Testing the sediment-trapping paradigm of seagrass: do seagrasses influence nutrient status and sediment structure in tropical intertidal environments?

Mellors, Jane, Marsh, Helene, Carruthers, Tim J.B., and Waycott, Michelle (2002) Testing the sediment-trapping paradigm of seagrass: do seagrasses influence nutrient status and sediment structure in tropical intertidal environments? Bulletin of Marine Science, 71 (3). pp. 1215-1226.

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Abstract

Seagrass meadows are considered important for sediment trapping and sediment stabilisation. Deposition of fine sediments and associated adsorbed nutrients is considered an important part of the chemical and biological processes attributed to seagrass communities. This paradigm was based on work in temperate regions on Zostera marina and in tropical regions on Thalassia testudinum, two species that maintain relatively high biomass, stable meadows. The current study investigates this concept for three species of intertidal tropical seagrass meadows in northeastern Australia. Sediment structure and nutrient status did not differ between vegetated and unvegated habitats in intertidal areas within the central region of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The 'trapping' functions that have been attributed to seagrasses need to be re-assessed for a variety of locations and species before they can be accepted as dogma. In tropical Australia, intertidal meadows are predominantly ephemeral and comprised of structurally small species of low biomass. Consequently, sediment trapping within these meadows is largely insignificant.

Item ID: 3514
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: sea grass; marine environment; Pacific Ocean; Oceania; Australia; Thalassia testudinum; South Pacific; Great Barrier Reef; tropical zone; seagrass bed; intertidal environment; status; nutrient; trapping; sediments
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ISSN: 1553-6955
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2009 03:35
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 12
Downloads: Total: 4
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