacific Ocean). The new isolate grew between 5 degrees C and 28 degrees C and was slightly halophilic, tolerating environments containing up to 5 % (w/v) NaCl. Strain Z 271(T) was able to degrade Tweens 20, 40 and 80 and partially degrade gelatin, but was unable to degrade casein. Phosphatidylethanolamine (36.9 %) and phosphatidylglycerol (63.1 %) were the predominant phospholipids. The major fatty acids included C(18 : 1)omega7c (43.7 %), C(16 : 1)omega7c (31.1 %) and C(16 : 0) (16.8 %). The main respiratory quinone was Q-8. The DNA-DNA relatedness value of strain Z 271(T) with Granulosicoccus antarcticus IMCC3135(T) was 35 %. The G+C content of the DNA of strain Z 271(T) was 60.2 mol%. On the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics and 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, strain Z 271(T) represents a novel species of the genus Granulosicoccus for which the name Granulosicoccus coccoides sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is Z 271(T) (=KMM 6014(T)=CIP 109923(T)).

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics of the intertidal seagrass, Zostera japonica, on the southern coast of the Korean peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-12-01

    Seagrasses require a large amount of nutrient assimilation to support high levels of production, and thus nutrient limitation for growth often occurs in seagrass habitats. Seagrasses can take up nutrients from both the water column and sediments. However, since seagrasses inhabiting in the intertidal zones are exposed to the air during low tide, the intertidal species may exhibit significantly different carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) dynamics compared to the subtidal species. To examine C and N dynamics of the intertidal seagrass, Zostera japonica, C and N content and stable isotope ratios of above- and below-ground tissues were measured monthly at the three intertidal zones in Koje Bay on the southern coast of Korea. The C and N content and stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) ratios of seagrass tissues exhibited significant seasonal variations. Both leaf and rhizome C content were not significantly correlated with productivity. Leaf δ13C values usually exhibited negative correlations with leaf productivity. These results of tissue C content and δ13C values suggest that photosynthesis of Z. japonica in the study site was not limited by inorganic C supply, and sufficient inorganic C was provided from the atmosphere. The tissue N content usually exhibited negative correlations with leaf productivity except at the upper intertidal zone, suggesting that Z. japonica growth was probably limited by N availability during high growing season. In the upper intertidal zone, no correlations between leaf productivity and tissue elemental content and stable isotope ratios were observed due to the severely suppressed growth caused by strong desiccation stress.

  12. 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.

  13. Comparative analysis of expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries in the seagrass Zostera marina subjected to temperature stress.

    PubMed

    Reusch, Thorsten B H; Veron, Amelie S; Preuss, Christoph; Weiner, January; Wissler, Lothar; Beck, Alfred; Klages, Sven; Kube, Michael; Reinhardt, Richard; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich

    2008-01-01

    Global warming is associated with increasing stress and mortality on temperate seagrass beds, in particular during periods of high sea surface temperatures during summer months, adding to existing anthropogenic impacts, such as eutrophication and habitat destruction. We compare several expressed sequence tag (EST) in the ecologically important seagrass Zostera marina (eelgrass) to elucidate the molecular genetic basis of adaptation to environmental extremes. We compared the tentative unigene (TUG) frequencies of libraries derived from leaf and meristematic tissue from a control situation with two experimentally imposed temperature stress conditions and found that TUG composition is markedly different among these conditions (all P < 0.0001). Under heat stress, we find that 63 TUGs are differentially expressed (d.e.) at 25 degrees C compared with lower, no-stress condition temperatures (4 degrees C and 17 degrees C). Approximately one-third of d.e. eelgrass genes were characteristic for the stress response of the terrestrial plant model Arabidopsis thaliana. The changes in gene expression suggest complex photosynthetic adjustments among light-harvesting complexes, reaction center subunits of photosystem I and II, and components of the dark reaction. Heat shock encoding proteins and reactive oxygen scavengers also were identified, but their overall frequency was too low to perform statistical tests. In all conditions, the most abundant transcript (3-15%) was a putative metallothionein gene with unknown function. We also find evidence that heat stress may translate to enhanced infection by protists. A total of 210 TUGs contain one or more microsatellites as potential candidates for gene-linked genetic markers. Data are publicly available in a user-friendly database at http://www.uni-muenster.de/Evolution/ebb/Services/zostera .

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. Pollen limitation may be a common Allee effect in marine hydrophilous plants: implications for decline and recovery in seagrasses.

    PubMed

    Van Tussenbroek, B I; Soissons, L M; Bouma, T J; Asmus, R; Auby, I; Brun, F G; Cardoso, P G; Desroy, N; Fournier, J; Ganthy, F; Garmendia, J M; Godet, L; Grilo, T F; Kadel, P; Ondiviela, B; Peralta, G; Recio, M; Valle, M; Van der Heide, T; Van Katwijk, M M

    2016-10-01

    Pollen limitation may be an important factor in accelerated decline of sparse or fragmented populations. Little is known whether hydrophilous plants (pollen transport by water) suffer from an Allee effect due to pollen limitation or not. Hydrophilous pollination is a typical trait of marine angiosperms or seagrasses. Although seagrass flowers usually have high pollen production, floral densities are highly variable. We evaluated pollen limitation for intertidal populations of the seagrass Zostera noltei in The Netherlands and found a significant positive relation between flowering spathe density and fruit-set, which was suboptimal at <1200 flowering spathes m(-2) (corresponding to <600 reproductive shoots m(-2)). A fragmented population had ≈35 % lower fruit-set at similar reproductive density than a continuous population. 75 % of all European populations studied over a large latitudinal gradient had flowering spathe densities below that required for optimal fruit-set, particularly in Southern countries. Literature review of the reproductive output of hydrophilous pollinated plants revealed that seed- or fruit-set of marine hydrophilous plants is generally low, as compared to hydrophilous freshwater and wind-pollinated plants. We conclude that pollen limitation as found in Z. noltei may be a common Allee effect for seagrasses, potentially accelerating decline and impairing recovery even after environmental conditions have improved substantially.

  18. 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)

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

    Hosokawa, Shinya; 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.

  3. 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...

  4. 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...

  5. Dracograllus trukensis sp. nov. (Draconematidae: Nematoda) from a seagrass bed ( Zostera spp.) in Chuuk Islands, Micronesia, Central Western Pacific Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Min, Wongi; Kim, Dongsung; Decraemer, Wilfrida; Rho, Hyun Soo

    2016-09-01

    A new species of free-living marine draconematid nematode, Dracograllus trukensis sp. nov., is described based on the specimens collected from the sediments of a intertidal seagrass bed from Chuuk Islands, Micronesia. Dracograllus trukensis sp. nov. differs from other species of the genus by the combination of the following characteristics: the presence of numerous minute spiny ornamented body cuticular annules in both sexes, eight cephalic adhesion tubes inserted on the head capsule in both sexes, the presence of stiff posteriorly directed setae anterior to posterior adhesion tubes in both sexes, the shape (large, elongated, open loop-shaped in male and large, elongated, closed loop-shaped in female) and position (longer ventral arm extending to the first body annule in male) of amphideal fovea, shorter spicule length (34-42 μm), the presence of sexual dimorphism in shape and length of the non-annulated tail terminus, and number of posterior sublateral adhesion tubes (10 in male and 13-15 in female) and posterior subventral adhesion tubes (8-10 in male and 9-11 in female). A comparative table on the biogeographical and ecological characteristics of the species of Dracograllus is presented. This is the first taxonomic report on the genus Dracograllus from Chuuk Islands, Micronesia, central western Pacific Ocean.

  6. 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

  7. 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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Temporal stability in patterns of genetic diversity and structure of a marine foundation species (Zostera marina).

    PubMed

    Reynolds, L K; Stachowicz, J J; Hughes, A R; Kamel, S J; Ort, B S; Grosberg, R K

    2017-04-01

    Genetic diversity and population structure reflect complex interactions among a diverse set of processes that may vary temporally, limiting their potential to predict ecological and evolutionary outcomes. Yet, the stability of these patterns is rarely tested. We resampled eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows from published studies to determine variability in genetic diversity and structure within and between meadows over 5-12 years. The meadows sampled (San Francisco, Tomales and Bodega Bays in California and the Virginia coastal bays) represent a range of life histories (annual vs perennial), age (well-established vs restored) and environments (rural vs urbanized). In all of these systems, neither diversity nor differentiation (FST) changed over time. Differences among tidal heights within Bodega Bay were also remarkably consistent, with the high intertidal being more diverse than the subtidal, and tidal height differentiation being modest but significant at both time points. Historical studies used only a few microsatellite loci; therefore, our temporal comparisons were based on 4-5 loci. However, analysis of the current data using a set of 12 loci show that 4-5 loci are sufficient to describe diversity and differentiation patterns in this system. This temporal consistency was not because of the resampling of large clones, underscoring the feasibility and relevance of understanding drivers of the differences. Because seagrasses are declining at rapid rates, restoration and conservation are increasingly a coastal management priority. Our results argue that surveys of eelgrass genetic structure and diversity at decadal scales can provide accurate depictions of populations, increasing the utility of published genetic data for restoration and designing networks of reserves.

  16. 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.

  17. Comparison of photosynthetic characteristics of the seagrasscongeners Zostera marina L. and Zostera japonica Ascher. & Graeb.

    EPA Science Inventory

    On the Pacific coast of North America two seagrass species in the genus Zostera co-exist; the native species Zostera marina, and an introduced species, Z. japonica. These two species typically occupy separate habitat niches, with Z. marina occupying the lower intertidal and shal...

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. Variability of sedimentary organic carbon in patchy seagrass landscapes.

    PubMed

    Ricart, Aurora M; York, Paul H; Rasheed, Michael A; Pérez, Marta; Romero, Javier; Bryant, Catherine V; Macreadie, Peter I

    2015-11-15

    Seagrass ecosystems, considered among the most efficient carbon sinks worldwide, encompass a wide variety of spatial configurations in the coastal landscape. Here we evaluated the influence of the spatial configuration of seagrass meadows at small scales (metres) on carbon storage in seagrass sediments. We intensively sampled carbon stocks and other geochemical properties (δ(13)C, particle size, depositional fluxes) across seagrass-sand edges in a Zostera muelleri patchy seagrass landscape. Carbon stocks were significantly higher (ca. 20%) inside seagrass patches than at seagrass-sand edges and bare sediments. Deposition was similar among all positions and most of the carbon was from allochthonous sources. Patch level attributes (e.g. edge distance) represent important determinants of the spatial heterogeneity of carbon stocks within seagrass ecosystems. Our findings indicate that carbon stocks of seagrass areas have likely been overestimated by not considering the influence of meadow landscapes, and have important relevance for the design of seagrass carbon stock assessments.

  7. Metabolomics Reveals Cryptic Interactive Effects of Species Interactions and Environmental Stress on Nitrogen and Sulfur Metabolism in Seagrass.

    PubMed

    Hasler-Sheetal, Harald; Castorani, Max C N; Glud, Ronnie N; Canfield, Donald E; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-11-01

    Eutrophication of estuaries and coastal seas is accelerating, increasing light stress on subtidal marine plants and changing their interactions with other species. To date, we have limited understanding of how such variations in environmental and biological stress modify the impact of interactions among foundational species and eventually affect ecosystem health. Here, we used metabolomics to assess the impact of light reductions on interactions between the seagrass Zostera marina, an important habitat-forming marine plant, and the abundant and commercially important blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Plant performance varied with light availability but was unaffected by the presence of mussels. Metabolomic analysis, on the other hand, revealed an interaction between light availability and presence of M. edulis on seagrass metabolism. Under high light, mussels stimulated seagrass nitrogen and energy metabolism. Conversely, in low light mussels impeded nitrogen and energy metabolism, and enhanced responses against sulfide toxicity, causing inhibited oxidative energy metabolism and tissue degradation. Metabolomic analysis thereby revealed cryptic changes to seagrass condition that could not be detected by traditional approaches. Our findings suggest that coastal eutrophication and associated reductions in light may shift seagrass-bivalve interactions from mutualistic to antagonistic, which is important for conservation management of seagrass meadows.

  8. Can mud (silt and clay) concentration be used to predict soil organic carbon content within seagrass ecosystems?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serrano, Oscar; Lavery, Paul S.; Duarte, Carlos M.; Kendrick, Gary A.; Calafat, Antoni; York, Paul H.; Steven, Andy; Macreadie, Peter I.

    2016-09-01

    The emerging field of blue carbon science is seeking cost-effective ways to estimate the organic carbon content of soils that are bound by coastal vegetated ecosystems. Organic carbon (Corg) content in terrestrial soils and marine sediments has been correlated with mud content (i.e., silt and clay, particle sizes < 63 µm), however, empirical tests of this theory are lacking for coastal vegetated ecosystems. Here, we compiled data (n = 1345) on the relationship between Corg and mud contents in seagrass ecosystems (79 cores) and adjacent bare sediments (21 cores) to address whether mud can be used to predict soil Corg content. We also combined these data with the δ13C signatures of the soil Corg to understand the sources of Corg stores. The results showed that mud is positively correlated with soil Corg content only when the contribution of seagrass-derived Corg to the sedimentary Corg pool is relatively low, such as in small and fast-growing meadows of the genera Zostera, Halodule and Halophila, and in bare sediments adjacent to seagrass ecosystems. In large and long-living seagrass meadows of the genera Posidonia and Amphibolis there was a lack of, or poor relationship between mud and soil Corg content, related to a higher contribution of seagrass-derived Corg to the sedimentary Corg pool in these meadows. The relatively high soil Corg contents with relatively low mud contents (e.g., mud-Corg saturation) in bare sediments and Zostera, Halodule and Halophila meadows was related to significant allochthonous inputs of terrestrial organic matter, while higher contribution of seagrass detritus in Amphibolis and Posidonia meadows disrupted the correlation expected between soil Corg and mud contents. This study shows that mud is not a universal proxy for blue carbon content in seagrass ecosystems, and therefore should not be applied generally across all seagrass habitats. Mud content can only be used as a proxy to estimate soil Corg content for scaling up purposes when

  9. Back to the sea twice: identifying candidate plant genes for molecular evolution to marine life

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Seagrasses are a polyphyletic group of monocotyledonous angiosperms that have adapted to a completely submerged lifestyle in marine waters. Here, we exploit two collections of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) of two wide-spread and ecologically important seagrass species, the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile and the eelgrass Zostera marina L., which have independently evolved from aquatic ancestors. This replicated, yet independent evolutionary history facilitates the identification of traits that may have evolved in parallel and are possible instrumental candidates for adaptation to a marine habitat. Results In our study, we provide the first quantitative perspective on molecular adaptations in two seagrass species. By constructing orthologous gene clusters shared between two seagrasses (Z. marina and P. oceanica) and eight distantly related terrestrial angiosperm species, 51 genes could be identified with detection of positive selection along the seagrass branches of the phylogenetic tree. Characterization of these positively selected genes using KEGG pathways and the Gene Ontology uncovered that these genes are mostly involved in translation, metabolism, and photosynthesis. Conclusions These results provide first insights into which seagrass genes have diverged from their terrestrial counterparts via an initial aquatic stage characteristic of the order and to the derived fully-marine stage characteristic of seagrasses. We discuss how adaptive changes in these processes may have contributed to the evolution towards an aquatic and marine existence. PMID:21226908

  10. 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...

  11. Determining bathymetric distributions of the eelgrass Zostera marina L. in three turbid estuaries of the eastern North Pacific coast

    EPA Science Inventory

    Improved methods for determining bathymetric distributions of dominant intertidal plants throughout their estuarine range are needed. Zostera marina is a seagrass native to estuaries of the northeastern Pacific and many other sectors of the world ocean. The technique described ...

  12. 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...

  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. 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

  15. Food-web structure of seagrass communities across different spatial scales and human impacts.

    PubMed

    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

  16. 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 ...

  17. Climate change and ocean acidification effects on seagrasses and marine macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Koch, Marguerite; Bowes, George; Ross, Cliff; Zhang, Xing-Hai

    2013-01-01

    Although seagrasses and marine macroalgae (macro-autotrophs) play critical ecological roles in reef, lagoon, coastal and open-water ecosystems, their response to ocean acidification (OA) and climate change is not well understood. In this review, we examine marine macro-autotroph biochemistry and physiology relevant to their response to elevated dissolved inorganic carbon [DIC], carbon dioxide [CO2 ], and lower carbonate [CO3 (2-) ] and pH. We also explore the effects of increasing temperature under climate change and the interactions of elevated temperature and [CO2 ]. Finally, recommendations are made for future research based on this synthesis. A literature review of >100 species revealed that marine macro-autotroph photosynthesis is overwhelmingly C3 (≥ 85%) with most species capable of utilizing HCO3 (-) ; however, most are not saturated at current ocean [DIC]. These results, and the presence of CO2 -only users, lead us to conclude that photosynthetic and growth rates of marine macro-autotrophs are likely to increase under elevated [CO2 ] similar to terrestrial C3 species. In the tropics, many species live close to their thermal limits and will have to up-regulate stress-response systems to tolerate sublethal temperature exposures with climate change, whereas elevated [CO2 ] effects on thermal acclimation are unknown. Fundamental linkages between elevated [CO2 ] and temperature on photorespiration, enzyme systems, carbohydrate production, and calcification dictate the need to consider these two parameters simultaneously. Relevant to calcifiers, elevated [CO2 ] lowers net calcification and this effect is amplified by high temperature. Although the mechanisms are not clear, OA likely disrupts diffusion and transport systems of H(+) and DIC. These fluxes control micro-environments that promote calcification over dissolution and may be more important than CaCO3 mineralogy in predicting macroalgal responses to OA. Calcareous macroalgae are highly vulnerable to OA

  18. 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.

  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. 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...

  1. Copper treatment during storage reduces Phytophthora and Halophytophthora infection of Zostera marina seeds used for restoration.

    PubMed

    Govers, Laura L; van der Zee, Els M; Meffert, Johan P; van Rijswick, Patricia C J; Man In 't Veld, Willem A; Heusinkveld, Jannes H T; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2017-02-22

    Restoration is increasingly considered an essential tool to halt and reverse the rapid decline of vital coastal ecosystems dominated by habitat-forming foundation species such as seagrasses. However, two recently discovered pathogens of marine plants, Phytophthora gemini and Halophytophthora sp. Zostera, can seriously hamper restoration efforts by dramatically reducing seed germination. Here, we report on a novel method that strongly reduces Phytophthora and Halophytophthora infection of eelgrass (Zostera marina) seeds. Seeds were stored in seawater with three different copper sulphate concentrations (0.0, 0.2, 2.0 ppm) crossed with three salinities (0.5, 10.0, 25.0 ppt). Next to reducing seed germination, infection significantly affected cotyledon colour: 90% of the germinated infected seeds displayed a brown cotyledon upon germination that did not continue development into the seedling stage, in contrast to only 13% of the germinated non-infected seeds. Copper successfully reduced infection up to 86% and the 0.2 ppm copper sulphate treatment was just as successful as the 2.0 ppm treatment. Infection was completely eliminated at low salinities, but green seed germination was also dramatically lowered by 10 times. We conclude that copper sulphate treatment is a suitable treatment for disinfecting Phytophthora or Halophytophthora infected eelgrass seeds, thereby potentially enhancing seed-based restoration success.

  2. Copper treatment during storage reduces Phytophthora and Halophytophthora infection of Zostera marina seeds used for restoration

    PubMed Central

    Govers, Laura L.; van der Zee, Els M.; Meffert, Johan P.; van Rijswick, Patricia C. J.; Man in ‘t Veld, Willem A.; Heusinkveld, Jannes H. T.; van der Heide, Tjisse

    2017-01-01

    Restoration is increasingly considered an essential tool to halt and reverse the rapid decline of vital coastal ecosystems dominated by habitat-forming foundation species such as seagrasses. However, two recently discovered pathogens of marine plants, Phytophthora gemini and Halophytophthora sp. Zostera, can seriously hamper restoration efforts by dramatically reducing seed germination. Here, we report on a novel method that strongly reduces Phytophthora and Halophytophthora infection of eelgrass (Zostera marina) seeds. Seeds were stored in seawater with three different copper sulphate concentrations (0.0, 0.2, 2.0 ppm) crossed with three salinities (0.5, 10.0, 25.0 ppt). Next to reducing seed germination, infection significantly affected cotyledon colour: 90% of the germinated infected seeds displayed a brown cotyledon upon germination that did not continue development into the seedling stage, in contrast to only 13% of the germinated non-infected seeds. Copper successfully reduced infection up to 86% and the 0.2 ppm copper sulphate treatment was just as successful as the 2.0 ppm treatment. Infection was completely eliminated at low salinities, but green seed germination was also dramatically lowered by 10 times. We conclude that copper sulphate treatment is a suitable treatment for disinfecting Phytophthora or Halophytophthora infected eelgrass seeds, thereby potentially enhancing seed-based restoration success. PMID:28225072

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 ...

  7. Keeping tabs on seagrass beds

    SciTech Connect

    Kuhl, D.E.; Sargent, F.J.; Leary, T.J.

    1997-06-01

    Seagrasses form the foundation of complex, fragile communities that include marine and estuarine animals, especially larval and juvenile fish, providing critical shelter and sustenance. Seagrasses also have a role in providing habitat for waterfowl, marine turtles and manimals. In addition, seagrasses improve water quality by stabilizing mobile sediments and converting some pollutants into plant biomass. The issue of propeller scarring or propeller dredging in seagrass beds has received much attention since 1990. The scarring of seagrass results from personal watercraft. Heightened interest has instigated numerous monitoring and mapping projects on propeller scarring and regrowth characteristics within seagrasses. The study areas selected for this paper are located within Tampa Bay, Florida. Specifically, they are Shell Island and Miquel Bay. Spatial monitoring for the extent of seagrass scarring in the Tampa Bay region was conducted in two ways, a regional (general) approach and a site specific (detailed) approach. Regional monitoring assessed the status of seagrass in Tampa Bay and identified {open_quote}hot spots{close_quote}. After identifying {open_quote}hot spots{close_quote}, boat surveys were used to confirm or deny the initial assessment. This poster involves the design of a propeller scarring monitoring program using several methods: Hi8 video, digital cameras, film cameras, and differential GPS combined with Arcview. A pilot program to evaluate the adequacy of these monitoring devices and the recommendation of specific actions in areas of severe propeller scarring will be presented.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Lugworm ( Abarenicola affinis) in seagrass and unvegetated habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goerlitz, Stefan; Berkenbusch, Katrin; Probert, P. Keith

    2015-06-01

    In Otago, southern New Zealand, the lugworm Abarenicola affinis resides in neighbouring tidal inlets with and without seagrass ( Zostera muelleri). A comparison of abundance, body size and biomass of A. affinis between seagrass habitat (Papanui Inlet) and unvegetated habitat (Hoopers Inlet) showed little seasonal variation of these parameters in each habitat and relatively similar abundances between both habitats. In contrast, lugworm biomass was considerably lower in the seagrass habitat due to the lack of large individuals compared with unvegetated habitat. In the seagrass habitat, there was a significant negative influence of Z. muelleri below-ground biomass on abundance and biomass of A. affinis, indicating that seagrass affected lugworm burrowing and/or feeding processes. In contrast to the unvegetated habitat, where lugworms spread relatively evenly across the intertidal area, lugworms were mostly restricted to the upper intertidal zone in the seagrass habitat. The findings suggest that the extensive seagrass bed in the mid and low intertidal zones of Papanui Inlet limited lugworm distribution in an otherwise suitable habitat. Whereas small lugworms colonised seagrass areas, the largest individuals occurred only in unvegetated sediment and seemed to be more hampered by the presence of seagrass than smaller individuals. The findings highlight negative feedback between antagonistic ecosystem engineers, with the potential of seagrass physical structures (autogenic engineering) to impact negatively on lugworm activity (allogenic engineering).

  11. 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.

  12. Seagrasses in tropical Australia, productive and abundant for decades decimated overnight.

    PubMed

    Pollard, Peter C; Greenway, Margaret

    2013-03-01

    Seagrass ecosystems provide unique coastal habitats critical to the life cycle of many species. Seagrasses are a major store of organic carbon. While seagrasses are globally threatened and in decline, in Cairns Harbour, Queensland, on the tropical east coast of Australia, they have flourished. We assessed seagrass distribution in Cairns Harbour between 1953 and 2012 from historical aerial photographs, Google map satellite images, existing reports and our own surveys of their distribution. Seasonal seagrass physiology was assessed through gross primary production, respiration and photosynthetic characteristics of three seagrass species, Cymodocea serrulata, Thalassia hemprichii and Zostera muelleri. At the higher water temperatures of summer, respiration rates increased in all three species, as did their maximum rates of photosynthesis. All three seagrasses achieved maximum rates of photosynthesis at low tide and when they were exposed. For nearly six decades there was little change in seagrass distribution in Cairns Harbour. This was most likely because the seagrasses were able to achieve sufficient light for growth during intertidal and low tide periods. With historical data of seagrass distribution and measures of species production and respiration, could seagrass survival in a changing climate be predicted? Based on physiology, our results predicted the continued maintenance of the Cairns Harbour seagrasses, although one species was more susceptible to thermal disturbance. However, in 2011 an unforeseen episodic disturbance - Tropical Cyclone Yasi - and associated floods lead to the complete and catastrophic loss of all the seagrasses in Cairns Harbour.

  13. 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...

  14. 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...

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. MAPPING INTERTIDAL EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA L.) IN THREE COASTAL ESTUARIES OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST USA USING FALSE-COLOUR NEAR-INFRARED AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    EPA Science Inventory

    This study describes a hybrid technique of digitally classifying aerial photography used for mapping the intertidal habitat of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in Pacific Northwest USA estuaries. The large tidal range (2-3 m) in this region exposes most of this seagrass community at ...

  1. COMPARISON OF ANNUAL PRODUCTION ECOLOGY OF NATIVE EELGRASS ZOSTERA MARINA AND THE NON-NATIVE DWARF EELGRASS Z. JAPONICA IN YAQUINA BAY, OREGON

    EPA Science Inventory

    When non-native plant species invade a system they often change patterns of primary production. I evaluate the contribution of the seagrass Zostera marina and it's non-native congener Z. japonica to primary production in Yaquina Bay. Few measurements of Z. japonica production e...

  2. 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

  3. Seagrass landscapes and their effects on associated fauna: A review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boström, Christoffer; Jackson, Emma L.; Simenstad, Charles A.

    2006-07-01

    Seagrasses comprise some of the most heterogeneous landscape structures of shallow-water estuarine/marine ecosystems in the world. However, while knowledge at the molecular, organism, patch and community scale is pervasive, understanding of seagrass landscape ecology is more fragmentary and has not been synthesized. The growth and recruitment dynamics of seagrasses as well as man-made and/or natural disturbances create complex spatial configurations of seagrass over broad (metres to kilometres) spatial scales. Hence, it is important to identify mechanisms maintaining and/or threatening the diversity-promoting function of seagrass meadows and to understand their effects on benthic populations and communities. Although landscape ecology has recently become more integrated into seagrass research, our understanding of animal responses to variability in seagrass landscape structure is still fragmentary. By reviewing the literature to date, this paper evaluates studies on seagrass landscape ecology, testing the general null hypothesis that concepts developed in terrestrial settings can be generalized across landscapes, and (a) presenting definitions and terms used in seagrass landscape ecology, (b) reviewing geographical patterns of seagrass landscape studies to identify possible key regions and target species, (c) evaluating different methodological approaches, (d) describing the spatial and temporal scales used to describe organism responses to seagrass landscape structure, and (e) placing seagrass landscapes into an applied context.

  4. 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.

  5. Determining bathymetric distributions of the eelgrass Zostera ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Improved methods for determining bathymetric distributions of dominant intertidal plants throughout their estuarine range are needed. Zostera marina is a seagrass native to estuaries of the northeastern Pacific and many other sectors of the world ocean. The technique described here employed large format aerial photography using false color near-infrared film with digital image classification, and the production of digital bathymetric models of shallow estuaries such as those occurring in turbid waters of the Pacific Northwest USA. Application of geographic information system procedures to the eelgrass classifications and bathymetry distributions yielded digital bathymetric distributions based upon a very large number of observations. Similar bathymetric patterns were obtained for the three estuaries surveyed, and approximately 90% of the classified eelgrass occurred within the depth range -1.0 m to +1.0 m (MLLW). Comparison of these distributions with ground surveys of eelgrass lower depth limits indicated that the area of undetected subtidal eelgrass constituted 86% overall accuracy) in each estuary. The pattern of eelgrass in one estuary was distinctly different from those in the other two systems, illustrating the potential usefulness of this technique in exploring causative factors for such differences in estuarine intertidal vegetation distributions. Improved methods for determining bathymetric distributions of dominant intertidal plants throughout

  6. Impacts of docks on seagrass and effects of management practices to ameliorate these impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gladstone, William; Courtenay, Glenn

    2014-01-01

    Seagrasses have high conservation and human-use values, but around the world they are being damaged by human activities. Compared to the larger spatial scale at which some human activities affect estuaries and their seagrasses (e.g. catchment disturbance, dredging, pollution, trawling), recreational boating and infrastructure of moorings and docks act at smaller scales. However, the cumulative effects contribute to stresses acting on seagrass beds. This study assessed the effects of docks on the native seagrass Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni in an estuary in south-east Australia and of current management practices designed to reduce dock impacts on this seagrass. A field survey found that seagrass biomass was significantly reduced below docks, and the effects were not influenced by dock orientation. Management practices requiring the use of a mesh decking to provide greater light penetration reduced, but did not eliminate, the reduction in seagrass biomass caused by docks. A modified beyond BACI experiment provided evidence for a causal link between the installation of wooden or mesh docks and reductions in biomass of seagrass. The reduction in biomass was apparent 6 mo after dock installation, and by 26 mo seagrass biomass had declined by at least 90%. Faced with increasing coastal populations, increases in recreational use, and continued pressures from other human activities, alternative management practices that further minimize the effects of docks are needed.

  7. Draft Genome Sequences of Pseudomonas moraviensis UCD-KL30, Vibrio ostreicida UCD-KL16, Colwellia sp. Strain UCD-KL20, Shewanella sp. Strain UCD-KL12, and Shewanella sp. Strain UCD-KL21, Isolated from Seagrass

    PubMed Central

    Lujan, Karley M.; Coil, David A.

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Here, we present the draft genome sequences for five bacterial strains. These strains were all isolated from seagrass (Zostera marina) collected from Bodega Bay, CA, as a part of an undergraduate research project focused on seagrass-associated microbes. PMID:28360178

  8. 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.

  9. Population-specificity of heat stress gene induction in northern and southern eelgrass Zostera marina populations under simulated global warming.

    PubMed

    Bergmann, Nina; Winters, Gidon; Rauch, Gisep; Eizaguirre, Christophe; Gu, Jenny; Nelle, Peter; Fricke, Birgit; Reusch, Thorsten B H

    2010-07-01

    Summer heat waves have already resulted in mortality of coastal communities, including ecologically important seagrass meadows. Gene expression studies from controlled experiments can provide important insight as to how species/genotypes react to extreme events that will increase under global warming. In a common stress garden, we exposed three populations of eelgrass, Zostera marina, to extreme sea surface temperatures, simulating the 2003-European heat wave. Populations came from locations widely differing in their thermal regime, two northern European locations [Ebeltoft (Kattegat), Doverodde (Limfjord, Baltic Sea)], and one southern population from Gabicce Mare (Adriatic Sea), allowing to test for population specificity in the response to a realistic heat stress event. Eelgrass survival and growth as well as the expression of 12 stress associated candidate genes were assessed during and after the heat wave. Contrary to expectations, all populations suffered equally from 3 weeks of heat stress in terms of shoot loss. In contrast, populations markedly differed in multivariate measures of gene expression. While the gene expression profiles converged to pre-stress values directly after the heat wave, stress correlated genes were upregulated again 4 weeks later, in line with the observed delay in shoot loss. Target genes had to be selected based on functional knowledge in terrestrial plants, nevertheless, 10/12 genes were induced relative to the control treatment at least once during the heat wave in the fully marine plant Z. marina. This study underlines the importance of realistic stress and recovery scenarios in studying the impact of predicted climate change.

  10. First Phytochemical Evidence of Chemotypes for the Seagrass Zostera noltii

    PubMed Central

    Grignon-Dubois, Micheline; Rezzonico, Bernadette

    2012-01-01

    The variability of the flavonoid content of two populations of Z. noltii from different geographical zones, i.e., the Bay of Arcachon and the Bay of Cadiz, was evaluated. Samples were collected in spring and autumn at the two sites, and extracts were prepared by maceration in water. The phenolic content was fully characterized using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), UV and Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), and the concentration of the individual phenolic was determined by quantitative High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Diode-Array Detection (HPLC-DAD). The two populations show a strong geographical differentiation in their flavonoid content. The samples from Cadiz were dominated by apigenin 7-sulfate, which represents 71% (autumn collection) and 83% (spring collection) of the total flavonoids, whereas the samples from Arcachon were characterized by diosmetin 7-sulfate (85 and 93% of the total flavonoids). Structural elucidation of the individual phenolics was assigned using the complementary information from their spectral evidence. In addition, the results were confirmed by acid hydrolysis of the flavonoid sulfates, and comparison to synthetic standards obtained by sulfation of apigenin, diosmetin and luteolin. The results represent the first experimental evidence of the existence of chemotypes within the species Z. noltii. PMID:27137638

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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...

  18. 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...

  19. A framework for the resilience of seagrass ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Unsworth, Richard K F; Collier, Catherine J; Waycott, Michelle; Mckenzie, Len J; Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C

    2015-11-15

    Seagrass ecosystems represent a global marine resource that is declining across its range. To halt degradation and promote recovery over large scales, management requires a radical change in emphasis and application that seeks to enhance seagrass ecosystem resilience. In this review we examine how the resilience of seagrass ecosystems is becoming compromised by a range of local to global stressors, resulting in ecological regime shifts that undermine the long-term viability of these productive ecosystems. To examine regime shifts and the management actions that can influence this phenomenon we present a conceptual model of resilience in seagrass ecosystems. The model is founded on a series of features and modifiers that act as interacting influences upon seagrass ecosystem resilience. Improved understanding and appreciation of the factors and modifiers that govern resilience in seagrass ecosystems can be utilised to support much needed evidence based management of a vital natural resource.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Using modelling to predict impacts of sea level rise and increased turbidity on seagrass distributions in estuarine embayments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Tom R.; Harasti, David; Smith, Stephen D. A.; Kelaher, Brendan P.

    2016-11-01

    Climate change induced sea level rise will affect shallow estuarine habitats, which are already under threat from multiple anthropogenic stressors. Here, we present the results of modelling to predict potential impacts of climate change associated processes on seagrass distributions. We use a novel application of relative environmental suitability (RES) modelling to examine relationships between variables of physiological importance to seagrasses (light availability, wave exposure, and current flow) and seagrass distributions within 5 estuarine embayments. Models were constructed separately for Posidonia australis and Zostera muelleri subsp. capricorni using seagrass data from Port Stephens estuary, New South Wales, Australia. Subsequent testing of models used independent datasets from four other estuarine embayments (Wallis Lake, Lake Illawarra, Merimbula Lake, and Pambula Lake) distributed along 570 km of the east Australian coast. Relative environmental suitability models provided adequate predictions for seagrass distributions within Port Stephens and the other estuarine embayments, indicating that they may have broad regional application. Under the predictions of RES models, both sea level rise and increased turbidity are predicted to cause substantial seagrass losses in deeper estuarine areas, resulting in a net shoreward movement of seagrass beds. Seagrass species distribution models developed in this study provide a valuable tool to predict future shifts in estuarine seagrass distributions, allowing identification of areas for protection, monitoring and rehabilitation.

  5. Blue carbon stocks in Baltic Sea eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Röhr, Maria Emilia; Boström, Christoffer; Canal-Vergés, Paula; Holmer, Marianne

    2016-11-01

    Although seagrasses cover only a minor fraction of the ocean seafloor, their carbon sink capacity accounts for nearly one-fifth of the total oceanic carbon burial and thus play a critical structural and functional role in many coastal ecosystems. We sampled 10 eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows in Finland and 10 in Denmark to explore seagrass carbon stocks (Corg stock) and carbon accumulation rates (Corg accumulation) in the Baltic Sea area. The study sites represent a gradient from sheltered to exposed locations in both regions to reflect expected minimum and maximum stocks and accumulation. The Corg stock integrated over the top 25 cm of the sediment averaged 627 g C m-2 in Finland, while in Denmark the average Corg stock was over 6 times higher (4324 g C m-2). A conservative estimate of the total organic carbon pool in the regions ranged between 6.98 and 44.9 t C ha-1. Our results suggest that the Finnish eelgrass meadows are minor carbon sinks compared to the Danish meadows, and that majority of the Corg produced in the Finnish meadows is exported. Our analysis further showed that > 40 % of the variation in the Corg stocks was explained by sediment characteristics, i.e. dry density, porosity and silt content. In addition, our analysis show that the root : shoot ratio of Z. marina explained > 12 % and the contribution of Z. marina detritus to the sediment surface Corg pool explained > 10 % of the variation in the Corg stocks. The mean monetary value for the present carbon storage and carbon sink capacity of eelgrass meadows in Finland and Denmark, were 281 and 1809 EUR ha-1, respectively. For a more comprehensive picture of seagrass carbon storage capacity, we conclude that future blue carbon studies should, in a more integrative way, investigate the interactions between sediment biogeochemistry, seascape structure, plant species architecture and the hydrodynamic regime.

  6. The effects of water parameters on monthly seagrass percentage cover in Lawas, East Malaysia.

    PubMed

    Ahmad-Kamil, E I; Ramli, R; Jaaman, S A; Bali, J; Al-Obaidi, J R

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass is a valuable marine ecosystem engineer. However, seagrass population is declining worldwide. The lack of seagrass research in Malaysia raises questions about the status of seagrasses in the country. The seagrasses in Lawas, which is part of the coral-mangrove-seagrass complex, have never been studied in detail. In this study, we examine whether monthly changes of seagrass population in Lawas occurred. Data on estimates of seagrass percentage cover and water physicochemical parameters (pH, turbidity, salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen) were measured at 84 sampling stations established within the study area from June 2009 to May 2010. Meteorological data such as total rainfall, air temperature, and Southern Oscillation Index were also investigated. Our results showed that (i) the monthly changes of seagrass percentage cover are significant, (ii) the changes correlated significantly with turbidity measurements, and (iii) weather changes affected the seagrass populations. Our study indicates seagrass percentage increased during the El-Nino period. These results suggest that natural disturbances such as weather changes affect seagrass populations. Evaluation of land usage and measurements of other water physicochemical parameters (such as heavy metal, pesticides, and nutrients) should be considered to assess the health of seagrass ecosystem at the study area.

  7. The Effects of Water Parameters on Monthly Seagrass Percentage Cover in Lawas, East Malaysia

    PubMed Central

    Ahmad-Kamil, E. I.; Ramli, R.; Jaaman, S. A.; Bali, J.; Al-Obaidi, J. R.

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass is a valuable marine ecosystem engineer. However, seagrass population is declining worldwide. The lack of seagrass research in Malaysia raises questions about the status of seagrasses in the country. The seagrasses in Lawas, which is part of the coral-mangrove-seagrass complex, have never been studied in detail. In this study, we examine whether monthly changes of seagrass population in Lawas occurred. Data on estimates of seagrass percentage cover and water physicochemical parameters (pH, turbidity, salinity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen) were measured at 84 sampling stations established within the study area from June 2009 to May 2010. Meteorological data such as total rainfall, air temperature, and Southern Oscillation Index were also investigated. Our results showed that (i) the monthly changes of seagrass percentage cover are significant, (ii) the changes correlated significantly with turbidity measurements, and (iii) weather changes affected the seagrass populations. Our study indicates seagrass percentage increased during the El-Nino period. These results suggest that natural disturbances such as weather changes affect seagrass populations. Evaluation of land usage and measurements of other water physicochemical parameters (such as heavy metal, pesticides, and nutrients) should be considered to assess the health of seagrass ecosystem at the study area. PMID:24163635

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. The movement ecology of seagrasses.

    PubMed

    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

    2014-11-22

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Spatial distribution of marine fishes along a cross-shelf gradient containing a continuum of mangrove seagrass coral reefs off southwestern Puerto Rico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aguilar-Perera, Alfonso; Appeldoorn, Richard S.

    2008-01-01

    Despite an extensive study of the fish community off southwestern Puerto Rico, little information is available on the fish spatial distribution along an inshore-offshore, cross-shelf gradient containing a continuum of mangrove-seagrass-coral reefs. We investigated the spatial distribution of reef-associated fish species using a stratified sampling procedure. A total of 52,138 fishes were recorded, representing 102 species belonging to 32 families. Significant differences in mean fish density were evident among strata. Mean densities at shallow fore reefs and deep fore reefs (Romero key) were significantly higher compared to the rest of strata along the gradient. Mean densities of fishes in mangroves and seagrass (Montalva Bay) were comparable to those at shallow back reefs and deep fore reefs offshore (Turrumote), but lower to those inshore (Romero); the lowest fish densities were found in mangroves and seagrass (Montalva Bay) and seagrass (Romero and Corral). At least 17 species, in 7 families, were among the most common in terms of relative abundance representing 76% of the total individuals sampled. A detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) applied to more abundant fish species showed a spatial pattern in density distribution. Three major groupings were evident corresponding to mangroves and seagrass (Montalva Bay), shallow and deep reefs (Romero), and shallow and deep reefs (Corral and Turrumote). A cluster analysis on mean fish densities of the more abundant species revealed a consistent spatial distribution according to biotope by separating the ichthyofauna associated with mangroves, seagrass and that of shallow (back and fore) reefs, and deep fore reefs.

  15. Status and threats on seagrass beds using GIS in Vietnam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luong, Cao Van; Thao, Nguyen Van; Komatsu, Teruhisa; Ve, Nguyen Dac; Tien, Dam Duc

    2012-10-01

    Seagrasses, marine flowering plants, are widely distributed along temperate and tropical coastlines of the world. Seagrasses have key ecological roles in coastal ecosystems and can form extensive meadows supporting high biodiversity. Till now, fourteen seagrass species belonging to four families were found in Vietnam: Halophila beccarii, H. decipiens, H. ovalis, H. minor, Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, Ruppia maritima, Halodule pinifolia, H. uninervis, Syringodium isoetifolium, Cymadocea rotundata, C. serrulata and Thalassodendron ciliatum. A total area of seagrass beds in Vietnam is estimated to be approximately 17000 ha by satellite images and GIS technology. In recent years, the distribution areas and densities of seagrass beds in Vietnam have been serious decreased compared with those 10-15 years ago. The decline level depended on the impacts by the natural process, the economical activities and the conservation awareness of local people. Thus, it is different at each coastal area. Generally speaking, the distribution areas and densities of seagrass beds were decreased by more than 50%. Seagrasses on tidal flats in some areas such as Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Phu Quoc seem to be nearly lost. The distribution areas of seagrass beds in 2009 at Tam Giang-Cau Hai lagoon and Cua Dai estuary was decreased by 50-70% of those in early 1990s.

  16. 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.

  17. Ecosystem Engineering by Seagrasses Interacts with Grazing to Shape an Intertidal Landscape

    PubMed Central

    van der Heide, Tjisse; Eklöf, Johan S.; van Nes, Egbert H.; van der Zee, Els M.; Donadi, Serena; Weerman, Ellen J.; Olff, Han; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2012-01-01

    Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a spatial mosaic of low-tide exposed hummocks and waterlogged hollows on an intertidal mudflat in the Wadden Sea dominated by the seagrass Zostera noltii. A combination of field measurements, an experiment and a spatially explicit model indicated that the mosaic resulted from localized sediment accretion by seagrass followed by selective waterfowl grazing. Hollows were bare in winter, but were rapidly colonized by seagrass during the growth season. Colonized hollows were heavily grazed by brent geese and widgeon in autumn, converting these patches to a bare state again and disrupting sediment accretion by seagrass. In contrast, hummocks were covered by seagrass throughout the year and were rarely grazed, most likely because the waterfowl were not able to employ their preferred but water requiring feeding strategy (‘dabbling’) here. Our study exemplifies that interactions between ecosystem engineering by a foundation species (seagrass) and consumption (waterfowl grazing) can increase spatial complexity at the landscape level. PMID:22905115

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Genetic diversity of seagrass seeds influences seedling morphology and biomass.

    PubMed

    Randall Hughes, A; Hanley, Torrance C; Schenck, Forest R; Hays, Cynthia G

    2016-12-01

    Genetic diversity can influence ecological processes throughout ontogeny, yet whether diversity at early life history stages is important in long-lived taxa with overlapping generations is unclear. Seagrass systems provide some of the best evidence for the ecological effects of genetic diversity among adult shoots, but we do not know if the genetic diversity of seeds and seedlings also influences seagrass ecology. We tested the effects of seagrass (Zostera marina) seed diversity and relatedness on germination success, seedling morphology, and seedling production by comparing experimental assemblages of seeds collected from single reproductive shoots ("monocultures") to assemblages of seeds collected from multiple reproductive shoots ("polycultures"). There was no difference in seedling emergence, yet seedlings from polycultures had larger shoots above and below ground than seedlings from monocultures at the end of the 1-yr experiment. Genetic relatedness of the seedlings predicted some aspects of shoot morphology, with more leaves and longer roots and shoots at intermediate levels of relatedness, regardless of seed diversity. Our results suggest that studies of only adult stages may underestimate the importance of genetic diversity if the benefits at early life history stages continue to accrue throughout the life cycle.

  4. 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. 226.213 Section 226.213 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT §...

  5. 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. 226.213 Section 226.213 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE MARINE MAMMALS DESIGNATED CRITICAL HABITAT §...

  6. 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.

  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. 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...

  10. Seasonal variation in growth and biomass of an intertidal Zostera noltii stand in the Dutch wadden sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philippart, C. J. M.

    To assess relationships between the life cycle of the seagrass Zostera noltii and light conditions in its habitat, the seasonal dynamics of a seagrass-dominated community on a tidal flat off Terschelling were studied. The main components of this community were seagrass, periphyton and the periphyton grazing mudsnail Hydrobia ulvae. Total biomass of the seagrass stand showed a unimodal curve with a maximum of more than 110 gADW·m -2 in August and a minimum of less than 10 gADW·m -2 in January. Chlorophyll density of periphyton on the seagrass leaves followed a more or less similar pattern, ranging from 0.4 μg chlorophyll·cm -2 in May to more than 3 μg chlorophyll·cm -2 at the end of August. Periphyton biomass was, however, already maximal in May with almost 1.6 mgADW·cm -2 and subsequently decreased to less than 0.6 mgADW·cm -2 in August. The total weight of H. ulvae was more or less stable, varying between more than 150 and less than 400 gDW·m -2, although significant changes were observed within size classes. Light is assumed to be the primary limiting factor for seagrass distribution in the Wadden Sea. The light conditions of seagrass in the study area were influenced by periphyton and mudsnails. Leaf growth rates and biomass development appeared to be related with light conditions in the seagrass habitat. Shading caused by periphyton during the growing season was estimated at 10 to 90% of incident light, resulting in a reduction of about 2 to 80% of the yearly period during which the light compensation point (LCP) of the seagrass is exceeded. The mudsnails were found to be theoretically able to ingest daily 25 to 100% of the standing stock of periphyton and microphytobenthos. It is concluded that shading by periphyton and grazing by mudsnails play an important role in the seasonal biomass development and survival of Z. noltii in the seagrass-dominated community on a tidal flat off Terschelling.

  11. 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…

  12. 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...

  13. 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...

  14. DYNAMICS OF A SUBTIDAL SEAGRASS LANDSCAPE: SEASONAL AND ANNUAL CHANGE IN RELATION TO WATER DEPTH

    EPA Science Inventory

    The spatial heterogeneity of a subtidal marine landscape and the areal extent of both monospecific and mixed patches of seagrass species were studied in Tampa Bay, FL. Specifically, we examined the temporal dynamics of seagrass distribution and its relationship to water depth an...

  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 Quintín 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 m 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 Quintín Bay can be used in future change detection analyses to monitor the health of seagrasses in the bay.

  16. Sediment Properties as Important Predictors of Carbon Storage in Zostera marina Meadows: A Comparison of Four European Areas

    PubMed Central

    Dahl, Martin; Deyanova, Diana; Gütschow, Silvia; Asplund, Maria E.; Lyimo, Liberatus D.; Karamfilov, Ventzislav; Santos, Rui; Björk, Mats; Gullström, Martin

    2016-01-01

    Seagrass ecosystems are important natural carbon sinks but their efficiency varies greatly depending on species composition and environmental conditions. What causes this variation is not fully known and could have important implications for management and protection of the seagrass habitat to continue to act as a natural carbon sink. Here, we assessed sedimentary organic carbon in Zostera marina meadows (and adjacent unvegetated sediment) in four distinct areas of Europe (Gullmar Fjord on the Swedish Skagerrak coast, Askö in the Baltic Sea, Sozopol in the Black Sea and Ria Formosa in southern Portugal) down to ~35 cm depth. We also tested how sedimentary organic carbon in Z. marina meadows relates to different sediment characteristics, a range of seagrass-associated variables and water depth. The seagrass carbon storage varied greatly among areas, with an average organic carbon content ranging from 2.79 ± 0.50% in the Gullmar Fjord to 0.17 ± 0.02% in the area of Sozopol. We found that a high proportion of fine grain size, high porosity and low density of the sediment is strongly related to high carbon content in Z. marina sediment. We suggest that sediment properties should be included as an important factor when evaluating high priority areas in management of Z. marina generated carbon sinks. PMID:27936111

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  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.

  2. Responses of four Indo-West Pacific seagrass species to shading.

    PubMed

    Collier, Catherine J; Waycott, Michelle; Ospina, Ana Giraldo

    2012-01-01

    Seagrasses of the Great Barrier Reef predominantly occur in coastal regions where terrestrial inputs modify water quality and photosynthetic light is highly variable. Responses to shading were tested for Cymodocea serrulata, Halodule uninervis, Thalassia hemprichii and Zostera muelleri. In aquaria, four light treatments - high (66% surface light), moderate (31%), low (14%) and very low light (1%) treatments - were applied for 102d. Stress responses in the low and very low light treatments occurred in the following sequence: metabolic and physiological changes (reduced growth, increased pigment concentrations and photosynthetic efficiency); shedding (leaf loss, shoot loss) and production of new, altered tissue (leaves with reduced length, width and thickness). Complete shoot loss was projected after 76 (Z. muelleri) to 130d (T. hemprichii). Responses were slower in the low than in the very low treatment, therefore, efforts to minimize water quality degradation will be rewarded with delayed impacts to seagrasses.

  3. Geoengineering with seagrasses: is credit due where credit is given?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johannessen, Sophia C.; Macdonald, Robie W.

    2016-11-01

    Blue carbon, the carbon fixed by vegetated coastal ecosystems including seagrasses, is reported to have a large potential to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. Planting, expanding or protecting seagrass meadows has, accordingly, been proposed as a form of geoengineering. Seagrasses are reported to account for up to 18% of the carbon burial in the world’s oceans, which is on the same order of magnitude as other proposed geoengineering techniques, including iron fertilization. International protocols have been developed to quantify carbon sequestration in seagrass meadows, with a view to awarding carbon credits under the Verified Carbon Standard. Unfortunately, because these protocols do not adequately account for post-depositional processes in marine sediment, they significantly overestimate carbon capture by seagrass beds and give an incorrect view of its distribution. Specifically, neglecting biomixing and remineralization of carbon in surface sediments biases burial rates high, while using sediment carbon inventory (soil carbon stock) over the top 1 m as a proxy for burial rate incorrectly identifies areas of high carbon burial. Seagrass beds likely provide a limited setting for geoengineering, because they generally comprise slowly-accumulating, fine to medium sand, which captures organic carbon less efficiently than fine-grained sediments or rapidly-accumulating delta deposits. While there is no question that seagrass meadows provide valuable habitat, nor that they are disappearing rapidly, their contribution to the global burial of carbon has not yet been established. The danger of geoengineering with seagrasses before reliable assessment methods have been established is that overestimated carbon offsets could lead to a net increase in emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

  4. 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

  5. Seagrass species distribution, density and coverage at Panggang Island, Jakarta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wahab, Iswandi; Madduppa, Hawis; Kawaroe, Mujizat

    2017-01-01

    This study aimed to assess species distribution, density and coverage of seagrass in Panggang Island, within Kepulauan Seribu Marine National Park, northern Jakarta. Seagrass sampling was conducted between March to April 2016 at three observation stations in the West, East, and South of Panggang Island. A total of 6 seagrass species was recorded during sampling period, including Cymodocea rotundata, C. serulata, Halodule uninervis, Syiringodium isoetifolium, Enhalus acoroides, and Thalassia hempricii. All species were observed in the South station, while in the West and East station found only three species (C. rotundata, E. acoroides, and T. hemprichii). While, C. rotundata and T. hemprichii were observed at all station. The highest density was observed for C. rotundata (520 ind/m2) and for T. hempricii (619 ind/m2) in the West station and South Station, respectively. The lowest density was observed in South Station for C. serulata (18 ind/m2), Halodule uninervis (20 ind/m2), and Syiringodium isoetifolium (15 ind/m2). Seagrass coverage of Thalassia hempricii was the highest (43.60%) and the lowest observed at Syiringodium isoetifolium (0.40%). This could be basic information for the management of seagrass ecosystem in the Kepulauan Seribu Marine National Park.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification.

    PubMed

    Repolho, Tiago; Duarte, Bernardo; Dionísio, Gisela; Paula, José Ricardo; Lopes, Ana R; Rosa, Inês C; Grilo, Tiago F; Caçador, Isabel; Calado, Ricardo; Rosa, Rui

    2017-02-01

    Seagrasses play an essential ecological role within coastal habitats and their worldwide population decline has been linked to different types of anthropogenic forces. We investigated, for the first time, the combined effects of future ocean warming and acidification on fundamental biological processes of Zostera noltii, including shoot density, leaf coloration, photophysiology (electron transport rate, ETR; maximum PSII quantum yield, Fv/Fm) and photosynthetic pigments. Shoot density was severely affected under warming conditions, with a concomitant increase in the frequency of brownish colored leaves (seagrass die-off). Warming was responsible for a significant decrease in ETR and Fv/Fm (particularly under control pH conditions), while promoting the highest ETR variability (among experimental treatments). Warming also elicited a significant increase in pheophytin and carotenoid levels, alongside an increase in carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio and De-Epoxidation State (DES). Acidification significantly affected photosynthetic pigments content (antheraxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin), with a significant decrease being recorded under the warming scenario. No significant interaction between ocean acidification and warming was observed. Our findings suggest that future ocean warming will be a foremost determinant stressor influencing Z. noltii survival and physiological performance. Additionally, acidification conditions to occur in the future will be unable to counteract deleterious effects posed by ocean warming.

  13. Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification

    PubMed Central

    Repolho, Tiago; Duarte, Bernardo; Dionísio, Gisela; Paula, José Ricardo; Lopes, Ana R.; Rosa, Inês C.; Grilo, Tiago F.; Caçador, Isabel; Calado, Ricardo; Rosa, Rui

    2017-01-01

    Seagrasses play an essential ecological role within coastal habitats and their worldwide population decline has been linked to different types of anthropogenic forces. We investigated, for the first time, the combined effects of future ocean warming and acidification on fundamental biological processes of Zostera noltii, including shoot density, leaf coloration, photophysiology (electron transport rate, ETR; maximum PSII quantum yield, Fv/Fm) and photosynthetic pigments. Shoot density was severely affected under warming conditions, with a concomitant increase in the frequency of brownish colored leaves (seagrass die-off). Warming was responsible for a significant decrease in ETR and Fv/Fm (particularly under control pH conditions), while promoting the highest ETR variability (among experimental treatments). Warming also elicited a significant increase in pheophytin and carotenoid levels, alongside an increase in carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio and De-Epoxidation State (DES). Acidification significantly affected photosynthetic pigments content (antheraxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin), with a significant decrease being recorded under the warming scenario. No significant interaction between ocean acidification and warming was observed. Our findings suggest that future ocean warming will be a foremost determinant stressor influencing Z. noltii survival and physiological performance. Additionally, acidification conditions to occur in the future will be unable to counteract deleterious effects posed by ocean warming. PMID:28145531

  14. Seagrass ecophysiological performance under ocean warming and acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Repolho, Tiago; Duarte, Bernardo; Dionísio, Gisela; Paula, José Ricardo; Lopes, Ana R.; Rosa, Inês C.; Grilo, Tiago F.; Caçador, Isabel; Calado, Ricardo; Rosa, Rui

    2017-02-01

    Seagrasses play an essential ecological role within coastal habitats and their worldwide population decline has been linked to different types of anthropogenic forces. We investigated, for the first time, the combined effects of future ocean warming and acidification on fundamental biological processes of Zostera noltii, including shoot density, leaf coloration, photophysiology (electron transport rate, ETR; maximum PSII quantum yield, Fv/Fm) and photosynthetic pigments. Shoot density was severely affected under warming conditions, with a concomitant increase in the frequency of brownish colored leaves (seagrass die-off). Warming was responsible for a significant decrease in ETR and Fv/Fm (particularly under control pH conditions), while promoting the highest ETR variability (among experimental treatments). Warming also elicited a significant increase in pheophytin and carotenoid levels, alongside an increase in carotenoid/chlorophyll ratio and De-Epoxidation State (DES). Acidification significantly affected photosynthetic pigments content (antheraxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin and zeaxanthin), with a significant decrease being recorded under the warming scenario. No significant interaction between ocean acidification and warming was observed. Our findings suggest that future ocean warming will be a foremost determinant stressor influencing Z. noltii survival and physiological performance. Additionally, acidification conditions to occur in the future will be unable to counteract deleterious effects posed by ocean warming.

  15. 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.

  16. Seagrass ecosystems reduce exposure to bacterial pathogens of humans, fishes, and invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Lamb, Joleah B; van de Water, Jeroen A J M; Bourne, David G; Altier, Craig; Hein, Margaux Y; Fiorenza, Evan A; Abu, Nur; Jompa, Jamaluddin; Harvell, C Drew

    2017-02-17

    Plants are important in urban environments for removing pathogens and improving water quality. Seagrass meadows are the most widespread coastal ecosystem on the planet. Although these plants are known to be associated with natural biocide production, they have not been evaluated for their ability to remove microbiological contamination. Using amplicon sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene, we found that when seagrass meadows are present, there was a 50% reduction in the relative abundance of potential bacterial pathogens capable of causing disease in humans and marine organisms. Moreover, field surveys of more than 8000 reef-building corals located adjacent to seagrass meadows showed twofold reductions in disease levels compared to corals at paired sites without adjacent seagrass meadows. These results highlight the importance of seagrass ecosystems to the health of humans and other organisms.

  17. 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.

  18. Zostera marina seed burial can be enhanced by Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum: A microcosm study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Chang-Jun; Li, Wen-Tao; Liu, Jianying; Zhang, Xiumei; Zhang, Peidong

    2017-03-01

    Seagrass seed bank plays a key role in the regeneration of new vegetation when seagrasses are removed by the natural or man-made disaster. Various factors may affect the development of sediment seed bank. We conducted a microcosm experiment to test the effects of burrowing and feeding activities of Manila clam, Ruditapes philippinarum on the burial of Zostera marina seeds in sediments. The effects of lasting time (3-hour, 1-day, 3-day, 7-day, 14-day and 28-day), clam density (0, 2, 4 and 8 clams with shell length of 3 cm in each microcosm) and clam size (shell length of 2, 3 and 4 cm at 4-clam density) on seed burial were examined in plastic microcosm cores (30 cm high × 10 in inner diameter) in a 28-day period. Results showed that the seed burial depth significantly increased with time, the density and the size of clams. No seeds were buried in the sediment in the cores without clams during the whole experiment period. For the 3-cm clams, about 91.61% of the seeds were buried in the sediment at the end of the experiment in the high-density treatment (8 clams at each core); while in the medium and low-density treatments (4 and 2 clams in each core, respectively), about 76.93% and 60.61% of the seeds were buried in the sediment, respectively. For the size treatments, large (4 cm) clams buried 89.56% of the seeds at the end of the experiment, much more than those of medium (3 cm, 76.93%) and small (2 cm, 61.50%) size clams. During the whole experiment period, nearly all of the buried seeds were at a depth of from 0 cm to 5 cm. These results suggested that Manila clam Ruditapes philippinarum may play an important positive role in seagrass seed bank dynamics in the field.

  19. Patterns of Abundance of Seagrasses and Associated Infaunal Communities at Inhaca Island, Mozambique

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paula, J.; Fidalgo Ecosta, P.; Martins, A.; Gove, D.

    2001-09-01

    This study was conducted at Inhaca Island, south Mozambique, and focused on three different seagrass associations, dominated respectively by Thalassodendron ciliatum, Thalassia hemprichii and Zostera capensis. The main objective of this study was to compare the three seagrass associations, in what concerns vegetal and associated infaunal communities biomass. The approach was a nested design, which intended to provide information on seasonal effects and variability at decreasing spatial scales. Nested ANOVA was performed for all biological and porewater parameters and a cluster analysis of different biotic and abiotic parameters was performed. Nutrient concentration was consistently higher during the dry period as well as mean values of organic matter. Consistently lower values of chlorophyll a (chl a) were obtained at T. hemprichii meadow sites and the highest values were found at Z. capensis meadow. Phaeopigments have shown an opposite pattern when compared to chl a, and average values were consistently higher during the dry season. There were no net differences of seagrass standing crop during both sampled seasons, however at meadow level major differences were found, and higher biomass was obtained at T. ciliatum meadow, followed by T. hemprichii. Mean values of epibiota have shown that higher biomass was obtained at T. ciliatum meadow, the remaining meadows presented very low values. Meiofauna biomass showed fluctuations between seagrass meadows, stations and also between seasons. Macrofauna biomass showed clear fluctuations between seasons, being strongly more homogeneous during the dry season and highly variable in the wet season. ANOVA results have shown different significance at the different levels of the analysis, suggesting different spatial and temporal patterns and interactions between parameters. The dendrogram produced two main groups of variables, the first one comprised of OM, phaeopigments, nitrites, nitrates, meiofauna, grain size and chl a. The

  20. Developing a methodology of bioindication of human-induced effects using seagrass morphological variation in Spermonde Archipelago, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

    PubMed

    Ambo-Rappe, Rohani

    2014-09-15

    Seagrass is particularly susceptible to environmental degradation. The objective of the study is to develop an effective bioindicator to assess human-induced effects using morphological variation and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of seagrass. Samples were collected from eight islands situated at different distance from mainland with different human population density and therefore expected to experience different level of anthropogenic pressure. Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn, nitrate, and phosphate were measured. Metals were also measured in tissues of seagrass. Metal concentrations in sediment, water, and seagrass did not exceed the quality standards required for marine life. Heterogeneity of FA was found among sites suggesting that there are some factors changing developmental instability of seagrass which is not associated to particular toxicants. This baseline study indicates that the water condition is still natural and shows no signs of metal contamination, therefore it does not cause a detectable stress on morphological variation and FA of seagrass.

  1. Oxygen and carbon metabolism of Zostera muelleri across a depth gradient - Implications for resilience and blue carbon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferguson, Angus J. P.; Gruber, Renee; Potts, Jaimie; Wright, Aaron; Welsh, David T.; Scanes, Peter

    2017-03-01

    There is growing interest in the role that seagrasses play as 'blue carbon' stores or sinks, and their potential to offset rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This study measured primary aspects of the carbon balance (biomass, community metabolism, dissolved organic carbon [DOC] fluxes, seston trapping) across the depth gradient in a Zostera muelleri meadow during the seasonal biomass minimum and maximum. Over the annual estimation, the meadow was neither a sink nor source of carbon, with inputs of seston (∼58% of total inputs) balanced by exports of wrack and DOC. The carbon sink represented by wrack export depends on the nature of the environment where the wrack accumulates; if it reaches subtidal sediments it will largely be remineralised over the annual cycle, whereas between 14 and 26% of the wrack may be preserved if the material is exported to terrestrial environments. The fate of DOC exuded by seagrasses is unknown due to a lack of knowledge about its composition and lability; however, a number of lines of evidence suggest that a large fraction of DOC is mineralised. The net community metabolism (NCM) of the meadow was balanced, indicating that photosynthetic O2 production balanced community respiration and/or the reoxidation of reduced compounds (sulphur and iron) in the rhizosphere. We suggest that a balanced NCM may be the preferred state for Zostera spp. and may limit their occurrence in environments where plants cannot balance the respiratory demand exerted by seston inputs. There was a close coupling between metabolism and biomass, which in turn is forced by antecedent light over the preceding 120 days (the time integration window for antecedent light that best predicted biomass). Increased metabolism with depth and seasonal variation in light is accompanied by a decrease in the above ground:below ground biomass ratio (AGB:BGB). This trend is suggested to be a morphological adaptation that balances the competing requirements of maintaining a

  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. 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.

  4. Effects of herbivorous birds on intertidal seagrass beds in the northern Wadden Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nacken, M.; Reise, K.

    2000-07-01

    During autumn migration (September to December), brent geese (Branta b. bernicla) and wigeon (Anas penelope) feed on the seagrass Zostera noltii in the nearshore, upper tidal zone leeward of the island of Sylt (eastern North Sea). To graze on leaves and shoots above the sediment and on rhizomes and roots below, these birds reworked the entire upper 1 cm layer of sediment eight times within this 3-month period. In addition, brent geese excavated pits 3-10 cm deep by trampling in order to feed on below-ground phytomass. About 12% of the seagrass beds became pitted to an average depth of 4.5 cm. Using net exclosures, it was estimated that birds removed 34 g dry weight m-2 of above-ground and 28 g of below-ground phytomass. This corresponds to 45% of the phytomass in September. Of the overall loss of phytomass from September to December, 63% was caused by birds. Roughly half of the leaves fell off anyway until December and the other half were taken by the birds. Below the ground, phytomass remained almost constant where birds were excluded, while with birds phytomass of rhizomes and roots was halved. In spite of this strong effect, in the next vegetation period the blade density was lower at former exclosure sites compared to the ambient seagrass bed. The underlying process seems to be a self-inhibition of dense overwintering seagrass by mud accretion. Assuming our experimental results can be scaled up to the entire seagrass bed, we hypothesize that in the sheltered upper intertidal zone, seasonal erosion caused by herbivorous geese and ducks is necessary for the persistence of Z. noltii.

  5. 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

  6. Comparing biodiversity effects among ecosystem engineers of contrasting strength: macrofauna diversity in Zostera noltii and Spartina anglica vegetations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Ortells, Victor; Ysebaert, Tom

    2009-03-01

    Whereas it is well known that ecosystem engineers can have a large influence on biodiversity, underlying mechanisms are still not fully clear. We try to enhance insight by comparing biodiversity effects of two neighboring intertidal, clonal, ecosystem engineering plant species that modify the physical environmental parameters in a similar way, but with a different magnitude. Macrobenthic assemblages were compared between meadows of the seagrass Zostera noltii, small patches (≤0.5 m Ø) and large areas (≫5 m Ø) of the emergent halophyte Spartina anglica and the surrounding bare tidal mudflat (control). Multivariate analyses revealed that the mudflat benthic assemblage and Zostera meadow assemblage showed highest similarities, whereas the Spartina marsh assemblage showed the highest dissimilarity with these two areas. Whereas the descriptive nature of our study limits interpretation of the data, some clear patterns were observed. For all vegetated areas, species diversity was lower compared to the unvegetated mudflat, and we observed a strong shift from endo- towards epibenthic species, suggesting that increased above-ground habitat complexity may be a main driving process in our system. As there were no clear patterns related to feeding types, food availability/productivity appeared to be of minor importance in structuring the benthic assemblages. Nevertheless, animals were in general smaller in vegetated areas. Patchiness had a distinct positive effect on biodiversity.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Differences in urbanization and degree of marine influence are reflected in delta13C and delta15N of producers and consumers in seagrass habitats of Puerto Rico.

    PubMed

    Olsen, Ylva S; Fox, Sophia E; Kinney, Erin L; Teichberg, Mirta; Valiela, Ivan

    2010-04-01

    Couplings between land use and marine food webs in tropical systems are poorly understood. We compared land-sea coupling in seven sites around Puerto Rico, differing in the degree of precipitation and urbanization, by measuring delta(13)C and delta(15)N in producers and consumers. delta(15)N values were influenced by human activity: the food web from sites near urbanized centers was on average 1 per thousand heavier in delta(15)N compared to undeveloped sites. This is most likely due to wastewater inputs from septic systems relatively near the shoreline. Changes in delta(13)C were best explained by differences in the degree of marine influence. Where terrestrial inputs from a major river dominated, delta(13)C values were lighter, whereas sites further from land and in locations exposed to oceanic currents had heavier delta(13)C values, characteristic of a marine source of dissolved organic carbon. We found no significant effect of precipitation on connectivity in spite of a twofold difference in annual average rainfall between the north and south coast. The results suggest there is some connectivity between land and sea in Puerto Rico, despite high rates of evaporation relative to precipitation.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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‧.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-30

    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)'.

  14. Seed germination in a southern Australian temperate seagrass.

    PubMed

    Cumming, Erin; Jarvis, Jessie C; Sherman, Craig D H; York, Paul H; Smith, Timothy M

    2017-01-01

    In a series of experiments, seeds from a temperate seagrass species, Zostera nigricaulis collected in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia were exposed to a range of salinities (20 PSU pulse/no pulse, 25 PSU, 30 PSU, 35 PSU), temperatures (13 °C, 17 °C, 22 °C), burial depths (0 cm, 1 cm, 2 cm) and site specific sediment characteristics (fine, medium, coarse) to quantify their impacts on germination rate and maximum overall germination. In southern Australia the seagrass Z. nigricaulis is a common subtidal species; however, little is known about the factors that affect seed germination which is a potential limiting factor in meadow resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Overall seed germination was low (<20%) with germination decreasing to <10% when seeds were placed in the sediment. When germination of Z. nigricaulis seeds was observed, it was enhanced (greater overall germination and shorter time to germination) when seeds were exposed to a 20 PSU pulse for 24 h, maintained at salinity of 25 PSU, temperatures <13 °C, in sediments with fine or medium grain sand and buried at a depth of <1 cm. These results indicate that germination of Z. nigricaulis seeds under in situ conditions may be seasonally limited by temperatures in southern Australia. Seed germination may be further restricted by salinity as freshwater pulses reaching 20 PSU are typically only observed in Port Phillip Bay following large scale rainfall events. As a result, these populations may be particularly susceptible to disturbance with only a seasonally limited capacity for recovery.

  15. Seed germination in a southern Australian temperate seagrass

    PubMed Central

    Jarvis, Jessie C.; Sherman, Craig D.H.; York, Paul H.; Smith, Timothy M.

    2017-01-01

    In a series of experiments, seeds from a temperate seagrass species, Zostera nigricaulis collected in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia were exposed to a range of salinities (20 PSU pulse/no pulse, 25 PSU, 30 PSU, 35 PSU), temperatures (13 °C, 17 °C, 22 °C), burial depths (0 cm, 1 cm, 2 cm) and site specific sediment characteristics (fine, medium, coarse) to quantify their impacts on germination rate and maximum overall germination. In southern Australia the seagrass Z. nigricaulis is a common subtidal species; however, little is known about the factors that affect seed germination which is a potential limiting factor in meadow resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Overall seed germination was low (<20%) with germination decreasing to <10% when seeds were placed in the sediment. When germination of Z. nigricaulis seeds was observed, it was enhanced (greater overall germination and shorter time to germination) when seeds were exposed to a 20 PSU pulse for 24 h, maintained at salinity of 25 PSU, temperatures <13 °C, in sediments with fine or medium grain sand and buried at a depth of <1 cm. These results indicate that germination of Z. nigricaulis seeds under in situ conditions may be seasonally limited by temperatures in southern Australia. Seed germination may be further restricted by salinity as freshwater pulses reaching 20 PSU are typically only observed in Port Phillip Bay following large scale rainfall events. As a result, these populations may be particularly susceptible to disturbance with only a seasonally limited capacity for recovery. PMID:28348932

  16. 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

  17. Site-specific success of three transplanting methods and the effect of planting time on the establishment of Zostera marina transplants.

    PubMed

    Park, Jung-Im; Lee, Kun-Seop

    2007-08-01

    Eelgrass, Zostera marina, is the most abundant seagrass species on the coast of Korea, but most large eelgrass meadows have disappeared since the 1970s due to human-induced disturbance. To restore disturbed seagrass habitats in die-off areas, seagrass transplanting has been attempted using various methods. Here, we assessed the feasibility and efficiency of seagrass transplanting methods depending on the sediment type at the planting site. Additionally, the effect of planting time on the establishment of transplant was examined to determine the optimal season for planting. We conducted an eelgrass transplanting experiment from fall 2003 to summer 2004 at three sites with different sediment types using three planting techniques. The staple method resulted in the highest transplant survival rate (77.1-93.8%) at all three sites, but was labor intensive. Transplanting Eelgrass Remotely with Frame Systems (TERFS) method also resulted in relatively a high survival rate (58.7-69.0%) at all sites. The shell method is a newer eelgrass transplanting method in which oyster shells are used as an anchoring device, and does not require SCUBA diving for subtidal transplanting. The shell method resulted in high survival rates in muddy (81.3%) and silty sediments (76.5%), but remarkably low survival rate in sandy sediments (5.0%). The TERFS, and shell methods reduced underwater labor; thus, these methods is suitable for large-scale seagrass restoration. Eelgrass transplants planted in summer had exhibited significant mortality due to high summer water temperatures. Although transplants planted in fall to spring had relatively high survival rates, transplanting and collection of vegetative shoots are difficult in winter and spring. Therefore, fall was suggested as the most effective transplanting season off the coast of Korea.

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. Seagrass response to CO₂ contingent on epiphytic algae: indirect effects can overwhelm direct effects.

    PubMed

    Burnell, Owen W; Russell, Bayden D; Irving, Andrew D; Connell, Sean D

    2014-11-01

    Increased availability of dissolved CO2 in the ocean can enhance the productivity and growth of marine plants such as seagrasses and algae, but realised benefits may be contingent on additional conditions (e.g. light) that modify biotic interactions between these plant groups. The combined effects of future CO2 and differing light on the growth of seagrass and their algal epiphytes were tested by maintaining juvenile seagrasses Amphibolis antarctica under three different CO2 concentrations representing ambient, moderate future and high future forecasts (i.e. 390, 650 vs. 900 µl l(-1)) and two light levels representing low and high PAR (i.e. 43 vs. 167 µmol m(-2) s(-1)). Aboveground and belowground biomass, leaf growth, epiphyte cover, tissue chemistry and photosynthetic parameters of seagrasses were measured. At low light, there was a neutral to positive effect of elevated CO2 on seagrass biomass and growth; at high light, this effect of CO2 switched toward negative, as growth and biomass decreased at the highest CO2 level. These opposing responses to CO2 appeared to be closely linked to the overgrowth of seagrass by filamentous algal epiphytes when high light and CO2 were combined. Importantly, all seagrass plants maintained positive leaf growth throughout the experiment, indicating that growth was inhibited by some experimental conditions but not arrested entirely. Therefore, while greater light or elevated CO2 provided direct physiological benefits for seagrasses, such benefits were likely negated by overgrowth of epiphytic algae when greater light and CO2 were combined. This result demonstrates how indirect ecological effects from epiphytes can modify independent physiological predictions for seagrass associated with global change.

  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. 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

  4. Dugong grazing and turtle cropping: grazing optimization in tropical seagrass systems?

    PubMed

    Aragones, Lemnuel V; Lawler, Ivan R; Foley, William J; Marsh, Helene

    2006-10-01

    Grazing by dugongs and cropping by green turtles have the capacity to alter the subsequent nutritional quality of seagrass regrowth. We examined the effects of simulated light and intensive grazing by dugongs and cropping by turtles on eight nutritionally relevant measures of seagrass chemical composition over two regrowth periods (short-term, 1-4 months; long-term, 11-13 months) at two seagrass communities (a mixed species community with Zostera capricorni, Halophila ovalis, Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotundata and C. serrulate; and a monospecific bed of Halodule uninervis) in tropical Queensland, Australia. The concentrations of organic matter, total nitrogen, total water-soluble carbohydrates, total starch, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, acid lignin, as well as the in vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD) were measured in the leaves and below-ground parts of each species using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS). Regrowth of preferred species such as H. ovalis and H. uninervis from simulated intensive dugong grazing after a year exhibited increased (by 35 and 25%, respectively, relative to controls) whole-plant N concentrations. Similarly, regrowth of H. ovalis from simulated turtle cropping showed an increase in the leaf N concentration of 30% after a year. However, these gains are tempered by reductions in starch concentrations and increases in fiber. In the short-term, the N concentrations increased while the fiber concentrations decreased. These data provide experimental support for a grazing optimization view of herbivory in the tropical seagrass system, but with feedback in a different manner. Furthermore, we suggest that in areas where grazing is the only major source of natural disturbance, it is likely that there are potential ecosystem level effects if and when numbers of dugongs and turtles are reduced.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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

  10. 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

  11. Decreasing seagrass density negatively influences associated fauna

    PubMed Central

    McCloskey, Rosemary M.

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows globally are disappearing at a rapid rate with physical disturbances being one of the major drivers of this habitat loss. Disturbance of seagrass can lead to fragmentation, a reduction in shoot density, canopy height and coverage, and potentially permanent loss of habitat. Despite being such a widespread issue, knowledge of how such small scale change affects the spatial distribution and abundances of motile fauna remains limited. The present study investigated fish and macro faunal community response patterns to a range of habitat variables (shoot length, cover and density), including individual species habitat preferences within a disturbed and patchy intertidal seagrass meadow. Multivariate analysis showed a measurable effect of variable seagrass cover on the abundance and distribution of the fauna, with species specific preferences to both high and low seagrass cover seagrass. The faunal community composition varied significantly with increasing/decreasing cover. The faunal species composition of low cover seagrass was more similar to sandy control plots than to higher cover seagrass. Shannon Wiener Diversity (H′) and species richness was significantly higher in high cover seagrass than in low cover seagrass, indicating increasing habitat value as density increases. The results of this study underline how the impacts of small scale disturbances from factors such as anchor damage, boat moorings and intertidal vehicle use on seagrass meadows that reduce shoot density and cover can impact upon associated fauna. These impacts have negative consequences for the delivery of ecosystem services such as the provision of nursery habitat. PMID:26137432

  12. Decreasing seagrass density negatively influences associated fauna.

    PubMed

    McCloskey, Rosemary M; Unsworth, Richard K F

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows globally are disappearing at a rapid rate with physical disturbances being one of the major drivers of this habitat loss. Disturbance of seagrass can lead to fragmentation, a reduction in shoot density, canopy height and coverage, and potentially permanent loss of habitat. Despite being such a widespread issue, knowledge of how such small scale change affects the spatial distribution and abundances of motile fauna remains limited. The present study investigated fish and macro faunal community response patterns to a range of habitat variables (shoot length, cover and density), including individual species habitat preferences within a disturbed and patchy intertidal seagrass meadow. Multivariate analysis showed a measurable effect of variable seagrass cover on the abundance and distribution of the fauna, with species specific preferences to both high and low seagrass cover seagrass. The faunal community composition varied significantly with increasing/decreasing cover. The faunal species composition of low cover seagrass was more similar to sandy control plots than to higher cover seagrass. Shannon Wiener Diversity (H') and species richness was significantly higher in high cover seagrass than in low cover seagrass, indicating increasing habitat value as density increases. The results of this study underline how the impacts of small scale disturbances from factors such as anchor damage, boat moorings and intertidal vehicle use on seagrass meadows that reduce shoot density and cover can impact upon associated fauna. These impacts have negative consequences for the delivery of ecosystem services such as the provision of nursery habitat.

  13. Water quality in the Great Barrier Reef region: responses of mangrove, seagrass and macroalgal communities.

    PubMed

    Schaffelke, Britta; Mellors, Jane; Duke, Norman C

    2005-01-01

    Marine plants colonise several interconnected ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef region including tidal wetlands, seagrass meadows and coral reefs. Water quality in some coastal areas is declining from human activities. Losses of mangrove and other tidal wetland communities are mostly the result of reclamation for coastal development of estuaries, e.g. for residential use, port infrastructure or marina development, and result in river bank destabilisation, deterioration of water clarity and loss of key coastal marine habitat. Coastal seagrass meadows are characterized by small ephemeral species. They are disturbed by increased turbidity after extreme flood events, but generally recover. There is no evidence of an overall seagrass decline or expansion. High nutrient and substrate availability and low grazing pressure on nearshore reefs have lead to changed benthic communities with high macroalgal abundance. Conservation and management of GBR macrophytes and their ecosystems is hampered by scarce ecological knowledge across macrophyte community types.

  14. 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.

  15. Seagrass distribution and abundance in Eastern Gulf of Mexico coastal waters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iverson, Richard L.; Bittaker, Henry F.

    1986-05-01

    The marine angiosperms Thalassia testudinum, Syringodium filiforme, and Halodule wrightii form two of the largest reported seagrass beds along the northwest and southern coasts of Florida where they cover about 3000 square km in the Big Bend area and about 5500 square km in Florida Bay, respectively. Most of the leaf biomass in the Big Bend area and outer Florida Bay was composed of Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme which were distributed throughout the beds but which were more abundant in shallow depths. A short-leaved form of Halodule wrightii grew in monotypic stands in shallow water near the inner edges of the beds, while Halophila decipiens and a longer-leaved variety of H. wrightii grew scattered throughout the beds, in monotypic stands near the outer edges of the beds, and in deeper water outside the beds. Halophila engelmanni was observed scattered at various depths throughout the seagrass beds and in monospecific patches in deep water outside the northern bed. Ruppia maritima grew primarily in brackish water around river mouths. The cross-shelf limits of the two major seagrass beds are controlled nearshore by increased water turbidity and lower salinity around river mouths and off-shore by light penetration to depths which receive 10% or more of sea surface photosynthetically active radiation. Seagrasses form large beds only along low energy reaches of the coast. The Florida Bay seagrass bed contained about twice the short-shoot density of both Thalassia testudinum and Syringodium filiforme, for data averaged over all depths, and about four times the average short-shoot density of both species in shallow water compared with the Big Bend seagrass bed. The differences in average seagrass abundance between Florida Bay and the Big Bend area may be a consequence of the effects of greater seasonal solar radiation and water temperature fluctuations experienced by plants in the northern bed, which lies at the northern distribution limit for American

  16. Tropical seagrass meadows modify seawater carbon chemistry: implications for coral reefs impacted by ocean acidification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unsworth, Richard K. F.; Collier, Catherine J.; Henderson, Gideon M.; McKenzie, Len J.

    2012-06-01

    Highly productive tropical seagrasses often live adjacent to or among coral reefs and utilize large amounts of inorganic carbon. In this study, the effect of seagrass productivity on seawater carbonate chemistry and coral calcification was modelled on the basis of an analysis of published data. Published data (11 studies, 64 records) reveal that seagrass meadows in the Indo-Pacific have an 83% chance of being net autotrophic, resulting in an average net sink of 155 gC m-2 yr-1. The capacities for seagrass productivity were analysed using an empirical model to examine the effect on seawater carbonate chemistry. Our analyses indicate that increases in pH of up to 0.38 units, and Ωarag increases of 2.9 are possible in the presence of seagrass meadows (compared to their absence) with the precise values of these increases dependent on water residence time (tidal flushing) and water depth. In shallow water reef environments, Scleractinian coral calcification downstream of seagrass has the potential to be ≈18% greater than in an environment without seagrass. If this potential benefit to reef calcifiers is supported by further study it offers a potential tool in marine park management at a local scale. The applicability of this will depend upon local physical conditions as well as the spatial configuration of habitats, and the factors that influence their productivity. This novel study suggests that, in addition to their importance to fisheries, sediment stabilization and primary production, seagrass meadows may enhance coral reef resilience to future ocean acidification.

  17. A spatial model to improve site selection for seagrass restoration in shallow boating environments.

    PubMed

    Hotaling-Hagan, Althea; Swett, Robert; Ellis, L Rex; Frazer, Thomas K

    2017-01-15

    Due to widespread and continuing seagrass loss, restoration attempts occur worldwide. This article presents a geospatial modeling technique that ranks the suitability of sites for restoration based on light availability and boating activity, two factors cited in global studies of seagrass loss and restoration failures. The model presented here was created for Estero Bay, Florida and is a predictive model of light availability and boating pressure to aid seagrass restoration efforts. The model is adaptive and can be parameterized for different locations and updated as additional data is collected and knowledge of how factors impact seagrass improves. Light data used for model development were collected over one year from 50 sites throughout the bay. Coupled with high resolution bathymetric data, bottom mean light availability was predicted throughout the bay. Data collection throughout the year also allowed for prediction of light variability at sites, a possible indicator of seagrass growth and survival. Additionally, survey data on boating activities were used to identify areas, outside of marked navigation channels, that receive substantial boating pressure and are likely poor candidate sites for seagrass restoration. The final map product identifies areas where the light environment was suitable for seagrasses and boating pressure was low. A composite map showing the persistence of seagrass coverage in the study area over four years, between 1999 and 2006, was used to validate the model. Eighty-nine percent of the area where seagrass persisted (had been mapped all four years) was ranked as suitable for restoration: 42% with the highest rank (7), 28% with a rank of 6, and 19% with a rank of 5. The results show that the model is a viable tool for selection of seagrass restoration sites in Florida and elsewhere. With knowledge of the light environment and boating patterns, managers will be better equipped to set seagrass restoration and water quality improvement

  18. 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.

  19. 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...

  20. 15 CFR Appendix C to Subpart H of... - No-Anchoring Seagrass Protection Zones in Tomales Bay

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-01-01

    ... 15 Commerce and Foreign Trade 3 2011-01-01 2011-01-01 false No-Anchoring Seagrass Protection Zones... OF COMMERCE OCEAN AND COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Pt. 922, Subpt. H, App. C Appendix C to Subpart H of...

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2013-01-01

    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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    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

  6. [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

  7. Comparison of zooplankton abundance and community in seagrass and non-seagrass areas of Merambong shoal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azmi, Afiq Auji; Yoshida, Teruaki; Toda, Tatsuki; Ross, Othman bin Haji; Cob, Zaidi Che

    2016-11-01

    A zooplankton comparison study of Merambong shoal's seagrass and non-seagrass area was conducted from April 2013 to October 2014. Sampling was conducted monthly at fixed stations by horizontal tows of a 140 µm plankton net. Mean temperature was significantly higher during the south-west (SW) monsoon at both stations. Salinity and Chlorophyll a concentrations were not significantly different between the monsoons for both stations. However, Chlorophyll a concentrations were significantly higher in the seagrass compared to non-seagrass station. Mean zooplankton abundance was 1.32-fold higher in the non-seagrass area (4006.5±1990.5 ind/mł) than the seagrass area (3030.1± 855.6 ind/mł), despite overall higher Chlorophyll a levels in the seagrass station. At the seagrass station, the dominant copepods Paracalanus and Parvocalanus abundances were significantly higher (p<0.01, Mann-Whitney) during the SW monsoon, while Euterpina was significantly lower (p<0.04, Mann-Whitney). The non-seagrass station also showed a similar trend where the dominant copepods Paracalanus and Parvocalanus abundances were significantly higher in the SW monsoon (p<0.02, Mann-Whitney). Higher percentage of meroplankton was recorded during the study period in seagrass area with 11.6 %, 1.5 fold of non-seagrass area.

  8. ASSESSING ROOT DEMOGRAPHY AND CARBOHYDRATE DYNAMICS OF ZOSTERA MARINA

    EPA Science Inventory

    To help establish protective criteria for Zostera marina a more complete understanding of the factors affecting the status, condition, distribution and ecophysiology of Z. marina is needed. While Z. marina shoots are readily observed, assessing growth and carbon dynamics of roots...

  9. Photoacclimatory Responses of Zostera marina in the Intertidal and Subtidal Zones

    PubMed Central

    Park, Sang Rul; Kim, Sangil; Kim, Young Kyun; Kang, Chang-Keun; Lee, Kun-Seop

    2016-01-01

    Photoacclimatory responses of the seagrass Zostera marina in the intertidal and subtidal zones were investigated by measuring chlorophyll a fluorescence parameters, photosynthetic pigments, leaf δ13C values, and shoot morphology in two bay systems. Intertidal plants had higher carotenoid concentrations than subtidal plants to avoid photodamage under excess light conditions during the day. The maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRmax) and minimum saturation irradiance (Ek) of the intertidal plants were higher than those of the subtidal plants, whereas photosynthetic efficiency (α) and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) were higher in subtidal plants. The intertidal plants also had significantly greater Stern–Volmer non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) than that of the subtidal plants. These results suggest that the subtidal plants photoacclimated to use limited light more efficiently, and the intertidal plants exhibited photosynthetic responses to minimize photodamage at excess irradiance. The δ13C values of leaf tissues were more negative in the intertidal plants than those in the subtidal plants, suggesting that the intertidal plants used atmospheric or dissolved CO2 for photosynthesis during emersion. Effective quantum yield (ΔF/Fm´) in the intertidal plants decreased more slowly after emersion than that in the subtidal plants, indicating higher desiccation tolerance of the intertidal plants. The intertidal plants also recovered more rapidly from desiccation damage than the subtidal plants, suggesting photosynthetic adaptation to desiccation stress. The photosynthetic plasticity of Z. marina in response to variable environmental conditions most likely allows this species to occur in the intertidal and subtidal zones. PMID:27227327

  10. Mortality rate estimation for eelgrass Zostera marina (Potamogetonaceae) using projections from Leslie matrices.

    PubMed

    Flores Uzeta, Olga; Solana Arellano, Elena; Echavarría Heras, Héctor

    2008-09-01

    The main goal of this study is to provide estimations of mean mortality rate of vegetative shoots of the seagrass Zostera marina in a meadow near Ensenada Baja California, using a technique that minimizes destructive sampling. Using cohorts and Leslie matrices, three life tables were constructed, each representing a season within the period of monthly sampling (April 1999 to April 2000). Ages for the cohorts were established in terms of Plastochrone Interval (PI). The matrices were projected through time to estimate the mean total number of individuals at time t, n(t) as well as mortality. We found no statistical differences between observed and predicted mean values for these variables (t = -0.11, p = 0.92 for n(t) and t = 0.69, p = 0.5 for mean rate of mortality). We found high correlation coefficient values between observed and projected values for monthly number of individuals (r = 0.70, p = 0.007) and monthly mortality rates (r = 0.81, p = 0.001). If at a certain time t a sudden environmental change occurs, and as long as the perturbation does not provoke the killing of all the individuals of a given age i for 0 < or = i < or = x - 1, there will be a prevailing number of individuals of age or stage x at a time t+1. This nondestructive technique reduces the number of field visits and samples needed for the demographic analysis of Z. marina, and therefore decreases the disturbance caused by researches to the ecosystem.

  11. Evidence of eelgrass (Zostera marina) seed dispersal by northern diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) in lower Chesapeake Bay.

    PubMed

    Tulipani, Diane C; Lipcius, Romuald N

    2014-01-01

    The initial discovery in May 2009 of eelgrass (Zostera marina) seeds in fecal samples of wild-caught northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) was the first field evidence of eelgrass seed ingestion in this species. This finding suggested the potential of terrapins as seed dispersers in eelgrass beds, which we sampled for two additional years (2010 and 2011). Seeds were only found in feces of terrapins captured prior to June 8 in all three years, coinciding with eelgrass seed maturation and release. Numbers of seeds in terrapin feces varied annually and decreased greatly in 2011 after an eelgrass die off in late 2010. The condition of seeds in terrapin feces was viable-mature, germinated, damaged, or immature. Of terrapins captured during time of seed release, 97% were males and juvenile females, both of which had head widths <30 mm. The fraction of individuals with ingested seeds was 33% for males, 35% for small females, and only 6% for large (mature) females. Probability of seed ingestion decreased exponentially with increasing terrapin head width; only males and small females (head width <30 mm) were likely to be vectors of seed dispersal. The characteristic that diamondback terrapins have well-defined home ranges allowed us to estimate the number of terrapins potentially dispersing eelgrass seeds annually. In seagrass beds of the Goodwin Islands region (lower York River, Virginia), there were 559 to 799 terrapins, which could disperse between 1,341 and 1,677 eelgrass seeds annually. These would represent a small proportion of total seed production within a single seagrass bed. However, based on probable home range distances, terrapins can easily traverse eelgrass meadow boundaries, thereby dispersing seeds beyond the bed of origin. Given the relatively short dispersion distance of eelgrass seeds, the diamondback terrapin may be a major source of inter-bed seed dispersal and genetic diversity.

  12. Evidence of Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Seed Dispersal by Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) in Lower Chesapeake Bay

    PubMed Central

    Tulipani, Diane C.; Lipcius, Romuald N.

    2014-01-01

    The initial discovery in May 2009 of eelgrass (Zostera marina) seeds in fecal samples of wild-caught northern diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) was the first field evidence of eelgrass seed ingestion in this species. This finding suggested the potential of terrapins as seed dispersers in eelgrass beds, which we sampled for two additional years (2010 and 2011). Seeds were only found in feces of terrapins captured prior to June 8 in all three years, coinciding with eelgrass seed maturation and release. Numbers of seeds in terrapin feces varied annually and decreased greatly in 2011 after an eelgrass die off in late 2010. The condition of seeds in terrapin feces was viable-mature, germinated, damaged, or immature. Of terrapins captured during time of seed release, 97% were males and juvenile females, both of which had head widths <30 mm. The fraction of individuals with ingested seeds was 33% for males, 35% for small females, and only 6% for large (mature) females. Probability of seed ingestion decreased exponentially with increasing terrapin head width; only males and small females (head width <30 mm) were likely to be vectors of seed dispersal. The characteristic that diamondback terrapins have well-defined home ranges allowed us to estimate the number of terrapins potentially dispersing eelgrass seeds annually. In seagrass beds of the Goodwin Islands region (lower York River, Virginia), there were 559 to 799 terrapins, which could disperse between 1,341 and 1,677 eelgrass seeds annually. These would represent a small proportion of total seed production within a single seagrass bed. However, based on probable home range distances, terrapins can easily traverse eelgrass meadow boundaries, thereby dispersing seeds beyond the bed of origin. Given the relatively short dispersion distance of eelgrass seeds, the diamondback terrapin may be a major source of inter-bed seed dispersal and genetic diversity. PMID:25072473

  13. Population genetic structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina) on the Korean coast: Current status and conservation implications for future management.

    PubMed

    Kim, Jae Hwan; Kang, Ji Hyoun; Jang, Ji Eun; Choi, Sun Kyeong; Kim, Min Ji; Park, Sang Rul; Lee, Hyuk Je

    2017-01-01

    Seagrasses provide numerous ecosystem services for coastal and estuarine environments, such as nursery functions, erosion protection, pollution filtration, and carbon sequestration. Zostera marina (common name "eelgrass") is one of the seagrass bed-forming species distributed widely in the northern hemisphere, including the Korean Peninsula. Recently, however, there has been a drastic decline in the population size of Z. marina worldwide, including Korea. We examined the current population genetic status of this species on the southern coast of Korea by estimating the levels of genetic diversity and genetic structure of 10 geographic populations using eight nuclear microsatellite markers. The level of genetic diversity was found to be significantly lower for populations on Jeju Island [mean allelic richness (AR) = 1.92, clonal diversity (R) = 0.51], which is located approximately 155 km off the southernmost region of the Korean Peninsula, than for those in the South Sea (mean AR = 2.69, R = 0.82), which is on the southern coast of the mainland. South Korean eelgrass populations were substantially genetically divergent from one another (FST = 0.061-0.573), suggesting that limited contemporary gene flow has been taking place among populations. We also found weak but detectable temporal variation in genetic structure within a site over 10 years. In additional depth comparisons, statistically significant genetic differentiation was observed between shallow (or middle) and deep zones in two of three sites tested. Depleted genetic diversity, small effective population sizes (Ne) and limited connectivity for populations on Jeju Island indicate that these populations may be vulnerable to local extinction under changing environmental conditions, especially given that Jeju Island is one of the fastest warming regions around the world. Overall, our work will inform conservation and restoration efforts, including transplantation for eelgrass populations at the southern tip of

  14. Population genetic structure of eelgrass (Zostera marina) on the Korean coast: Current status and conservation implications for future management

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Jae Hwan; Kang, Ji Hyoun; Jang, Ji Eun; Choi, Sun Kyeong; Kim, Min Ji; Park, Sang Rul; Lee, Hyuk Je

    2017-01-01

    Seagrasses provide numerous ecosystem services for coastal and estuarine environments, such as nursery functions, erosion protection, pollution filtration, and carbon sequestration. Zostera marina (common name “eelgrass”) is one of the seagrass bed-forming species distributed widely in the northern hemisphere, including the Korean Peninsula. Recently, however, there has been a drastic decline in the population size of Z. marina worldwide, including Korea. We examined the current population genetic status of this species on the southern coast of Korea by estimating the levels of genetic diversity and genetic structure of 10 geographic populations using eight nuclear microsatellite markers. The level of genetic diversity was found to be significantly lower for populations on Jeju Island [mean allelic richness (AR) = 1.92, clonal diversity (R) = 0.51], which is located approximately 155 km off the southernmost region of the Korean Peninsula, than for those in the South Sea (mean AR = 2.69, R = 0.82), which is on the southern coast of the mainland. South Korean eelgrass populations were substantially genetically divergent from one another (FST = 0.061–0.573), suggesting that limited contemporary gene flow has been taking place among populations. We also found weak but detectable temporal variation in genetic structure within a site over 10 years. In additional depth comparisons, statistically significant genetic differentiation was observed between shallow (or middle) and deep zones in two of three sites tested. Depleted genetic diversity, small effective population sizes (Ne) and limited connectivity for populations on Jeju Island indicate that these populations may be vulnerable to local extinction under changing environmental conditions, especially given that Jeju Island is one of the fastest warming regions around the world. Overall, our work will inform conservation and restoration efforts, including transplantation for eelgrass populations at the southern

  15. Chemoreception of the Seagrass Posidonia Oceanica by Benthic Invertebrates is Altered by Seawater Acidification.

    PubMed

    Zupo, Valerio; Maibam, Chingoileima; Buia, Maria Cristina; Gambi, Maria Cristina; Patti, Francesco Paolo; Scipione, Maria Beatrice; Lorenti, Maurizio; Fink, Patrick

    2015-08-01

    Several plants and invertebrates interact and communicate by means of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds may play the role of infochemicals, being able to carry complex information to selected species, thus mediating inter- or intra-specific communications. Volatile organic compounds derived from the wounding of marine diatoms, for example, carry information for several benthic and planktonic invertebrates. Although the ecological importance of VOCs has been demonstrated, both in terrestrial plants and in marine microalgae, their role as infochemicals has not been demonstrated in seagrasses. In addition, benthic communities, even the most complex and resilient, as those associated to seagrass meadows, are affected by ocean acidification at various levels. Therefore, the acidification of oceans could produce interference in the way seagrass-associated invertebrates recognize and choose their specific environments. We simulated the wounding of Posidonia oceanica leaves collected at two sites (a control site at normal pH, and a naturally acidified site) off the Island of Ischia (Gulf of Naples, Italy). We extracted the VOCs and tested a set of 13 species of associated invertebrates for their specific chemotactic responses in order to determine if: a) seagrasses produce VOCs playing the role of infochemicals, and b) their effects can be altered by seawater pH. Our results indicate that several invertebrates recognize the odor of wounded P. oceanica leaves, especially those strictly associated to the leaf stratum of the seagrass. Their chemotactic reactions may be modulated by the seawater pH, thus impairing the chemical communications in seagrass-associated communities in acidified conditions. In fact, 54% of the tested species exhibited a changed behavioral response in acidified waters (pH 7.7). Furthermore, the differences observed in the abundance of invertebrates, in natural vs. acidified field conditions, are in agreement with these behavioral

  16. INTERTIDAL SEDIMENT TEMPERATURE VARIANCE AS A POSSIBLE LIMITING FACTOR FOR EELGRASSES ZOSTERA MARINA AND ZOSTERA JAPONICA IN YAQUINA BAY, OR

    EPA Science Inventory

    The eelgrass species Zostera marina and Z. japonica co-occur in most Pacific Northwest estuaries; Z. marina is regarded as a native species, Z. japonica as non-indigenous, introduced in Yaquina Bay in approximately 1975. The mean tidal range is ~2 m, extreme ~3m. The vertical d...

  17. SEAGRASS AND CDOM IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses play a variety of important ecological roles in coastal ecosystems. Here we present evidence that seagrass detritus from the widespread species, Thalassia testudinum, is an important source of ocean color and UV-protective substances in a low latitude coastal shelf reg...

  18. Nanoparticle-based measurements of pH and O2 dynamics in the rhizosphere of Zostera marina L.: effects of temperature elevation and light-dark transitions.

    PubMed

    Elgetti Brodersen, Kasper; Koren, Klaus; Lichtenberg, Mads; Kühl, Michael

    2016-07-01

    Seagrasses can modulate the geochemical conditions in their immediate rhizosphere through the release of chemical compounds from their below-ground tissue. This is a vital chemical defence mechanism, whereby the plants detoxify the surrounding sediment. Using novel nanoparticle-based optical O2 and pH sensors incorporated in reduced and transparent artificial sediment, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of pH and O2 within the entire rhizosphere of Zostera marina L. during experimental manipulations of light and temperature. We combined such measurements with O2 microsensor measurements of the photosynthetic productivity and respiration of seagrass leaves. We found pronounced pH and O2 microheterogeneity within the immediate rhizosphere of Z. marina, with higher below-ground tissue oxidation capability and rhizoplane pH levels during both light exposure of the leaf canopy and elevated temperature, where the temperature-mediated stimuli of biogeochemical processes seemed to predominate. Low rhizosphere pH microenvironments appeared to correlate with plant-derived oxic microzones stimulating local sulphide oxidation and thus driving local proton generation, although the rhizoplane pH levels generally where much higher than the bulk sediment pH. Our data show that Z. marina can actively alter its rhizosphere pH microenvironment alleviating the local H2 S toxicity and enhancing nutrient availability in the adjacent sediment via geochemical speciation shift.

  19. Zostera marina (eelgrass) growth and survival along a gradient ofnutrients and turbidity in the lower Chesapeake Bay

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, K.A.; Neckles, H.A.; Orth, R.J.

    1996-01-01

    Survival of transplanted Zostera marina L. (eelgrass), Z. marina growth,and environmental conditions were studied concurrently at a number of sitesin a southwestern tributary of the Chesapeake Bay to elucidate the factorslimiting macrophyte distribution in this region. Consistent differences insurvival of the transplants were observed, with no long-term survival at anyof the sites that were formerly vegetated with this species but thatcurrently remain unvegetated. Therefore, the current distribution of Z.marina likely represents the extent of suitable environmental conditions inthe region, and the lack of recovery into historically vegetated sites is notsolely due to lack of propagules. Poor long-term survival was related toseasonally high levels of water column light attenuation. Fall transplantsdied by the end of summer following exposure to levels of high springturbidity (K(d) > 3.0). Accumulation of an epiphyte matrix during the latespring (0.36 to 1.14 g g-1 dry wt) may also have contributed to thisstress. Differences in water column nutrient levels among sites during thefall and winter (10 to 15 ??M dissolved inorganic nitrogen and 1 ??Mdissolved inorganic phosphates) had no observable effect on epiphyteaccumulation or macrophyte growth. Salinity effects were minor and there wereno symptoms of disease. Although summertime conditions resulted indepressions in growth, they did not alone limit long-term survival. It issuggested that water quality conditions enhancing adequate seagrass growthduring the spring may be key to long-term Z. marina survival and successfulrecolonization in this region.

  20. Understanding uncertainty in seagrass injury recovery: an information-theoretic approach.

    PubMed

    Uhrin, Amy V; Kenworthy, W Judson; Fonseca, Mark S

    2011-06-01

    Vessel groundings cause severe, persistent gaps in seagrass beds. Varying degrees of natural recovery have been observed for grounding injuries, limiting recovery prediction capabilities, and therefore, management's ability to focus restoration efforts where natural recovery is unlikely. To improve our capacity for predicting seagrass injury recovery, we used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the relative contribution of specific injury attributes to the natural recovery of 30 seagrass groundings in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida, USA. Injury recovery was defined by three response variables examined independently: (1) initiation of seagrass colonization, (2) areal contraction, and (3) sediment in-filling. We used a global model and all possible subsets for four predictor variables: (1) injury age, (2) original injury volume, (3) original injury perimeter-to-area ratio, and (4) wave energy. Successional processes were underway for many injuries with fast-growing, opportunistic seagrass species contributing most to colonization. The majority of groundings that exhibited natural seagrass colonization also exhibited areal contraction and sediment in-filling. Injuries demonstrating colonization, contraction, and in-filling were on average older and smaller, and they had larger initial perimeter-to-area ratios. Wave energy was highest for colonizing injuries. The information-theoretic approach was unable to select a single "best" model for any response variable. For colonization and contraction, injury age had the highest relative importance as a predictor variable; wave energy appeared to be associated with second-order effects, such as sediment in-filling, which in turn, facilitated seagrass colonization. For sediment in-filling, volume and perimeter-to-area ratio had similar relative importance as predictor variables with age playing a lesser role than seen for colonization and contraction. Our findings confirm that these injuries

  1. The effect of ocean acidification on carbon storage and sequestration in seagrass beds; a global and UK context.

    PubMed

    Garrard, Samantha L; Beaumont, Nicola J

    2014-09-15

    Ocean acidification will have many negative consequences for marine organisms and ecosystems, leading to a decline in many ecosystem services provided by the marine environment. This study reviews the effect of ocean acidification (OA) on seagrasses, assessing how this may affect their capacity to sequester carbon in the future and providing an economic valuation of these changes. If ocean acidification leads to a significant increase in above- and below-ground biomass, the capacity of seagrass to sequester carbon will be significantly increased. The associated value of this increase in sequestration capacity is approximately £500 and 600 billion globally between 2010 and 2100. A proportionally similar increase in carbon sequestration value was found for the UK. This study highlights one of the few positive stories for ocean acidification and underlines that sustainable management of seagrasses is critical to avoid their continued degradation and loss of carbon sequestration capacity.

  2. Overview on seagrasses and related research in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shi, Yajun; Fan, Hangqing; Cui, Xiaojian; Pan, Lianghao; Li, Sen; Song, Xiukai

    2010-03-01

    Seagrass research in China is still in its infancy. Even though there has been progress recently, there is still a great deal of research needed to gain a better understanding of seagrass. In this article we review and discuss the advances in seagrass research in China from two aspects: (1) seagrass species and their distribution; (2) seagrass research in China, including studies on their taxonomy, ecology, photosynthesis, applications in aquaculture, salt-tolerance mechanisms and other research topics. A total of 18 seagrass species belonging to 8 genera are distributed in nine provinces and regions in China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), as well as the Xisha and Nansha Archipelagos. They can be divided into two groups: a North China Group and a South China Group. Based on the seagrass distribution, the Chinese mainland coast can be divided into three sections: North China Seagrass Coast, Middle China Seagrass Coast, and South China Seagrass Coast. Ecological studies include research on seagrass communities, nutrient cycling in seagrass ecosystems, genetic diversity, pollution ecology and research in the key regions of Shandong, Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan. Seagrass species and their locations, community structure, ecological evaluation, epiphytes, ecological functions and threats in the key regions are also summarized. Other studies have focused on remote sensing of seagrass, threatened seagrass species of China, and pollen morphology of Halophila ovalis.

  3. Ion concentrations in seagrass: A comparison of results from field and controlled-environment studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garrote-Moreno, Aurora; Cambridge, Marion; Sánchez-Lizaso, Jose Luis

    2016-11-01

    Osmoregulation is essential for the survival of seagrasses in marine and hypersaline environments. The aim of this study was to examine ion concentrations of four seagrass species (Posidonia australis, P. sinuosa, Amphibolis antarctica and A. griffithii) after exposure to salinity changes. Plant fragments were placed in a series of aquaria at marine salinity (35) and, after one week of acclimation, exposed for 7 days to salinities between 20 and 70. Cl-, Na+ and total ion concentration increased with salinity in leaf tissue of the four seagrasses species. These results were compared with those of P. australis and A. antarctica samples collected at three locations at Shark Bay, Western Australia where higher salinities occurred, ranging from 46 to 51. Concentrations of K+ and Ca+2 were higher in seagrass tissues from Shark Bay than in those in aquarium trials. Cl-, Na+ and total ions in P. australis and A. antarctica from Shark Bay were lowest at the highest salinity location. The K+/Na+ ratio in the aquarium trials (under ambient conditions) was in the following order: A. antarctica = A. griffithii > P. australis > P. sinuosa and Ca+2/Na+ ratio was: A. antarctica = A. griffithii > P. sinuosa > P. australis. This species order indicates a physiological capacity to tolerate variation in salinity. Furthermore, these ratios were higher in the locality with highest salinity in Shark Bay, indicating acclimation and adaptation of ion concentrations to the salinity regime in the environment.

  4. Causes of seasonal and decadal variability in a tropical seagrass seascape (Reunion Island, south western Indian Ocean)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuvillier, A.; Villeneuve, N.; Cordier, E.; Kolasinski, J.; Maurel, L.; Farnier, N.; Frouin, P.

    2017-01-01

    While seagrass meadows are considered as vulnerable or declining habitats worldwide, facing many natural and anthropogenic pressures, the opposite trend is suggested by this study in Reunion Island (Indian Ocean). Located at the benthos-pelagos interface, seagrass beds are critical coastal habitats and can be used as relevant health indicators for larger marine ecosystems or land-sea continuum. In order to determine which are the factors driving seagrass ecosystems health it is essential to quantify their seascape pattern fluctuations. The long-term (over 65 years) and seasonal scale variability was assessed in the monospecific Syringodium isoetifolium seagrass bed seascape at the Ermitage/La Saline fringing reef using aerial photographs and field measurements. Both long-term and short-term scales have been informative and both types of monitoring appear as useful tools for seagrass ecosystem management. Strong variations in seagrass coverage were observed in the 16 rasters analyzed from years 1950-2015, the magnitude order was however similar to the one observed at the recent seasonal scale (up to 2016 m2 gained or 4863 m2 lost over few months at site scale). Seascape pattern analysis revealed that physical factors (swell events, cyclones) had a major impact on the ocean-exposed site with varying impact degree depending on frequency, duration and intensity. Biotic (herbivory) or anthropogenic (grubbing, nutrient inputs) factors were also identified to influence the structural shape, fragmentation, or disappearance of seagrass beds. Further work is required to better quantify the effect of each single factor, a difficult task due to their combined expression. At the reef scale, these results showed a positive correlation between seagrass beds and inner reef flat coverage suggesting that common factors drive these highly resilient ecosystems.

  5. Quantifying Seagrass Light Requirements Using an Algorithm to Spatially Resolve Depth of Colonization-Conf Abstract

    EPA Science Inventory

    Depth of colonization (Zc) is a useful seagrass growth metric that describes seagrass response to light attenuation. Similarly, percent surface irradiance (% SI) at Zc is a measure of seagrass light requirements with applications in seagrass ecology and management. Methods for ...

  6. Limited effects of source population identity and number on seagrass transplant performance.

    PubMed

    Novak, Alyssa B; Plaisted, Holly K; Hays, Cynthia G; Hughes, Randall A

    2017-01-01

    Global declines in coastal foundation species highlight the importance of effective restoration. In this study, we examined the effects of source population identity and diversity (one vs. three sources per plot) on seagrass (Zostera marina) transplant success. The field experiment was replicated at two locations in Massachusetts with adjacent natural Zostera marina beds to test for local adaptation and source diversity effects on shoot density. We also collected morphological and genetic data to characterize variation within and among source populations, and evaluate whether they were related to performance. Transplants grew and expanded until six months post-transplantation, but then steadily declined at both sites. Prior to declines, we observed variation in performance among source populations at one site that was related to morphological traits: the populations with the longest leaves had the highest shoot densities, whereas the population with the shortest leaves performed the worst at six months post-transplantation. In addition, multiple source plots at this same transplant site consistently had similar or higher shoot densities than single source plots, and shoots from weak-performing populations showed improved performance in multiple source plots. We found no evidence for home site advantage or benefits of population-level genetic variation in early transplant performance at either site. Our results show limited effects of source population on early transplant performance and suggest that factors (e.g., morphology) other than home site advantage and population genetic variation serve a role. Based on our overall findings that transplant success varied among source populations and that population diversity at the plot level had positive but limited effects on individual and plot performance, we support planting shoots from multiple source sites in combination to enhance transplant success, particularly in the absence of detailed information on individual

  7. Limited effects of source population identity and number on seagrass transplant performance

    PubMed Central

    Plaisted, Holly K.; Hays, Cynthia G.; Hughes, Randall A.

    2017-01-01

    Global declines in coastal foundation species highlight the importance of effective restoration. In this study, we examined the effects of source population identity and diversity (one vs. three sources per plot) on seagrass (Zostera marina) transplant success. The field experiment was replicated at two locations in Massachusetts with adjacent natural Zostera marina beds to test for local adaptation and source diversity effects on shoot density. We also collected morphological and genetic data to characterize variation within and among source populations, and evaluate whether they were related to performance. Transplants grew and expanded until six months post-transplantation, but then steadily declined at both sites. Prior to declines, we observed variation in performance among source populations at one site that was related to morphological traits: the populations with the longest leaves had the highest shoot densities, whereas the population with the shortest leaves performed the worst at six months post-transplantation. In addition, multiple source plots at this same transplant site consistently had similar or higher shoot densities than single source plots, and shoots from weak-performing populations showed improved performance in multiple source plots. We found no evidence for home site advantage or benefits of population-level genetic variation in early transplant performance at either site. Our results show limited effects of source population on early transplant performance and suggest that factors (e.g., morphology) other than home site advantage and population genetic variation serve a role. Based on our overall findings that transplant success varied among source populations and that population diversity at the plot level had positive but limited effects on individual and plot performance, we support planting shoots from multiple source sites in combination to enhance transplant success, particularly in the absence of detailed information on individual

  8. Spatial patterns of sub-tidal seagrasses and their tissue nutrients in the Torres Strait, northern Australia: Implications for management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sheppard, James K.; Carter, Alex B.; McKenzie, Len J.; Pitcher, C. Roland; Coles, Robert G.

    2008-09-01

    The distribution and nutritional profiles of sub-tidal seagrasses from the Torres Strait were surveyed and mapped across an area of 31,000 km 2. Benthic sediment composition, water depth, seagrass species type and nutrients were sampled at 168 points selected in a stratified representative pattern. Eleven species of seagrass were present at 56 (33.3%) of the sample points. Halophila spinulosa, Halophila ovalis, Cymodocea serrulata and Syringodium isoetifolium were the most common species and these were nutrient profiled. Sub-tidal seagrass distribution (and associated seagrass nutrient concentrations) was generally confined to northern-central and south-western regions of the survey area (Seagrass nitrogen and starch content, the most important nutrients for marine herbivores, were significantly correlated with species and with the plant component (above or below ground). For all seagrass species, the above-ground component (shoots and leaves) possessed greater nitrogen concentrations than the below-ground component (roots and rhizomes), which possessed greater starch concentrations. S. isoetifolium had the highest total nitrogen concentrations (1.40±0.05% DW). However, it also had higher fibre concentrations (38.2±0.68% DW) relative to the other four species. H. ovalis possessed the highest starch concentrations (2.76±0.12% DW) and highest digestibility (83.24±0.66% DW) as well as the lowest fibre (27.2±0.66% DW). The high relative abundance (found at 55% of the sites that had seagrass) and nutrient quality characteristics of H. ovalis make it an important source of energy to marine herbivores that forage sub-tidally in the Torres Strait. There were two regions in Torres Strait (north-central and south-western) where sub-tidal seagrass meadows were prevalent and of relatively higher

  9. Ecological structure and function differs between habitats dominated by seagrasses and green seaweeds.

    PubMed

    Tuya, Fernando; Png-Gonzalez, Lydia; Riera, Rodrigo; Haroun, Ricardo; Espino, Fernando

    2014-07-01

    Marine vegetated habitats, e.g. seagrass meadows, deliver essential functions and services to coastal ecosystems and human welfare. Impacts induced by humans, however, have facilitated the replacement of seagrasses by alternative vegetation, e.g. green rhizophytic seaweeds. The implications of habitat shifts for ecosystem attributes and processes and the services they deliver remain poorly known. In this study, we compared ecosystem structure and function between Cymodocea nodosa seagrass meadows and bottoms dominated by Caulerpa prolifera, a green, native, rhizophytic seaweed, through 5 ecological proxies: (i) primary production (via community metabolism), (ii) composition and abundance of epifauna (a proxy for provision of habitat for epifauna), composition and abundance of (iii) small-sized (juvenile) and (iv) large-sized (adult) fishes (proxies for provision of habitat for fishes), and (v) sediment retention (a proxy for sediment stabilization). Four of these proxies were greater in C. nodosa seagrass meadows than in C. prolifera beds: gross primary productivity (∼1.4 times), the total abundance, species density and biomass of small-sized fishes (∼2.1, 1.3 and 1.3 times, respectively), the total abundance and species density of large-sized fishes (∼3.6 and 1.5 times, respectively), and sediment stabilization (∼1.4 times). In contrast, the total abundance and species density of epifauna was larger (∼3.1 and 1.7 times, respectively) in C. prolifera than in C. nodosa seagrass beds. These results suggest that ecosystem structure and function may differ if seagrasses are replaced by green rhizophytic seaweeds. Importantly, ecosystem functions may not be appropriate surrogates for one another. As a result, assessments of ecosystem services associated with ecosystem functions cannot be based on exclusively one service that is expected to benefit other services.

  10. Seagrass Herbivory Levels Sustain Site-Fidelity in a Remnant Dugong Population

    PubMed Central

    Patankar, Vardhan; Marbà, Núria

    2015-01-01

    Herds of dugong, a largely tropical marine megaherbivore, are known to undertake long-distance movements, sequentially overgrazing seagrass meadows in their path. Given their drastic declines in many regions, it is unclear whether at lower densities, their grazing is less intense, reducing their need to travel between meadows. We studied the effect of the feeding behaviour of a small dugong population in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India to understand how small isolated populations graze seagrasses. In the seven years of our observation, all recorded dugongs travelled either solitarily or in pairs, and their use of seagrasses was limited to 8 meadows, some of which were persistently grazed. These meadows were relatively large, contiguous and dominated by short-lived seagrasses species. Dugongs consumed approximately 15% of meadow primary production, but there was a large variation (3–40% of total meadow production) in consumption patterns between meadows. The impact of herbivory was relatively high, with shoot densities c. 50% higher inside herbivore exclosures than in areas exposed to repeated grazing. Our results indicate that dugongs in the study area repeatedly graze the same meadows probably because the proportion of primary production consumed reduces shoot density to levels that are still above values that can trigger meadow abandonment. This ability of seagrasses to cope perhaps explains the long-term site fidelity shown by individual dugongs in these meadows. The fact that seagrass meadows in the archipelago are able to support dugong foraging requirements allows us to clearly identify locations where this remnant population persists, and where urgent management efforts can be directed. PMID:26492558

  11. Seagrass Herbivory Levels Sustain Site-Fidelity in a Remnant Dugong Population.

    PubMed

    D'Souza, Elrika; Patankar, Vardhan; Arthur, Rohan; Marbà, Núria; Alcoverro, Teresa

    2015-01-01

    Herds of dugong, a largely tropical marine megaherbivore, are known to undertake long-distance movements, sequentially overgrazing seagrass meadows in their path. Given their drastic declines in many regions, it is unclear whether at lower densities, their grazing is less intense, reducing their need to travel between meadows. We studied the effect of the feeding behaviour of a small dugong population in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, India to understand how small isolated populations graze seagrasses. In the seven years of our observation, all recorded dugongs travelled either solitarily or in pairs, and their use of seagrasses was limited to 8 meadows, some of which were persistently grazed. These meadows were relatively large, contiguous and dominated by short-lived seagrasses species. Dugongs consumed approximately 15% of meadow primary production, but there was a large variation (3-40% of total meadow production) in consumption patterns between meadows. The impact of herbivory was relatively high, with shoot densities c. 50% higher inside herbivore exclosures than in areas exposed to repeated grazing. Our results indicate that dugongs in the study area repeatedly graze the same meadows probably because the proportion of primary production consumed reduces shoot density to levels that are still above values that can trigger meadow abandonment. This ability of seagrasses to cope perhaps explains the long-term site fidelity shown by individual dugongs in these meadows. The fact that seagrass meadows in the archipelago are able to support dugong foraging requirements allows us to clearly identify locations where this remnant population persists, and where urgent management efforts can be directed.

  12. Seagrass landscape-scale changes in response to disturbance created by the dynamics of barrier-islands: A case study from Ria Formosa (Southern Portugal)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cunha, A. H.; Santos, R. P.; Gaspar, A. P.; Bairros, M. F.

    2005-09-01

    This study documents long-term changes of a Zostera noltii landscape induced by a natural cyclic event in a coastal lagoon. The barrier-islands forming this system are very dynamic with drifting movements controlling ecological patterns and processes occurring in this area. Changes in the areal extent of the Z. noltii meadows were assessed using historical aerial photographs from 1940, 1980, 1989, 1996 and 1998. Landscape indices such as total patch area (TA), mean patch size (MPS), number of patches (NP), mean shape coefficient of variation (CV) and landscape fractal dimension (D) were calculated for each year and related to an index of disturbance intensity. The spatial distribution of the Z. noltii meadows varied greatly during the studied period and changes observed were related to the disturbance created by the barrier-islands' spatial dynamics. After an artificial inlet relocation the Z. noltii area, number of patches, patch mean size and coefficient of variation decreased. The fractal dimension of the Z. noltii landscape increased by 50% showing that besides a decrease in total area, number of patches, and patch mean area, patch fragmentation was an important consequence of this anthropogenic disturbance. Seagrass natural distribution patterns changed in response to natural and human-induced activities. This study emphasizes the importance of the landscape approach and the historical perspective when studying seagrass changes and the importance of taking into consideration long-term changes in seagrass landscapes to avoid confusion between man-induced effects with natural cyclic events.

  13. Salinity and temperature significantly influence seed germination, seedling establishment, and seedling growth of eelgrass Zostera marina L.

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Shaochun; Wang, Pengmei; Wang, Feng; Zhang, Xiaomei; Gu, Ruiting

    2016-01-01

    Globally, seagrass beds have been recognized as critical yet declining coastal habitats. To mitigate seagrass losses, seagrass restorations have been conducted in worldwide over the past two decades. Seed utilization is considered to be an important approach in seagrass restoration efforts. In this study, we investigated the effects of salinity and temperature on seed germination, seedling establishment, and seedling growth of eelgrass Zostera marina L. (Swan Lake, northern China). We initially tested the effects of salinity (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 ppt) and water temperature (5, 10, 15, and 20 °C) on seed germination to identify optimal levels. To identify levels of salinity that could potentially limit survival and growth, and, consequently, the spatial distribution of seedlings in temperate estuaries, we then examined the effect of freshwater and other salinity levels (10, 20, and 30 ppt) on seedling growth and establishment to confirm suitable conditions for seedling development. Finally, we examined the effect of transferring germinated seeds from freshwater or low salinity levels (1, 5, and 15 ppt) to natural seawater (32 ppt) on seedling establishment rate (SER) at 15 °C. In our research, we found that: (1) Mature seeds had a considerably lower moisture content than immature seeds; therefore, moisture content may be a potential indicator of Z. marina seed maturity; (2) Seed germination significantly increased at low salinity (p < 0.001) and high temperature (p < 0.001). Salinity had a much stronger influence on seed germination than temperature. Maximum seed germination (88.67 ± 5.77%) was recorded in freshwater at 15 °C; (3) Freshwater and low salinity levels (< 20 ppt) increased germination but had a strong negative effect on seedling morphology (number of leaves per seedling reduced from 2 to 0, and maximum seedling leaf length reduced from 4.48 to 0 cm) and growth (seedling biomass reduced by 46.15–66.67% and maximum seedling length

  14. The Structure of Genetic Diversity in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) along the North Pacific and Bering Sea Coasts of Alaska

    PubMed Central

    Talbot, Sandra L.; Sage, George K; Rearick, Jolene R.; Fowler, Meg C.; Muñiz-Salazar, Raquel; Baibak, Bethany; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Cabello-Pasini, Alejandro; Ward, David H.

    2016-01-01

    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) populations occupying coastal waters of Alaska are separated by a peninsula and island archipelago into two Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs). From populations in both LMEs, we characterize genetic diversity, population structure, and polarity in gene flow using nuclear microsatellite fragment and chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. An inverse relationship between genetic diversity and latitude was observed (heterozygosity: R2 = 0.738, P < 0.001; allelic richness: R2 = 0.327, P = 0.047), as was significant genetic partitioning across most sampling sites (θ = 0.302, P < 0.0001). Variance in allele frequency was significantly partitioned by region only in cases when a population geographically in the Gulf of Alaska LME (Kinzarof Lagoon) was instead included with populations in the Eastern Bering Sea LME (θp = 0.128–0.172; P < 0.003), suggesting gene flow between the two LMEs in this region. Gene flow among locales was rarely symmetrical, with notable exceptions generally following net coastal ocean current direction. Genetic data failed to support recent proposals that multiple Zostera species (i.e. Z. japonica and Z. angustifolia) are codistributed with Z. marina in Alaska. Comparative analyses also failed to support the hypothesis that eelgrass populations in the North Atlantic derived from eelgrass retained in northeastern Pacific Last Glacial Maximum refugia. These data suggest northeastern Pacific populations are derived from populations expanding northward from temperate populations following climate amelioration at the terminus of the last Pleistocene glaciation. PMID:27104836

  15. The Structure of Genetic Diversity in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) along the North Pacific and Bering Sea Coasts of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Talbot, Sandra L; Sage, George K; Rearick, Jolene R; Fowler, Meg C; Muñiz-Salazar, Raquel; Baibak, Bethany; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Cabello-Pasini, Alejandro; Ward, David H

    2016-01-01

    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) populations occupying coastal waters of Alaska are separated by a peninsula and island archipelago into two Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs). From populations in both LMEs, we characterize genetic diversity, population structure, and polarity in gene flow using nuclear microsatellite fragment and chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. An inverse relationship between genetic diversity and latitude was observed (heterozygosity: R2 = 0.738, P < 0.001; allelic richness: R2 = 0.327, P = 0.047), as was significant genetic partitioning across most sampling sites (θ = 0.302, P < 0.0001). Variance in allele frequency was significantly partitioned by region only in cases when a population geographically in the Gulf of Alaska LME (Kinzarof Lagoon) was instead included with populations in the Eastern Bering Sea LME (θp = 0.128-0.172; P < 0.003), suggesting gene flow between the two LMEs in this region. Gene flow among locales was rarely symmetrical, with notable exceptions generally following net coastal ocean current direction. Genetic data failed to support recent proposals that multiple Zostera species (i.e. Z. japonica and Z. angustifolia) are codistributed with Z. marina in Alaska. Comparative analyses also failed to support the hypothesis that eelgrass populations in the North Atlantic derived from eelgrass retained in northeastern Pacific Last Glacial Maximum refugia. These data suggest northeastern Pacific populations are derived from populations expanding northward from temperate populations following climate amelioration at the terminus of the last Pleistocene glaciation.

  16. The Structure of Genetic Diversity in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) along the North Pacific and Bering Sea Coasts of Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Talbot, Sandra; Sage, Kevin; Rearick, Jolene; Fowler, Megan C.; Muñiz-Salazar, Raquel; Baibak, Bethany; Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy; Cabello-Pasini, Alehandro; Ward, David H.

    2016-01-01

    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) populations occupying coastal waters of Alaska are separated by a peninsula and island archipelago into two Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs). From populations in both LMEs, we characterize genetic diversity, population structure, and polarity in gene flow using nuclear microsatellite fragment and chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. An inverse relationship between genetic diversity and latitude was observed (heterozygosity: R2 = 0.738, P < 0.001; allelic richness: R2 = 0.327, P = 0.047), as was significant genetic partitioning across most sampling sites (θ = 0.302, P < 0.0001). Variance in allele frequency was significantly partitioned by region only in cases when a population geographically in the Gulf of Alaska LME (Kinzarof Lagoon) was instead included with populations in the Eastern Bering Sea LME (θp = 0.128–0.172; P < 0.003), suggesting gene flow between the two LMEs in this region. Gene flow among locales was rarely symmetrical, with notable exceptions generally following net coastal ocean current direction. Genetic data failed to support recent proposals that multiple Zostera species (i.e. Z. japonica and Z. angustifolia) are codistributed with Z. marina in Alaska. Comparative analyses also failed to support the hypothesis that eelgrass populations in the North Atlantic derived from eelgrass retained in northeastern Pacific Last Glacial Maximum refugia. These data suggest northeastern Pacific populations are derived from populations expanding northward from temperate populations following climate amelioration at the terminus of the last Pleistocene glaciation.

  17. Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica: a malevolent, benevolent, or benign invasive ecosystem engineer?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica, is an introduced ecosystem engineering species first reported on the US west coast in 1957. In some US Pacific Northwest estuaries its areal coverage now exceeds that of the native eelgrass species, Zostera marina. Natural resource management’s...

  18. Food supply depends on seagrass meadows in the coral triangle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Unsworth, Richard K. F.; Hinder, Stephanie L.; Bodger, Owen G.; Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C.

    2014-09-01

    The tropical seascape provides food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of people, but the support of key habitats to this supply remains ill appreciated. For fisheries and conservation management actions to help promote resilient ecosystems, sustainable livelihoods, and food supply, knowledge is required about the habitats that help support fisheries productivity and the consequences of this for food security. This paper provides an interdisciplinary case study from the coral triangle of how seagrass meadows provide support for fisheries and local food security. We apply a triangulated approach that utilizes ecological, fisheries and market data combined with over 250 household interviews. Our research demonstrates that seagrass associated fauna in a coral triangle marine protected area support local food supply contributing at least 50% of the fish based food. This formed between 54% and 99% of daily protein intake in the area. Fishery catch was found to significantly vary with respect to village (p < 0.01) with habitat configuration a probable driver. Juvenile fish comprised 26% of the fishery catch and gear type significantly influenced this proportion (<0.05). Limited sustainability of fishery practices (high juvenile catch and a 51% decline in CPUE for the biggest fishery) and poor habitat management mean the security of this food supply has the potential to be undermined in the long-term. Findings of this study have implications for the management and assessment of fisheries throughout the tropical seascape. Our study provides an exemplar for why natural resource management should move beyond biodiversity and consider how conservation and local food security are interlinked processes that are not mutually exclusive. Seagrass meadows are under sustained threat worldwide, this study provides evidence of the need to conserve these not just to protect biodiversity but to protect food security.

  19. The Seagrass Effect Turned Upside Down Changes the Prospective of Sea Urchin Survival and Landscape Implications

    PubMed Central

    Farina, Simone; Guala, Ivan; Oliva, Silvia; Piazzi, Luigi; Pires da Silva, Rodrigo; Ceccherelli, Giulia

    2016-01-01

    investigating, derived from the complex indirect interactions among species, how top-down control in marine reserves can modify seagrass habitat effects. PMID:27783684

  20. Bathymetric Lidar Mapping of Seagrass Distribution within Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, Texas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Starek, M. J.; Fernandez-Diaz, J. C.; Singhania, A.; Shrestha, R. L.; Gibeaut, J. C.; Su, L.; Reisinger, A. S.; Lord, A.

    2013-05-01

    Monitoring seagrass habitat, species growth, and population decline is an important environmental initiative for coastal ecosystem sustainability. However, measuring details about seagrass distribution and canopy structure over large areas via remote sensing has proved challenging. Developments in airborne bathymetric light detection and ranging (lidar) provide great potential in this regard. Traditional bathymetric lidar systems have been limited in their ability to map within the shallow water zone (< 1 m) where seagrass is typically present due to limitations in receiver response and laser pulse length. Emergent short-pulse width bathymetric lidar sensors and waveform processing algorithms enable depth measurements in shallow water environments not previously accessible. This 3D information of the benthic layer can be applied to extract metrics about the seagrass canopy. On September 10, 2012, researchers with the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) at the University of Houston (UH) and the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Sciences Lab (CMGL) of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted a coordinated airborne and ground-based survey of the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area as part of a collaborative study to investigate the capabilities of bathymetric lidar and hyperspectral imaging for seagrass mapping (standalone and in-fusion). Redfish Bay, located along the middle Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is a state scientific area designated for the purposes of protecting and studying the native seagrasses. For this survey, UH acquired high resolution (2.5 shots/m^2) very-shallow water bathymetry data using their new lidar system , the Optech Aquarius Green (532 nm) system. In a separate flight, UH collected 2 sets of hyperspectral imaging data (1.2-m pixel resolution and 72 bands, and 0.6m pixel resolution and 36 bands) with their CASI 1500 hy sensor. For this survey the sensors were mounted on a PA-31 Chieftain

  1. The Seagrass Effect Turned Upside Down Changes the Prospective of Sea Urchin Survival and Landscape Implications.

    PubMed

    Farina, Simone; Guala, Ivan; Oliva, Silvia; Piazzi, Luigi; Pires da Silva, Rodrigo; Ceccherelli, Giulia

    2016-01-01

    the complex indirect interactions among species, how top-down control in marine reserves can modify seagrass habitat effects.

  2. Automatic seagrass pattern identification on sonar images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rahnemoonfar, Maryam; Rahman, Abdullah

    2016-05-01

    Natural and human-induced disturbances are resulting in degradation and loss of seagrass. Freshwater flooding, severe meteorological events and invasive species are among the major natural disturbances. Human-induced disturbances are mainly due to boat propeller scars in the shallow seagrass meadows and anchor scars in the deeper areas. Therefore, there is a vital need to map seagrass ecosystems in order to determine worldwide abundance and distribution. Currently there is no established method for mapping the pothole or scars in seagrass. One of the most precise sensors to map the seagrass disturbance is side scan sonar. Here we propose an automatic method which detects seagrass potholes in sonar images. Side scan sonar images are notorious for having speckle noise and uneven illumination across the image. Moreover, disturbance presents complex patterns where most segmentation techniques will fail. In this paper, by applying mathematical morphology technique and calculating the local standard deviation of the image, the images were enhanced and the pothole patterns were identified. The proposed method was applied on sonar images taken from Laguna Madre in Texas. Experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed method.

  3. Communities of Cultivable Root Mycobionts of the Seagrass Posidonia oceanica in the Northwest Mediterranean Sea Are Dominated by a Hitherto Undescribed Pleosporalean Dark Septate Endophyte.

    PubMed

    Vohník, Martin; Borovec, Ondřej; Kolařík, Miroslav

    2016-02-01

    Seagrasses, a small group of submerged marine macrophytes, were reported to lack mycorrhizae, i.e., the root-fungus symbioses most terrestrial plants use for nutrient uptake. On the other hand, several authors detected fungal endophytes in seagrass leaves, shoots, rhizomes, and roots, and an anatomically and morphologically unique dark septate endophytic (DSE) association has been recently described in the roots of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica. Nevertheless, the global diversity of seagrass mycobionts is not well understood, and it remains unclear what fungus forms the DSE association in P. oceanica roots. We isolated and determined P. oceanica root mycobionts from 11 localities in the northwest Mediterranean Sea with documented presence of the DSE association and compared our results with recent literature. The mycobiont communities were low in diversity (only three species), were dominated by a single yet unreported marine fungal species (ca. 90 % of the total 177 isolates), and lacked common terrestrial and freshwater root mycobionts. Our phylogenetic analysis suggests that the dominating species represents a new monotypic lineage within the recently described Aigialaceae family (Pleosporales, Ascomycota), probably representing a new genus. Most of its examined colonies developed from intracellular microsclerotia occupying host hypodermis and resembling microsclerotia of terrestrial DSE fungi. Biological significance of this hitherto overlooked seagrass root mycobiont remains obscure, but its presence across the NW Mediterranean Sea and apparent root intracellular lifestyle indicate an intriguing symbiotic relationship with the dominant Mediterranean seagrass. Our microscopic observations suggest that it may form the DSE association recently described in P. oceanica roots.

  4. Changes in Seagrass Species Composition in Northwestern Gulf of Mexico Estuaries: Effects on Associated Seagrass Fauna

    PubMed Central

    Ray, Brandon R.; Johnson, Matthew W.; Cammarata, Kirk; Smee, Delbert L.

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to measure the communities associated with different seagrass species to predict how shifts in seagrass species composition may affect associated fauna. In the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, coverage of the historically dominant shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) is decreasing, while coverage of manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) and turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) is increasing. We conducted a survey of fishes, crabs, and shrimp in monospecific beds of shoal, manatee, and turtle grass habitats of South Texas, USA to assess how changes in sea grass species composition would affect associated fauna. We measured seagrass parameters including shoot density, above ground biomass, epiphyte type, and epiphyte abundance to investigate relationships between faunal abundance and these seagrass parameters. We observed significant differences in communities among three seagrass species, even though these organisms are highly motile and could easily travel among the different seagrasses. Results showed species specific relationships among several different characteristics of the seagrass community and individual species abundance. More work is needed to discern the drivers of the complex relationships between individual seagrass species and their associated fauna. PMID:25229897

  5. Changes in seagrass species composition in northwestern Gulf of Mexico estuaries: effects on associated seagrass fauna.

    PubMed

    Ray, Brandon R; Johnson, Matthew W; Cammarata, Kirk; Smee, Delbert L

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to measure the communities associated with different seagrass species to predict how shifts in seagrass species composition may affect associated fauna. In the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, coverage of the historically dominant shoal grass (Halodule wrightii) is decreasing, while coverage of manatee grass (Syringodium filiforme) and turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum) is increasing. We conducted a survey of fishes, crabs, and shrimp in monospecific beds of shoal, manatee, and turtle grass habitats of South Texas, USA to assess how changes in sea grass species composition would affect associated fauna. We measured seagrass parameters including shoot density, above ground biomass, epiphyte type, and epiphyte abundance to investigate relationships between faunal abundance and these seagrass parameters. We observed significant differences in communities among three seagrass species, even though these organisms are highly motile and could easily travel among the different seagrasses. Results showed species specific relationships among several different characteristics of the seagrass community and individual species abundance. More work is needed to discern the drivers of the complex relationships between individual seagrass species and their associated fauna.

  6. Fungal Community Successions in Rhizosphere Sediment of Seagrasses Enhalus acoroides under PAHs Stress

    PubMed Central

    Ling, Juan; Zhang, Yanying; Wu, Meilin; Wang, Youshao; Dong, Junde; Jiang, Yufeng; Yang, Qingsong; Zeng, Siquan

    2015-01-01

    Seagrass meadows represent one of the highest productive marine ecosystems and are of great ecological and economic values. Recently, they have been confronted with worldwide decline. Fungi play important roles in sustaining the ecosystem health as degraders of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but fewer studies have been conducted in seagrass ecosystems. Hence, we investigated the dynamic variations of the fungal community succession under PAH stress in rhizosphere sediment of seagrasses Enhalus acoroides in this study. Polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE), quantitative PCR (qPCR) and a clone library have been employed to analyze the fungal community’s shifts. Sequencing results of DGGE and the clone library showed that the predominant species belong to phyla Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. The abundance of three groups decreased sharply over the incubation period, whereas they demonstrated different fungal diversity patterns. Both the exposure time and the PAH concentrations affected the microbial diversity as assessed by PCR-DGGE analysis. Redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that significant factors driving community shifts were ammonium and pH (p < 0.05). Significant amounts of the variations (31.1%) were explained by pH and ammonium, illustrating that those two parameters were the most likely ones to influence or be influenced by the fungal communities’ changes. Investigation results also indicated that fungal communities in seagrass meadow were very sensitive to PAH-induced stress and may be used as potential indicators for the PAH contamination. PMID:26096007

  7. Abrupt transitions between macrobenthic faunal assemblages across seagrass bed margins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barnes, R. S. K.; Hamylton, S.

    2013-10-01

    The nature of the transition from one contrasting macrobenthic assemblage to another across interfaces between intertidal seagrass and unvegetated sand was investigated in the subtropical Moreton Bay Marine Park, eastern Australia, via six two-dimensional core lattices. The same pattern of transition was manifested in each lattice. Macrofaunal abundance, species density (both observed and estimated total) and assemblage composition did not vary with distance away from the interface within the 0.75 m wide marginal bands of each habitat type. Neither were there significant differences in assemblage metrics or composition between the marginal and non-edge regions of either habitat. There were, however, very marked differences in assemblage composition, abundance and species density across the 25 cm wide strip on either side of the actual interface, the interacting assemblages reacting symmetrically. All these differences therefore took place over an ecotone distance of only 0.5 m at most. Spatial trends in assemblage metrics across the boundary zone were captured accurately by second and third order polynomial regression models. It also appeared that edge effects on individual species within the seagrass were a variable local response not a consistent effect of closeness to the bare sand.

  8. Florida seagrass habitat evaluation: A comparative survey for chemical quality

    EPA Science Inventory

    Contaminant concentrations were determined for media associated with 13 Florida seagrass beds. Concentrations of 10 trace metals were more commonly detected in surface water, sediment and two seagrass species than PAHs, pesticides and PCBs. Concentrations of copper and arsenic ...

  9. Characterizing Manatee habitat use and seagrass grazing in Florida and Puerto Rico: Implications for conservation and management

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lefebvre, L.W.; Reid, J.P.; Kenworthy, W.J.; Powell, J.A.

    2000-01-01

    The Indian River Lagoon on the Atlantic coast of Florida, USA, and the east coast of Puerto Rico provide contrasting environments in which the endangered West Indian Manatee Trichechus manatus experiences different thermal regimes and seagrass communities. We compare Manatee feeding behaviour in these two regions, examine the ecological effects of Manatee grazing on a seagrass community in the Indian River Lagoon, describe the utility of aerial surveys, radio tracking, and seagrass mapping to study Manatee feeding patterns, and develop hypotheses on sirenian feeding strategies in temperate and tropical seagrass communities. In both the Indian River Lagoon and Puerto Rico, Manatees were typically observed grazing in water depths = 2.0 m and more frequently on the most abundant seagrasses present in the community: Halodule wrightii in the Indian River Lagoon and Thalassia testudinum in eastern Puerto Rico. Where both H. wrightii and Syringodium filiforme were consumed in the Indian River Lagoon, Manatees tended to remove more S. filiforme than H. wrightii rhizome + root biomass. Even though 80 to 95% of the short-shoot biomass and 50 to 67% of the rhizome + root biomass were removed, grazed patches of H. wrightii and S. filiforme recovered significantly between February and August. H. wrightii may be both more resistant and resilient than S. filiforme to the impacts of Manatee grazing. Despite the significantly greater abundance of T. testudinum in Puerto Rico, Manatees exhibited selective feeding by returning to specific sites with abundant H. wrightii. They also appeared to feed selectively on T. testudinum shoots associated with clumps of the calcareous alga Halimeda opuntia. We hypothesize that Florida Manatees are less specialized seagrass grazers than Manatees in tropical regions like Puerto Rico. Continued research on Manatee grazing ecology in temperate to tropical seagrass communities will enable better protection and management of these vital and unique

  10. An examination of photoacclimatory responses of Zostera marina transplants along a depth gradient for transplant-site selection in a disturbed estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Wen-Tao; Kim, Seung Hyeon; Kim, Jae Woo; Kim, Jong-Hyeob; Lee, Kun-Seop

    2013-02-01

    Growth and photosynthetic responses of Zostera marina transplants along a depth gradient were examined to determine appropriate transplanting areas for seagrass restoration. Seagrass Z. marina was once widely distributed in the Taehwa River estuary in southeastern Korea, but has disappeared since the 1960s due to port construction and large scale pollutant inputs from upstream industrial areas. Recently, water quality has been considerably improved as a result of effective sewage treatment, and the local government is attempting to restore Z. marina to the estuary. For seagrass restoration in this estuary, a pilot transplantation trial of Z. marina at three water depths (shallow: 0.5 m; intermediate: 1.5 m; deep: 2.5 m relative to MLLW) was conducted in November 2008. The transplant shoot density increased gradually at the intermediate and deep sites, whereas the transplants at the shallow site disappeared after 3 months. To find the optimal transplantation locations in this estuary, the growth and photosynthetic responses of the transplants along a depth gradient were examined for approximately 4 months following transplantation in March 2009. In the 2009 experimental transplantation trial, shoot density of transplants at the shallow site was significantly higher than those at the intermediate and deep sites during the first 3 months following transplantation, but rapidly decreased approximately 4 months after transplantation. The chlorophyll content, photosynthetic efficiency (α), and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) of the transplants were significantly higher at the deep site than at the shallow site. Shoot size, biomass and leaf productivity were also significantly higher at the deep site than at the shallow site. Although underwater irradiance was significantly lower at the deep site than at the shallow site, transplants at the deep site were morphologically and physiologically acclimated to the low light. Transplants at the shallow site exhibited high

  11. SEAGRASS DISTRIBUTION IN THE PENSACOLA BAY SYSTEM, NORTHWEST FLORIDA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrass coverage in the northern Gulf of Mexico has decreased 20 to 100% in many estuaries since the 1950s. As a result, determination of seagrass coverage and identification of the cause(s) of declines are priority research issues. Aerial surveys of seagrass coverage in the P...

  12. PCDDs in the water/sediment-seagrass-dugong (Dugong dugon) food chain on the Great Barrier Reef (Australia).

    PubMed

    McLachlan, M S; Haynes, D; Müller, J F

    2001-01-01

    Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD) and dibenzofuran (PCDF) concentrations were measured in sediment and seagrass from five locations in or adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A full spectrum of Cl5-8DDs were present in all samples and, in particular, elevated levels of Cl8DD were found. PCDFs could not be quantified in any samples. The PCDD concentrations ranged over two orders of magnitude between sites, and there was a good correlation between sediment and seagrass levels. There were large quantities of sediment present on the seagrass (20-62% on a dry wt. basis), and it was concluded that this was a primary source of the PCDDs in the seagrass samples. The PCDD levels in the seagrass samples were compared with the levels in the tissue of three dugongs stranded in the same region. The relative accumulation of the 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD congeners in the dugongs decreased by over two orders of magnitude with increasing degree of chlorination. This was attributed to the reduced absorption of the higher chlorinated congeners in the digestive tract, a behaviour that has been observed in other mammals such as domestic cows.

  13. Evidence of Season-Dependency in Vegetation Effects on Macrofauna in Temperate Seagrass Meadows (Baltic Sea)

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Seagrasses and associated macrophytes are important components of coastal systems as ecosystem engineers, habitat formers, and providers of food and shelter for other organisms. The positive impacts of seagrass vegetation on zoobenthic abundance and diversity (as compared to bare sands) are well documented, but only in surveys performed in summer, which is the season of maximum canopy development. Here we present the results of the first study of the relationship between the seasonal variability of seagrass vegetation and persistence and magnitude of contrasts in faunal communities between vegetated and bare sediments. The composition, abundance, biomass, and diversity of macrozoobenthos in both habitats were compared five times throughout the year in temperate eelgrass meadows in the southern Baltic Sea. Significant positive effects of macrophyte cover on invertebrate density and biomass were recorded only in June, July, and October when the seagrass canopy was relatively well developed. The effects of vegetation cover on faunal species richness, diversity, and composition persisted throughout the year, but the magnitude of these effects varied seasonally and followed changes in macrophyte biomass. The strongest effects were observed in July and coincided with maximums in seagrass biomass and the diversity and biomass of other macrophytes. These observations indicate that in temperate, clearly seasonal systems the assessment of macrophyte impact cannot be based solely on observations performed in just one season, especially when that season is the one in which macrophyte growth is at its maximum. The widely held belief that macrophyte cover strongly influences benthic fauna in marine coastal habitats, which is based on summer surveys, should be revisited and complemented with information obtained in other seasons. PMID:25000560

  14. Environmental Impact Research Program. The Use of Fertilizer To Enhance Transplants of the Seagrasses Zostera marina and Halodule wrightii.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1987-08-01

    I S, . by ,, Mark S. Fonseca, W. Judson Kenworthy, Keith Rittmaster, Gordon W. Thayer 5) i Southeast Fisheries Center, Beaufort Laboratory...report was prepared by Mark S. Fonseca, W. Judson Kenworthy, Keith Rittmaster, and Gordon W. Thayer of the Southeast Fisheries Center, Beaufort Laboratory...Shoot Productivity Measurements .... .............. ... 12 Cost-Effectiveness of Fertilization ...... .............. 13 PART III : RESULTS

  15. Use of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by a bacteria-animal symbiosis from seagrass sediments.

    PubMed

    Kleiner, Manuel; Wentrup, Cecilia; Holler, Thomas; Lavik, Gaute; Harder, Jens; Lott, Christian; Littmann, Sten; Kuypers, Marcel M M; Dubilier, Nicole

    2015-12-01

    The gutless marine worm Olavius algarvensis lives in symbiosis with chemosynthetic bacteria that provide nutrition by fixing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) into biomass using reduced sulfur compounds as energy sources. A recent metaproteomic analysis of the O. algarvensis symbiosis indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2 ) might also be used as energy sources. We provide direct evidence that the O. algarvensis symbiosis consumes CO and H2 . Single cell imaging using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry revealed that one of the symbionts, the γ3-symbiont, uses the energy from CO oxidation to fix CO2 . Pore water analysis revealed considerable in-situ concentrations of CO and H2 in the O. algarvensis environment, Mediterranean seagrass sediments. Pore water H2 concentrations (89-2147 nM) were up to two orders of magnitude higher than in seawater, and up to 36-fold higher than previously known from shallow-water marine sediments. Pore water CO concentrations (17-51 nM) were twice as high as in the overlying seawater (no literature data from other shallow-water sediments are available for comparison). Ex-situ incubation experiments showed that dead seagrass rhizomes produced large amounts of CO. CO production from decaying plant material could thus be a significant energy source for microbial primary production in seagrass sediments.

  16. Effects of seagrass bed removal for tourism purposes in a Mauritian bay.

    PubMed

    Daby, D

    2003-01-01

    Stresses and shocks are increasing on the main natural assets in Mauritius (Western Indian Ocean) by tourism (marine-based) development activities. Seagrasses are removed by hotels in the belief that they are unsightly or harbour organisms causing injury to bathers. Environmental changes (e.g. sediment characteristics and infauna distribution, water quality, seagrass biomass) resulting from clearing of a seagrass bed to create an aesthetically pleasant swimming zone for clients of a hotel were monitored during June 2000-July 2001, and compared to conditions prevailing in an adjacent undisturbed area. Key observations in the disturbed area were: highly turbid water overlying a destabilized lagoon seabed, complete loss of sediment infauna, and dramatic dry weight biomass declines (e.g. 72 and 65% in S. isoetifolium and H. uninervis, respectively). Such disruptions draw-down resilience rendering the marine habitats less robust and more vulnerable to environmental change and extreme events, with higher risks of chaos and ecological collapse, and constitute a major threat to the industry itself.

  17. Use of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by a bacteria-animal symbiosis from seagrass sediments

    DOE PAGES

    Kleiner, Manuel; Wentrup, Cecilia; Holler, Thomas; ...

    2015-05-27

    The gutless marine worm Olavius algarvensis lives in symbiosis with chemosynthetic bacteria that provide nutrition by fixing carbon dioxide (CO2) into biomass using reduced sulfur compounds as energy sources. A recent metaproteomic analysis of the O. algarvensis symbiosis indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) might also be used as energy sources. We provide direct evidence that the O. algarvensis symbiosis consumes CO and H2. Single cell imaging using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry revealed that one of the symbionts, the γ3-symbiont, uses the energy from CO oxidation to fix CO2. Pore water analysis revealed considerable in-situ concentrations ofmore » CO and H2 in the O. algarvensis environment, Mediterranean seagrass sediments. Pore water H2 concentrations (89-2147 nM) were up to two orders of magnitude higher than in seawater, and up to 36-fold higher than previously known from shallow-water marine sediments. Pore water CO concentrations (17-51 nM) were twice as high as in the overlying seawater (no literature data from other shallow-water sediments are available for comparison). Ex-situ incubation experiments showed that dead seagrass rhizomes produced large amounts of CO. Lastly, CO production from decaying plant material could thus be a significant energy source for microbial primary production in seagrass sediments.« less

  18. Use of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by a bacteria–animal symbiosis from seagrass sediments

    PubMed Central

    Holler, Thomas; Lavik, Gaute; Harder, Jens; Lott, Christian; Littmann, Sten; Kuypers, Marcel M. M.; Dubilier, Nicole

    2015-01-01

    Summary The gutless marine worm O lavius algarvensis lives in symbiosis with chemosynthetic bacteria that provide nutrition by fixing carbon dioxide (CO 2) into biomass using reduced sulfur compounds as energy sources. A recent metaproteomic analysis of the O . algarvensis symbiosis indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H 2) might also be used as energy sources. We provide direct evidence that the O . algarvensis symbiosis consumes CO and H 2. Single cell imaging using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry revealed that one of the symbionts, the γ3‐symbiont, uses the energy from CO oxidation to fix CO 2. Pore water analysis revealed considerable in‐situ concentrations of CO and H 2 in the O . algarvensis environment, Mediterranean seagrass sediments. Pore water H 2 concentrations (89–2147 nM) were up to two orders of magnitude higher than in seawater, and up to 36‐fold higher than previously known from shallow‐water marine sediments. Pore water CO concentrations (17–51 nM) were twice as high as in the overlying seawater (no literature data from other shallow‐water sediments are available for comparison). Ex‐situ incubation experiments showed that dead seagrass rhizomes produced large amounts of CO. CO production from decaying plant material could thus be a significant energy source for microbial primary production in seagrass sediments. PMID:26013766

  19. Development of threshold values for a seagrass epiphyte ...

    EPA Pesticide Factsheets

    Epiphytes on seagrasses have been studied for more than 50 years, and proposed as an indicator of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment for over 30 years. Epiphytes have been correlated with seagrass declines, causally related to nutrient additions in both field and mesocosm experiments, and have quantifiable impacts on light available to host plants. An extensive review of seagrass epiphyte literature was conducted to determine whether seagrass epiphyte metrics can be used as a biological indicator for nutrient impacts. While a wide variety of epiphyte metrics have been used by authors, epiphyte biomass as biomass per unit seagrass biomass may be the most effective epiphyte indicator. Regression analyses of epiphyte versus seagrass response metrics were used to estimate values representing potential thresholds for environmental concern. Median epiphyte loads associated with 25 and 50% reduction in seagrass biomass, density and productivity are proposed as potential thresholds. Location-specific modifying factors (grazing pressure, seagrass species) that cause variation in response patterns are the greatest challenge to regional scale applicability of threshold values. An extensive review of seagrass epiphyte literature was conducted to determine whether, and under what conditions, seagrass epiphyte metrics could be used as a potential indicator for nutrient impacts in estuarine ecosystems. Location-specific modifying factors (grazing pressure, seagrass speci

  20. [Seagrass ecosystems: contributions to and mechanisms of carbon sequestration].

    PubMed

    Qiu, Guang-Long; Lin, Hsing-Juh; Li, Zong-Shan; Fan, Hang-Qing; Zhou, Hao-Lang; Liu, Guo-Hua

    2014-06-01

    The ocean's vegetated habitats, in particular seagrasses, mangroves and salt marshes, each capture and store a comparable amount of carbon per year, forming the Earth's blue carbon sinks, the most intense carbon sinks on the planet. Seagrass meadows, characterized by high primary productivity, efficient water column filtration and sediment stability, have a pronounced capacity for carbon sequestration. This is enhanced by low decomposition rates in anaerobic seagrass sediments. The carbon captured by seagrass meadows contributes significantly to the total blue carbon. At a global scale, seagrass ecosystems are carbon sink hot spots and have profound influences on the global carbon cycle. This importance combined with the many other functions of seagrass meadows places them among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. Unfortunately, seagrasses are declining globally at an alarming rate owing to anthropogenic disturbances and climate change, making them also among the most threatened ecosystems on the Earth. The role of coastal systems in carbon sequestration has received far too little attention and thus there are still many uncertainties in evaluating carbon sequestration of global seagrass meadows accurately. To better assess the carbon sequestration of global seagrass ecosystems, a number of scientific issues should be considered with high priorities: 1) more accurate measurements of seagrass coverage at national and global levels; 2) more comprehensive research into species- and location-specific carbon sequestration efficiencies; 3) in-depth exploration of the effects of human disturbance and global climate change on carbon capture and storage by seagrass ecosystems.

  1. A halocarbon survey from a seagrass dominated subtropical lagoon, Ria Formosa (Portugal): flux pattern and isotopic composition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weinberg, I.; Bahlmann, E.; Eckhardt, T.; Michaelis, W.; Seifert, R.

    2015-03-01

    In this study we report fluxes of chloromethane (CH3Cl), bromomethane (CH3Br), iodomethane (CH3I), and bromoform (CHBr3) from two sampling campaigns (summer and spring) in the seagrass dominated subtropical lagoon Ria Formosa, Portugal. Dynamic flux chamber measurements were performed when seagrass patches were either air-exposed or submerged. Overall, we observed highly variable fluxes from the seagrass meadows and attributed them to diurnal cycles, tidal effects, and the variety of possible sources and sinks in the seagrass meadows. The highest emissions with up to 130 nmol m-2 h-1 for CH3Br were observed during tidal changes, from air exposure to submergence and conversely. Furthermore, during the spring campaign, the emissions of halocarbons were significantly elevated during tidal inundation as compared to air exposure. Accompanying water sampling performed during both campaigns revealed elevated concentrations of CH3Cl and CH3Br, indicating productive sources within the lagoon. Stable carbon isotopes of halocarbons from the air and water phase along with source signatures were used to allocate the distinctive sources and sinks in the lagoon. Results suggest that CH3Cl was rather originating from seagrass meadows and water column than from salt marshes. Aqueous and atmospheric CH3Br was substantially enriched in 13C in comparison to source signatures for seagrass meadows and salt marshes. This suggests a significant contribution from the water phase on the atmospheric CH3Br in the lagoon. A rough global upscaling yields annual productions from seagrass meadows of 2.3-4.5 Gg yr-1, 0.5-1.0 Gg yr-1, 0.6-1.2 Gg yr-1, and 1.9-3.7 Gg yr-1 for CH3Cl, CH3Br, CH3I, and CHBr3 respectively. This suggests a minor contribution from seagrass meadows to the global production of CH3Cl and CH3Br with about 0.1 and 0.7%, respectively. In comparison to the known marine sources for CH3I and CHBr3, seagrass meadows are rather small sources.

  2. Establishing Research Strategies, Methodologies and Technologies to Link Genomics and Proteomics to Seagrass Productivity, Community Metabolism, and Ecosystem Carbon Fluxes

    PubMed Central

    Mazzuca, Silvia; Björk, M.; Beer, S.; Felisberto, P.; Gobert, S.; Procaccini, G.; Runcie, J.; Silva, J.; Borges, A. V.; Brunet, C.; Buapet, P.; Champenois, W.; Costa, M. M.; D’Esposito, D.; Gullström, M.; Lejeune, P.; Lepoint, G.; Olivé, I.; Rasmusson, L. M.; Richir, J.; Ruocco, M.; Serra, I. A.; Spadafora, A.; Santos, Rui

    2013-01-01

    A complete understanding of the mechanistic basis of marine ecosystem functioning is only possible through integrative and interdisciplinary research. This enables the prediction of change and possibly the mitigation of the consequences of anthropogenic impacts. One major aim of the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action ES0609 “Seagrasses productivity. From genes to ecosystem management,” is the calibration and synthesis of various methods and the development of innovative techniques and protocols for studying seagrass ecosystems. During 10 days, 20 researchers representing a range of disciplines (molecular biology, physiology, botany, ecology, oceanography, and underwater acoustics) gathered at The Station de Recherches Sous-marines et Océanographiques (STARESO, Corsica) to study together the nearby Posidonia oceanica meadow. STARESO is located in an oligotrophic area classified as “pristine site” where environmental disturbances caused by anthropogenic pressure are exceptionally low. The healthy P. oceanica meadow, which grows in front of the research station, colonizes the sea bottom from the surface to 37 m depth. During the study, genomic and proteomic approaches were integrated with ecophysiological and physical approaches with the aim of understanding changes in seagrass productivity and metabolism at different depths and along daily cycles. In this paper we report details on the approaches utilized and we forecast the potential of the data that will come from this synergistic approach not only for P. oceanica but for seagrasses in general. PMID:23515425

  3. Recolonization of intertidal Zostera marina L. (eelgrass) following experimental shoot removal

    EPA Science Inventory

    The recovery of eelgrass (Zostera marina) from physical disturbances is understudied and no attention has been given to the likely differences in damage recovery rates between the continuous lower intertidal perennial meadows and higher intertidal eelgrass patches. In the present...

  4. Distribution of intertidal eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) with bathymetry in three Pacific Northwest estuaries

    EPA Science Inventory

    Distributions of native intertidal eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and non-vegetated substrates in three coastal estuaries of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) were determined using color infrared (CIR) aerial orthophotography during daylight low tides. Comparison of the digital classif...

  5. The bathymetric distribution of intertidal eelgrass Zostera marina L. in three coastal estuaries of Oregon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Distributions of native eelgrass Zostera marina L. within the intertidal and shallow subtidal zones of three Oregon coastal estuaries (Tillamook, Yaquina, and Alsea) were determined by digital classification of aerial color infrared (CIR) orthophotographs. Stratified random surv...

  6. Seagrass Identification Using High-Resolution 532nm Bathymetric LiDAR and Hyperspectral Imagery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, Z.; Prasad, S.; Starek, M. J.; Fernandez Diaz, J. C.; Glennie, C. L.; Carter, W. E.; Shrestha, R. L.; Singhania, A.; Gibeaut, J. C.

    2013-12-01

    Seagrass provides vital habitat for marine fisheries and is a key indicator species of coastal ecosystem vitality. Monitoring seagrass is therefore an important environmental initiative, but measuring details of seagrass distribution over large areas via remote sensing has proved challenging. Developments in airborne bathymetric light detection and ranging (LiDAR) provide great potential in this regard. Traditional bathymetric LiDAR systems have been limited in their ability to map within the shallow water zone (< 1 m) where seagrass is typically present due to limitations in receiver response and laser pulse length. Emergent short-pulse width bathymetric LiDAR sensors and waveform processing algorithms enable depth measurements in shallow water environments previously inaccessible. This 3D information of the benthic layer can be applied to detect seagrass and characterize its distribution. Researchers with the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping (NCALM) at the University of Houston (UH) and the Coastal and Marine Geospatial Sciences Lab (CMGL) of the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi conducted a coordinated airborne and boat-based survey of the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area as part of a collaborative study to investigate the capabilities of bathymetric LiDAR and hyperspectral imaging for seagrass mapping. Redfish Bay, located along the middle Texas coast of the Gulf of Mexico, is a state scientific area designated for the purpose of protecting and studying native seagrasses. Redfish Bay is part of the broader Coastal Bend Bays estuary system recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a national estuary of significance. For this survey, UH acquired high-resolution discrete-return and full-waveform bathymetric data using their Optech Aquarius 532 nm green LiDAR. In a separate flight, UH collected 2 sets of hyperspectral imaging data (1.2-m pixel resolution and 72 bands, and 0.6m pixel resolution and 36

  7. Use of a seagrass residency index to apportion commercial fishery landing values and recreation fisheries expenditure to seagrass habitat service.

    PubMed

    Jackson, Emma L; Rees, Siân E; Wilding, Catherine; Attrill, Martin J

    2015-06-01

    Where they dominate coastlines, seagrass beds are thought to have a fundamental role in maintaining populations of exploited species. Thus, Mediterranean seagrass beds are afforded protection, yet no attempt to determine the contribution of these areas to both commercial fisheries landings and recreational fisheries expenditure has been made. There is evidence that seagrass extent continues to decline, but there is little understanding of the potential impacts of this decline. We used a seagrass residency index, that was trait and evidence based, to estimate the proportion of Mediterranean commercial fishery landings values and recreation fisheries total expenditure that can be attributed to seagrass during different life stages. The index was calculated as a weighted sum of the averages of the estimated residence time in seagrass (compared with other habitats) at each life stage of the fishery species found in seagrass. Seagrass-associated species were estimated to contribute 30%-40% to the value of commercial fisheries landings and approximately 29% to recreational fisheries expenditure. These species predominantly rely on seagrass to survive juvenile stages. Seagrass beds had an estimated direct annual contribution during residency of €58-91 million (4% of commercial landing values) and €112 million (6% of recreation expenditure) to commercial and recreational fisheries, respectively, despite covering <2% of the area. These results suggest there is a clear cost of seagrass degradation associated with ineffective management of seagrass beds and that policy to manage both fisheries and seagrass beds should take into account the socioeconomic implications of seagrass loss to recreational and commercial fisheries.

  8. The emergence of molecular profiling and omics techniques in seagrass biology; furthering our understanding of seagrasses.

    PubMed

    Davey, Peter A; Pernice, Mathieu; Sablok, Gaurav; Larkum, Anthony; Lee, Huey Tyng; Golicz, Agnieszka; Edwards, David; Dolferus, Rudy; Ralph, Peter

    2016-09-01

    Seagrass meadows are disappearing at alarming rates as a result of increasing coastal development and climate change. The emergence of omics and molecular profiling techniques in seagrass research is timely, providing a new opportunity to address such global issues. Whilst these applications have transformed terrestrial plant research, they have only emerged in seagrass research within the past decade; In this time frame we have observed a significant increase in the number of publications in this nascent field, and as of this year the first genome of a seagrass species has been sequenced. In this review, we focus on the development of omics and molecular profiling and the utilization of molecular markers in the field of seagrass biology. We highlight the advances, merits and pitfalls associated with such technology, and importantly we identify and address the knowledge gaps, which to this day prevent us from understanding seagrasses in a holistic manner. By utilizing the powers of omics and molecular profiling technologies in integrated strategies, we will gain a better understanding of how these unique plants function at the molecular level and how they respond to on-going disturbance and climate change events.

  9. Community structure and spatial variation of benthic invertebrates associated with Zostera marina (L.) beds in the northern Baltic Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boström, Christoffer; Bonsdorff, Erik

    1997-05-01

    The distribution and bed structure of eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.), and its importance for associated faunal communities in the coastal areas of the northern Baltic Sea are poorly known. The spatial distribution of the fauna associated with Zostera was studied at five localities in SW Finland in 1993-1994. Zostera was common on all localities, but the beds varied in terms of area (1-5 m diameter), density (50-500 shoots/m 2) and blade length (20-110 cm). A total of about 40 species or taxa were recorded. The zoobenthic infauna showed significant spatial differences, and total abundance and species diversity were significantly higher in the Zostera beds than in adjacent bare sand. The total abundance in Zostera ranged from 25 000 to 50 000 ind/m 2 and in sand from 2500 to 15 000 ind/m 2 The mean number of species in Zostera ranged from 5.9 to 8.8 spp ( H' = 1.76-2.54) and in sand from 2.2 to 5.5 spp ( H' = 1.67-2.31). The epifauna in Zostera was numerically dominated by grazing gastropods (Hydrobiidae) and copepods. The epifauna is an important community component, which contributes to the total diversity of the Zostera assemblage. These systems are among the most species-rich components of the shallow soft-bottom ecosystems in the northern Baltic Sea. The mechanisms structuring both the Zostera and the ambient sand-bottom habitats are presented.

  10. Distribution, structure and function of Nordic eelgrass (Zostera marina) ecosystems: implications for coastal management and conservation

    PubMed Central

    Boström, Christoffer; Baden, Susanne; Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Dromph, Karsten; Fredriksen, Stein; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Möller, Tiia; Nielsen, Søren Laurentius; Olesen, Birgit; Olsen, Jeanine; Pihl, Leif; Rinde, Eli

    2014-01-01

    This paper focuses on the marine foundation eelgrass species, Zostera marina, along a gradient from the northern Baltic Sea to the north-east Atlantic. This vast region supports a minimum of 1480 km2 eelgrass (maximum >2100 km2), which corresponds to more than four times the previously quantified area of eelgrass in Western Europe.Eelgrass meadows in the low salinity Baltic Sea support the highest diversity (4–6 spp.) of angiosperms overall, but eelgrass productivity is low (<2 g dw m-2 d-1) and meadows are isolated and genetically impoverished. Higher salinity areas support monospecific meadows, with higher productivity (3–10 g dw m-2 d-1) and greater genetic connectivity. The salinity gradient further imposes functional differences in biodiversity and food webs, in particular a decline in number, but increase in biomass of mesograzers in the Baltic.Significant declines in eelgrass depth limits and areal cover are documented, particularly in regions experiencing high human pressure. The failure of eelgrass to re-establish itself in affected areas, despite nutrient reductions and improved water quality, signals complex recovery trajectories and calls for much greater conservation effort to protect existing meadows.The knowledge base for Nordic eelgrass meadows is broad and sufficient to establish monitoring objectives across nine national borders. Nevertheless, ensuring awareness of their vulnerability remains challenging. Given the areal extent of Nordic eelgrass systems and the ecosystem services they provide, it is crucial to further develop incentives for protecting them. © 2014 The Authors. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:26167100

  11. Distribution, structure and function of Nordic eelgrass (Zostera marina) ecosystems: implications for coastal management and conservation.

    PubMed

    Boström, Christoffer; Baden, Susanne; Bockelmann, Anna-Christina; Dromph, Karsten; Fredriksen, Stein; Gustafsson, Camilla; Krause-Jensen, Dorte; Möller, Tiia; Nielsen, Søren Laurentius; Olesen, Birgit; Olsen, Jeanine; Pihl, Leif; Rinde, Eli

    2014-06-01

    This paper focuses on the marine foundation eelgrass species, Zostera marina, along a gradient from the northern Baltic Sea to the north-east Atlantic. This vast region supports a minimum of 1480 km(2) eelgrass (maximum >2100 km(2)), which corresponds to more than four times the previously quantified area of eelgrass in Western Europe.Eelgrass meadows in the low salinity Baltic Sea support the highest diversity (4-6 spp.) of angiosperms overall, but eelgrass productivity is low (<2 g dw m(-2) d(-1)) and meadows are isolated and genetically impoverished. Higher salinity areas support monospecific meadows, with higher productivity (3-10 g dw m(-2) d(-1)) and greater genetic connectivity. The salinity gradient further imposes functional differences in biodiversity and food webs, in particular a decline in number, but increase in biomass of mesograzers in the Baltic.Significant declines in eelgrass depth limits and areal cover are documented, particularly in regions experiencing high human pressure. The failure of eelgrass to re-establish itself in affected areas, despite nutrient reductions and improved water quality, signals complex recovery trajectories and calls for much greater conservation effort to protect existing meadows.The knowledge base for Nordic eelgrass meadows is broad and sufficient to establish monitoring objectives across nine national borders. Nevertheless, ensuring awareness of their vulnerability remains challenging. Given the areal extent of Nordic eelgrass systems and the ecosystem services they provide, it is crucial to further develop incentives for protecting them. © 2014 The Authors. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  12. MEASURING INVERTEBRATE GRAZING ON SEAGRASSES AND EPIPHYTES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The chapter describes methods to assess grazing rates, grazer preferences, and grazer impacts, by mobile organisms living in the canopy or in the rhizome layer in any seagrass system. One set of methods quantifies grazing activity in small to medium sized, mobile organisms livin...

  13. Manatees mapping seagrass (USA & Puerto Rico)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Slone, Daniel H.; Reid, James P.; Kenworthy, W. Judson; Di Carlo, Giuseppe; Butler, Susan M.

    2012-01-01

    West Indian manatees (Trichechus manatus) are secretive creatures. While some of their behaviours at winter aggregation sites in Florida are readily visible to the casual observer, many of their habits and movements are difficult to observe. They rely on submerged vegetation for nutrition, and seagrasses are one of their most important food sources.

  14. ACETOGENIC BACTERIA ASSOCIATED WITH SEAGRASS ROOTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses are adapted to being rooted in reduced, anoxic sediments with high rates of sulfate reduction. During the day, an oxygen gradient is generated around the roots, becoming anoxic at night. Thus, obligate anaerobic bacteria in the rhizosphere have to tolerate elevated oxy...

  15. An economical non-destructive method for estimating eelgrass, Zostera marina (Potamogetonaceae) leaf growth rates: formal development and use in northwestern Baja California.

    PubMed

    Solana-Arellano, Elena; Echavarria-Heras, Héctor; Franco-Vizcaíno, Ernesto

    2008-09-01

    Seagrass beds provide much of the primary production in estuaries; host many fishes and fish larvae, and abate erosion. The present study presents original analytical methods for estimating mean leaf-growth rates of eelgrass (Zostera marina). The method was calibrated by using data collected in a Z. marina meadow at Punta Banda estuary in Baja California, Mexico. The analytical assessments were based on measurements of leaf length and standard regression procedures. We present a detailed explanation of the formal procedures involved in the derivation of these analytical methods. The measured daily leaf-growth rate was 10.9 mm d(-1) leaf(-1). The corresponding value projected by our method was 10.2 mm d(-1) leaf(-). The associated standard errors were of 0.53 and 0.56 mm d(-1) leaf(-1) respectively. The method was validated by projecting leaf-growth rates from an independent data set, which gave consistent results. The use of the method to obtain the mean leaf growth rate of a transplanted plot is also illustrated. Comparison of our leaf-growth data with previously reported assessments show the significant forcing of sea-surface temperature on eelgrass leaf dynamics. The formal constructs provided here are of general scope and can be applied to equivalent eelgrass data sets in a straightforward manner.

  16. Transplantation as a method for restoring the seagrass Posidonia australis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bastyan, G. R.; Cambridge, M. L.

    2008-08-01

    Transplant trials of the seagrass Posidonia australis were carried out after loss of seagrasses following eutrophication and increased turbidity in two marine inlets on the south coast of Western Australia. A pilot study in Oyster Harbour measured survival and growth in situ for 4 years. Long-term survival rates were high (96-98%), providing plants were anchored into the sediment. All unanchored plants were lost in the first winter. Following the success of the pilot study, a more comprehensive program began 3 years later with over 500 transplant units collected from either actively growing edges of nearby patches (plagiotropic growth form) or within established meadows (orthotropic growth form). Transplant units from edges expanded at a faster rate compared to units from mid-meadow but increases in shoot numbers were similar. Growth rates in the first 2.5 years averaged 10-20 cm yr -1 horizontal rhizome extension, depending on the source of the transplant units, and 4-12 shoots per initial shoot yr -1, depending on the initial shoot number of the transplant unit. After 5 years, shoot numbers of individual transplants were similar to shoot densities recorded for natural meadows, >500 shoots m -2. Approximately, 10% of transplants from mid-meadow flowered in the first year, whereas transplants from edges flowered only after 5 years. Transplant trials were also established in nearby Princess Royal Harbour at a site selected to test the effect of disturbance by bioturbation from large sand-burrowing worms or by sediment erosion. Survival was lower than in Oyster Harbour, 75-89% in areas with bioturbation but only 14% in areas where sediments were eroded. Growth was poor, <1-2 shoots per shoot yr -1 with high shoot mortality, and low rates of increase in rhizome length, <5 cm yr -1. In areas affected by worm bioturbation, there was almost no horizontal expansion of plants because rhizomes grew vertically to keep pace with sediment deposition. This study showed that

  17. Draft Genome Sequence of Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus Strain STW2, a Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon-Degrading and Denitrifying Bacterium from the Rhizosphere of Seagrass Enhalus acodoides

    PubMed Central

    Ling, Juan; Lin, Liyun; Zhang, Yanying; Lin, Xiancheng; Ahamad, Manzoor; Zhou, Weiguo

    2017-01-01

    ABSTRACT Here, we report the draft genome sequence of Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus strain STW2, which was isolated from the rhizosphere of seagrass Enhalus acodoides. This study will facilitate future studies on the genetic pathways of marine microbes capable of both polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon degradation and nitrate reduction. PMID:28232431

  18. Modelling benthic macrofauna and seagrass distribution patterns in a North Sea tidal basin in response to 2050 climatic and environmental scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Singer, Anja; Millat, Gerald; Staneva, Joanna; Kröncke, Ingrid

    2017-03-01

    Small-scale spatial distribution patterns of seven macrofauna species, seagrass beds and mixed mussel/oyster reefs were modelled for the Jade Bay (North Sea, Germany) in response to climatic and environmental scenarios (representing 2050). For the species distribution models four presence-absence modelling methods were merged within the ensemble forecasting platform 'biomod2'. The present spatial distribution (representing 2009) was modelled by statistically related species presences, true species absences and six high-resolution environmental grids. The future spatial distribution was then predicted in response to expected climate change-induced ongoing (1) sea-level rise and (2) water temperature increase. Between 2009 and 2050, the present and future prediction maps revealed a significant range gain for two macrofauna species (Macoma balthica, Tubificoides benedii), whereas the species' range sizes of five macrofauna species remained relatively stable across space and time. The predicted probability of occurrence (PO) of two macrofauna species (Cerastoderma edule, Scoloplos armiger) decreased significantly under the potential future habitat conditions. In addition, a clear seagrass bed extension (Zostera noltii) on the lower intertidal flats (mixed sediments) and a decrease in the PO of mixed Mytilus edulis/Crassostrea gigas reefs was predicted for 2050. Until the mid-21st century, our future climatic and environmental scenario revealed significant changes in the range sizes (gains-losses) and/or the PO (increases-decreases) for seven of the 10 modelled species at the study site.

  19. Marine botany. Second edition

    SciTech Connect

    Dawes, C.J.

    1998-12-01

    Marine plants are a diverse group that include unicellular algae, seaweeds, seagrasses, salt marshes, and mangrove forests. They carry out a variety of ecological functions and serve as the primary producers in coastal wetlands and oceanic waters. The theme that connects such a wide variety of plants is their ecology, which was also emphasized in the 1981 edition. The goal of this revision is to present taxonomic, physiological, chemical, and ecological aspects of marine plants, their adaptations, and how abiotic and biotic factors interact in their communities. The data are presented in a concise, comparative manner in order to identify similarities and differences between communities such as salt marsh and mangroves or subtidal seaweeds and seagrasses. To accomplish this, the text is organized into five chapters that introduce the marine habitats, consider abiotic and biotic factors, and anthropogenic influences on the communities followed by seven chapters that deal with microalgae, seaweeds, salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs. Two appendixes are included; one presents simple field techniques and the other is a summary of seaweed uses.

  20. Seagrasses in northern Gulf of Mexico: An ecosystem in trouble

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    2000-01-01

    The USGS National Wetlands Research Center has documented that Seagrasses in the northern Gulf of Mexico constitute an ecosystem in trouble. From studies in St. Andrews Bay, Period Bay, the Chandeleur Islands, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore, scientists have discovered that declining seagrass acreage ranges from 12% to 66% in bays and estuaries of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only are seagrasses disappearing, but they are also changing in species composition, densities, and patchiness.

  1. Burial Duration and Frequency Influences Resilience of Differing Propagule Types in a Subtidal Seagrass, Posidonia australis.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Marnie L

    2016-01-01

    Sedimentation that leads to periodic, and often prolonged, burial events is becoming more common on the world's coastlines as human populations expand and create urbanised marine environments. Different seagrass species react differently to sediment burial but many species in the southern hemisphere are yet to be examined. How seagrasses react to burial has restoration implications. There is a need to critically assess seagrass transplant propagule responses to periodic (pulse) and prolonged (press) burial events before selecting the most appropriate species, transplant propagule, and transplant site. In my study, mesocosm experiments, coupled with field measurements were used to assess how sexual (seedlings) and vegetative (sprigs) propagules of Posidonia australis responded to pulse and press burial events. Seedlings were highly susceptible to burial (both pulse and press), with no survival at the end of the experimental period. In contrast, rhizome growth in vegetative propagules was stimulated by pulse burial, although press burial events resulted in mortality. The implication for Posidonia australis restoration efforts in areas where burial is periodic, was that vegetative propagules are optimal transplant units, in comparison to seedlings. Press burial however, renders a transplant site sub-optimal for both seedling and sprig transplants.

  2. Burial Duration and Frequency Influences Resilience of Differing Propagule Types in a Subtidal Seagrass, Posidonia australis

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Sedimentation that leads to periodic, and often prolonged, burial events is becoming more common on the world’s coastlines as human populations expand and create urbanised marine environments. Different seagrass species react differently to sediment burial but many species in the southern hemisphere are yet to be examined. How seagrasses react to burial has restoration implications. There is a need to critically assess seagrass transplant propagule responses to periodic (pulse) and prolonged (press) burial events before selecting the most appropriate species, transplant propagule, and transplant site. In my study, mesocosm experiments, coupled with field measurements were used to assess how sexual (seedlings) and vegetative (sprigs) propagules of Posidonia australis responded to pulse and press burial events. Seedlings were highly susceptible to burial (both pulse and press), with no survival at the end of the experimental period. In contrast, rhizome growth in vegetative propagules was stimulated by pulse burial, although press burial events resulted in mortality. The implication for Posidonia australis restoration efforts in areas where burial is periodic, was that vegetative propagules are optimal transplant units, in comparison to seedlings. Press burial however, renders a transplant site sub-optimal for both seedling and sprig transplants. PMID:27526020

  3. Linking Seed Photosynthesis and Evolution of the Australian and Mediterranean Seagrass Genus Posidonia

    PubMed Central

    Celdran, David; Lloret, Javier; Verduin, Jennifer; van Keulen, Mike; Marín, Arnaldo

    2015-01-01

    Recent findings have shown that photosynthesis in the skin of the seed of Posidonia oceanica enhances seedling growth. The seagrass genus Posidonia is found only in two distant parts of the world, the Mediterranean Sea and southern Australia. This fact led us to question whether the acquisition of this novel mechanism in the evolution of this seagrass was a pre-adaptation prior to geological isolation of the Mediterranean from Tethys Sea in the Eocene. Photosynthetic activity in seeds of Australian species of Posidonia is still unknown. This study shows oxygen production and respiration rates, and maximum PSII photochemical efficiency (Fv : Fm) in seeds of two Australian Posidonia species (P. australis and P. sinuosa), and compares these with previous results for P. oceanica. Results showed relatively high oxygen production and respiratory rates in all three species but with significant differences among them, suggesting the existence of an adaptive mechanism to compensate for the relatively high oxygen demands of the seeds. In all cases maximal photochemical efficiency of photosystem II rates reached similar values. The existence of photosynthetic activity in the seeds of all three species implicates that it was an ability probably acquired from a common ancestor during the Late Eocene, when this adaptive strategy could have helped Posidonia species to survive in nutrient-poor temperate seas. This study sheds new light on some aspects of the evolution of marine plants and represents an important contribution to global knowledge of the paleogeographic patterns of seagrass distribution. PMID:26066515

  4. Linking Seed Photosynthesis and Evolution of the Australian and Mediterranean Seagrass Genus Posidonia.

    PubMed

    Celdran, David; Lloret, Javier; Verduin, Jennifer; van Keulen, Mike; Marín, Arnaldo

    2015-01-01

    Recent findings have shown that photosynthesis in the skin of the seed of Posidonia oceanica enhances seedling growth. The seagrass genus Posidonia is found only in two distant parts of the world, the Mediterranean Sea and southern Australia. This fact led us to question whether the acquisition of this novel mechanism in the evolution of this seagrass was a pre-adaptation prior to geological isolation of the Mediterranean from Tethys Sea in the Eocene. Photosynthetic activity in seeds of Australian species of Posidonia is still unknown. This study shows oxygen production and respiration rates, and maximum PSII photochemical efficiency (Fv : Fm) in seeds of two Australian Posidonia species (P. australis and P. sinuosa), and compares these with previous results for P. oceanica. Results showed relatively high oxygen production and respiratory rates in all three species but with significant differences among them, suggesting the existence of an adaptive mechanism to compensate for the relatively high oxygen demands of the seeds. In all cases maximal photochemical efficiency of photosystem II rates reached similar values. The existence of photosynthetic activity in the seeds of all three species implicates that it was an ability probably acquired from a common ancestor during the Late Eocene, when this adaptive strategy could have helped Posidonia species to survive in nutrient-poor temperate seas. This study sheds new light on some aspects of the evolution of marine plants and represents an important contribution to global knowledge of the paleogeographic patterns of seagrass distribution.

  5. Metabarcoding Is Powerful yet Still Blind: A Comparative Analysis of Morphological and Molecular Surveys of Seagrass Communities

    PubMed Central

    Cowart, Dominique A.; Pinheiro, Miguel; Mouchel, Olivier; Maguer, Marion; Grall, Jacques; Miné, Jacques; Arnaud-Haond, Sophie

    2015-01-01

    In the context of the sixth wave of extinction, reliable surveys of biodiversity are increasingly needed to infer the cause and consequences of species and community declines, identify early warning indicators of tipping points, and provide reliable impact assessments before engaging in activities with potential environmental hazards. DNA metabarcoding has emerged as having potential to provide speedy assessment of community structure from environmental samples. Here we tested the reliability of metabarcoding by comparing morphological and molecular inventories of invertebrate communities associated with seagrasses through estimates of alpha and beta diversity, as well as the identification of the most abundant taxa. Sediment samples were collected from six Zostera marina seagrass meadows across Brittany, France. Metabarcoding surveys were performed using both mitochondrial (Cytochrome Oxidase I) and nuclear (small subunit 18S ribosomal RNA) markers, and compared to morphological inventories compiled by a long-term benthic monitoring network. A sampling strategy was defined to enhance performance and accuracy of results by preventing the dominance of larger animals, boosting statistical support through replicates, and using two genes to compensate for taxonomic biases. Molecular barcodes proved powerful by revealing a remarkable level of diversity that vastly exceeded the morphological survey, while both surveys identified congruent differentiation of the meadows. However, despite the addition of individual barcodes of common species into taxonomic reference databases, the retrieval of only 36% of these species suggest that the remaining were either not present in the molecular samples or not detected by the molecular screening. This finding exemplifies the necessity of comprehensive and well-curated taxonomic reference libraries and multi-gene surveys. Overall, results offer methodological guidelines and support for metabarcoding as a powerful and repeatable

  6. Seagrass restoration enhances "blue carbon" sequestration in coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Greiner, Jill T; McGlathery, Karen J; Gunnell, John; McKee, Brent A

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass meadows are highly productive habitats that provide important ecosystem services in the coastal zone, including carbon and nutrient sequestration. Organic carbon in seagrass sediment, known as "blue carbon," accumulates from both in situ production and sedimentation of particulate carbon from the water column. Using a large-scale restoration (>1700 ha) in the Virginia coastal bays as a model system, we evaluated the role of seagrass, Zosteramarina, restoration in carbon storage in sediments of shallow coastal ecosystems. Sediments of replicate seagrass meadows representing different age treatments (as time since seeding: 0, 4, and 10 years), were analyzed for % carbon, % nitrogen, bulk density, organic matter content, and ²¹⁰Pb for dating at 1-cm increments to a depth of 10 cm. Sediment nutrient and organic content, and carbon accumulation rates were higher in 10-year seagrass meadows relative to 4-year and bare sediment. These differences were consistent with higher shoot density in the older meadow. Carbon accumulation rates determined for the 10-year restored seagrass meadows were 36.68 g C m⁻² yr⁻¹. Within 12 years of seeding, the restored seagrass meadows are expected to accumulate carbon at a rate that is comparable to measured ranges in natural seagrass meadows. This the first study to provide evidence of the potential of seagrass habitat restoration to enhance carbon sequestration in the coastal zone.

  7. Effectiveness and consistency of a suite of descriptors for assessing the ecological status of seagrass meadows (Posidonia oceanica L. Delile)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rotini, Alice; Belmonte, Alessandro; Barrote, Isabel; Micheli, Carla; Peirano, Andrea; Santos, Rui O.; Silva, João; Migliore, Luciana

    2013-09-01

    The increasing rate of human-induced environmental changes on coastal marine ecosystems has created a demand for effective descriptors, in particular for those suitable for monitoring the status of seagrass meadows. Growing evidence has supported the useful application of biochemical and genetic descriptors such as secondary metabolite synthesis, photosynthetic activity and genetic diversity. In the present study, we have investigated the effectiveness of different descriptors (traditional, biochemical and genetic) in monitoring seagrass meadow conservation status. The Posidonia oceanica meadow of Monterosso al Mare (Ligurian sea, NW Mediterranean) was subjected to the measurement of bed density, leaf biometry, total phenols, soluble protein and photosynthetic pigment content as well as to RAPD marker analysis. This suite of descriptors provided evidence of their effectiveness and convenient application as markers of the conservation status of P. oceanica and/or other seagrasses. Biochemical/genetic descriptors and those obtained by traditional methods depicted a well conserved meadow with seasonal variability and, particularly in summer, indicated a healthier condition in a portion of the bed (station C), which was in agreement with the physical and sedimentological features of the station. Our results support the usefulness of introducing biochemical and genetic approaches to seagrass monitoring programs since they are effective indicators of plant physiological stress and environmental disturbance.

  8. Extreme temperatures, foundation species, and abrupt ecosystem change: an example from an iconic seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Jordan A; Burkholder, Derek A; Heithaus, Michael R; Fourqurean, James W; Fraser, Matthew W; Statton, John; Kendrick, Gary A

    2015-04-01

    Extreme climatic events can trigger abrupt and often lasting change in ecosystems via the reduction or elimination of foundation (i.e., habitat-forming) species. However, while the frequency/intensity of extreme events is predicted to increase under climate change, the impact of these events on many foundation species and the ecosystems they support remains poorly understood. Here, we use the iconic seagrass meadows of Shark Bay, Western Australia--a relatively pristine subtropical embayment whose dominant, canopy-forming seagrass, Amphibolis antarctica, is a temperate species growing near its low-latitude range limit--as a model system to investigate the impacts of extreme temperatures on ecosystems supported by thermally sensitive foundation species in a changing climate. Following an unprecedented marine heat wave in late summer 2010/11, A. antarctica experienced catastrophic (>90%) dieback in several regions of Shark Bay. Animal-borne video footage taken from the perspective of resident, seagrass-associated megafauna (sea turtles) revealed severe habitat degradation after the event compared with a decade earlier. This reduction in habitat quality corresponded with a decline in the health status of largely herbivorous green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the 2 years following the heat wave, providing evidence of long-term, community-level impacts of the event. Based on these findings, and similar examples from diverse ecosystems, we argue that a generalized framework for assessing the vulnerability of ecosystems to abrupt change associated with the loss of foundation species is needed to accurately predict ecosystem trajectories in a changing climate. This includes seagrass meadows, which have received relatively little attention in this context. Novel research and monitoring methods, such as the analysis of habitat and environmental data from animal-borne video and data-logging systems, can make an important contribution to this framework.

  9. Epiphyte presence and seagrass species identity influence rates of herbivory in Mediterranean seagrass meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marco-Méndez, Candela; Ferrero-Vicente, Luis Miguel; Prado, Patricia; Heck, Kenneth L.; Cebrián, Just; Sánchez-Lizaso, Jose Luis

    2015-03-01

    Herbivory on Mediterranean seagrass species is generally low compared to consumption of some other temperate and tropical species of seagrasses. In this study we: (1) investigate the feeding preference of the two dominant Mediterranean seagrass herbivores, the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the fish Sarpa salpa, on Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa and (2) elucidate the role of epiphytes in herbivore choices. We assessed consumption rates by tethering seagrass shoots, and preferences by food choice experiments with the following paired combinations: 1) Epiphytized leaves of both C. nodosa vs. P. oceanica (CE vs PE); 2) Non-epiphytized leaves of C. nodosa vs. P. oceanica (CNE vs. PNE); 3) Epiphytized vs non-epiphytized leaves of C. nodosa (CE vs. CNE) and 4) Epiphytized vs non-epiphytized leaves of P. oceanica (PE vs PNE). We found that preference for C. nodosa was weak for S. salpa, but strong for P. lividus, the species responsible for most consumption at our study. Overall both herbivores showed preference for epiphytized leaves. The higher nutritional quality of C. nodosa leaves and epiphytes together with the high coverage and diversity of the epiphyte community found on its leaves help explain the higher levels of herbivory recorded on epiphyted leaves of C. nodosa. Other factors such as seagrass accessibility, herbivore mobility and size, and behavioral responses to predation risks, may also affect the intensity of seagrass herbivory, and studies addressing the interactions with these factors are needed to improve our understanding of the nature, extent and implications of herbivory in coastal ecosystems.

  10. An evaluation of acoustic seabed classification techniques for marine biotope monitoring over broad-scales (>1 km 2) and meso-scales (10 m 2-1 km 2)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Rein, H.; Brown, C. J.; Quinn, R.; Breen, J.; Schoeman, D.

    2011-07-01

    Acoustic seabed classification is a useful tool for monitoring marine benthic habitats over broad-scales (>1 km 2) and meso-scales (10 m 2-1 km 2). Its utility in this context was evaluated using two approaches: by describing natural changes in the temporal distribution of marine biotopes across the broad-scale (4 km 2), and by attempting to detect specific experimentally-induced changes to kelp-dominated biotopes across the meso-scale (100 m 2). For the first approach, acoustic backscatter mosaics were constructed using sidescan sonar and multibeam echosounder data collected from Church Bay (Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland) in 1999, 2008 and 2009. The mosaics were manually segmented into acoustic facies, which were ground-truthed using a drop-video camera. Biotopes were classified from the video by multivariate exploratory analysis and cross-tabulated with the acoustic facies, showing a positive correlation. These results were integrated with bathymetric data to map the distribution of seven unique biotopes in Church Bay. Kappa analysis showed the biotope distribution was highly similar between the biotope maps, possibly due to the stability of bedforms shaped by the tidal regime around Rathlin Island. The greatest biotope change in this approach was represented by seasonal and annual changes in the growth of the seagrass, Zostera marina. In the second approach, sidescan sonar data were collected before and after the removal of 100 m 2 of kelp from three sites. Comparison of the data revealed no differences between the high-resolution backscatter imagery. It is concluded that acoustic seabed classification can be used to monitor change over broad- and meso-scales but not necessarily for all biotopes; its success depends on the type of acoustic system employed and the biological characteristics of the target biotope.

  11. Assessment of genetic diversity of seagrass populations using DNA fingerprinting: implications for population stability and management.

    PubMed Central

    Alberte, R S; Suba, G K; Procaccini, G; Zimmerman, R C; Fain, S R

    1994-01-01

    Populations of the temperate seagrass, Zostera marina L. (eelgrass), often exist as discontinuous beds in estuaries, harbors, and bays where they can reproduce sexually or vegetatively through clonal propagation. We examined the genetic structure of three geographically and morphologically distinct populations from central California (Elkhorn Slough, Tomales Bay, and Del Monte Beach), using multilocus restriction fragment length polymorphisms (DNA fingerprints). Within-population genetic similarity (Sw) values for the three eelgrass populations ranged from 0.44 to 0.68. The Tomales Bay population located in an undisturbed, littoral site possessed a within-population genetic similarity (Sw = 0.44) that was significantly lower than those of the other two populations. Cluster analysis identified genetic substructure in only the undisturbed subtidal population (Del Monte Beach). Between-population similarity values (Sb) for all pairwise comparisons ranged from 0.47 to 0.51. The three eelgrass populations show significantly less between locale genetic similarity than found within populations, indicating that gene flow is restricted between locales even though two of the populations are separated by only 30 km. The study demonstrates that (i) natural populations of Z. marina from both disturbed and undisturbed habitats possess high genetic diversity and are not primarily clonal, (ii) gene flow is restricted even between populations in close proximity, (iii) an intertidal population from a highly disturbed habital shows much lower genetic diversity than an intertidal population from an undisturbed site, and (iv) DNA fingerprinting techniques can be exploited to understand gene flow and population genetic structure in Z. marina, a widespread and ecologically important species, and as such are relevant to the management of this coastal resource. Images PMID:11607458

  12. Seagrass epiphytes: useful indicator, potential biological criterion, or forlorn hope?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Epiphytes on seagrasses have been studied for more than 50 years, and proposed as an indicator of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment for over 30 years. Epiphytes have been correlated with seagrass declines, causally related to nutrient additions in both field and mesocosm experim...

  13. Integrating scales of seagrass monitoring to meet conservation needs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Neckles, Hilary A.; Kopp, Blaine S.; Peterson, Bradley J.; Pooler, Penelope S.

    2012-01-01

    We evaluated a hierarchical framework for seagrass monitoring in two estuaries in the northeastern USA: Little Pleasant Bay, Massachusetts, and Great South Bay/Moriches Bay, New York. This approach includes three tiers of monitoring that are integrated across spatial scales and sampling intensities. We identified monitoring attributes for determining attainment of conservation objectives to protect seagrass ecosystems from estuarine nutrient enrichment. Existing mapping programs provided large-scale information on seagrass distribution and bed sizes (tier 1 monitoring). We supplemented this with bay-wide, quadrat-based assessments of seagrass percent cover and canopy height at permanent sampling stations following a spatially distributed random design (tier 2 monitoring). Resampling simulations showed that four observations per station were sufficient to minimize bias in estimating mean percent cover on a bay-wide scale, and sample sizes of 55 stations in a 624-ha system and 198 stations in a 9,220-ha system were sufficient to detect absolute temporal increases in seagrass abundance from 25% to 49% cover and from 4% to 12% cover, respectively. We made high-resolution measurements of seagrass condition (percent cover, canopy height, total and reproductive shoot density, biomass, and seagrass depth limit) at a representative index site in each system (tier 3 monitoring). Tier 3 data helped explain system-wide changes. Our results suggest tiered monitoring as an efficient and feasible way to detect and predict changes in seagrass systems relative to multi-scale conservation objectives.

  14. SULFATE-REDUCING BACTERIA IN THE SEAGRASS RHIZOSPHERE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses are rooted in anoxic sediments that support high levels of microbial activity including utilization of sulfate as a terminal electron acceptor which is reduced to sulfide. Sulfate reduction in seagrass bed sediments is stimulated by input of organic carbon through the ...

  15. A comparison of the impact of 'seagrass-friendly' boat mooring systems on Posidonia australis.

    PubMed

    Demers, Marie-Claire A; Davis, Andrew R; Knott, Nathan A

    2013-02-01

    Permanent boat moorings have contributed to the decline of seagrasses worldwide, prompting the development of 'seagrass-friendly' moorings. We contrasted seagrass cover and density (predominantly Posidonia australis) in the vicinity of three mooring types and nearby reference areas lacking moorings in Jervis Bay, Australia. We examined two types of 'seagrass-friendly' mooring and a conventional 'swing' mooring. 'Swing' moorings produced significant seagrass scour, denuding patches of ~9 m radius. Seagrass-friendly 'cyclone' moorings produced extensive denuded patches (average radius of ~18 m). Seagrass-friendly 'screw' moorings, conversely, had similar seagrass cover to nearby reference areas. Our findings reinforce previous work highlighting the negative effects of 'swing' and 'cyclone' moorings. In contrast, the previously unstudied 'screw' moorings were highly effective. We conclude that regular maintenance of moorings and the monitoring of surrounding seagrass are required to ensure that 'seagrass-friendly' moorings are operating effectively. This is important, as following damage Posidonia will take many decades to recover.

  16. Effects of tidal inundation on benthic macrofauna associated with the eelgrass Zostera muelleri

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nicastro, Andrea; Bishop, Melanie J.

    2013-01-01

    Processes, such as sea level rise, that alter tidal inundation regimes have the potential to modify the structure of seagrasses and their dense and diverse faunal communities. This study tested the hypothesis that seagrass-dwelling invertebrate communities would vary across a tidal inundation gradient as a result of direct effects of tidal inundation and indirect effects, arising from changes in seagrass morphology across this gradient. First, we conducted mensurative sampling across tidal inundation gradients to assess how above- and below-ground seagrass biomass, and epi- and infaunal invertebrate communities co-varied with depth. Second, we ran a manipulative field experiment, utilising artificial seagrass rhizomes of varying morphologies, to separate out direct effects of tidal inundation on infaunal communities from indirect effects arising from changes in seagrass root morphology. Mensurative sampling revealed that the abundance and taxon richness of seagrass epi- and infauna, and the above- and below-ground biomass of seagrass each increased with depth across a tidal elevation gradient extending from the high intertidal to the shallow subtidal. The manipulative experiment revealed that the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of tidal inundation in determining the distribution and abundance of infauna were taxon-specific. In general, however, the facilitative effects of rhizome structure were more evident at the intertidal compared to the subtidal elevation. Our results indicate that changes to tidal inundation regime will affect seagrass-dwelling macroinvertebrates through a combination of direct and indirect effects. Therefore, future changes in tidal inundation should be taken into account in developing conservation plans for protecting seagrasses and the biodiversity they sustain.

  17. CARBON AND NITROGEN ALLOCATION MODEL FOR THE SUB-TROPICAL SEAGRASS THALASSIA TESTUDINUM AND THE TEMPERATE SEAGRASS ZOSTER MARINA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our understanding of seagrass physiology is based on crude estimates of production and biomass. To better understand the complex physiological relationships between the plants and the environment we developed a model of carbon and nitrogen allocation in the sub-tropical seagrass ...

  18. Use of carbon monoxide and hydrogen by a bacteria-animal symbiosis from seagrass sediments

    SciTech Connect

    Kleiner, Manuel; Wentrup, Cecilia; Holler, Thomas; Lavik, Gaute; Harder, Jens; Lott, Christian; Littmann, Sten; Kuypers, Marcel M. M.; Dubilier, Nicole

    2015-05-27

    The gutless marine worm Olavius algarvensis lives in symbiosis with chemosynthetic bacteria that provide nutrition by fixing carbon dioxide (CO2) into biomass using reduced sulfur compounds as energy sources. A recent metaproteomic analysis of the O. algarvensis symbiosis indicated that carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) might also be used as energy sources. We provide direct evidence that the O. algarvensis symbiosis consumes CO and H2. Single cell imaging using nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry revealed that one of the symbionts, the γ3-symbiont, uses the energy from CO oxidation to fix CO2. Pore water analysis revealed considerable in-situ concentrations of CO and H2 in the O. algarvensis environment, Mediterranean seagrass sediments. Pore water H2 concentrations (89-2147 nM) were up to two orders of magnitude higher than in seawater, and up to 36-fold higher than previously known from shallow-water marine sediments. Pore water CO concentrations (17-51 nM) were twice as high as in the overlying seawater (no literature data from other shallow-water sediments are available for comparison). Ex-situ incubation experiments showed that dead seagrass rhizomes produced large amounts of CO. Lastly, CO production from decaying plant material could thus be a significant energy source for microbial primary production in seagrass sediments.

  19. Habitat Use by Fishes in Coral Reefs, Seagrass Beds and Mangrove Habitats in the Philippines

    PubMed Central

    Honda, Kentaro; Nakamura, Yohei; Nakaoka, Masahiro; Uy, Wilfredo H.; Fortes, Miguel D.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the interconnectivity of organisms among different habitats is a key requirement for generating effective management plans in coastal ecosystems, particularly when determining component habitat structures in marine protected areas. To elucidate the patterns of habitat use by fishes among coral, seagrass, and mangrove habitats, and between natural and transplanted mangroves, visual censuses were conducted semiannually at two sites in the Philippines during September and March 2010–2012. In total, 265 species and 15,930 individuals were recorded. Species richness and abundance of fishes were significantly higher in coral reefs (234 species, 12,306 individuals) than in seagrass (38 species, 1,198 individuals) and mangrove (47 species, 2,426 individuals) habitats. Similarity tests revealed a highly significant difference among the three habitats. Fishes exhibited two different strategies for habitat use, inhabiting either a single (85.6% of recorded species) or several habitats (14.4%). Some fish that utilized multiple habitats, such as Lutjanus monostigma and Parupeneus barberinus, showed possible ontogenetic habitat shifts from mangroves and/or seagrass habitats to coral reefs. Moreover, over 20% of commercial fish species used multiple habitats, highlighting the importance of including different habitat types within marine protected areas to achieve efficient and effective resource management. Neither species richness nor abundance of fishes significantly differed between natural and transplanted mangroves. In addition, 14 fish species were recorded in a 20-year-old transplanted mangrove area, and over 90% of these species used multiple habitats, further demonstrating the key role of transplanted mangroves as a reef fish habitat in this region. PMID:23976940

  20. Anatomically and morphologically unique dark septate endophytic association in the roots of the Mediterranean endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica.

    PubMed

    Vohník, Martin; Borovec, Ondřej; Župan, Ivan; Vondrášek, David; Petrtýl, Miloslav; Sudová, Radka

    2015-11-01

    Roots of terrestrial plants host a wide spectrum of soil fungi that form various parasitic, neutral and mutualistic associations. A similar trend is evident in freshwater aquatic plants and plants inhabiting salt marshes or mangroves. Marine vascular plants (seagrasses), by contrast, seem to lack specific root-fungus symbioses. We examined roots of two Mediterranean seagrasses, Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa, in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea for fungal colonization using light and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. We found that P. oceanica, but not C. nodosa, is regularly associated with melanized septate hyphae in a manner resembling colonization by the ubiquitous dark septate endophytes (DSE) in roots of most terrestrial plants. P. oceanica roots were found to be colonized by sparse dematiaceous running hyphae as well as dense parenchymatous nets/hyphal sheaths on the root surface, intracellular melanized microsclerotia and occasionally also intra- and intercellular hyphae. The colonization was most prominent in the thick-walled hypodermis of the thinnest healthy looking roots, and the mycobiont seemed to colonize both living and dead host cells. Dark septate hyphae infrequently occurred also inside rhizodermal cells, but never colonized vascular tissues. The biological significance of this overlooked marine symbiosis remains unknown, but its morphology, extent, distribution across the NW Mediterranean Sea and absence in C. nodosa indicate an intriguing relationship between the dominant Mediterranean seagrass and its dark septate root mycobionts.

  1. Growth dynamics of the deep-water Asian eelgrass, Zostera asiatica, in the eastern coastal waters of Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Jung-Im; Kim, Jong-Hyeob; Park, Su Hyun

    2016-12-01

    Among the seagrasses that occur along the coast of Korea, Zostera asiatica inhabits the deepest depth; however, to date, there is limited information on its ecology. This study presents the first quantitative data on the seasonal growth dynamics of Z. asiatica in Korea. We measured seasonal growth and morphological characteristics, as well as environmental factors, including underwater irradiance, water temperature, salinity and nutrient concentrations of the water column and sediment pore water, bimonthly from July 2012 to May 2015. Underwater irradiance showed clear seasonal trends, increasing in the spring and summer and decreasing in the fall and winter, ranging from 2.4 ± 0.2 mol photons m-2 d-1 in November 2012 to 12.8 ± 1.3 mol photons m-2 d-1 in July 2014. Water temperature also followed a strong seasonal trend similar to underwater irradiance, ranging from 9.8 ± 0.1°C in January 2013 to 20.5 ± 0.2°C in September 2013. Nutrient availability fluctuated substantially, but there was no evidence of distinct seasonal variations. Shoot density, biomass, leaf productivity, and morphological characteristics of Z. asiatica exhibited significant seasonal variations: maximum values of these variables occurred in summer, and the minima were recorded in winter. Total shoot density was highest (218.8 ± 18.8 shoots m-2) in July 2012 and lowest (106.3 ± 6.3 shoots m-2) in January 2013. Total biomass ranged from 182.6 ± 16.9 g dry weight (DW) m-2 in January 2015 to 310.9 ± 6.4 g DW m-2 in July 2014.Areal leaf production was highest (4.9 ± 0.0 g DW m-2 d-1) in July 2012 and lowest (1.4 ± 0.2 g DW m-2 d-1) in January 2013. The optimum water temperature for the growth of Z. asiatica was between 16-19°C. Growth of Z. asiatica was more strongly correlated with underwater irradiance than water temperature, suggesting that light is the most important factor determining seasonality of Z. asiatica at the study site.

  2. Spatially explicit feedbacks between seagrass meadow structure, sediment and light: Habitat suitability for seagrass growth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, Joel A.; D'Odorico, Paolo; McGlathery, Karen J.; Wiberg, Patricia L.

    2016-07-01

    In shallow coastal bays where nutrient loading and riverine inputs are low, turbidity, and the consequent light environment are controlled by resuspension of bed sediments due to wind-waves and tidal currents. High sediment resuspension and low light environments can limit benthic primary productivity; however, both currents and waves are affected by the presence of benthic plants such as seagrass. This feedback between the presence of benthic primary producers such as seagrass and the consequent light environment has been predicted to induce bistable dynamics locally. However, these vegetated areas influence a larger area than they footprint, including a barren adjacent downstream area which exhibits reduced shear stresses. Here we explore through modeling how the patchy structure of seagrass meadows on a landscape may affect sediment resuspension and the consequent light environment due to the presence of this sheltered region. Heterogeneous vegetation covers comprising a mosaic of randomly distributed patches were generated to investigate the effect of patch modified hydrodynamics. Actual cover of vegetation on the landscape was used to facilitate comparisons across landscape realizations. Hourly wave and current shear stresses on the landscape along with suspended sediment concentration and light attenuation characteristics were then calculated and spatially averaged to examine how actual cover and mean water depth affect the bulk sediment and light environment. The results indicate that an effective cover, which incorporates the sheltering area, has important controls on the distributions of shear stress, suspended sediment, light environment, and consequent seagrass habitat suitability. Interestingly, an optimal habitat occurs within a depth range where, if actual cover is reduced past some threshold, the bulk light environment would no longer favor seagrass growth.

  3. Spatially explicit feedbacks between seagrass meadow structure, sediment and light: Habitat suitability for seagrass growth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, Joel; D'Odorico, Paul; McGlathery, Karen; Wiberg, Patricia L.

    2016-01-01

    In shallow coastal bays where nutrient loading and riverine inputs are low, turbidity, and the consequent light environment are controlled by resuspension of bed sediments due to wind-waves and tidal currents. High sediment resuspension and low light environments can limit benthic primary productivity; however, both currents and waves are affected by the presence of benthic plants such as seagrass. This feedback between the presence of benthic primary producers such as seagrass and the consequent light environment has been predicted to induce bistable dynamics locally. However, these vegetated areas influence a larger area than they footprint, including a barren adjacent downstream area which exhibits reduced shear stresses. Here we explore through modeling how the patchy structure of seagrass meadows on a landscape may affect sediment resuspension and the consequent light environment due to the presence of this sheltered region. Heterogeneous vegetation covers comprising a mosaic of randomly distributed patches were generated to investigate the effect of patch modified hydrodynamics. Actual cover of vegetation on the landscape was used to facilitate comparisons across landscape realizations. Hourly wave and current shear stresses on the landscape along with suspended sediment concentration and light attenuation characteristics were then calculated and spatially averaged to examine how actual cover and mean water depth affect the bulk sediment and light environment. The results indicate that an effective cover, which incorporates the sheltering area, has important controls on the distributions of shear stress, suspended sediment, light environment, and consequent seagrass habitat suitability. Interestingly, an optimal habitat occurs within a depth range where, if actual cover is reduced past some threshold, the bulk light environment would no longer favor seagrass growth.

  4. Dissolved organic carbon release by marine macrophytes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrón, C.; Apostolaki, E. T.; Duarte, C. M.

    2012-02-01

    Estimates of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) release by marine macrophyte communities (seagrass meadows and macroalgal beds) were obtained experimentally using in situ benthic chambers. The effect of light availability on DOC release by macrophyte communities was examined in two communities both by comparing net DOC release under light and dark, and by examining the response of net DOC release to longer-term (days) experimental shading of the communities. All most 85% of the seagrass communities and almost all of macroalgal communities examined acted as net sources of DOC. There was a weak tendency for higher DOC fluxes under light than under dark conditions in seagrass meadow. There is no relationship between net DOC fluxes and gross primary production (GPP) and net community production (NCP), however, this relationship is positive between net DOC fluxes and community respiration. Net DOC fluxes were not affected by shading of a T. testudinum community in Florida for 5 days, however, shading of a mixed seagrass meadow in the Philippines led to a significant reduction on the net DOC release when shading was maintained for 6 days compared to only 2 days of shading. Based on published and unpublished results we also estimate the global net DOC production by marine macrophytes. The estimated global net DOC flux, and hence export, from marine macrophyte is about 0.197 ± 0.015 Pg C yr-1 or 0.212 ± 0.016 Pg C yr-1 depending if net DOC flux by seagrass meadows was estimated by taking into account the low or high global seagrass area, respectively.

  5. Mapping of the Seagrass Cover Along the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey Using Landsat 8 Oli Images

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bakirman, T.; Gumusay, M. U.; Tuney, I.

    2016-06-01

    Benthic habitat is defined as ecological environment where marine animals, plants and other organisms live in. Benthic habitat mapping is defined as plotting the distribution and extent of habitats to create a map with complete coverage of the seabed showing distinct boundaries separating adjacent habitats or the use of spatially continuous environmental data sets to represent and predict biological patterns on the seafloor. Seagrass is an essential endemic marine species that prevents coast erosion and regulates carbon dioxide absorption in both undersea and atmosphere. Fishing, mining, pollution and other human activities cause serious damage to seabed ecosystems and reduce benthic biodiversity. According to the latest studies, only 5-10% of the seafloor is mapped, therefore it is not possible to manage resources effectively, protect ecologically important areas. In this study, it is aimed to map seagrass cover using Landsat 8 OLI images in the northern part of Mediterranean coast of Turkey. After pre-processing (e.g. radiometric, atmospheric, water depth correction) of Landsat images, coverage maps are produced with supervised classification using in-situ data which are underwater photos and videos. Result maps and accuracy assessment are presented and discussed.

  6. Response of key stress-related genes of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica in the vicinity of submarine volcanic vents

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lauritano, C.; Ruocco, M.; Dattolo, E.; Buia, M. C.; Silva, J.; Santos, R.; Olivé, I.; Costa, M. M.; Procaccini, G.

    2015-03-01

    Submarine volcanic vents are being used as natural laboratories to assess the effects of CO2 on marine organisms and communities, as this gas is the main component of emissions. Seagrasses should positively react to increased dissolved carbon, but in vicinity of volcanic vents there may be toxic substances, that can have indirect effects on seagrasses. Here we analysed the expression of 35 stress-related genes in the Mediterranean keystone seagrass species P. oceanica in the vicinity of submerged volcanic vents located in the Islands of Ischia and Panarea, Italy, and compared them with those from control sites away from the influence of vents. Reverse Transcription-Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to characterize the expression levels of genes. Fifty one per cent of genes analysed showed significant expression changes. Metal detoxification genes were mostly down-regulated in relation to controls both in Ischia and Panarea locations, indicating that P. oceanica does not increase the synthesis of heavy metal detoxification proteins in response to the environmental conditions present at the two vents. The expression levels of genes involved in free radical detoxification indicate that, in contrast with Ischia, P. oceanica at the Panarea vent face stressors that result in the production of reactive oxygen species triggering antioxidant responses. In addition, heat shock proteins were also activated at Panarea and not at Ischia. Overall, our study reveals that P. oceanica is generally under higher stress in the vicinity of the vents at Panarea than at Ischia, possibly resulting from environmental and evolutionary differences existing between the two volcanic sites. This is the first study analysing gene responses in marine plants living near natural CO2 vents and our results call for a careful consideration of factors, other than CO2 and acidification, that can cause stress to seagrasses and other organisms near volcanic vents.

  7. CARBON BUDGET FOR A SUB-TROPICAL SEAGRASS DOMINATED COASTAL LAGOON: HOW IMPORTANT ARE SEAGRASSES TO TOTAL ECOSYSTEM NET PRIMARY PRODUCTION?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses dominate macrophyte biomass in many estuaries. Historically, it has been assumed that because of the large standing stock seagrasses also dominate primary production. We tested this assumption by developing 3 carbon budgets to examine the contribution of autotrophic ...

  8. Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Waycott, Michelle; Duarte, Carlos M.; Carruthers, Tim J. B.; Orth, Robert J.; Dennison, William C.; Olyarnik, Suzanne; Calladine, Ainsley; Fourqurean, James W.; Heck, Kenneth L.; Hughes, A. Randall; Kendrick, Gary A.; Kenworthy, W. Judson; Short, Frederick T.; Williams, Susan L.

    2009-01-01

    Coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are adversely affected by a wide variety of human activities. In particular, seagrass meadows are negatively affected by impacts accruing from the billion or more people who live within 50 km of them. Seagrass meadows provide important ecosystem services, including an estimated $1.9 trillion per year in the form of nutrient cycling; an order of magnitude enhancement of coral reef fish productivity; a habitat for thousands of fish, bird, and invertebrate species; and a major food source for endangered dugong, manatee, and green turtle. Although individual impacts from coastal development, degraded water quality, and climate change have been documented, there has been no quantitative global assessment of seagrass loss until now. Our comprehensive global assessment of 215 studies found that seagrasses have been disappearing at a rate of 110 km2 yr−1 since 1980 and that 29% of the known areal extent has disappeared since seagrass areas were initially recorded in 1879. Furthermore, rates of decline have accelerated from a median of 0.9% yr−1 before 1940 to 7% yr−1 since 1990. Seagrass loss rates are comparable to those reported for mangroves, coral reefs, and tropical rainforests and place seagrass meadows among the most threatened ecosystems on earth. PMID:19587236

  9. The Role of Seagrasses and Kelps in Marine Fish Support

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-02-01

    certain activities in the nation’s waters since 1890. Until 1968, the primary focus of USACE’s regulatory program was the construction and...important resources. Activities that involve construction, excavation, fill, and certain other modifications of the “ waters of the U.S.” are regulated...by USACE under the authority of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and other regulatory policies

  10. Expansion of the invasive dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica, in Yaquina Bay, Oregon

    EPA Science Inventory

    The areal coverage of the non-indigenous dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica, is increasing in several estuaries on the US West Coast. As a result, regulatory agencies in the states of California and Washington are considering methods of controlling its expansion. Factors relevan...

  11. Temperature trumps light: Teasing apart interactive factors controlling non-indigenous Zostera japonica growth

    EPA Science Inventory

    In the Pacific Northwest Zostera marina and Z. japonica co-exist by occupying separate elevation niches. We conducted two mesocosm experiments to evaluate light and temperature as factors controlling the disjunct distribution of congeners. The first study tests the hypothesis t...

  12. EFFECTS OF EROSION AND MACROALGAE ON INTERTIDAL EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA) IN A NORTHEASTERN PACIFIC ESTUARY (USA)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) in open-coast northeastern Pacific estuaries is primarily intertidal, yet little research has been done on the natural factors controlling its upper intertidal growth limits. This two-year study in the Yaquina Estuary (Newport, Oregon, USA) evaluated the...

  13. Waves in Seagrass Systems: Review and Technical Recommendations

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2006-11-01

    T. Terawaki. 1998. Relationship between Zostera marina beds and bottom sediments, wave action offshore in Naruto , southern Japan (original title... Naruto chisaki ni okeru amamo-ba to teishitsu oyobi haro tono kankei). Fisheries Engineering (Japan)/Suisan Kogaku (Japan) 34:299-304. Dean, R. G

  14. Diurnal changes in pore water sulfide concentrations in the seagrass Thalassia testudinum beds: the effects of seagrasses on sulfide dynamics.

    PubMed

    Lee; Dunton

    2000-12-20

    The dynamics of the seagrass-sulfide interaction were examined in relation to diel changes in sediment pore water sulfide concentrations in Thalassia testudinum beds and adjacent bare areas in Corpus Christi Bay and lower Laguna Madre, Texas, USA, during July 1996. Pore water sulfide concentrations in seagrass beds were significantly higher than in adjacent bare areas and showed strong diurnal variations; levels significantly decreased during mid-day at shallow sediment depths (0-10 cm) containing high below-ground tissue biomass and surface area. In contrast, diurnal variations in sediment sulfide concentrations were absent in adjacent bare patches, and at deeper (>10 cm) sediment depths characterized by low below-ground plant biomass or when the grasses were experimentally shaded. These observations suggest that the mid-day depressions in sulfide levels are linked to the transport of photosynthetically produced oxygen to seagrass below-ground tissues that fuels sediment sulfide oxidation. Lower sulfide concentrations in bare areas are likely a result of low sulfate reduction rates due to low organic matter available for remineralization. Further, high reoxidation rates due to rapid exchange between anoxic pore water and oxic overlying water are probably stimulated in bare areas by higher current velocity on the sediment surface than in seagrass beds. The dynamics of pore water sulfides in seagrass beds suggest no toxic sulfide intrusion into below-ground tissues during photosynthetic periods and demonstrate that the sediment chemical environment is considerably modified by seagrasses. The reduced sediment sulfide levels in seagrass beds during photosynthetic periods will enhance seagrass production through reduced sulfide toxicity to seagrasses and sediment microorganisms related to the nutrient cycling.

  15. Mapping estuarine distributions of the non-indigenous Japanese Eelgrass Zostera japonica using Color Infrared Aerial Photography

    EPA Science Inventory

    This presentation describes a technique for mapping distributions of the nonindigenous Japanese eelgrass Zostera japonica in estuarine ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest. The relatively broad distribution of this intertidal plant, often on very soft substrate, makes classical g...

  16. Effect of Temperature and Nutrient Manipulations on eelgrass Zostera marina L. from the Pacific Northwest, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Global climate change will have a large impact on the three predominate drivers of estuarine seagrass productivity, temperature, light and nutrients. I experimentally evaluate the response of Pacific Northwest Z. marina to interactive effects of temperature and nutrient conditio...

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

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrass carbon budgets provide valuable insight on the minimum requirements needed to maintain this valuable resource. Carbon budgets are a balance between C fixation, storage and loss rates, most of which are well characterized. However, relatively few measurements of dissolv...

  18. Against the odds: complete outcrossing in a monoecious clonal seagrass Posidonia australis (Posidoniaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Sinclair, Elizabeth A.; Gecan, Ilena; Krauss, Siegfried L.; Kendrick, Gary A.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Seagrasses are marine, flowering plants with a hydrophilous pollination strategy. In these plants, successful mating requires dispersal of filamentous pollen grains through the water column to receptive stigmas. Approximately 40 % of seagrass species are monoecious, and therefore little pollen movement is required if inbreeding is tolerated. Outcrossing in these species is further impacted by clonality, which is variable, but can be extensive in large, dense meadows. Despite this, little is known about the interaction between clonal structure, genetic diversity and mating systems in hydrophilous taxa. Methods Polymorphic microsatellite DNA markers were used to characterize genetic diversity, clonal structure, mating system and realized pollen dispersal in two meadows of the temperate, monoecious seagrass, Posidonia australis, in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Key Results Within the two sampled meadows, genetic diversity was moderate among the maternal shoots (R = 0·45 and 0·64) and extremely high in the embryos (R = 0·93–0·97). Both meadows exhibited a highly clumping (or phalanx) structure among clones, with spatial autocorrelation analysis showing significant genetic structure among shoots and embryos up to 10–15 m. Outcrossing rates were not significantly different from one. Pollen dispersal distances inferred from paternity assignment averaged 30·8 and 26·8 m, which was larger than the mean clone size (12·8 and 13·8 m). Conclusions These results suggest highly effective movement of pollen in the water column. Despite strong clonal structure and moderate genetic diversity within meadows, hydrophilous pollination is an effective vector for completely outcrossed offspring. The different localized water conditions at each site (highly exposed conditions vs. weak directional flow) appear to have little influence on the success and pattern of successful pollination in the two meadows. PMID:24812250

  19. Balancing the edge effects budget: bay scallop settlement and loss along a seagrass edge.

    PubMed

    Carroll, John M; Furman, Bradley T; Tettelbach, Stephen T; Peterson, Bradley J

    2012-07-01

    Edge effects are a dominant subject in landscape ecology literature, yet they are highly variable and poorly understood. Often, the literature suggests simple models for edge effects-positive (enhancement at the edge), negative (enhancement at the interior), or no effect (neutral)--on a variety of metrics, including abundance, diversity, and mortality. In the marine realm, much of this work has focused on fragmented seagrass habitats due to their importance for a variety of commercially important species. In this study, the settlement, recruitment, and survival of bay scallops was investigated across a variety of seagrass patch treatments. By simultaneously collecting settlers (those viable larvae available to settle and metamorphose) and recruits (those settlers that survive some period of time, in this case, 6 weeks) on the same collectors, we were able to demonstrate a "balance" between positive and negative edge effects, resulting in a net neutral effect. Scallop settlement was significantly enhanced along seagrass edges, regardless of patch type while survival was elevated within patch interiors. However, recruitment (the net result of settlement and post-settlement loss) did not vary significantly from edge to center, representing a neutral effect. Further, results suggest that post-settlement loss, most likely due to predation, appears to be the dominant mechanism structuring scallop abundance, not patterns in settlement. These data illustrate the complexity of edge effects, and suggest that the metric used to investigate the effect (be it abundance, survival, or other metrics) can often influence the magnitude and direction of the perceived effect. Traditionally, high predation along a habitat edge would have indicated an "ecological trap" for the species in question; however, this study demonstrates that, at the population level, an ecological trap may not exist.

  20. Geospatial interface and model for predicting potential seagrass habitat

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  1. MAPPING BURROWING SHRIMP AND SEAGRASS IN YAQUINA ESTUARY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Burrowing shrimp and seagrasses create extensive intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats within Pacific NW estuaries. Maps of their populations are useful to inform estuarine managers of locations that deserve special consideration for conservation, and to inform oyster farmers...

  2. Nonnutrient Anthropogenic Chemicals in Seagrass Ecosystems: Fate and Effects

    EPA Science Inventory

    Literature reviews have been published for seagrass taxonomy, geographical distribution, species diversity, grazer-epiphyte interactions, morphology, physiology, salinity requirements, and nutrient impacts (Schaffer 1995; Jernakoff et al. 1996; Touchette and Burholder 2000; Borto...

  3. Manatee grazing impacts on a mixed species seagrass bed

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lefebvre, Lynn W.; Provancha, Jane A.; Slone, Daniel H.; Kenworthy, W. Judson

    2017-01-01

    The endangered manatee Trichechus manatus is one of few large grazers in seagrass systems. To assess the long-term impacts of repeated grazing on seagrasses, we selected a study site within Kennedy Space Center in the northern Banana River, Brevard County, Florida, that was typically grazed by large numbers of manatees in spring. Two 13x13 m manatee exclosures and 2 paired open plots of equal size were established at the study site in October 1990. Shoot counts, biomass, and species composition of the co-dominant seagrass species, Syringodium filiforme and Halodule wrightii, were sampled 3 times per year in all 4 plots between October 1990 and October 1994. We used a Bayesian modelling approach, accounting for the influence of depth, to detect treatment (exclosed vs. open) effects. S. filiforme shoot counts, total biomass, and frequency of occurrence significantly increased in the exclosures. By July 1993, mean biomass values in the exclosures (167 g dry wt m-2) greatly exceeded those in the open plots (28 g dry wt m-2). H. wrightii decreased in the exclosures by 1994. Initially, both S. filiforme and H. wrightii responded positively to release from manatee grazing pressure. As S. filiforme continued to become denser in the exclosures, it gradually replaced H. wrightii. Our findings may be helpful to biologists and managers interested in predicting seagrass recovery and manatee carrying capacity of repeatedly grazed seagrass beds in areas of special significance to manatees and seagrass conservation.

  4. Plant defences and the role of epibiosis in mediating within-plant feeding choices of seagrass consumers.

    PubMed

    Vergés, Adriana; Alcoverro, Teresa; Romero, Javier

    2011-06-01

    Within-plant variation in susceptibility to herbivory can significantly influence the ecological and evolutionary consequences of plant-herbivore interactions. Seagrasses are marine angiosperms characterised by substantial intra-individual differences in multiple traits, such as nutrients, chemical and structural defences and epibiotic load, all of which can strongly influence herbivore preferences. We quantified the within-plant feeding choices of the two main consumers of the temperate seagrass Posidonia oceanica--the fish Sarpa salpa and the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus--and determined the plant traits that explained their foraging strategies. We found strong within-plant heterogeneity in both seagrass susceptibility to herbivory and chemical composition, but different consumers exhibited contrasting feeding choices. S. salpa preferred the most nutritious and chemically defended younger leaves, suggesting a full adaptation to consuming this macrophyte and a greater impact of this herbivore on the plant. In contrast, P. lividus consistently preferred the older leaves covered by epibionts, probably attenuating the relative impact of this consumer and helping to explain the weak effects usually recorded for this echinoid in undisturbed meadows. Artificial diet experiments showed that morphology and fine-scale structural defences were the primary determinant of urchin feeding choices, with nutrient content and chemical defences being of secondary importance. Epibiosis did not strongly influence fish feeding, but it did have a strong 'shared-doom' effect on urchin consumption. This effect was driven by a distinct preference towards a mixed diet that included both host tissues and their epibiotic community.

  5. Effects of Land Use Change on Tropical Coastal Systems are Exacerbated by the Decline of Marine Mega-Herbivores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamers, L. P.; Christianen, M. J.; Govers, L. L.; Kiswara, W.; Bouma, T.; Roelofs, J. G.; Van Katwijk, M. M.

    2011-12-01

    Land use changes in tropical regions such as deforestation, mining activities, and shrimp farming, not only affect freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, but also have a strong impact on coastal marine ecosystems. The increased influx of sediments and nutrients affects these ecosystems in multiple ways. Seagrass meadows that line coastal marine ecosystems provide important ecosystem services, e.g. sediment trapping, coastal protection and fisheries. Based on studies in East Kalimantan (Indonesia) we have shown that seagrass meadow parameters may provide more reliable indicators of land use change than the sampling of either marine sediments or water quality chemical parameters. Observations of changes in ecosystem functioning are particularly valuable for those areas where flux values are lacking and rapid surveys are needed. Time series of estuarine seagrass transects can show not only the intensity, but also the radius of action of land use change on coastal marine systems. Marine mega-herbivores pose a strong top-down control in seagrass ecosystems. We will provide a conceptual model, based on experimental evidence, to show that the global decline of marine mega-herbivore populations (as a result of large-scale poaching) may decrease the resilience of seagrass systems to increased anthropogenic forcing including land use changes. These outcomes not only urge the need for better regulation of land use change, but also for the establishment of marine protected areas (MPA's) in tropical coastal regions.

  6. The effect of salinity increase on the photosynthesis, growth and survival of the Mediterranean seagrass Cymodocea nodosa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandoval-Gil, José M.; Marín-Guirao, Lázaro; Ruiz, Juan M.

    2012-12-01

    . nodosa has a higher tolerance to hypersaline conditions than the highly sensitive Posidonia oceanica, the other dominant Mediterranean seagrass, which is limited to marine environments with stable salinities.

  7. Suitability of seagrasses and submerged aquatic vegetation as indicators of eutrophication

    EPA Science Inventory

    Rooted submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) encompasses a large diversity of species that range from obligate halophytes such as, seagrasses, to euryhaline species and freshwater obligates. All seagrass and SAV provide key biological functions within the enclosed bays, estuaries, a...

  8. AUTOMATED PRODUCTION OF SEAGRASS MAPS FROM SIDESCAN SONAR IMAGERY: ACCURACY, VARIABILITY AND PATCH RESOLUTION

    EPA Science Inventory

    Maps of seagrass beds are useful for monitoring estuarine condition, managing habitats, and modeling estuarine processes. We recently developed inexpensive methods for collecting and classifying sidescan sonar (SSS) imagery for seagrass presence in turbid waters as shallow as 1-...

  9. PRODUCTION OF PLANT GROWTH PROMOTING SUBSTANCES IN BACTERIAL ISOLATES FROM THE SEAGRASS RHIZOSPHERE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Plants and rhizosphere bacteria have evolved chemical signals that enable their mutual growth. These relationships have been well investigated with agriculturally important plants, but not in seagrasses, which are important to the stability of estuaries. Seagrasses are rooted in ...

  10. Historical processes and contemporary ocean currents drive genetic structure in the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii in the Indo-Australian Archipelago.

    PubMed

    Hernawan, Udhi E; van Dijk, Kor-Jent; Kendrick, Gary A; Feng, Ming; Biffin, Edward; Lavery, Paul S; McMahon, Kathryn

    2017-02-01

    Understanding spatial patterns of gene flow and genetic structure is essential for the conservation of marine ecosystems. Contemporary ocean currents and historical isolation due to Pleistocene sea level fluctuations have been predicted to influence the genetic structure in marine populations. In the Indo-Australian Archipelago (IAA), the world's hotspot of marine biodiversity, seagrasses are a vital component but population genetic information is very limited. Here, we reconstructed the phylogeography of the seagrass Thalassia hemprichii in the IAA based on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and then characterized the genetic structure based on a panel of 16 microsatellite markers. We further examined the relative importance of historical isolation and contemporary ocean currents in driving the patterns of genetic structure. Results from SNPs revealed three population groups: eastern Indonesia, western Indonesia (Sunda Shelf) and Indian Ocean; while the microsatellites supported five population groups (eastern Indonesia, Sunda Shelf, Lesser Sunda, Western Australia and Indian Ocean). Both SNPs and microsatellites showed asymmetrical gene flow among population groups with a trend of southwestward migration from eastern Indonesia. Genetic diversity was generally higher in eastern Indonesia and decreased southwestward. The pattern of genetic structure and connectivity is attributed partly to the Pleistocene sea level fluctuations modified to a smaller level by contemporary ocean currents.

  11. Seagrass meadows as a globally significant carbonate reservoir

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarrasa, I.; Marbà, N.; Lovelock, C. E.; Serrano, O.; Lavery, P. S.; Fourqurean, J. W.; Kennedy, H.; Mateo, M. A.; Krause-Jensen, D.; Steven, A. D. L.; Duarte, C. M.

    2015-03-01

    There has been a growing interest in quantifying the capacity of seagrass ecosystems to act as carbon sinks as a natural way of offsetting anthropogenic carbon emissions to the atmosphere. However, most of the efforts have focused on the organic carbon (POC) stocks and accumulation rates and ignored the inorganic carbon (PIC) fraction, despite important carbonate pools associated with calcifying organisms inhabiting the meadows, such as epiphytes and benthic invertebrates, and despite the relevance that carbonate precipitation and dissolution processes have in the global carbon cycle. This study offers the first assessment of the global PIC stocks in seagrass sediments using a synthesis of published and unpublished data on sediment carbonate concentration from 402 vegetated and 34 adjacent un-vegetated sites. PIC stocks in the top 1 m sediments ranged between 3 and 1660 Mg PIC ha-1, with an average of 654 ± 24 Mg PIC ha-1, exceeding about 5 fold those of POC reported in previous studies. Sedimentary carbonate stocks varied across seagrass communities, with meadows dominated by Halodule, Thalassia or Cymodocea supporting the highest PIC stocks, and tended to decrease polewards at a rate of -8 ± 2 Mg PIC ha-1 degree-1 of latitude (GLM, p < 0.0003). Using PIC concentration and estimates of sediment accretion in seagrass meadows, mean PIC accumulation rates in seagrass sediments is 126.3 ± 0.7 g PIC m-2 y-1. Based on the global extent of seagrass meadows (177 000 to 600 000 km2), these ecosystems globally store between 11 and 39 Pg of PIC in the top meter of sediment and accumulate between 22 and 76 Tg PIC y-1, representing a significant contribution to the carbonate dynamics of coastal areas. Despite that these high rates of carbonate accumulation imply CO2 emissions from precipitation, seagrass meadows are still strong CO2 sinks as demonstrates the comparison of carbon (POC and POC) stocks between vegetated and adjacent un-vegetated sediments.

  12. Impact of mooring activities on carbon stocks in seagrass meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serrano, O.; Ruhon, R.; Lavery, P. S.; Kendrick, G. A.; Hickey, S.; Masqué, P.; Arias-Ortiz, A.; Steven, A.; Duarte, C. M.

    2016-03-01

    Boating activities are one of the causes that threaten seagrass meadows and the ecosystem services they provide. Mechanical destruction of seagrass habitats may also trigger the erosion of sedimentary organic carbon (Corg) stocks, which may contribute to increasing atmospheric CO2. This study presents the first estimates of loss of Corg stocks in seagrass meadows due to mooring activities in Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Sediment cores were sampled from seagrass meadows and from bare but previously vegetated sediments underneath moorings. The Corg stores have been compromised by the mooring deployment from 1930s onwards, which involved both the erosion of existing sedimentary Corg stores and the lack of further accumulation of Corg. On average, undisturbed meadows had accumulated ~6.4 Kg Corg m-2 in the upper 50 cm-thick deposits at a rate of 34 g Corg m-2 yr-1. The comparison of Corg stores between meadows and mooring scars allows us to estimate a loss of 4.8 kg Corg m-2 in the 50 cm-thick deposits accumulated over ca. 200 yr as a result of mooring deployments. These results provide key data for the implementation of Corg storage credit offset policies to avoid the conversion of seagrass ecosystems and contribute to their preservation.

  13. Impact of mooring activities on carbon stocks in seagrass meadows

    PubMed Central

    Serrano, O.; Ruhon, R.; Lavery, P. S.; Kendrick, G. A.; Hickey, S.; Masqué, P.; Arias-Ortiz, A.; Steven, A.; Duarte, C. M.

    2016-01-01

    Boating activities are one of the causes that threaten seagrass meadows and the ecosystem services they provide. Mechanical destruction of seagrass habitats may also trigger the erosion of sedimentary organic carbon (Corg) stocks, which may contribute to increasing atmospheric CO2. This study presents the first estimates of loss of Corg stocks in seagrass meadows due to mooring activities in Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Sediment cores were sampled from seagrass meadows and from bare but previously vegetated sediments underneath moorings. The Corg stores have been compromised by the mooring deployment from 1930s onwards, which involved both the erosion of existing sedimentary Corg stores and the lack of further accumulation of Corg. On average, undisturbed meadows had accumulated ~6.4 Kg Corg m−2 in the upper 50 cm-thick deposits at a rate of 34 g Corg m−2 yr−1. The comparison of Corg stores between meadows and mooring scars allows us to estimate a loss of 4.8 kg Corg m−2 in the 50 cm-thick deposits accumulated over ca. 200 yr as a result of mooring deployments. These results provide key data for the implementation of Corg storage credit offset policies to avoid the conversion of seagrass ecosystems and contribute to their preservation. PMID:26979407

  14. Patterns of top-down control in a seagrass ecosystem: could a roving apex predator induce a behaviour-mediated trophic cascade?

    PubMed

    Burkholder, Derek A; Heithaus, Michael R; Fourqurean, James W; Wirsing, Aaron; Dill, Lawrence M

    2013-11-01

    1. The loss of large-bodied herbivores and/or top predators has been associated with large-scale changes in ecosystems around the world, but there remain important questions regarding the contexts in which such changes are most likely and the mechanisms through which they occur, particularly in marine ecosystems. 2. We used long-term exclusion cages to examine the effects of large grazers (sea cows, Dugong dugon; sea turtles Chelonia mydas) on seagrass community structure, biomass and nutrient dynamics. Experiments were conducted in habitats with high risk of predation (interior of shallow banks) and lower risk (edges of banks) to elucidate whether nonconsumptive (risk) effects of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), a roving predator, structure herbivore impacts on seagrasses. 3. In lower-risk habitats, excluding large herbivores resulted in increased leaf length for Cymodocea angustata and Halodule uninervis. C. angustata shoot densities nearly tripled when released from herbivory, while H. uninervis nearly disappeared from exclusion cages over the course of the study. 4. We found no support for the hypothesis that grazing increases seagrass nutrient content. Instead, phosphorus content was higher in seagrasses within exclosures. This pattern is consistent with decreased light availability in the denser C. angustata canopies that formed in exclosures, and may indicate that competition for light led to the decrease in H. uninervis. 5. Impacts of large grazers were consistent with a behaviour-mediated trophic cascade (BMTC) initiated by tiger sharks and mediated by risk-sensitive foraging by large grazers. 6, Our results suggest that large-bodied grazers likely played important roles in seagrass ecosystem dynamics historically and that roving predators are capable of initiating a BMTC. Conservation efforts in coastal ecosystems must account for such interactions or risk unintended consequences.

  15. Population genetic structure of annual and perennial populations of Zostera marina L. along the Pacific coast of Baja California and the Gulf of California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

    The Baja California peninsula represents a biogeographical boundary contributing to regional differentiation among populations of marine animals. We investigated the genetic characteristics of perennial and annual populations of the marine angiosperm, Zostera marina, along the Pacific coast of Baja California and in the Gulf of California, respectively. Populations of Z. marina from five coastal lagoons along the Pacific coast and four sites in the Gulf of California were studied using nine microsatellite loci. Analyses of variance revealed significant interregional differentiation, but no subregional differentiation. Significant spatial differentiation, assessed using θ values, was observed among all populations within the two regions. Z. marina populations along the Pacific coast are separated by more than 220 km and had the greatest θ (0.13-0.28) values, suggesting restricted gene flow. In contrast, lower but still significant genetic differentiation was observed among populations within the Gulf of California (θ = 0.04-0.18), even though populations are separated by more than 250 km. This suggests higher levels of gene flow among Gulf of California populations relative to Pacific coast populations. Direction of gene flow was predominantly southward among Pacific coast populations, whereas no dominant polarity in the Gulf of California populations was observed. The test for isolation by distance (IBD) showed a significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances in Gulf of California populations, but not in Pacific coast populations, perhaps because of shifts in currents during El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events along the Pacific coast.

  16. Population genetic structure of annual and perennial populations of Zostera marina L. along the Pacific coast of Baja California and the Gulf of California.

    PubMed

    Muñiz-Salazar, Raquel; Talbot, Sandra L; Sage, George K; Ward, David H; Cabello-Pasini, Alejandro

    2005-03-01

    The Baja California peninsula represents a biogeographical boundary contributing to regional differentiation among populations of marine animals. We investigated the genetic characteristics of perennial and annual populations of the marine angiosperm, Zostera marina, along the Pacific coast of Baja California and in the Gulf of California, respectively. Populations of Z. marina from five coastal lagoons along the Pacific coast and four sites in the Gulf of California were studied using nine microsatellite loci. Analyses of variance revealed significant interregional differentiation, but no subregional differentiation. Significant spatial differentiation, assessed using theta(ST) values, was observed among all populations within the two regions. Z. marina populations along the Pacific coast are separated by more than 220 km and had the greatest theta(ST) (0.13-0.28) values, suggesting restricted gene flow. In contrast, lower but still significant genetic differentiation was observed among populations within the Gulf of California (theta(ST) = 0.04-0.18), even though populations are separated by more than 250 km. This suggests higher levels of gene flow among Gulf of California populations relative to Pacific coast populations. Direction of gene flow was predominantly southward among Pacific coast populations, whereas no dominant polarity in the Gulf of California populations was observed. The test for isolation by distance (IBD) showed a significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances in Gulf of California populations, but not in Pacific coast populations, perhaps because of shifts in currents during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events along the Pacific coast.

  17. Dugong dugon feeding in tropical Australian seagrass meadows: implications for conservation planning

    PubMed Central

    Coles, Rob G.; Congdon, Bradley C.

    2016-01-01

    Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are listed as vulnerable to extinction due to rapid population reductions caused in part by loss of seagrass feeding meadows. Understanding dugong feeding behaviour in tropical Australia, where the majority of dugongs live, will assist conservation strategies. We examined whether feeding patterns in intertidal seagrass meadows in tropical north-eastern Australia were related to seagrass biomass, species composition and/or nitrogen content. The total biomass of each seagrass species removed by feeding dugongs was measured and compared to its relative availability. Nitrogen concentrations were also determined for each seagrass species present at the sites. Dugongs consumed seagrass species in proportion to their availability, with biomass being the primary determining factor. Species composition and/or nitrogen content influenced consumption to a lesser degree. Conservation plans focused on protecting high biomass intertidal seagrass meadows are likely to be most effective at ensuring the survival of dugong in tropical north-eastern Australia. PMID:27441123

  18. Impact of pond aquaculture effluents on seagrass performance in NE Hainan, tropical China.

    PubMed

    Herbeck, Lucia S; Sollich, Miriam; Unger, Daniela; Holmer, Marianne; Jennerjahn, Tim C

    2014-08-15

    The impact of pond aquaculture effluents on the distribution and performance of seagrasses was examined in NE Hainan, tropical China. Samples were taken along transects in three back-reef areas with different extent of aquaculture production in their hinterland. High δ(15)N in seagrass leaves and epiphytes (6-9‰) similar to values in pond effluents documented aquaculture as dominant nitrogen source in the back-reefs with decreasing impact with distance from shore. Seagrass species abundance, shoot density and biomass were lower and concentrations of nutrients, chlorophyll and suspended matter were higher at nearshore sites with high and moderate pond abundance than at the control site. High epiphyte loads and low δ(34)S in seagrass leaves suggest temporal shading and sulphide poisoning of the nearshore seagrasses. Observed gradients in environmental parameters and seagrass performance indicate that the distance from the pond outlets and size of the adjacent pond agglomeration are major determinants of seagrass degradation.

  19. Quantifying and modelling the carbon sequestration capacity of seagrass meadows--a critical assessment.

    PubMed

    Macreadie, P I; Baird, M E; Trevathan-Tackett, S M; Larkum, A W D; Ralph, P J

    2014-06-30

    Seagrasses are among the planet's most effective natural ecosystems for sequestering (capturing and storing) carbon (C); but if degraded, they could leak stored C into the atmosphere and accelerate global warming. Quantifying and modelling the C sequestration capacity is therefore critical for successfully managing seagrass ecosystems to maintain their substantial abatement potential. At present, there is no mechanism to support carbon financing linked to seagrass. For seagrasses to be recognised by the IPCC and the voluntary C market, standard stock assessment methodologies and inventories of seagrass C stocks are required. Developing accurate C budgets for seagrass meadows is indeed complex; we discuss these complexities, and, in addition, we review techniques and methodologies that will aid development of C budgets. We also consider a simple process-based data assimilation model for predicting how seagrasses will respond to future change, accompanied by a practical list of research priorities.

  20. Dugong dugon feeding in tropical Australian seagrass meadows: implications for conservation planning.

    PubMed

    Tol, Samantha J; Coles, Rob G; Congdon, Bradley C

    2016-01-01

    Dugongs (Dugong dugon) are listed as vulnerable to extinction due to rapid population reductions caused in part by loss of seagrass feeding meadows. Understanding dugong feeding behaviour in tropical Australia, where the majority of dugongs live, will assist conservation strategies. We examined whether feeding patterns in intertidal seagrass meadows in tropical north-eastern Australia were related to seagrass biomass, species composition and/or nitrogen content. The total biomass of each seagrass species removed by feeding dugongs was measured and compared to its relative availability. Nitrogen concentrations were also determined for each seagrass species present at the sites. Dugongs consumed seagrass species in proportion to their availability, with biomass being the primary determining factor. Species composition and/or nitrogen content influenced consumption to a lesser degree. Conservation plans focused on protecting high biomass intertidal seagrass meadows are likely to be most effective at ensuring the survival of dugong in tropical north-eastern Australia.

  1. Landscape configuration modulates carbon storage in seagrass sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ricart, Aurora M.; Pérez, Marta; Romero, Javier

    2017-02-01

    Climate change has increased interest in seagrass systems as natural carbon sinks and recent studies have estimated the carbon stocks associated with seagrass meadows. However, the factors that affect their variability remain poorly understood. This paper assesses how landscape-level attributes (patch size and matrix composition) influence carbon storage in seagrass sediments. We quantified the organic carbon (Corg) content and other geochemical properties (δ13C and particle size) in surface sediments of continuous Posidonia oceanica meadows, patchy meadows interspersed with rocky-algal reefs and patchy meadows on sedimentary bottoms. We also took samples of potential carbon sources for isotopic composition determination. Our results indicate that the continuous meadows accumulated larger amounts of Corg than patchy meadows, whether embedded in a rock or sand matrix. The Corg from continuous meadows was also more 13C enriched, which suggests that a high proportion of the carbon was derived from plant material (autochthonous sources); in contrast in patchy meadows (especially in a sand matrix), lower δ13C values indicated a higher contribution from allochthonous sources (mainly suspended particulate organic matter, SPOM). These findings suggest that the sediment of continuous meadows stores more Corg in than that of patchy meadows. This is probably due to the increased contribution from seagrass leaves, which are much more refractory than SPOM. In general, certain landscape configurations, and especially patchiness, appear to reduce the carbon storage capacity of seagrasses. Since the current decline of seagrass is leading to habitat fragmentation, our results increase the argument for the promotion of effective measures to preserve the integrity of these natural carbon sinks.

  2. Resource distribution influences positive edge effects in a seagrass fish.

    PubMed

    Macreadie, Peter I; Hindell, Jeremy S; Keough, Michael J; Jenkins, Gregory P; Connolly, Rod M

    2010-07-01

    According to conceptual models, the distribution of resources plays a critical role in determining how organisms distribute themselves near habitat edges. These models are frequently used to achieve a mechanistic understanding of edge effects, but because they are based predominantly on correlative studies, there is need for a demonstration of causality, which is best done through experimentation. Using artificial seagrass habitat as an experimental system, we determined a likely mechanism underpinning edge effects in a seagrass fish. To test for edge effects, we measured fish abundance at edges (0-0.5 m) and interiors (0.5-1 m) of two patch configurations: continuous (single, continuous 9-m2 patches) and patchy (four discrete 1-m2 patches within a 9-m2 area). In continuous configurations, pipefish (Stigmatopora argus) were three times more abundant at edges than interiors (positive edge effect), but in patchy configurations there was no difference. The lack of edge effect in patchy configurations might be because patchy seagrass consisted entirely of edge habitat. We then used two approaches to test whether observed edge effects in continuous configurations were caused by increased availability of food at edges. First, we estimated the abundance of the major prey of pipefish, small crustaceans, across continuous seagrass configurations. Crustacean abundances were highest at seagrass edges, where they were 16% greater than in patch interiors. Second, we supplemented interiors of continuous treatment patches with live crustaceans, while control patches were supplemented with seawater. After five hours of supplementation, numbers of pipefish were similar between edges and interiors of treatment patches, while the strong edge effects were maintained in controls. This indicated that fish were moving from patch edges to interiors in response to food supplementation. These approaches strongly suggest that a numerically dominant fish species is more abundant at seagrass

  3. Seagrass Health Modeling and Prediction with NASA Science Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robinson, Harold D.; Easson, Greg; Slattery, Marc; Anderson, Daniel; Blonski, Slawomir; DeCurtins, Robert; Underwood, Lauren

    2010-01-01

    Previous research has demonstrated that MODIS data products can be used as inputs into the seagrass productivity model developed by Fong and Harwell (1994). To further explore this use to predict seagrass productivity, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) custom data products, including Sea Surface Temperature, Light Attenuation, and Chlorophyll-a have been created for use as model parameter inputs. Coastal researchers can use these MODIS data products and model results in conjunction with historical and daily assessment of seagrass conditions to assess variables that affect the productivity of the seagrass beds. Current monitoring practices involve manual data collection (typically on a quarterly basis) and the data is often insufficient for evaluating the dynamic events that influence seagrass beds. As part of a NASA-funded research grant, the University of Mississippi, is working with researchers at NASA and Radiance Technologies to develop methods to deliver MODIS derived model output for the northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to coastal and environmental managers. The result of the project will be a data portal that provides access to MODIS data products and model results from the past 5 years, that includes an automated process to incorporate new data as it becomes available. All model parameters and final output will be available through the use National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?s (NOAA) Environmental Research Divisions Data Access Program (ERDDAP) tools as well as viewable using Thematic Realtime Environmental Distributed Data Services (THREDDS) and the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV). These tools provide the ability to create raster-based time sequences of model output and parameters as well as create graphs of model parameters versus time. This tool will provide researchers and coastal managers the ability to analyze the model inputs so that the factors influencing a change in seagrass productivity can be determined over time.

  4. Lipopolysaccharides elicit an oxidative burst as a component of the innate immune system in the seagrass Thalassia testudinum.

    PubMed

    Loucks, Kyle; Waddell, David; Ross, Cliff

    2013-09-01

    This study represents the first report characterizing the biological effects of a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) immune modulator on a marine vascular plant. LPS was shown to serve as a strong elicitor of the early defense response in the subtropical seagrass Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König and was capable of inducing an oxidative burst identified at the single cell level. The formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), detected by a redox-sensitive fluorescent probe and luminol-based chemiluminescence, included a diphenyleneiodonium sensitive response, suggesting the involvement of an NADPH oxidase. A 900 bp cDNA fragment coding for this enzyme was sequenced and found to encode a NAD binding pocket domain with extensive homology to the Arabidopsis thaliana rbohF (respiratory burst oxidase homolog) gene. The triggered release of ROS occurred at 20 min post-elicitation and was dose-dependent, requiring a minimal threshold of 50 μg/mL LPS. Pharmacological dissection of the early events preceding ROS emission indicated that the signal transduction chain of events involved extracellular alkalinization, G-proteins, phospholipase A2, as well as K(+), Ca(2+), and anion channels. Despite exclusively thriving in a marine environment, seagrasses contain ROS-generating machinery and signal transduction components that appear to be evolutionarily conserved with the well-characterized defense response systems found in terrestrial plants.

  5. USING STABLE ISOTOPES AND MECHANISTIC MODELS TO EXAMINE CARBON RESOURCE PARTITIONING IN THALASSIA TESTUDINUM AND ZOSTERA MARINA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Natural and anthropogenic stress negatively impact seagrass production and ecosystem function. Our goal is to better understand seagrass response to reduced light, nutrient and organic loading at a variety of ecological scales (individual to landscape) in order to help develop p...

  6. Comparing photophysiology of seagrasses in the Pacific Northwest: potential implications for species interactions - July 28, 2014

    EPA Science Inventory

    Physiological tolerances are a primary control on species interactions mediated through production and growth. We examined how the physiology of native eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and introduced Japanese eelgrass (Z. japonica Aschers. & Graeb) responded to temperature in ord...

  7. Comparing photophysiology of seagrasses in the Pacific Northwest: potential implications for species interactions

    EPA Science Inventory

    Physiological tolerances are a primary control on species interactions mediated through production and growth. We examined how the physiology of native eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and introduced Japanese eelgrass (Z. japonica Aschers. & Graeb) responded to temperature in or...

  8. ASSESSING THE IMPACTS OF SALINITY AND NUTRIENT STRESS TO RUPPIA MARITIMA AND ZOSTERA MARINA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Healthy seagrass beds were once found throughout the shallow areas of Narragansett Bay, R.I. but have disappeared due to infilling, pollution and disease. In Greenwich Bay, a highly developed embayment within Narragansett Bay, Ruppia maritima has colonized an area on the norther...

  9. Assessing the impacts of salinity and nutrient stress to Ruppia maritima and Zostera marina.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Healthy seagrass beds were once found throughout the shallow areas of Narragansett Bay, R.I. but have disappeared due to infilling, pollution and disease. In Greenwich Bay, a highly developed embayment within Narragansett Bay, Ruppia maritima has colonized an area on the northern...

  10. Zostera marina root demography in an intertidal estuarine environment measured using minirhizotron technology

    EPA Science Inventory

    Over the last four decades there have been major advances in our understanding of the biology, ecology and physiology of seagrasses and their interaction with the environment. Despite these advances, there has been relatively little advancement in our understanding of the belowg...

  11. IMPACTS OF SALINITY AND NUTRIENT STRESS TO RUPPIA MARITIMA AND ZOSTERA MARINA: A MESOCOSM EXPERIMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Healthy seagrass beds were once found throughout the shallow areas of Narragansett Bay, R.I. but have disappeared due to infilling, pollution and disease. In Greenwich Bay, a highly developed embayment within Narragansett Bay, Ruppia maritima has colonized an area on the norther...

  12. Interdependency of tropical marine ecosystems in response to climate change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saunders, Megan I.; Leon, Javier X.; Callaghan, David P.; Roelfsema, Chris M.; Hamylton, Sarah; Brown, Christopher J.; Baldock, Tom; Golshani, Aliasghar; Phinn, Stuart R.; Lovelock, Catherine E.; Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove; Woodroffe, Colin D.; Mumby, Peter J.

    2014-08-01

    Ecosystems are linked within landscapes by the physical and biological processes they mediate. In such connected landscapes, the response of one ecosystem to climate change could have profound consequences for neighbouring systems. Here, we report the first quantitative predictions of interdependencies between ecosystems in response to climate change. In shallow tropical marine ecosystems, coral reefs shelter lagoons from incoming waves, allowing seagrass meadows to thrive. Deepening water over coral reefs from sea-level rise results in larger, more energetic waves traversing the reef into the lagoon, potentially generating hostile conditions for seagrass. However, growth of coral reef such that the relative water depth is maintained could mitigate negative effects of sea-level rise on seagrass. Parameterizing physical and biological models for Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, we find negative effects of sea-level rise on seagrass before the middle of this century given reasonable rates of reef growth. Rates of vertical carbonate accretion typical of modern reef flats (up to 3 mm yr-1) will probably be insufficient to maintain suitable conditions for reef lagoon seagrass under moderate to high greenhouse gas emissions scenarios by 2100. Accounting for interdependencies in ecosystem responses to climate change is challenging, but failure to do so results in inaccurate predictions of habitat extent in the future.

  13. A DIAGENETIC MODEL FOR SEDIMENT-SEAGRASS INTERACTIONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objective of this modeling effort was to better understand the dynamic relationship between seagrass beds and their sedimentary environment using a diagenetic model. The model was developed and optimized for sediments in the Laguna Madre, TX, which is one of the world's larg...

  14. CONTROLS OF SEAGRASS EPIPHYTE ABUNDANCE: DOES LIGHT TRUMP NUTRIENTS?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Epiphytes on seagrass growing in the lower intertidal were examined along an estuarine gradient within Yaquina Bay, Oregon over a period of 4 years. The Yaquina Estuary receives high levels of nutrients from the watershed during the wet season and from the ocean during the dry s...

  15. SULFUR CYCLING IN THALASSIA TESTUDINUM SEAGRASS BED SEDIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Quarles, Robert L., Jessica A. Rivord and Richard Devereux. In press. Sulfur Cycling in Thalassia testudinum Seagrass Bed Sediments (Abstract). To be presented at the SWS/GERS Fall Joint Society Meeting: Communication and Collaboration: Coastal Systems of the Gulf of Mexico and S...

  16. Seagrass Ecosystem Services and Their Variability across Genera and Geographical Regions.

    PubMed

    Mtwana Nordlund, Lina; Koch, Evamaria W; Barbier, Edward B; Creed, Joel C

    2016-01-01

    Threats to and loss of seagrass ecosystems globally, impact not only natural resources but also the lives of people who directly or indirectly depend on these systems. Seagrass ecosystems play a multi-functional role in human well-being, e.g. food through fisheries, control of erosion and protection against floods. Quantifying these services reveals their contributions to human well-being and helps justify seagrass conservation. There has been no comprehensive assessment as to whether seagrass ecosystem services are perceived to vary over the globe or amongst genera. Our study compiles the most complete list of ecosystem services provided by seagrasses so far, including bioregional- and genus-specific information from expert opinion and published studies. Several seagrass ecosystem services vary considerably in their (known) provision across genera and over the globe. Seagrasses genera are clearly not all equal with regard to the ecosystem services they provide. As seagrass genera are not evenly distributed over all bioregions, the presence of an ecosystem service sometimes depends on the genera present. Larger sized seagrass genera (e.g. Posidonia, Enhalus) are perceived to provide more substantial and a wider variety of ecosystem services than smaller species (e.g. Halophila, Lepilaena). Nevertheless, smaller species provide important services. Our findings point out data gaps, provide new insight for more efficient management and recommend caution in economic valuation of seagrass services worldwide.

  17. Heavy metal enrichment in the seagrasses of Lakshadweep group of islands--a multivariate statistical analysis.

    PubMed

    Thangaradjou, T; Raja, S; Subhashini, Pon; Nobi, E P; Dilipan, E

    2013-01-01

    An assessment on heavy metal (Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn) accumulation by seven seagrass species of Lakshadweep group of islands was carried out using multivariate statistical tools like principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA). Among all the metals, Mg and Al were determined in higher concentration in all the seagrasses, and their values varied with respect to different seagrass species. The concentration of the four toxic heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu) was found higher in all the seagrasses when compared with the background values of seagrasses from Flores Sea, Indonesia. The contamination factor of these four heavy metals ranged as Cd (1.97-12.5), Cu (0.73-4.40), Pb (2.3-8.89) and Zn (1.27-2.787). In general, the Pollution Load Index (PLI) calculated was found to be maximum for Halophila decipiens (58.2). Results revealed that Halophila decipiens is a strong accumulator of heavy metals, followed by Halodule uninervis and Halodule pinifolia, among all the tested seagrasses. Interestingly, the small-leaved seagrasses were found to be efficient in heavy metal accumulation than the large-leaved seagrass species. Thus, seagrasses can better be used for biomonitoring, and seagrasses can be used as the heavy metal sink as the biomass take usually long term to get remineralize in nature.

  18. Seagrass Ecosystem Services and Their Variability across Genera and Geographical Regions

    PubMed Central

    Mtwana Nordlund, Lina; Barbier, Edward B.; Creed, Joel C.

    2016-01-01

    Threats to and loss of seagrass ecosystems globally, impact not only natural resources but also the lives of people who directly or indirectly depend on these systems. Seagrass ecosystems play a multi-functional role in human well-being, e.g. food through fisheries, control of erosion and protection against floods. Quantifying these services reveals their contributions to human well-being and helps justify seagrass conservation. There has been no comprehensive assessment as to whether seagrass ecosystem services are perceived to vary over the globe or amongst genera. Our study compiles the most complete list of ecosystem services provided by seagrasses so far, including bioregional- and genus-specific information from expert opinion and published studies. Several seagrass ecosystem services vary considerably in their (known) provision across genera and over the globe. Seagrasses genera are clearly not all equal with regard to the ecosystem services they provide. As seagrass genera are not evenly distributed over all bioregions, the presence of an ecosystem service sometimes depends on the genera present. Larger sized seagrass genera (e.g. Posidonia, Enhalus) are perceived to provide more substantial and a wider variety of ecosystem services than smaller species (e.g. Halophila, Lepilaena). Nevertheless, smaller species provide important services. Our findings point out data gaps, provide new insight for more efficient management and recommend caution in economic valuation of seagrass services worldwide. PMID:27732600

  19. Meadow fragmentation and reproductive output of the SE Asian seagrass Enhalus acoroides [rapid communication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vermaat, Jan E.; Rollon, Rene N.; Lacap, Cristina Day A.; Billot, Claire; Alberto, Filipe; Nacorda, Hildie M. E.; Wiegman, Frank; Terrados, Jorge

    2004-11-01

    Flower and fruit production of the abundant, tall, long-lived, dioecious, surface-pollinating seagrass species Enhalus acoroides (L.) Royle were estimated at seven sites in the reef flats off Bolinao (NW Luzon, The Philippines) featuring different fragmentation of the seagrass meadows. Fragmentation of the seagrass meadow was quantified as cover of E. acoroides and all seagrass species present in 20×20 m plots. E. acoroides and overall seagrass cover were correlated positively. The proportion of female flowers of E. acoroides that developed a fruit increased sharply as overall seagrass cover was around 50%. Apparent sex ratio bore no relationship with overall seagrass cover. This threshold-type of relationship suggests that fragmentation of seagrass meadows can have a major effect on the reproductive output of this species. A possible mechanism underlying these results would be a non-linear increase of the efficiency of trapping the surface-dispersed pollen with increasing seagrass canopy density. This provides the first evidence based on real data that fragmentation can affect the population dynamics of seagrass species.

  20. Seagrass meadows as a globally significant carbonate reservoir

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mazarrasa, I.; Marbà, N.; Lovelock, C. E.; Serrano, O.; Lavery, P. S.; Fourqurean, J. W.; Kennedy, H.; Mateo, M. A.; Krause-Jensen, D.; Steven, A. D. L.; Duarte, C. M.

    2015-08-01

    There has been growing interest in quantifying the capacity of seagrass ecosystems to act as carbon sinks as a natural way of offsetting anthropogenic carbon emissions to the atmosphere. However, most of the efforts have focused on the particulate organic carbon (POC) stocks and accumulation rates and ignored the particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) fraction, despite important carbonate pools associated with calcifying organisms inhabiting the meadows, such as epiphytes and benthic invertebrates, and despite the relevance that carbonate precipitation and dissolution processes have in the global carbon cycle. This study offers the first assessment of the global PIC stocks in seagrass sediments using a synthesis of published and unpublished data on sediment carbonate concentration from 403 vegetated and 34 adjacent un-vegetated sites. PIC stocks in the top 1 m of sediment ranged between 3 and 1660 Mg PIC ha-1, with an average of 654 ± 24 Mg PIC ha-1, exceeding those of POC reported in previous studies by about a factor of 5. Sedimentary carbonate stocks varied across seagrass communities, with meadows dominated by Halodule, Thalassia or Cymodocea supporting the highest PIC stocks, and tended to decrease polewards at a rate of -8 ± 2 Mg PIC ha-1 per degree of latitude (general linear model, GLM; p < 0.0003). Using PIC concentrations and estimates of sediment accretion in seagrass meadows, the mean PIC accumulation rate in seagrass sediments is found to be 126.3 ± 31.05 g PIC m-2 yr-1. Based on the global extent of seagrass meadows (177 000 to 600 000 km2), these ecosystems globally store between 11 and 39 Pg of PIC in the top metre of sediment and accumulate between 22 and 75 Tg PIC yr-1, representing a significant contribution to the carbonate dynamics of coastal areas. Despite the fact that these high rates of carbonate accumulation imply CO2 emissions from precipitation, seagrass meadows are still strong CO2 sinks as demonstrated by the comparison of carbon (PIC

  1. Coastal nitrogen plumes and their relationship with seagrass distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernandes, Milena B.; Benger, Simon; Stuart-Williams, Hilary; Gaylard, Sam; Bryars, Simon

    2015-12-01

    Urbanised coastlines are affected by cumulative impacts from a variety of anthropogenic stressors, but spatial information on the distribution of these stressors at the local scale is scarce, hindering the ability of managers to prioritise mitigation options. This work investigated the spatial footprint of land-based nitrogen discharges to a metropolitan coastline and assessed the potential role of this stressor alone on seagrass dynamics at the scale of the ecosystem. The macroalga Caulocystis cephalornithos was used as a time-integrative sampler of nitrogen in the water column over 202 sites monitored across an area of ˜800 km2. The stable isotopic signature of nitrogen in tissues (δ15N) was used to map plumes of anthropogenic origin. The surface area of these plumes was found to be proportional to nitrogen loads from land. The largest plume was associated with discharges from an industrialised estuary and a wastewater treatment plant, where a monthly nitrogen load in excess of 110 tonnes affected an area >80 km2. The location and size of the plumes changed with seasons as a result of wind forcing and rainfall/wastewater reuse. The location of the plumes was compared to published seagrass distribution obtained from video transects. Dense seagrass meadows only occurred in areas unimpacted by plumes throughout the year, mostly in shallow (<5 m) regions for Amphibolis antarctica, and deeper (5-10 m) for Posidonia sp., possibly as a result of this species higher tolerance of low light conditions. This higher tolerance might also explain why Posidonia sp. is observed to preferentially recolonise areas of previous loss in the region. While a decrease in the spatial footprint of nutrient plumes has created conditions for natural seagrass recolonisation in some areas, it did not halt seagrass loss in others, suggesting the influence of additional stressors such as wave dynamics and light attenuation due to turbid/coloured stormwater.

  2. Photosynthetic activity buffers ocean acidification in seagrass meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendriks, I. E.; Olsen, Y. S.; Ramajo, L.; Basso, L.; Steckbauer, A.; Moore, T. S.; Howard, J.; Duarte, C. M.

    2014-01-01

    Macrophytes growing in shallow coastal zones characterised by intense metabolic activity have the capacity to modify pH within their canopy and beyond. We observed diel pH changes in shallow (5-12 m) seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows spanning 0.06 pH units in September to 0.24 units in June. The carbonate system (pH, DIC, and aragonite saturation state (ΩAr)) and O2 within the meadows displayed strong diel variability driven by primary productivity, and changes in chemistry were related to structural parameters of the meadow, in particular, the leaf surface area available for photosynthesis (LAI). LAI was positively correlated to mean, max and range pHNBS and max and range ΩAr. In June, vertical mixing (as Turbulent Kinetic Energy) influenced max and min ΩAr, while in September there was no effect of hydrodynamics on the carbonate system within the canopy. Max and range ΩAr within the meadow showed a positive trend with the calcium carbonate load of the leaves, pointing to a possible link between structural parameters, ΩAr and carbonate deposition. Calcifying organisms, e.g. epiphytes with carbonate skeletons, may benefit from the modification of the carbonate system by the meadow. There is, however, concern for the ability of seagrasses to provide modifications of similar importance in the future. The predicted decline of seagrass meadows may alter the scope for alteration of pH within a seagrass meadow and in the water column above the meadow, particularly if shoot density and biomass decline, on which LAI is based. Organisms associated with seagrass communities may therefore suffer from the loss of pH buffering capacity in degraded meadows.

  3. Phylogeny as a Proxy for Ecology in Seagrass Amphipods: Which Traits Are Most Conserved?

    PubMed Central

    Best, Rebecca J.; Stachowicz, John J.

    2013-01-01

    Increasingly, studies of community assembly and ecosystem function combine trait data and phylogenetic relationships to gain novel insight into the ecological and evolutionary constraints on community dynamics. However, the key to interpreting these two types of information is an understanding of the extent to which traits are phylogenetically conserved. In this study, we develop the necessary framework for community phylogenetics approaches in a system of marine crustacean herbivores that play an important role in the ecosystem functioning of seagrass systems worldwide. For 16 species of amphipods and isopods, we (1) reconstructed phylogenetic relationships using COI, 16S, and 18S sequences and Bayesian analyses, (2) measured traits that are potentially important for assembling species between and within habitats, and (3) compared the degree to which each of these traits are evolutionarily conserved. Despite poor phylogenetic resolution for the order Amphipoda as a whole, we resolved almost all of the topology for the species in our system, and used a sampling of ultrametric trees from the posterior distribution to account for remaining uncertainty in topology and branch lengths. We found that traits varied widely in their degree of phylogenetic signal. Body mass, fecundity, and tube building showed very strong phylogenetic signal, and temperature tolerance and feeding traits showed much less. As such, the degree of signal was not predictable based on whether the trait is related to environmental filtering or to resource partitioning. Further, we found that even with strong phylogenetic signal in body size, (which may have large impacts on ecosystem function), the predictive relationship between phylogenetic diversity and ecosystem function is not straightforward. We show that patterns of phylogenetic diversity in communities of seagrass mesograzers could lead to a variety of interpretations and predictions, and that detailed study of trait similarities and

  4. Towards understanding temporal and spatial dynamics of seagrass landscapes using time-series remote sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lyons, Mitchell B.; Roelfsema, Chris M.; Phinn, Stuart R.

    2013-03-01

    The spatial and temporal dynamics of seagrasses have been well studied at the leaf to patch scales, however, the link to large spatial extent landscape and population dynamics is still unresolved in seagrass ecology. Traditional remote sensing approaches have lacked the temporal resolution and consistency to appropriately address this issue. This study uses two high temporal resolution time-series of thematic seagrass cover maps to examine the spatial and temporal dynamics of seagrass at both an inter- and intra-annual time scales, one of the first globally to do so at this scale. Previous work by the authors developed an object-based approach to map seagrass cover level distribution from a long term archive of Landsat TM and ETM+ images on the Eastern Banks (≈200 km2), Moreton Bay, Australia. In this work a range of trend and time-series analysis methods are demonstrated for a time-series of 23 annual maps from 1988 to 2010 and a time-series of 16 monthly maps during 2008-2010. Significant new insight was presented regarding the inter- and intra-annual dynamics of seagrass persistence over time, seagrass cover level variability, seagrass cover level trajectory, and change in area of seagrass and cover levels over time. Overall we found that there was no significant decline in total seagrass area on the Eastern Banks, but there was a significant decline in seagrass cover level condition. A case study of two smaller communities within the Eastern Banks that experienced a decline in both overall seagrass area and condition are examined in detail, highlighting possible differences in environmental and process drivers. We demonstrate how trend and time-series analysis enabled seagrass distribution to be appropriately assessed in context of its spatial and temporal history and provides the ability to not only quantify change, but also describe the type of change. We also demonstrate the potential use of time-series analysis products to investigate seagrass growth and

  5. Seagrass meadows globally as a coupled social-ecological system: implications for human wellbeing.

    PubMed

    Cullen-Unsworth, Leanne C; Nordlund, Lina Mtwana; Paddock, Jessica; Baker, Susan; McKenzie, Len J; Unsworth, Richard K F

    2014-06-30

    Seagrass ecosystems are diminishing worldwide and repeated studies confirm a lack of appreciation for the value of these systems. In order to highlight their value we provide the first discussion of seagrass meadows as a coupled social-ecological system on a global scale. We consider the impact of a declining resource on people, including those for whom seagrass meadows are utilised for income generation and a source of food security through fisheries support. Case studies from across the globe are used to demonstrate the intricate relationship between seagrass meadows and people that highlight the multi-functional role of seagrasses in human wellbeing. While each case underscores unique issues, these examples simultaneously reveal social-ecological coupling that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. We conclude that understanding seagrass meadows as a coupled social-ecological system is crucial in carving pathways for social and ecological resilience in light of current patterns of local to global environmental change.

  6. Non-native seagrass Halophila stipulacea forms dense mats under eutrophic conditions in the Caribbean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Tussenbroek, B. I.; van Katwijk, M. M.; Bouma, T. J.; van der Heide, T.; Govers, L. L.; Leuven, R. S. E. W.

    2016-09-01

    Seagrasses comprise 78 species and are rarely invasive. But the seagrass Halophila stipulacea, firstly recorded in the Caribbean in the year 2002, has spread quickly throughout the region. Previous works have described this species as invasive in the Caribbean, forming dense mats that exclude native seagrass species. During a reconnaissance field survey of Caribbean seagrass meadows at the islands of Bonaire and Sint Maarten in 2013, we observed that this species was only extremely dense at 5 out of 10 studied meadows. Compared to areas with sparse growth of H. stipulacea, these dense meadows showed consistently higher nutrient concentrations, as indicated by higher leaf tissue N contents of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum (dense when C:N < 22.5) and sediments (dense when %N > 11.3). Thus, the potential invasiveness of this non-native seagrass most likely depends on the environmental conditions, especially the nutrient concentrations.

  7. Effects of mining wastes on a seagrass ecosystem: metal accumulation and bioavailability, seagrass dynamics and associated community structure.

    PubMed

    Marín-Guirao, Lázaro; Atucha, Arnaldo Marín; Barba, Javier Lloret; López, Emma Martínez; Fernández, Antonio J García

    2005-09-01

    Two different Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson beds growing in mining-contaminated sediments were compared with two reference beds in the Mar Menor coastal lagoon. The accumulation of Zn, Pb and Cd in different fractions of the plant, the sediment parameters that regulate the availability of metals, the seabed structure and dynamics of each seagrass bed and its associated macroinvertebrate community were studied. C. nodosa accumulates metals from the sediments and reflects their bioavailability for this seagrass. At each station, the metal content of the rhizomes was lower than that of leaves and roots. The concentration of acid-volatile sulfides does not seem to influence the availability of metals to the seagrass, possibly due to oxygen transport to underground tissues. The highest metal concentration in all the contaminated stations was found in the leaf-biofilm, due to the formation of complexes between metals and the extracellular polymeric substances that form the biofilm. All the seagrass beds were seen to be undergoing expansion, those growing in contaminated sediments accumulating great quantities of metals and showing highest photosynthetic leaf surface area and highest leaf biomass. However, these structural parameters were not seen to be responsible for the differences in the faunal composition observed between contaminated and reference beds. Moreover, the multivariate analysis identified the metal content of leaves, biofilm and sediments as important variables that may be responsible for these differences in faunal composition. In this study we have demonstrated that both the seagrass C. nodosa and the biofilm on the plant leaves may be used as environmental tools in the Mar Menor lagoon. The former is an useful indicator of sediment contamination, whereas the latter seems to be a good sentinel of water quality.

  8. Welcome mats? The role of seagrass meadow structure in controlling post-settlement survival in a keystone sea-urchin species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prado, Patricia; Romero, Javier; Alcoverro, Teresa

    2009-11-01

    Processes acting on the early-life histories of marine organisms can have important consequences for the structuring of benthic communities. In particular, the degree of coupling between larval supply and adult abundances can wield considerable influence on the strength of trophic interactions in the ecosystem. These processes have been relatively well described in rocky systems and soft-sediment communities, and it is clear that they are governed by very different bottlenecks. Seagrass meadows make interesting study systems because they bear structural affinities to both soft sediments as well as rocky substrates. We examined the early-life history of Paracentrotus lividus, one of the dominant herbivores in Mediterranean seagrass meadows, to identify the drivers of population dynamics in this species. We measured spatial and temporal variability in sea urchin post-settlement in 10 Posidonia oceanica meadows in the North-Western Mediterranean over a period of two years, and compared the numbers with the one-year old cohort a year later (i.e. the new population recruitment) as well as between successive size-age groups. Urchin post-settlers differed substantially between meadows but were present in both years in all meadows surveyed, suggesting that larval supply was not limiting for any of the studied sites. However, in six of the studied meadows, the one-year cohort of urchins was absent in both years, indicating that post-settlement processes strongly affected urchins in these meadows. In contrast, in four of the studied meadows, there was a strong coupling between post-settlers and one-year cohort individuals. These meadows were structurally different from the others in that they were characterised by an exposed matrix of rhizomes forming a dense seagrass mat. This mat apparently strongly mediates post-settlement mortality, and its presence or absence dictates the successful establishment of urchin populations in seagrass meadows. As the population aged, the

  9. FACTORS CONTROLLING ZOSTERA MARINA L. GROWTH IN THE EASTERN AND WESTERN PACIFIC OCEAN: COMPARISONS BETWEEN SOUTH KOREA AND OREGON, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Zostera marina distribution is circum-global and tolerates a wide range of environmental conditions. Consequently, it is likely that populations have adapted to local environmental conditions of light, temperature and nutrient supply. We compared Z. marina growth dynamics over a ...

  10. EFFECTS OF RECREATIONAL CLAM HARVESTING ON EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA) AND ASSOCIATED INFAUNAL INVERTEBRATES: IN SITU MANIPULATIVE EXPERIMENTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effect of recreational clam harvesting on eelgrass (Zostera marina) was experimentally tested by raking or digging for clams in experimental 1-m2 plots located in a Yaquina Bay (Newport, OR) eelgrass meadow. After three monthly treatments, eelgrass measures of biomass, prima...

  11. Coastal retreat and improved water quality mitigate losses of seagrass from sea level rise.

    PubMed

    Saunders, Megan I; Leon, Javier; Phinn, Stuart R; Callaghan, David P; O'Brien, Katherine R; Roelfsema, Chris M; Lovelock, Catherine E; Lyons, Mitchell B; Mumby, Peter J

    2013-08-01

    The distribution and abundance of seagrass ecosystems could change significantly over the coming century due to sea level rise (SLR). Coastal managers require mechanistic understanding of the processes affecting seagrass response to SLR to maximize their conservation and associated provision of ecosystem services. In Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia, vast seagrass meadows supporting populations of sea turtles and dugongs are juxtaposed with the multiple stressors associated with a large and rapidly expanding human population. Here, the interactive effects of predicted SLR, changes in water clarity, and land use on future distributions of seagrass in Moreton Bay were quantified. A habitat distribution model of present day seagrass in relation to benthic irradiance and wave height was developed which correctly classified habitats in 83% of cases. Spatial predictions of seagrass and presence derived from the model and bathymetric data were used to initiate a SLR inundation model. Bathymetry was iteratively modified based on SLR and sedimentary accretion in seagrass to simulate potential seagrass habitat at 10 year time steps until 2100. The area of seagrass habitat was predicted to decline by 17% by 2100 under a scenario of SLR of 1.1 m. A scenario including the removal of impervious surfaces, such as roads and houses, from newly inundated regions, demonstrated that managed retreat of the shoreline could potentially reduce the overall decline in seagrass habitat to just 5%. The predicted reduction in area of seagrass habitat could be offset by an improvement in water clarity of 30%. Greater improvements in water clarity would be necessary for larger magnitudes of SLR. Management to improve water quality will provide present and future benefits to seagrasses under climate change and should be a priority for managers seeking to compensate for the effects of global change on these valuable habitats.

  12. Challenges of remote sensing for quantifying changes in large complex seagrass environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roelfsema, Chris; Kovacs, Eva M.; Saunders, Megan I.; Phinn, Stuart; Lyons, Mitchell; Maxwell, Paul

    2013-11-01

    Managing seagrass environments and understanding and responding to coastal impacts such as floods or cyclones, requires assessment of seagrass distribution and its biophysical properties in time and space. Comparable assessments of seagrass distribution over time are often lacking as the information is present for separate dates, or created following different mapping approaches, and this makes it difficult to conduct quantitative comparisons. We provide an assessment of available data sets and approaches, and their suitability for monitoring and quantifying change in seagrass percentage cover and extent for a large coastal embayment (Moreton Bay, Australia, 1582 km2). Seagrass percentage cover maps were created for 2011 and 2004 and compared to map and measure the extent of seagrass percentage cover change, and changes in the extent of seagrass environments. Total extent of seagrass was shown to be higher in 2011 compared to 2004. Potential sources of these differences may be: mapping inaccuracy; actual change in extent and cover; and, monthly to seasonal variations in seagrass cover. A qualitative comparison of the 2004 and 2011 maps was performed against maps of seagrass extent maps from 1975, 1986 and 1999, which were created using a range of different methods and data. The output maps show changes in seagrass extent, but a lack of detail arising from variable mapping methods and differing mapping extents prevented a reliable comparison. We conclude that robust mapping of seasonal and inter-annual variation in seagrass percentage cover distribution or extent, as well as impacts of episodic and stochastic disturbance events, requires a thorough understanding of the mapping approaches used so that data sets can be compared. Additional complimentary information is required to help understand the drivers of changes.

  13. Anatomical and ultrastructural adaptations of seagrass leaves: an evaluation of the southern Atlantic groups.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Chirle; Horta, Paulo A; Almeida, Gabriela M; Zitta, Carmen S; de M Oliveira, Eliana; Gueye, Marietou B Y B; Rodrigues, Ana C

    2015-01-01

    Seagrasses, which form an integral part of the worldwide coastal habitat, are considered highly relevant from an ecological point of view. Due to the scarcity of anatomical information, the present study analyzed the morphoanatomy, histochemistry, and ultrastructure of Halophila decipiens, Halodule wrightii, and Ruppia maritima leaves, discussing their adaptations to the marine environments observed throughout the southwestern tropical and subtropical Atlantic coast. The leaves of these three species feature a uniseriate epidermis with the presence of chloroplasts in large quantities and absence of stomata. The vascular system consists of a central vascular bundle with sieve tube elements of the phloem and protoxylem lacunae, as well as small vascular bundles near the leaf margins. The leaves of H. decipiens possess trichomes, but no mesophyll in the leaf margins. The mesophyll of H. wrightii and R. maritima is homogeneous with chlorenchyma cells and air lacunae scattered throughout the leaf. The histochemistry analysis revealed the absence of amyloplasts and the presence of proteins in the outer periclinal walls of ordinary epidermal cells of the three species. It was also possible to detect the presence of idioblasts containing phenolic compounds in H. decipiens and R. maritima. The ultrastructural analysis of the three species revealed many elliptical chloroplasts, with organized thylakoids, expansion of the epidermal cell wall into the cytoplasm, and a thin cuticle. Hydropoten were also observed in the three specimens. The results show that the species analyzed have important adaptations which enable their survival in the marine environment.

  14. Consumers regulate nutrient limitation regimes and primary production in seagrass ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Allgeier, Jacob E; Yeager, Lauren A; Layman, Craig A

    2013-02-01

    Consumer-mediated nutrient supply is increasingly recognized as an important functional process in many ecosystems. Yet, experimentation at relevant spatial and temporal scales is needed to fully integrate this bottom-up pathway into ecosystem models. Artificial reefs provide a unique approach to explore the importance of consumer nutrient supply for ecosystem function in coastal marine environments. We used bioenergetics models to estimate community-level nutrient supply by fishes, and relevant measures of primary production, to test the hypothesis that consumers, via excretion of nutrients, can enhance primary production and alter nutrient limitation regimes for two dominant primary producer groups (seagrass and benthic microalgae) around artificial reefs. Both producer groups demonstrated marked increases in production, as well as shifts in nutrient limitation regimes, with increased fish-derived nutrient supply. Individuals from the two dominant functional feeding groups (herbivores and mesopredators) supplied nutrients at divergent rates and ratios from one another, underscoring the importance of community structure for nutrient supply to primary producers. Our findings demonstrate that consumers, through an underappreciated bottom-up mechanism in marine environments, can alter nutrient limitation regimes and primary production, thereby fundamentally affecting the way these ecosystems function.

  15. Lulwoana sp., a dark septate endophyte in roots of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile seagrass.

    PubMed

    Torta, L; Lo Piccolo, S; Piazza, G; Burruano, S; Colombo, P; Ottonello, D; Perrone, R; Di Maida, G; Pirrotta, M; Tomasello, A; Calvo, S

    2015-03-01

    Posidonia oceanica is the most common, widespread and important monocotyledon seagrass in the Mediterranean Basin, and hosts a large biodiversity of species, including microorganisms with key roles in the marine environment. In this study, we ascertain the presence of a fungal endophyte in the roots of P. oceanica growing on different substrata (rock, sand and matte) in two Sicilian marine meadows. Staining techniques on root fragments and sections, in combination with microscope observations, were used to visualise the fungal presence and determine the percentage of fungal colonisation (FC) in this tissue. In root fragments, statistical analysis of the FC showed a higher mean in roots anchored on rock than on matte and sand. In root sections, an inter- and intracellular septate mycelium, producing intracellular microsclerotia, was detected from the rhizodermis to the vascular cylinder. Using isolation techniques, we obtained, from both sampling sites, sterile, slow-growing fungal colonies, dark in colour, with septate mycelium, belonging to the dark septate endophytes (DSEs). DNA sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region identified these colonies as Lulwoana sp. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Lulwoana sp. as DSE in roots of P. oceanica. Moreover, the highest fungal colonisation, detected in P. oceanica roots growing on rock, suggests that the presence of the DSE may help the host in several ways, particularly in capturing mineral nutrients through lytic activity.

  16. The impact of 85 years of coastal development on shallow seagrass beds (Posidonia oceanica L. (Delile)) in South Eastern France: A slow but steady loss without recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holon, F.; Boissery, P.; Guilbert, A.; Freschet, E.; Deter, J.

    2015-11-01

    Shallow Posidonia oceanica beds (0 to -15 m), the most common seagrass in the Mediterranean, were mapped from aerial photographs dating from the 1920's and from 2012 along 800 km of coastline in South-Eastern France (Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region). Changes in P. oceanica bed spatial distribution (limits and extent) during these 85 years were analyzed in terms of concordance (remaining areas), positive discordance (expanding areas) or negative discordance (lost areas). Lost areas were linked with direct or indirect impacts of coastal development (artificialized coastlines (namely harbours, ports of refuge, landfills, artificial beaches, groynes and pontoons, submarine pipelines and aquatic farms) visible on the photographs. The comparison showed that 73% of the shallow limits have declined. Considering spatial extent, remaining seagrass meadows areas accounted for the major part (85%), while lost areas accounted for 13% and expanding areas for 1.1%. Lost areas were mainly linked with artificial coastlines but 44% remained with undetermined causes (invisible pressures and/or mixed effects). The analysis of 96 coastal facilities creating the artificial (namely man-made) coastlines showed that the highest impact over the longest distance (5 km) was caused by harbours. Only artificial beaches had such a distant impact. Pontoons were the least surrounded by lost seagrass meadows areas. These quantitative data offer important information for marine conservation.

  17. Population Genetic Structure of the Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) in Florida

    PubMed Central

    Fedrizzi, Nathan; Stiassny, Melanie L. J.; Boehm, J. T.; Dougherty, Eric R.; Amato, George; Mendez, Martin

    2015-01-01

    The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is widely distributed throughout near-shore habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and is of commercial significance in Florida, where it is harvested for the aquarium and curio trades. Despite its regional importance, the genetic structure of dwarf seahorse populations remains largely unknown. As an aid to ongoing conservation efforts, we employed three commonly applied mtDNA markers (ND4, DLoop and CO1) to investigate the genetic structuring of H. zosterae in Florida using samples collected throughout its range in the state. A total of 1450 bp provided sufficient resolution to delineate four populations of dwarf seahorses, as indicated by significant fixation indices. Despite an overall significant population structure, we observed evidence of interbreeding between individuals from geographically distant sites, supporting the hypothesis that rafting serves to maintain a degree of population connectivity. All individuals collected from Pensacola belong to a single distinct subpopulation, which is highly differentiated from the rest of Floridian dwarf seahorses sampled. Our findings highlight the utility of mtDNA markers in evaluating barriers to gene flow and identifying genetically distinct populations, which are vital to the development of comprehensive conservation strategies for exploited taxa. PMID:26200110

  18. Population Genetic Structure of the Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) in Florida.

    PubMed

    Fedrizzi, Nathan; Stiassny, Melanie L J; Boehm, J T; Dougherty, Eric R; Amato, George; Mendez, Martin

    2015-01-01

    The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) is widely distributed throughout near-shore habitats of the Gulf of Mexico and is of commercial significance in Florida, where it is harvested for the aquarium and curio trades. Despite its regional importance, the genetic structure of dwarf seahorse populations remains largely unknown. As an aid to ongoing conservation efforts, we employed three commonly applied mtDNA markers (ND4, DLoop and CO1) to investigate the genetic structuring of H. zosterae in Florida using samples collected throughout its range in the state. A total of 1450 bp provided sufficient resolution to delineate four populations of dwarf seahorses, as indicated by significant fixation indices. Despite an overall significant population structure, we observed evidence of interbreeding between individuals from geographically distant sites, supporting the hypothesis that rafting serves to maintain a degree of population connectivity. All individuals collected from Pensacola belong to a single distinct subpopulation, which is highly differentiated from the rest of Floridian dwarf seahorses sampled. Our findings highlight the utility of mtDNA markers in evaluating barriers to gene flow and identifying genetically distinct populations, which are vital to the development of comprehensive conservation strategies for exploited taxa.

  19. Seagrass Restoration Enhances “Blue Carbon” Sequestration in Coastal Waters

    PubMed Central

    Greiner, Jill T.; McGlathery, Karen J.; Gunnell, John; McKee, Brent A.

    2013-01-01

    Seagrass meadows are highly productive habitats that provide important ecosystem services in the coastal zone, including carbon and nutrient sequestration. Organic carbon in seagrass sediment, known as “blue carbon,” accumulates from both in situ production and sedimentation of particulate carbon from the water column. Using a large-scale restoration (>1700 ha) in the Virginia coastal bays as a model system, we evaluated the role of seagrass, Zosteramarina, restoration in carbon storage in sediments of shallow coastal ecosystems. Sediments of replicate seagrass meadows representing different age treatments (as time since seeding: 0, 4, and 10 years), were analyzed for % carbon, % nitrogen, bulk density, organic matter content, and 210Pb for dating at 1-cm increments to a depth of 10 cm. Sediment nutrient and organic content, and carbon accumulation rates were higher in 10-year seagrass meadows relative to 4-year and bare sediment. These differences were consistent with higher shoot density in the older meadow. Carbon accumulation rates determined for the 10-year restored seagrass meadows were 36.68 g C m-2 yr-1. Within 12 years of seeding, the restored seagrass meadows are expected to accumulate carbon at a rate that is comparable to measured ranges in natural seagrass meadows. This the first study to provide evidence of the potential of seagrass habitat restoration to enhance carbon sequestration in the coastal zone. PMID:23967303

  20. DESICCATION INDEX: A MEASURE OF DAMAGE CAUSED BY ADVERSE AERIAL EXPOSURE ON INTERTIDAL EELGRASS (ZOSTERA MARINA) IN AN OREGON (USA) ESTUARY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Eelgrass (Zostera marina) blade necrosis resulting from intertidal aerial exposure is describe. A desiccation index was developed to quantitatively assess this damage. This index was then used to evaluate the extent of desiccation damage across intertidal bathymetric slopes (st...

  1. Wave modelling as a proxy for seagrass ecological modelling: Comparing fetch and process-based predictions for a bay and reef lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Callaghan, David P.; Leon, Javier X.; Saunders, Megan I.

    2015-02-01

    The distribution, abundance, behaviour, and morphology of marine species is affected by spatial variability in the wave environment. Maps of wave metrics (e.g. significant wave height Hs, peak energy wave period Tp, and benthic wave orbital velocity URMS) are therefore useful for predictive ecological models of marine species and ecosystems. A number of techniques are available to generate maps of wave metrics, with varying levels of complexity in terms of input data requirements, operator knowledge, and computation time. Relatively simple "fetch-based" models are generated using geographic information system (GIS) layers of bathymetry and dominant wind speed and direction. More complex, but computationally expensive, "process-based" models are generated using numerical models such as the Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) model. We generated maps of wave metrics based on both fetch-based and process-based models and asked whether predictive performance in models of benthic marine habitats differed. Predictive models of seagrass distribution for Moreton Bay, Southeast Queensland, and Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, were generated using maps based on each type of wave model. For Lizard Island, performance of the process-based wave maps was significantly better for describing the presence of seagrass, based on Hs, Tp, and URMS. Conversely, for the predictive model of seagrass in Moreton Bay, based on benthic light availability and Hs, there was no difference in performance using the maps of the different wave metrics. For predictive models where wave metrics are the dominant factor determining ecological processes it is recommended that process-based models be used. Our results suggest that for models where wave metrics provide secondarily useful information, either fetch- or process-based models may be equally useful.

  2. SMALL-SCALE HETEROGENEITY IN THE GEOCHEMISTRY OF SEAGRASS VEGETATED AND NON-VEGETATIVE SEDIMENTS: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES

    EPA Science Inventory

    In addition to nutrient and light availability, sedimentary biogeochemical processes can play an essential role in seagrass productivity. Previous investigations of the interactions between seagrasses and their underlying sediments have failed to clearly identify the spatio-tempo...

  3. Photosynthetic carbon reduction by seagrasses exposed to ultraviolet A radiation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1979-01-01

    The seagrasses Halophila engelmannii, Halodule wrightii, and Syringodium filiforme were examined for their intrinsic sensitivity to ultraviolet-A-UV-A and ultraviolet-B-UV-B radiation. The effect of UV-A on photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) was also determined. Ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B were studied with emphasis on the greater respective environmental consequence in terms of seagrass distribution and abundance. Results indicate that an intrinsic sensitivity to UV-A alone is apparent only in Halophila, while net photosynthesis in Halodule and Syringodium seems unaffected by the level of UV-A provided. The sensitivity of Halophila to UV-A in the absense of (PAR) indicates that the photosynthetic reaction does not need to be in operation for damage to occur. Other significant results are reported.

  4. Restoring Eelgrass (Zostera marina) from Seed: A Comparison of Planting Methods for Large-Scale Projects

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-03-01

    A. V. Lombana, K. A. Moore, J. M. Rhode, and H. E. Woods. 2000. A review of issues in seagrass seed dormancy and germination : Implications for...temperatures and salinity. Seed plant- ing occurred in September 2005, prior to the initiation of seed germination in the late fall (Orth and Moore... germination was complete) by sieving the sediment and retrieving all Figure 6. Pumping seeds to the deployed planting sled. 4 ERDC/TN SAV-08-1 March 2008

  5. The perilous state of seagrass in the British Isles

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Benjamin L.; Unsworth, Richard K. F.

    2016-01-01

    Seagrass ecosystems face widespread threat from reduced water quality, coastal development and poor land use. In recent decades, their distribution has declined rapidly, and in the British Isles, this loss is thought to have been extensive. Given increasing knowledge of how these ecosystems support fisheries production, the understanding of their potential rapid loss, and the difficulty in restoring them, it is vital we develop an understanding of the risks they are under, so that management actions can be developed accordingly. Developing an understanding of their environmental status and condition is therefore critical to their long-term management. This study provided, to our knowledge, the first examination of the environmental health of seagrass meadows around the British Isles. This study used a bioindicator approach and involved collecting data on seagrass density and morphology alongside analysis of leaf biochemistry. Our study provides, to the best of our knowledge, the first strong quantitative evidence that seagrass meadows of the British Isles are mostly in poor condition in comparison with global averages, with tissue nitrogen levels 75% higher than global values. Such poor status places their long-term resilience in doubt. Elemental nutrient concentrations and morphological change suggest conditions of excess nitrogen and probable low light, placing many of the meadows sampled in a perilous state, although others, situated away from human populations were perceived to be healthy. Although some sites were of a high environmental health, all sites were considered at risk from anthropogenic impacts, particularly poor water quality and boating-based disturbances. The findings of this study provide a warning of the need to take action, with respect to water quality and disturbance, to prevent the further loss and degradation of these systems across the British Isles. PMID:26909188

  6. Unravelling complexity in seagrass systems for management: Australia as a microcosm.

    PubMed

    Kilminster, Kieryn; McMahon, Kathryn; Waycott, Michelle; Kendrick, Gary A; Scanes, Peter; McKenzie, Len; O'Brien, Katherine R; Lyons, Mitchell; Ferguson, Angus; Maxwell, Paul; Glasby, Tim; Udy, James

    2015-11-15

    Environmental decision-making applies transdisciplinary knowledge to deliver optimal outcomes. Here we synthesise various aspects of seagrass ecology to aid environmental decision-making, management and policy. Managers often mediate conflicting values and opinions held by different stakeholders. Critical to this role is understanding the drivers for change, effects of management actions and societal benefits. We use the diversity of seagrass habitats in Australia to demonstrate that knowledge from numerous fields is required to understand seagrass condition and resilience. Managers are often time poor and need access to synthesised assessments, commonly referred to as narratives. However, there is no single narrative for management of seagrass habitats in Australia, due to the diversity of seagrass meadows and dominant pressures. To assist the manager, we developed a classification structure based on attributes of seagrass life history, habitat and meadow form. Seagrass communities are formed from species whose life history strategies can be described as colonising, opportunistic or persistent. They occupy habitats defined by the range and variability of their abiotic environment. This results in seagrass meadows that are either transitory or enduring. Transitory meadows may come and go and able to re-establish from complete loss through sexual reproduction. Enduring meadows may fluctuate in biomass but maintain a presence by resisting pressures across multiple scales. This contrast reflects the interaction between the spatial and temporal aspects of species life history and habitat variability. Most management and monitoring strategies in place today favour enduring seagrasses. We adopt a functional classification of seagrass habitats based on modes of resilience to inform management for all seagrass communities. These concepts have world-wide relevance as the Australian case-studies have many analogues throughout the world. Additionally, the approach used to

  7. Middle Eocene seagrass facies from Apennine carbonate platforms (Italy)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomassetti, Laura; Benedetti, Andrea; Brandano, Marco

    2016-04-01

    Two stratigraphic sections located in the Latium-Abruzzi (Monte Porchio, Central Apennines, Central Italy) and in the Apulian carbonate platform (S. Cesarea-Torre Tiggiano, Salento, Southern Italy) were measured and sampled to document the sedimentological characteristic and the faunistic assemblages of Middle Eocene seagrass deposits. The faunistic assemblages are dominated by porcellaneous foraminifera Orbitolites, Alveolina, Idalina, Spiroloculina, Quinqueloculina, Triloculina and abundant hooked-shaped gypsinids, associated with hooked red algae and green algae Halimeda. Fabiania, rotaliids and textulariids as well as nummulitids are subordinated. The samples were assigned to Lutetian (SBZ13-16) according to the occurrence of Nummulites cf. lehneri, Alveolina ex. gr. elliptica, Idalina berthelini, Orbitolites complanatus, Slovenites decastroi and Medocia blayensis. At Santa Cesarea reticulate nummulites occur in association with Alveolina spp. and Halkyardia minima marking the lower Bartonian (SBZ17). Three main facies associations have been recognised: I) larger porcellaneous foraminiferal grainstones with orbitolitids and alveolinids deposited into high-energy shallow-water settings influenced by wave processes that reworked the sediments associated with a seagrass; II) grainstone to packstone with small porcellaneous foraminifera and abundant permanently-attached gypsinids deposited in a more protected (e.g., small embayment) in situ vegetated environment; III) bioclastic packstone with parautochthonous material reworked from the seagrass by rip currents and accumulated into rip channels in a slightly deeper environment. The biotic assemblages suggest that the depositional environment is consistent with tropical to subtropical vegetated environments within oligotrophic conditions.

  8. Evaluation of a Single-Beam Sonar System to Map Seagrass at Two Sites in Northern Puget Sound, Washington

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Stevens, Andrew W.; Lacy, Jessica R.; Finlayson, David P.; Gelfenbaum, Guy

    2008-01-01

    Seagrass at two sites in northern Puget Sound, Possession Point and nearby Browns Bay, was mapped using both a single-beam sonar and underwater video camera. The acoustic and underwater video data were compared to evaluate the accuracy of acoustic estimates of seagrass cover. The accuracy of the acoustic method was calculated for three classifications of seagrass observed in underwater video: bare (no seagrass), patchy seagrass, and continuous seagrass. Acoustic and underwater video methods agreed in 92 percent and 74 percent of observations made in bare and continuous areas, respectively. However, in patchy seagrass, the agreement between acoustic and underwater video was poor (43 percent). The poor agreement between the two methods in areas with patchy seagrass is likely because the two instruments were not precisely colocated. The distribution of seagrass at the two sites differed both in overall percent vegetated and in the distribution of percent cover versus depth. On the basis of acoustic data, seagrass inhabited 0.29 km2 (19 percent of total area) at Possession Point and 0.043 km2 (5 percent of total area) at the Browns Bay study site. The depth distribution at the two sites was markedly different. Whereas the majority of seagrass at Possession Point occurred between -0.5 and -1.5 m MLLW, most seagrass at Browns Bay occurred at a greater depth, between -2.25 and -3.5 m MLLW. Further investigation of the anthropogenic and natural factors causing these differences in distribution is needed.

  9. Ecotoxicology of tropical marine ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, E.C.; Gassman, N.J.; Firman, J.C.; Richmond, R.H.; Power, E.A.

    1997-01-01

    The negative effects of chemical contaminants on tropical marine ecosystems are of increasing concern as human populations expand adjacent to these communities. Watershed streams and ground water carry a variety of chemicals from agricultural, industrial, and domestic activities, while winds and currents transport pollutants from atmospheric and oceanic sources to these coastal ecosystems. The implications of the limited information available on impacts of chemical stressors on mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs are discussed in the context of ecosystem management and ecological risk assessment. Three classes of pollutants have received attention: heavy metals, petroleum, and synthetic organics. Heavy metals have been detected in all three ecosystems, causing physiological stress, reduced reproductive success, and outright mortality in associated invertebrates and fishes. Oil spills have been responsible for the destruction of entire coastal shallow-water communities, with recovery requiring years. Herbicides are particularly detrimental to mangroves and seagrasses and adversely affect the animal-algal symbioses in corals. Pesticides interfere with chemical cues responsible for key biological processes, including reproduction and recruitment of a variety of organisms. Information is lacking with regard to long-term recovery, indicator species, and biomarkers for tropical communities. Critical areas that are beginning to be addressed include the development of appropriate benchmarks for risk assessment, baseline monitoring criteria, and effective management strategies to protect tropical marine ecosystems in the face of mounting anthropogenic disturbance.

  10. Genetic characterization of Zostera asiatica on the Pacific Coast of North America

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Talbot, S.L.; Wyllie-Echeverria, S.; Ward, D.H.; Rearick, J.R.; Sage, G.K.; Chesney, B.; Phillips, R.C.

    2006-01-01

    We gathered sequence information from the nuclear 5.8S rDNA gene and associated internal transcribed spacers, ITS-1 and ITS-2 (5.8S rDNA/ITS), and the chloroplast maturase K (matK) gene, from Zostera samples collected from subtidal habitats in Monterey and Santa Barbara (Isla Vista) bays, California, to test the hypothesis that these plants are conspecific with Z. asiatica Miki of Asia. Sequences from approximately 520 base pairs of the nuclear 5.8S rDNA/ITS obtained from the subtidal Monterey and Isla Vista Zostera samples were identical to homologous sequences obtained from Z. marina collected from intertidal habitats in Japan, Alaska, Oregon and California. Similarly, sequences from the matK gene from the subtidal Zostera samples were identical to matK sequences obtained from Z. marina collected from intertidal habitats in Japan, Alaska, Oregon and California, but differed from Z. asiatica sequences accessioned into GenBank. This suggests the subtidal plants are conspecific with Z. marina, not Z. asiatica. However, we found that herbarium samples accessioned into the Kyoto University Herbarium, determined to be Z. asiatica, yielded 5.8S rDNA/ITS sequences consistent with either Z. japonica, in two cases, or Z. marina, in one case. Similar results were observed for the chloroplast matK gene; we found haplotypes that were inconsistent with published matK sequences from Z. asiatica collected from Japan. These results underscore the need for closer examination of the relationship between Z. marina along the Pacific Coast of North America, and Z. asiatica of Asia, for the retention and verification of specimens examined in scientific studies, and for assessment of the usefulness of morphological characters in the determination of taxonomic relationships within Zosteraceae.

  11. Photosynthetic activity buffers ocean acidification in seagrass meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hendriks, I. E.; Olsen, Y. S.; Ramajo, L.; Basso, L.; Steckbauer, A.; Moore, T. S.; Howard, J.; Duarte, C. M.

    2013-07-01

    Macrophytes growing in shallow coastal zones characterized by intense metabolic activity have the capacity to modify pH within their canopy and beyond. We observed diel pH ranges is in shallow (5-12 m) seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows from 0.06 pH units in September to 0.24 units in June. The carbonate system (pH, DIC, and aragonite saturation state (ΩAr) and O2 within the meadows displayed strong diel variability driven by primary productivity, and changes in chemistry were related to structural parameters of the meadow, in particular, the leaf surface area available for photosynthesis (LAI). LAI was positively correlated to mean and max pHNBS and max ΩAr. Oxygen production positively influenced the range and maximum pHNBS and the range of ΩAr. In June, vertical mixing (as Turbulent Kinetic Energy) influenced ΩAr, while in September there was no effect of hydrodynamics on the carbonate system within the canopy. ΩAr was positively correlated with the calcium carbonate load of the leaves, demonstrating a direct link between structural parameters, ΩAr and carbonate deposition. There was a direct relationship between ΩAr, influenced directly by meadow LAI, and CaCO3 content of the leaves. Therefore, calcifying organisms, e.g. epiphytes with carbonate skeletons, might benefit from the modification of the carbonate system by the meadow. The meadow might be capable of providing refugia for calcifiers by increasing pH and ΩAr through metabolic activity. There is, however, concern for the ability of seagrasses to provide this refugia function in the future. The predicted decline of seagrass meadows may alter the scope for alteration of pH within a seagrass meadow and in the water column above the meadow, particularly if shoot density and biomass decline, both strongly linked to LAI. Organisms associated with seagrass communities may therefore suffer from the loss of pH buffering capacity in degraded meadows.

  12. SEAGRASS STRESS RESPONSE MODEL: THE IMPORTANCE OF LIGHT, TEMPERATURE, SEDIMENTATION AND GEOCHEMISTRY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our objective is to define interactions between seagrass and water-column and sediment stressors. The model was developed and optimized for sediments in Thalassia testudinum seagrass beds of Lower Laguna Madre, Texas, USA and is composed of a plant sub-model and a sediment diagen...

  13. ENUMERATION, ISOLATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ACETOGENIC BACTERIA ASSOCIATED WITH SEAGRASS ROOTS (POSTER SESSION)

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses are rooted in anoxic, sulfate-reducing sediments. However, the seagrass root is oxygenated during the daytime, becoming anoxic at night. Root thin sections hydridized with 33P-labeled probes revealed the presence of acetogenic and sulfate-reducing bacteria in the rhizo...

  14. ENUMERATION, ISOLATION, AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ACETOGENIC BACTERIA ASSOCIATED WITH SEAGRASS ROOTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seagrasses are rooted in anoxic, sulfate-reducing sediments. However, the seagrass root is oxygenated during the daytime, becoming anoxic at night. Root thin sections hydridized with 33P-labeled probes revealed the presence of acetogenic and sulfate-reducing bacteria in the rhizo...

  15. A Monte Carlo study of the seagrass-induced depth bias in bathymetric lidar.

    PubMed

    Wang, Chi-Kuei; Philpot, William; Kim, Minsu; Lei, Hou-Meng

    2011-04-11

    A bathymetric lidar survey is the most cost efficient method of producing bathymetric maps in near shore areas where the ocean bottom is both highly variable and of greatest importance for shipping and recreation. So far, not much attention has been paid to the influence of bottom materials on the lidar signals. This study addresses this issue using a Monte Carlo modeling technique. The Monte Carlo simulation includes a plane parallel water body and a flat bottom with or without seagrass. The seagrass canopy structure is adopted from Zimmerman (2003). Both the surface of the seagrass leaves and the bottom are assumed to be Lambertian. Convolution with the lidar pulse function followed by the median operator is used to reduce the variance of the resultant lidar waveform. Two seagrass orientation arrangements are modeled: seagrass in still water with random leaf orientation and seagrass with a uniform orientation as would be expected when under the influence of a water current. For each case, two maximum canopy heights, 0.5 m and 1 m, three shoot densities, 100, 500, and 1000, and three bending angles, 5, 25, and 45 degrees, are considered. The seagrass is found to induce a depth bias that is proportional to an effective leaf area index (eLAI) and the contrast in reflectance between the seagrass and the bottom material.

  16. Development of threshold values for a seagrass epiphyte indicator of nutrient enrichment in coastal systems.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Epiphytes on seagrasses have been studied for more than 50 years, and proposed as an indicator of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment for over 30 years. Epiphytes have been correlated with seagrass declines, causally related to nutrient additions in both field and mesocosm experim...

  17. SEAGRASS EPIPHYTES AS A NUTRIENT STRESSOR INDICATOR: APPROACHES TOWARDS DEVELOPMENT OF THRESHOLD VALUES.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Epiphytes on seagrasses have been studied for more than 50 years, and proposed as an indicator of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment for over 30 years. Epiphytes have been correlated with seagrass declines, causally related to nutrient additions in both field and mesocosm experim...

  18. USE OF WAVE EXPOSURE TECHNIQUE FOR PREDICTING DISTRIBUTION AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SEAGRASS ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The development of seagrass patches and subsequently, the landscape that they define, is typically thought to be dependent on the phenotypic response of seagrass to environmental factors such as light/nutrients (Dennison et al. 1993), sedimentation (Harlin and Thorne-Miller 1981)...

  19. EFFECTS OF GREEN MACROALGAE ON CLASSIFICATION OF SEAGRASS IN SIDE SCAN SONAR IMAGERY

    EPA Science Inventory

    High resolution maps of seagrass beds are useful for monitoring estuarine condition, managing fish habitats, and modeling estuarine processes. Side scan sonar (SSS) is one method for producing spatially accurate seagrass maps, although it has not been used widely. Our team rece...

  20. Losses and recovery of organic carbon from a seagrass ecosystem following disturbance.

    PubMed

    Macreadie, Peter I; Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey M; Skilbeck, Charles G; Sanderman, Jonathan; Curlevski, Nathalie; Jacobsen, Geraldine; Seymour, Justin R

    2015-10-22

    Seagrasses are among the Earth's most efficient and long-term carbon sinks, but coastal development threatens this capacity. We report new evidence that disturbance to seagrass ecosystems causes release of ancient carbon. In a seagrass ecosystem that had been disturbed 50 years ago, we found that soil carbon stocks declined by 72%, which, according to radiocarbon dating, had taken hundreds to thousands of years to accumulate. Disturbed soils harboured different benthic bacterial communities (according to 16S rRNA sequence analysis), with higher proportions of aerobic heterotrophs compared with undisturbed. Fingerprinting of the carbon (via stable isotopes) suggested that the contribution of autochthonous carbon (carbon produced through plant primary production) to the soil carbon pool was less in disturbed areas compared with seagrass and recovered areas. Seagrass areas that had recovered from disturbance had slightly lower (35%) carbon levels than undisturbed, but more than twice as much as the disturbed areas, which is encouraging for restoration efforts. Slow rates of seagrass recovery imply the need to transplant seagrass, rather than waiting for recovery via natural processes. This study empirically demonstrates that disturbance to seagrass ecosystems can cause release of ancient carbon, with potentially major global warming consequences.

  1. Habitat restoration: Early signs and extent of faunal recovery relative to seagrass recovery

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McSkimming, Chloe; Connell, Sean D.; Russell, Bayden D.; Tanner, Jason E.

    2016-03-01

    The overall intent of restoration is often not only to restore the habitat per se, but to restore the ecosystem services it supplies, and particularly to encourage the return of fauna. Seagrass meadows act as habitat for some of the most diverse and abundant animal life, and as the global loss of seagrass continues, managers have sought to restore lost meadows. We tested how quickly the epifaunal richness, abundances and community composition of experimental restoration plots recovered to that in an adjacent natural seagrass meadow relative to the recovery of seagrass per se. Seagrass structure in the restoration plots took three years to become similar to a nearby natural meadow. The recovery of epifaunal richness and total abundance, however, occurred within one year. These results suggest that although recovering habitats may not be structurally similar to undisturbed habitats, they can support similar richness and abundances of epifauna, and thus have greater economic and social value than otherwise might have been expected. Nevertheless, whilst epifaunal richness and total abundance recovered prior to the recovery of seagrass structure, full recovery of seagrass was required before the composition and relative abundances of the epifaunal community matched that of the natural seagrass meadow.

  2. Losses and recovery of organic carbon from a seagrass ecosystem following disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Macreadie, Peter I.; Trevathan-Tackett, Stacey M.; Skilbeck, Charles G.; Sanderman, Jonathan; Curlevski, Nathalie; Jacobsen, Geraldine; Seymour, Justin R.

    2015-01-01

    Seagrasses are among the Earth's most efficient and long-term carbon sinks, but coastal development threatens this capacity. We report new evidence that disturbance to seagrass ecosystems causes release of ancient carbon. In a seagrass ecosystem that had been disturbed 50 years ago, we found that soil carbon stocks declined by 72%, which, according to radiocarbon dating, had taken hundreds to thousands of years to accumulate. Disturbed soils harboured different benthic bacterial communities (according to 16S rRNA sequence analysis), with higher proportions of aerobic heterotrophs compared with undisturbed. Fingerprinting of the carbon (via stable isotopes) suggested that the contribution of autochthonous carbon (carbon produced through plant primary production) to the soil carbon pool was less in disturbed areas compared with seagrass and recovered areas. Seagrass areas that had recovered from disturbance had slightly lower (35%) carbon levels than undisturbed, but more than twice as much as the disturbed areas, which is encouraging for restoration efforts. Slow rates of seagrass recovery imply the need to transplant seagrass, rather than waiting for recovery via natural processes. This study empirically demonstrates that disturbance to seagrass ecosystems can cause release of ancient carbon, with potentially major global warming consequences. PMID:26490788

  3. Marine Organisms with Anti-Diabetes Properties

    PubMed Central

    Lauritano, Chiara; Ianora, Adrianna

    2016-01-01

    Diabetes is a chronic degenerative metabolic disease with high morbidity and mortality rates caused by its complications. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in looking for new bioactive compounds to treat this disease, including metabolites of marine origin. Several aquatic organisms have been screened to evaluate their possible anti-diabetes activities, such as bacteria, microalgae, macroalgae, seagrasses, sponges, corals, sea anemones, fish, salmon skin, a shark fusion protein as well as fish and shellfish wastes. Both in vitro and in vivo screenings have been used to test anti-hyperglycemic and anti-diabetic activities of marine organisms. This review summarizes recent discoveries in anti-diabetes properties of several marine organisms as well as marine wastes, existing patents and possible future research directions in this field. PMID:27916864

  4. Predicting habitat distribution to conserve seagrass threatened by sea level rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saunders, M. I.; Baldock, T.; Brown, C. J.; Callaghan, D. P.; Golshani, A.; Hamylton, S.; Hoegh-guldberg, O.; Leon, J. X.; Lovelock, C. E.; Lyons, M. B.; O'Brien, K.; Mumby, P.; Phinn, S. R.; Roelfsema, C. M.

    2013-12-01

    Sea level rise (SLR) over the 21st century will cause significant redistribution of valuable coastal habitats. Seagrasses form extensive and highly productive meadows in shallow coastal seas support high biodiversity, including economically valuable and threatened species. Predictive habitat models can inform local management actions that will be required to conserve seagrass faced with multiple stressors. We developed novel modelling approaches, based on extensive field data sets, to examine the effects of sea level rise and other stressors on two representative seagrass habitats in Australia. First, we modelled interactive effects of SLR, water clarity and adjacent land use on estuarine seagrass meadows in Moreton Bay, Southeast Queensland. The extent of suitable seagrass habitat was predicted to decline by 17% by 2100 due to SLR alone, but losses were predicted to be significantly reduced through improvements in water quality (Fig 1a) and by allowing space for seagrass migration with inundation. The rate of sedimentation in seagrass strongly affected the area of suitable habitat for seagrass in sea level rise scenarios (Fig 1b). Further research to understand spatial, temporal and environmental variability of sediment accretion in seagrass is required. Second, we modelled changes in wave energy distribution due to predicted SLR in a linked coral reef and seagrass ecosystem at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Scenarios where the water depth over the coral reef deepened due to SLR and minimal reef accretion, resulted in larger waves propagating shoreward, changing the existing hydrodynamic conditions sufficiently to reduce area of suitable habitat for seagrass. In a scenario where accretion of the coral reef was severely compromised (e.g. warming, acidification, overfishing), the probability of the presence of seagrass declined significantly. Management to maintain coral health will therefore also benefit seagrasses subject to SLR in reef environments. Further

  5. Contemporary reliance on bicarbonate acquisition predicts increased growth of seagrass Amphibolis antarctica in a high-CO2 world.

    PubMed

    Burnell, Owen W; Connell, Sean D; Irving, Andrew D; Watling, Jennifer R; Russell, Bayden D

    2014-01-01

    Rising atmospheric CO2 is increasing the availability of dissolved CO2 in the ocean relative to HCO3 (-). Currently, many marine primary producers use HCO3 (-) for photosynthesis, but this is energetically costly. Increasing passive CO2 uptake relative to HCO3 (-) pathways could provide energy savings, leading to increased productivity and growth of marine plants. Inorganic carbon-uptake mechanisms in the seagrass Amphibolis antarctica were determined using the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor acetazolamide (AZ) and the buffer tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane (TRIS). Amphibolis antarctica seedlings were also maintained in current and forecasted CO2 concentrations to measure their physiology and growth. Photosynthesis of A. antarctica was significantly reduced by AZ and TRIS, indicating utilization of HCO3 (-)-uptake mechanisms. When acclimated plants were switched between CO2 treatments, the photosynthetic rate was dependent on measurement conditions but not growth conditions, indicating a dynamic response to changes in dissolved CO2 concentration, rather than lasting effects of acclimation. At forecast CO2 concentrations, seedlings had a greater maximum electron transport rate (1.4-fold), photosynthesis (2.1-fold), below-ground biomass (1.7-fold) and increase in leaf number (2-fold) relative to plants in the current CO2 concentration. The greater increase in photosynthesis (measured as O2 production) compared with the electron transport rate at forecasted CO2 concentration suggests that photosynthetic efficiency increased, possibly due to a decrease in photorespiration. Thus, it appears that the photosynthesis and growth of seagrasses reliant on energetically costly HCO3 (-) acquisition, such as A. antarctica, might increase at forecasted CO2 concentrations. Greater growth might enhance the future prosperity and rehabilitation of these important habitat-forming plants, which have experienced declines of global significance.

  6. Eutrophication threatens Caribbean seagrasses - An example from Curaçao and Bonaire.

    PubMed

    Govers, Laura L; Lamers, Leon P M; Bouma, Tjeerd J; de Brouwer, Jan H F; van Katwijk, Marieke M

    2014-12-15

    Seagrass beds are globally declining due to human activities in coastal areas. We here aimed to identify threats from eutrophication to the valuable seagrass beds of Curaçao and Bonaire in the Caribbean, which function as nursery habitats for commercial fish species. We documented surface- and porewater nutrient concentrations, and seagrass nutrient concentrations in 6 bays varying in nutrient loads. Water measurements only provided a momentary snapshot, due to timing, tidal stage, etc., but Thalassia testudinum nutrient concentrations indicated long-term nutrient loads. Nutrient levels in most bays did not raise any concern, but high leaf % P values of Thalassia in Piscadera Bay (∼0.31%) and Spanish Water Bay (∼0.21%) showed that seagrasses may be threatened by eutrophication, due to emergency overflow of waste water and coastal housing. We thus showed that seagrasses may be threatened and measures should be taken to prevent loss of these important nursery areas due to eutrophication.

  7. Direct contribution of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum to lime mud production

    PubMed Central

    Enríquez, Susana; Schubert, Nadine

    2014-01-01

    Seagrass beds contribute to oceanic carbonate lime mud production by providing a habitat for a wide variety of calcifying organisms and acting as efficient sediment traps. Here we provide evidence for the direct implication of Thalassia testudinum in the precipitation of aragonite needles. The crystals are located internally in the cell walls, and as external deposits on the blade, and are similar in size and shape to the aragonite needles reported for modern tropical carbonate factories. Seagrass calcification is a biological, light-enhanced process controlled by the leaf, and estimates of seagrass annual carbonate production in a Caribbean reef lagoon are as significant as values reported for Halimeda incrassata. Thus, we conclude that seagrass calcification is another biological source for the aragonite lime mud deposits found in tropical banks, and that tropical seagrass habitats may play a more important role in the oceanic carbon cycle than previously considered. PMID:24848374

  8. Seagrass importance for a small-scale fishery in the tropics: the need for seascape management.

    PubMed

    de la Torre-Castro, Maricela; Di Carlo, Giuseppe; Jiddawi, Narriman S

    2014-06-30

    Small-scale fisheries (SSF) in tropical seascapes (mosaics of interconnected mangroves, seagrasses and corals) are crucial for food and income. However, management is directed mostly to corals and mangroves. This research analyzes the importance of seagrasses compared to adjacent ecosystems in Chwaka Bay, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Using fish landings; the study investigated: location of fishing effort, fish production (biomass and species), and monetary benefits (aggregated value and per capita income). Seagrasses were the most visited grounds providing highest community benefits. Per capita benefits were equivalent to those from corals and mangroves. All three habitats provided income just above extreme poverty levels; however catches from seagrass appeared more stable. Seagrass are key ecosystems supporting SSF and protection and management are urgently needed. Adoption of a seascape approach considering all ecosystems underpinning SSF and the social aspects of fishing and a shift in emphasis from pure conservation to sustainable resource management would be desirable.

  9. Quantitative estimate of commercial fish enhancement by seagrass habitat in southern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blandon, Abigayil; zu Ermgassen, Philine S. E.

    2014-03-01

    Seagrass provides many ecosystem services that are of considerable value to humans, including the provision of nursery habitat for commercial fish stock. Yet few studies have sought to quantify these benefits. As seagrass habitat continues to suffer a high rate of loss globally and with the growing emphasis on compensatory restoration, valuation of the ecosystem services associated with seagrass habitat is increasingly important. We undertook a meta-analysis of juvenile fish abundance at seagrass and control sites to derive a quantitative estimate of the enhancement of juvenile fish by seagrass habitats in southern Australia. Thirteen fish of commercial importance were identified as being recruitment enhanced in seagrass habitat, twelve of which were associated with sufficient life history data to allow for estimation of total biomass enhancement. We applied von Bertalanffy growth models and species-specific mortality rates to the determined values of juvenile enhancement to estimate the contribution of seagrass to commercial fish biomass. The identified species were enhanced in seagrass by 0.98 kg m-2 y-1, equivalent to ˜$A230,000 ha-1 y-1. These values represent the stock enhancement where all fish species are present, as opposed to realized catches. Having accounted for the time lag between fish recruiting to a seagrass site and entering the fishery and for a 3% annual discount rate, we find that seagrass restoration efforts costing $A10,000 ha-1 have a potential payback time of less than five years, and that restoration costing $A629,000 ha-1 can be justified on the basis of enhanced commercial fish recruitment where these twelve fish species are present.

  10. Seagrass status and trends in the northern Gulf of Mexico: 1940-2002

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Handley, L.; Altsman, D.; DeMay, R.

    2007-01-01

    Over the past century, seagrass habitats from the bays of Texas to the gulf shores of Florida have decreased. Seagrass beds, which are highly dependent on water quality and clarity for survival, are home to a multitude of aquatic plants and animals and a source of economic activity through commercial and recreational fishing and ecotourism. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico Program (GMP) and its partners have made a commitment to restore, enhance, and protect this important ecosystem. As seagrass habitats decrease, the need for information on the causes and effects of seagrass loss, current mapping information, and education on the importance of seagrassess becomes greater. This report is the initial effort of the GMP’s research and restoration plan for seagrasses. The purpose of this report is to provide scientists, managers, and citizens with valuable baseline information on the status and trends of seagrasses in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Within the northern Gulf of Mexico region, 14 individual estuarine systems where seagrasses occur, as well as statewide summaries for Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, are examined in this study. Each estuarine system is detailed in vignettes that address current and historical extent and quality of seagrasses, seagrass mapping and monitoring, causes of status change, restoration and enhancement activities, background information for the entire study area as well as the subareas for study, and the methodology employed to analyze and document the historical trends and current status of seagrasses. The systems, moving from west to east, include the Laguna Madre, Texas Coastal Bend region, and Galveston Bay in Texas; the Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana; the Mississippi Sound; and Perdido Bay, Pensacola/Escambia Bay, Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrew Bay, Florida’s Big Bend region, Tampa Bay/St. Joseph Sound, Sarasota Bay, Greater Charlotte Harbor, and Florida Bay in Florida

  11. Bioindicators of marine pollution. (Latest citations from Oceanic Abstracts). Published Search

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-12-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning the use of marine plants and animals as indicators of organic and inorganic pollutant distribution. Topics include descriptions of specific species and assemblages, regional and local monitoring studies, and analyses of the soft and hard parts of marine animals. Studies of algae, bivalves, corals, crustaceans, bacterial counts, and seagrasses in estuaries and benthic areas are included. (Contains 250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  12. Bioindicators of marine pollution. (Latest citations from Oceanic Abstracts database). Published Search

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-09-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning the use of marine plants and animals as indicators of organic and inorganic pollutant distribution. Topics include descriptions of specific species and assemblages, regional and local monitoring studies, and analyses of the soft and hard parts of marine animals. Studies of algae, bivalves, corals, crustaceans, bacterial counts, and seagrasses in estuaries and benthic areas are included. (Contains 250 citations and includes a subject term index and title list.)

  13. Dynamic of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows in the northwestern Mediterranean: Could climate change be to blame?

    PubMed

    Pergent, Gérard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Bein, Aymeric; Dedeken, Marine; Oberti, Pascal; Orsini, Antoine; Santucci, Jean-François; Short, Frederic

    2015-07-01

    The distribution and the vitality of the P. oceanica meadow were monitored in the western Mediterranean at 15 sites along the coasts of Corsica (1000 km of coastline) using two monitoring systems, the Posidonia Monitoring Network and SeagrassNet, between 2004 and 2013. While the vitality of the meadow is satisfactory overall, due to the low impact of human pressure along these coasts, patterns of change over time show a slight degradation of the main descriptors of the meadow. The meadow's vitality index had declined on average by 8.6%, the BiPo index by 9.8%, and there was a regression of the lower limit at six sites. While this pattern of change may reflect local alterations in the environment (increase or decline in human pressure), the regressive dynamic of the meadow observed at the lower limit at several reference sites (e.g., Marine Protected Areas, sites distant from sources of human impact) is more worrying. Two hypotheses might explain the regression observed: (i) the rise in mean sea level during the study period, which may have resulted in a significant regression in sectors where the slope is relatively slight, and (ii) the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which declined from 2002 to reach very low values in 2010.

  14. AxIOM: Amphipod crustaceans from insular Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows

    PubMed Central

    Heughebaert, André; Lepoint, Gilles

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Background The Neptune grass, Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, 1813, is the most widespread seagrass of the Mediterranean Sea. This foundation species forms large meadows that, through habitat and trophic services, act as biodiversity hotspots. In Neptune grass meadows, amphipod crustaceans are one of the dominant groups of vagile invertebrates, forming an abundant and diverse taxocenosis. They are key ecological components of the complex, pivotal, yet critically endangered Neptune grass ecosystems. Nevertheless, comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data about amphipod fauna found in Mediterranean Neptune grass meadows remain scarce, especially in insular locations. New information Here, we provide in-depth metadata about AxIOM, a sample-based dataset published on the GBIF portal. AxIOM is based on an extensive and spatially hierarchized sampling design with multiple years, seasons, day periods, and methods. Samples were taken along the coasts of Calvi Bay (Corsica, France) and of the Tavolara-Punta Coda Cavallo Marine Protected Area (Sardinia, Italy). In total, AxIOM contains 187 samples documenting occurrence (1775 records) and abundance (10720 specimens) of amphipod crustaceans belonging to 72 species spanning 29 families. The dataset is available at http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource?r=axiom. PMID:27660521

  15. Integrating edge effects into studies of habitat fragmentation: a test using meiofauna in seagrass.

    PubMed

    Warry, F Y; Hindell, J S; Macreadie, P I; Jenkins, G P; Connolly, R M

    2009-04-01

    Habitat fragmentation is thought to be an important process structuring landscapes in marine and estuarine environments, but effects on fauna are poorly understood, in part because of a focus on patchiness rather than fragmentation. Furthermore, despite concomitant increases in perimeter:area ratios with fragmentation, we have little understanding of how fauna change from patch edges to interiors during fragmentation. Densities of meiofauna were measured at different distances across the edges of four artificial seagrass treatments [continuous, fragmented, procedural control (to control for disturbance by fragmenting then restoring experimental plots), and patchy] 1 day, 1 week and 1 month after fragmentation. Experimental plots were established 1 week prior to fragmentation/disturbance. Samples were numerically dominated by harpacticoid copepods, densities of which were greater at the edge than 0.5 m into patches for continuous, procedural control and patchy treatments; densities were similar between the edge and 0.5 m in fragmented patches. For taxa that demonstrated edge effects, densities exhibited log-linear declines to 0.5 m into a patch with no differences observed between 0.5 m and 1 m into continuous treatments. In patchy treatments densities were similar at the internal and external edges for many taxa. The strong positive edge effect (higher densities at edge than interior) for taxa such as harpacticoid copepods implies some benefit of patchy landscapes. But the lack of edge effects during patch fragmentation itself demonstrates the importance of the mechanisms by which habitats become patchy.

  16. Evolution of seahorses' upright posture was linked to Oligocene expansion of seagrass habitats.

    PubMed

    Teske, Peter R; Beheregaray, Luciano B

    2009-08-23

    Seahorses (Syngnathidae: Hippocampus) are iconic marine teleosts that are readily identifiable by their upright posture. The fossil record is inadequate to shed light on the evolution of this trait because it lacks transitional forms. There are, however, extant syngnathid species (the pygmy pipehorses) that look like horizontally swimming seahorses and that might represent a surviving evolutionary link between the benthic seahorses and other, free-swimming members of the family Syngnathidae. Using sequence data from five nuclear loci, we confirm the sister taxon relationship between seahorses and pygmy pipehorses. Molecular dating indicates that the two taxa diverged during the Late Oligocene. During this time, tectonic events in the Indo-West Pacific resulted in the formation of vast amounts of new shallow-water areas and associated expansion of seagrass habitats that would have favoured the seahorses' upright posture by improving their camouflage while not affecting their manoeuvrability negatively. The molecular techniques employed here provide new insights into the evolution of a taxon whose fossil record is incomplete, but whose evolutionary history is so recent that the major stages of morphological evolution are still represented in extant species.

  17. Monitoring coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves in Costa Rica (CARICOMP).

    PubMed

    Cortés, Jorge; Fonseca, Ana C; Nivia-Ruiz, Jaime; Nielsen-Muñoz, Vanessa; Samper-Villarreal, Jimena; Salas, Eva; Martínez, Solciré; Zamora-Trejos, Priscilla

    2010-10-01

    The coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves from the Costa Rican Caribbean coast have been monitored since 1999 using the CARICOMP protocol. Live coral cover at Meager Shoal reef bank (7 to 10 m depth) at the Parque Nacional Cahuita (National Park), increased from 13.3% in 1999, to 28.2% in 2003, but decreased during the next 5 years to around 17.5%. Algal cover increased significantly since 2003 from 36.6% to 61.3% in 2008. The density of Diadema antillarum oscillated between 2 and 7ind/m2, while Echinometra viridis decreased significantly from 20 to 0.6ind/m2. Compared to other CARICOMP sites, live coral cover, fish diversity and density, and sea urchin density were low, and algal cover was intermediate. The seagrass site, also in the Parque Nacional Cahuita, is dominated by Thalassia testudinum and showed an intermediate productivity (2.7 +/- 1.15 g/m2/d) and biomass (822.8 +/- 391.84 g/m2) compared to other CARICOMP sites. Coral reefs and seagrasses at the Parque Nacional Cahuita continue to be impacted by high sediment loads from terrestrial origin. The mangrove forest at Gandoca, within the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo (National Wildlife Refuge), surrounds a lagoon and it is dominated by the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle. Productivity and flower production peak was in July. Biomass (14 kg/m2) and density (9.0 +/- 0.58 trees/100 m2) in Gandoca were relatively low compared to other CARICOMP sites, while productivity in July in Costa Rica (4 g/m2/d) was intermediate, similar to most CARICOMP sites. This mangrove is expanding and has low human impact thus far. Management actions should be taken to protect and preserve these important coastal ecosystems.

  18. NASA Satellite Data for Seagrass Health Modeling and Monitoring

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spiering, Bruce A.; Underwood, Lauren; Ross, Kenton

    2011-01-01

    Time series derived information for coastal waters will be used to provide input data for the Fong and Harwell model. The current MODIS land mask limits where the model can be applied; this project will: a) Apply MODIS data with resolution higher than the standard products (250-m vs. 1-km). b) Seek to refine the land mask. c) Explore nearby areas to use as proxies for time series directly over the beds. Novel processing approaches will be leveraged from other NASA projects and customized as inputs for seagrass productivity modeling

  19. Stability and resilience of seagrass meadows to seasonal and interannual dynamics and environmental stress

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, Joel A.; D'Odorico, Paolo; McGlathery, Karen J.; Wiberg, Patricia L.

    2012-03-01

    Shallow coastal bays provide habitat for diverse fish and invertebrate populations and are an important source of sediment for surrounding marshes. The sediment dynamics of these bays are strongly affected by seagrass meadows, which limit sediment resuspension, thereby providing a more favorable light environment for their own survival and growth. Due to this positive feedback between seagrass and light conditions, it has been suggested that bare sediment and seagrass meadows are potential alternate stable states of the benthos in shallow coastal bays. To investigate the stability and resilience of seagrass meadows subjected to variation in environmental conditions (e.g., light, temperature), a coupled model of vegetation-sediment-water flow interactions and vegetation growth was developed. The model was used to examine the effect of dynamically varying seasonal and interannual seagrass density on sediment resuspension, water column turbidity, and the subsequent light environment on hourly time steps and then run over decadal time scales. A daily growth model was designed to capture both belowground biomass and the growth and senescence of aboveground biomass structural components (e.g., leaves and stems). This allowed us to investigate how the annual and seasonal variability in shoot and leaf density within a meadow affects the strength of positive feedbacks between seagrass and their light environment. The model demonstrates both the emergence of bistable behavior from 1.6 to 1.8 m mean sea level due to the strength of the positive feedback, as well as the limited resilience of seagrass meadows within this bistable range.

  20. The ecology of the seagrass meadows of the west coast of Florida: A community profile

    SciTech Connect

    Zieman, J.C.; Zieman, R.T. . Dept. of Environmental Sciences)

    1989-09-01

    This report summarizes information on the ecology of seagrass meadows on the west coast of Florida, from south of Tampa Bay to Pensacola. This area contains more than 3500 ha of seagrass beds, dominated by three species, Thalasia testudinum (turtle grass), Syringodium filiforme (manatee grass), and Halodule wrightii (shoal grass). Beds occur both on the shallow, zero-energy Continental Shelf and in inshore bays and estuaries. Species ecology, distribution, biomass, and productivity of these dominant seagrass species are discussed. Seagrass beds support a very diverse and abundant algal flora and fauna, and these organisms, and seagrass detritus form the base of a productive food chain. Seagrass beds are important nursery areas providing both cover and food, for a number of commercial and sports fishery species. Along the west Florida coast, estuarine grass beds are noticeably more stressed and impacted by human activities than the more pristine nearshore beds. Urban development and dredging and filling are the major threates to seagrass beds in this region. 500 refs., 28 figs., 14 tabs.

  1. Solar radiation and tidal exposure as environmental drivers of Enhalus acoroides dominated seagrass meadows.

    PubMed

    Unsworth, Richard K F; Rasheed, Michael A; Chartrand, Kathryn M; Roelofs, Anthony J

    2012-01-01

    There is strong evidence of a global long-term decline in seagrass meadows that is widely attributed to anthropogenic activity. Yet in many regions, attributing these changes to actual activities is difficult, as there exists limited understanding of the natural processes that can influence these valuable ecosystem service providers. Being able to separate natural from anthropogenic causes of seagrass change is important for developing strategies that effectively mitigate and manage anthropogenic impacts on seagrass, and promote coastal ecosystems resilient to future environmental change. The present study investigated the influence of environmental and climate related factors on seagrass biomass in a large ≈250 ha meadow in tropical north east Australia. Annual monitoring of the intertidal Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle seagrass meadow over eleven years revealed a declining trend in above-ground biomass (54% significant overall reduction from 2000 to 2010). Partial Least Squares Regression found this reduction to be significantly and negatively correlated with tidal exposure, and significantly and negatively correlated with the amount of solar radiation. This study documents how natural long-term tidal variability can influence long-term seagrass dynamics. Exposure to desiccation, high UV, and daytime temperature regimes are discussed as the likely mechanisms for the action of these factors in causing this decline. The results emphasise the importance of understanding and assessing natural environmentally-driven change when interpreting the results of seagrass monitoring programs.

  2. Habitat collapse due to overgrazing threatens turtle conservation in marine protected areas

    PubMed Central

    Christianen, Marjolijn J. A.; Herman, Peter M. J.; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Lamers, Leon P. M.; van Katwijk, Marieke M.; van der Heide, Tjisse; Mumby, Peter J.; Silliman, Brian R.; Engelhard, Sarah L.; van de Kerk, Madelon; Kiswara, Wawan; van de Koppel, Johan

    2014-01-01

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key tools for combatting the global overexploitation of endangered species. The prevailing paradigm is that MPAs are beneficial in helping to restore ecosystems to more ‘natural’ conditions. However, MPAs may have unintended negative effects when increasing densities of protected species exert destructive effects on their habitat. Here, we report on severe seagrass degradation in a decade-old MPA where hyper-abundant green turtles adopted a previously undescribed below-ground foraging strategy. By digging for and consuming rhizomes and roots, turtles create abundant bare gaps, thereby enhancing erosion and reducing seagrass regrowth. A fully parametrized model reveals that the ecosystem is approaching a tipping point, where consumption overwhelms regrowth, which could potentially lead to complete collapse of the seagrass habitat. Seagrass recovery will not ensue unless turtle density is reduced to nearly zero, eliminating the MPA's value as a turtle reserve. Our results reveal an unrecognized, yet imminent threat to MPAs, as sea turtle densities are increasing at major nesting sites and the decline of seagrass habitat forces turtles to concentrate on the remaining meadows inside reserves. This emphasizes the need for policy and management approaches that consider the interactions of protected species with their habitat. PMID:24403341

  3. Habitat collapse due to overgrazing threatens turtle conservation in marine protected areas.

    PubMed

    Christianen, Marjolijn J A; Herman, Peter M J; Bouma, Tjeerd J; Lamers, Leon P M; van Katwijk, Marieke M; van der Heide, Tjisse; Mumby, Peter J; Silliman, Brian R; Engelhard, Sarah L; van de Kerk, Madelon; Kiswara, Wawan; van de Koppel, Johan

    2014-02-22

    Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key tools for combatting the global overexploitation of endangered species. The prevailing paradigm is that MPAs are beneficial in helping to restore ecosystems to more 'natural' conditions. However, MPAs may have unintended negative effects when increasing densities of protected species exert destructive effects on their habitat. Here, we report on severe seagrass degradation in a decade-old MPA where hyper-abundant green turtles adopted a previously undescribed below-ground foraging strategy. By digging for and consuming rhizomes and roots, turtles create abundant bare gaps, thereby enhancing erosion and reducing seagrass regrowth. A fully parametrized model reveals that the ecosystem is approaching a tipping point, where consumption overwhelms regrowth, which could potentially lead to complete collapse of the seagrass habitat. Seagrass recovery will not ensue unless turtle density is reduced to nearly zero, eliminating the MPA's value as a turtle reserve. Our results reveal an unrecognized, yet imminent threat to MPAs, as sea turtle densities are increasing at major nesting sites and the decline of seagrass habitat forces turtles to concentrate on the remaining meadows inside reserves. This emphasizes the need for policy and management approaches that consider the interactions of protected species with their habitat.

  4. Factors Influencing Spatial and Annual Variability in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) Meadows in Willapa Bay, Washington, and Coos Bay, Oregon, Estuaries

    SciTech Connect

    Thom, Ronald M.; Borde, Amy B.; Rumrill, Steven; Woodruff, Dana L.; Williams, Greg D.; Southard, John A.; Sargeant, Susan L.

    2003-08-01

    Environmental factors that influence annual variability and spatial differences in eelgrass meadows (Zostera marina L.) were examined within Willapa Bay, WA, and Coos Bay, OR, over a period of 4 years (1998-2001). A suite of eelgrass metrics were recorded annually at field sites that spanned the estuarine gradient from the marine-dominated to mesohaline regions. Growth of eelgrass plants was also monitored on a monthly basis within Sequim Bay, WA. Both the spatial cover and density of Z. marina were positively correlated with estuarine salinity and inversely correlated with temperature of the tideflat sediment. Experimental evidence verified that optimal eelgrass growth occurred at highest salinities and relatively low temperatures. Eelgrass density, biomass, and the incident of flowering plants all increased substantially in Willapa Bay, and less so in Coos Bay, over the duration of the study. Warmer winters and cooler summers associated with the transition from El Ni?o to La Ni?a ocean conditions during the study period were correlated with the increase in eelgrass abundance and flowering. Anthropogenic factors (e.g., disturbance and erosion by vessel wakes and recreational shellfishing activities) may have contributed to spatial variability. Our findings indicate that large-scale changes in climate and nearshore ocean conditions can exert a strong regional influence on eelgrass abundance, which can vary annually by as much as 700% in Willapa Bay. Lower levels of variability observed in Coos Bay may be due to the stronger and more direct influence of the nearshore Pacific Ocean. We conclude that climate variation may have profound effects on the abundance and distribution of eelgrass meadows throughout the Pacific Northwest, and we anticipate that ocean conditions will emerge as a primary driving force for living estuarine resources and ecological processes that are associated with Z. marina beds within the landscape of these estuarine tidal basins.

  5. Identification of light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding protein genes of Zostera marina L. and their expression under different environmental conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-02-01

    Photosynthesis includes the collection of light and the transfer of solar energy using light-harvesting chlorophyll a/b-binding (LHC) proteins. In high plants, the LHC gene family includes LHCA and LHCB sub-families, which encode proteins constituting the light-harvesting complex of photosystems I and II. Zostera marina L. is a monocotyledonous angiosperm and inhabits submerged marine environments rather than land environments. We characterized the Lhca and Lhcb gene families of Z. marina from the expressed sequence tags (EST) database. In total, 13 unigenes were annotated as ZmLhc, 6 in Lhca family and 7 in ZmLhcb family. ZmLHCA and ZmLHCB contained the conservative LHC motifs and amino acid residues binding chlorophyll. The average similarity among mature ZmLHCA and ZmLHCB was 48.91% and 48.66%, respectively, which indicated a high degree of divergence within ZmLHChc gene family. The reconstructed phylogenetic tree showed that the tree topology and phylogenetic relationship were similar to those reported in other high plants, suggesting that the Lhc genes were highly conservative and the classification of ZmLhc genes was consistent with the evolutionary position of Z. marina. Real-time reverse transcription (RT) PCR analysis showed that different members of ZmLhca and ZmLhcb responded to a stress in different expression patterns. Salinity, temperature, light intensity and light quality may affect the expression of most ZmLhca and ZmLhcb genes. Inorganic carbon concentration and acidity had no obvious effect on ZmLhca and ZmLhcb gene expression, except for ZmLhca6.

  6. Community structure and biomass distribution of seagrasses and macrofauna in the flores sea, Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nienhuis, P. H.; Coosen, J.; Kiswara, W.

    In several locations in the Flores Sea region the community structure and the biomass distribution of seagrasses were studied along transects perpendicular to the shoreline. The share of each species within a sample plot was estimated, divided in above- and below-ground biomass. Statistics regarding substrate coverage, shoot density and leaf-area index were sampled. A standard relation was calculated between seagrass dry weight, ash-free dry weight and organic carbon content. The biotic data were related to environmental factors: DOC and nutrients in the water, salinity, tidal amplitude, sediment composition. A relation was estimated between bottom coverage of seagrasses and standing stock. Further calculations of biomass-production ratios allow a quick and rough estimate of seagrass productivity. Maximum above-ground biomass values (500-700 g AFDW·m -2) together with qualitative data indicate resource (= space) partitioning among the component seagrasses within a community, and suggest a carrying capacity of the reefflat habitat for seagrass density and biomass. A tentative model was constructed, starting from a constant, non-distributed multispecies vegetation in the lower intertidal and subtidal zone on sand and coral rubble, and moving into several suboptimal situations. The upper shore carries an impoverished, constrained vegetation (irregular tides, desiccation, harvesting). Sediment reworking by animals and physical displacement of sand disturbs the vegetation and favours pioneer species. Muddy habitats bordering mangroves carry monospecific stands showing extremely high biomass ( e.g. below-ground Enhalus acoroides 3500 g AFDW·m -2). Thalassia hemprichii and Enhalus acoroides are the most constant species in all habitats mentioned. Macrofauna biomass within the seagrass beds fluctuated widely (maximum values 50-70 g AFDW·m -2 in mixed seagrass vegetations) and only a weak relation between benthic macrofauna biomass and seagrass community structure and

  7. The potential impact of bedform migration on seagrass communities in Torres Strait, northern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Daniell, James J.; Harris, Peter T.; Hughes, Michael G.; Hemer, Mark; Heap, Andrew

    2008-09-01

    Seagrass communities in the northwest of Torres Strait are known to disappear episodically over broad areas. Sediment mobility surveys were undertaken within two study areas during the monsoon and trade wind seasons, in the vicinity of Turnagain Island, to find out if the migration of bedforms could explain this disappearance. The two study areas covered sand bank and sand dune environments to compare and contrast their migration characteristics. Repeat multibeam sonar surveys were used to measure dune-crest migration during each season. Our results show that seagrass beds occur in the troughs of sediment-starved dunes, but no seagrass occurs in association with full-bedded dunes that are superimposed on large sand bank features. The coincidence of seagrass beds with the sediment-starved dunes is in spite of the fact that they migrate faster (0.59 m day -1) than full-bedded dunes (0.13 m day -1), which indicates that some other factor (other than dune migration rate) limits seagrass growth within Torres Strait. We suggest that seagrasses are unable to colonise full-bedded dunes because of the semi-continuously transported sand that characterises this environment. In contrast, the troughs of sediment-starved dunes experience only limited bedload transport and are less hostile for seagrasses. A conceptual model is presented to explain the occurrence of seagrass beds in relation to their proximity to migrating sand dunes. Based on our analysis, we conclude that the widespread dieback of seagrasses documented for the Turnagain Island region was not caused by dune migration.

  8. Development of a DNA Barcoding System for Seagrasses: Successful but Not Simple

    PubMed Central

    Lucas, Christina; Thangaradjou, Thirunavakkarasu; Papenbrock, Jutta

    2012-01-01

    Seagrasses, a unique group of submerged flowering plants, profoundly influence the physical, chemical and biological environments of coastal waters through their high primary productivity and nutrient recycling ability. They provide habitat for aquatic life, alter water flow, stabilize the ground and mitigate the impact of nutrient pollution. at the coast region. Although on a global scale seagrasses represent less than 0.1% of the angiosperm taxa, the taxonomical ambiguity in delineating seagrass species is high. Thus, the taxonomy of several genera is unsolved. While seagrasses are capable of performing both, sexual and asexual reproduction, vegetative reproduction is common and sexual progenies are always short lived and epimeral in nature. This makes species differentiation often difficult, especially for non-taxonomists since the flower as a distinct morphological trait is missing. Our goal is to develop a DNA barcoding system assisting also non-taxonomists to identify regional seagrass species. The results will be corroborated by publicly available sequence data. The main focus is on the 14 described seagrass species of India, supplemented with seagrasses from temperate regions. According to the recommendations of the Consortium for the Barcoding of Life (CBOL) rbcL and matK were used in this study. After optimization of the DNA extraction method from preserved seagrass material, the respective sequences were amplified from all species analyzed. Tree- and character-based approaches demonstrate that the rbcL sequence fragment is capable of resolving up to family and genus level. Only matK sequences were reliable in resolving species and partially the ecotype level. Additionally, a plastidic gene spacer was included in the analysis to confirm the identification level. Although the analysis of these three loci solved several nodes, a few complexes remained unsolved, even when constructing a combined tree for all three loci. Our approaches contribute to the

  9. Species composition and biomasses of fishes in tropical seagrasses at Groote Eylandt, northern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blaber, S. J. M.; Brewer, D. T.; Salini, J. P.; Kerr, J. D.; Conacher, C.

    1992-12-01

    The species composition and biomasses of fishes in the tropical seagrasses of Groote Eylandt, northern Australia, were studied in 1989 and 1990. A total of 156 species was recorded. Tall dense seagrass, short seagrass and control (no seagrass) sites in different depths were compared. Shallow (<1 m) sites were dominated by small resident species and juveniles of non-resident species, while deeper waters (to 7 m) were dominated by larger species. Species composition was not significantly different between sites, but species diversity ( H) and evenness ( E) were higher in non-vegetated areas. In slightly deeper water (<2 m) species composition was different between habitats and species diversity was highest in tall seagrass and least in open areas. Most species were more abundant in tall seagrass and least abundant in open areas. Most of the larger fishes, including 11 species of sharks, are piscivores, and most move into shallow sea-grass areas at night, irrespective of tide height. Only five species showed abundance patterns related to tide height and there were no significant seasonal patterns of abundance in any of the communities. The biomasses for all sites and sampling methods were mostly from 1 to 2 g m -2, which is low relative to other inshore tropical areas. The possible causes—the characteristics of adjacent habitats (coral reefs and mangroves) and the role of seagrasses in the life cycle of fishes are discussed. It is suggested that habitat structure is a major determinant of the species composition of fish in tropical seagrass areas, primarily because it affects food availability, both for small residents and juveniles, and for visiting predators.

  10. A Meta-Analysis of Seaweed Impacts on Seagrasses: Generalities and Knowledge Gaps

    PubMed Central

    Thomsen, Mads S.; Wernberg, Thomas; Engelen, Aschwin H.; Tuya, Fernando; Vanderklift, Mat A.; Holmer, Marianne; McGlathery, Karen J.; Arenas, Francisco; Kotta, Jonne; Silliman, Brian R.

    2012-01-01

    Seagrasses are important habitat-formers and ecosystem engineers that are under threat from bloom-forming seaweeds. These seaweeds have been suggested to outcompete the seagrasses, particularly when facilitated by eutrophication, causing regime shifts where green meadows and clear waters are replaced with unstable sediments, turbid waters, hypoxia, and poor habitat conditions for fishes and invertebrates. Understanding the situations under which seaweeds impact seagrasses on local patch scales can help proactive management and prevent losses at greater scales. Here, we provide a quantitative review of available published manipulative experiments (all conducted at the patch-scale), to test which attributes of seaweeds and seagrasses (e.g., their abundances, sizes, morphology, taxonomy, attachment type, or origin) influence impacts. Weighted and unweighted meta-analyses (Hedges d metric) of 59 experiments showed generally high variability in attribute-impact relationships. Our main significant findings were that (a) abundant seaweeds had stronger negative impacts on seagrasses than sparse seaweeds, (b) unattached and epiphytic seaweeds had stronger impacts than ‘rooted’ seaweeds, and (c) small seagrass species were more susceptible than larger species. Findings (a) and (c) were rather intuitive. It was more surprising that ‘rooted’ seaweeds had comparatively small impacts, particularly given that this category included the infamous invasive Caulerpa species. This result may reflect that seaweed biomass and/or shading and metabolic by-products like anoxia and sulphides could be lower for rooted seaweeds. In conclusion, our results represent simple and robust first-order generalities about seaweed impacts on seagrasses. This review also documented a limited number of primary studies. We therefore identified major knowledge gaps that need to be addressed before general predictive models on seaweed-seagrass interactions can be build, in order to effectively

  11. Redefining the trophic importance of seagrasses for fauna in tropical Indo-Pacific meadows

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vonk, Jan Arie; Christianen, Marjolijn J. A.; Stapel, Johan

    2008-09-01

    Fauna species living in seagrass meadows depend on different food sources, with seagrasses often being marginally important for higher trophic levels. To determine the food web of a mixed-species tropical seagrass meadow in Sulawesi, Indonesia, we analyzed the stable isotope ( δ13C and δ15N) signatures of primary producers, particulate organic matter (POM) and fauna species. In addition invertebrates, both infauna and macrobenthic, and fish densities were examined to identify the important species in the meadow. The aims of this study were to identify the main food sources of fauna species by comparing isotopic signatures of different primary producers and fauna, and to estimate qualitatively the importance of seagrass material in the food web. Phytoplankton and water column POM were the most depleted primary food sources for δ13C (range -23.1 to -19.6‰), but no fauna species depended only on these sources for carbon. Epiphytes and Sargassum sp. had intermediate δ13C values (-14.2 to -11.9‰). Sea urchins, gastropods and certain fish species were the main species assimilating this material. Seagrasses and sedimentary POM had the least depleted values (-11.5 to -5.7‰). Between the five seagrass species significant differences in δ13C were measured. The small species Halophila ovalis and Halodule uninervis were most depleted, the largest species Enhalus acoroides was least depleted, while Thalassia hemprichii and Cymodocea rotundata had intermediate values. Fourteen fauna species, accounting for ˜10% of the total fauna density, were shown to assimilate predominantly (>50%) seagrass material, either directly or indirectly by feeding on seagrass consumers. These species ranged from amphipods up to the benthic top predator Taeniura lymma. Besides these species, about half of the 55 fauna species analyzed had δ13C values higher than the least depleted non-seagrass source, indicating they depended at least partly for their food on seagrass material. This study

  12. Detection of seagrass distribution changes from 1991 to 2006 in xincun bay, hainan, with satellite remote sensing.

    PubMed

    Yang, Dingtian; Yang, Chaoyu

    2009-01-01

    Seagrass distribution is a very important index for costal management and protection. Seagrass distribution changes can be used as indexes to analyze the reasons for the changes. In this paper, in situ hyperspectral observation and satellite images of QuickBird, CBERS (China Brazil Earth Resources Satellite data) and Landsat data were used to retrieve bio-optical models and seagrass (Enhalus acoroides, Thalassia hemperichii) distribution in Xincun Bay, Hainan province, and seagrass distribution changes from 1991 to 2006 were analyzed. Hyperspectral results showed that the spectral bands at 555, 635, 650 and 675 nm are sensitive to leaf area index (LAI). Seagrass detection with QuickBird was more accurate than that with Landsat TM and CBERS; five classes could be classified clearly and used as correction for seagrass remote sensing data from Landsat TM and CBERS. In order to better describe seagrass distribution changes, the seagrass distribution area was divided as three regions: region A connected with region B in 1991, however it separated in 1999 and was wholly separated in 2001; seagrass in region C shrank gradually and could not be detected in 2006. Analysis of the reasons for seagrass reduction indicated it was mainly affected by aquaculture and typhoons and in recent years, by land use changes.

  13. Effects of surrounding land use and water depth on seagrass dynamics relative to a catastrophic algal bloom.

    PubMed

    Breininger, David R; Breininger, Robert D; Hall, Carlton R

    2017-02-01

    Seagrasses are the foundation of many coastal ecosystems and are in global decline because of anthropogenic impacts. For the Indian River Lagoon (Florida, U.S.A.), we developed competing multistate statistical models to quantify how environmental factors (surrounding land use, water depth, and time [year]) influenced the variability of seagrass state dynamics from 2003 to 2014 while accounting for time-specific detection probabilities that quantified our ability to determine seagrass state at particular locations and times. We classified seagrass states (presence or absence) at 764 points with geographic information system maps for years when seagrass maps were available and with aerial photographs when seagrass maps were not available. We used 4 categories (all conservation, mostly conservation, mostly urban, urban) to describe surrounding land use within sections of lagoonal waters, usually demarcated by land features that constricted these waters. The best models predicted that surrounding land use, depth, and year would affect transition and detection probabilities. Sections of the lagoon bordered by urban areas had the least stable seagrass beds and lowest detection probabilities, especially after a catastrophic seagrass die-off linked to an algal bloom. Sections of the lagoon bordered by conservation lands had the most stable seagrass beds, which supports watershed conservation efforts. Our results show that a multistate approach can empirically estimate state-transition probabilities as functions of environmental factors while accounting for state-dependent differences in seagrass detection probabilities as part of the overall statistical inference procedure.

  14. Zosteropenillines: Polyketides from the Marine-Derived Fungus Penicillium thomii

    PubMed Central

    Afiyatullov, Shamil Sh.; Leshchenko, Elena V.; Berdyshev, Dmitrii V.; Sobolevskaya, Maria P.; Antonov, Alexandr S.; Denisenko, Vladimir A.; Popov, Roman S.; Pivkin, Mikhail V.; Udovenko, Anatoly A.; Pislyagin, Evgeny A.; von Amsberg, Gunhild; Dyshlovoy, Sergey A.

    2017-01-01

    Twelve new polyketides, zosteropenillines A–L (1–12), together with known polyketide pallidopenilline A (13), were isolated from the ethylacetate extract of