Productivity, carbon assimilation and intra-annual change in tropical reef platform seagrass communities of the Torres Strait, north-eastern Australia

Rasheed, Michael A., Dew, Kara R., McKenzie, Len J., Coles, Robert G., Kerville, Simon P., and Campbell, Stuart J. (2008) Productivity, carbon assimilation and intra-annual change in tropical reef platform seagrass communities of the Torres Strait, north-eastern Australia. Continental Shelf Research, 28 (16). pp. 2292-2303.

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Abstract

Detailed data on seagrass distribution, abundance, growth rates and community structure information were collected at Orman Reefs in March 2004 to estimate the above-ground productivity and carbon assimilated by seagrass meadows. Seagrass meadows were re-examined in November 2004 for comparison at the seasonal extremes of seagrass abundance. Ten seagrass species were identified in the meadows on Orman Reefs. Extensive seagrass coverage was found in March (18,700 ha) and November (21,600 ha), with seagrass covering the majority of the intertidal reef-top areas and a large proportion of the subtidal areas examined. There were marked differences in seagrass above-ground biomass, distribution and species composition between the two surveys. Major changes between March and November included a substantial decline in biomass for intertidal meadows and an expansion in area of subtidal meadows. Changes were most likely a result of greater tidal exposure of intertidal meadows prior to November leading to desiccation and temperature-related stress.

The Orman Reef seagrass meadows had a total above-ground productivity of 259.8 t DW day−1 and estimated carbon assimilation of 89.4 t C day−1 in March. The majority of this production came from the intertidal meadows which accounted for 81% of the total production. Intra-annual changes in seagrass species composition, shoot density and size of meadows measured in this study were likely to have a strong influence on the total above-ground production during the year. The net estimated above-ground productivity of Orman Reefs meadows in March 2004 (1.19 g C m−2 day−1) was high compared with other tropical seagrass areas that have been studied and also higher than many other marine, estuarine and terrestrial plant communities.

Item ID: 32761
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: seagrass, productivity, carbon, distribution, seasonality, Torres Strait
ISSN: 1873-6955
Funders: CRC Torres Strait, Northern Fisheries Centre, Marine Ecology Group, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 01:06
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 70%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 10%
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