Anthropogenic impact on Zostera noltei seagrass meadows (NW Iberian Peninsula) assessed by carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic signatures

Román, M., Fernández, E., Zamborain-Mason, J., and Méndez, G. (2019) Anthropogenic impact on Zostera noltei seagrass meadows (NW Iberian Peninsula) assessed by carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic signatures. Estuaries and Coasts, 42 (4). pp. 987-1000.

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Seagrass meadows provide valuable ecosystem services for human well-being. They are threatened by increasing human development on coastal areas, which results in eutrophication and ecosystem degradation. The negative effects of anthropogenic pressures on Zostera noltei meadows in NW Spain are unknown. This study aims to explore the relationship between watershed human development (i.e., the demographic temporal evolution and land cover indicators of human pressure) and the C and N isotopic signatures determined in Z. noltei seagrass meadows located in the related estuarine areas. We measured δ¹⁵N, δ³C, and the C:N content of sediment cores, Z. noltei leaves, and epiphytes collected from three seagrass meadows located at NW Iberian Peninsula characterized by well-differentiated watersheds in terms of the intensity of the anthropogenic pressures (Caldebarcos, Lourizán, and A Ramallosa). Ages and sedimentation rates were estimated by ²¹⁰Pb/¹³⁷Cs dating of one sediment core from the A Ramallosa seagrass meadow, corresponding to the most populated and urbanized watershed. Magnitudes of anthropogenic pressure on the watersheds were determined by the analysis of historic demographic data and the quantification of land cover changes obtained from CORINE Land Cover database. The intense anthropogenic transformation observed in the A Ramallosa watershed resulted in increases of sedimentation rates in the Z. noltei meadow. δ¹⁵N and δ¹³C signatures revealed the effects of anthropogenic nitrogen inputs. Sediment δ¹⁵N was the variable that best performed as an early warning eutrophication indicator, whereas δ¹⁵N in Z. noltei and epiphytic material were less coupled to the magnitudes of artificial land and population density on watersheds.

Item ID: 61789
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1559-2731
Keywords: anthropogenic impact, N and C stable isotopes, temporal evolution, Zostera noltei
Copyright Information: © 2019, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.
Funders: Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain
Projects and Grants: Project REIMAGE (grants CTM2011- 30155-C03-01 and CTM2011-30155-C03- 02)
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 22:34
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410203 Ecosystem function @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
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