Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

Temporal Variation of Intertidal Seagrass in Southern China


Understanding the temporal dynamics of seagrasses and the major influences on seagrass growth is critical for seagrass habitat conservation and administration. However, little work has been done regarding these issues in southern China. To examine inter-annual and seasonal variations of the intertidal Halophila ovalis community in southern China, we conducted quarterly sampling using the SeagrassNet methodology and assessed environmental conditions as well as direct anthropogenic impacts on the seagrass meadow from July 2008 to October 2014. Our study demonstrated strong inter-annual and seasonal dynamics of the intertidal seagrass meadow in the study area. Generally, the community performed best (highest seagrass cover, leaf area, shoot density, total biomass) in summer and worst in spring among the 4 seasons. The temporal variations in the seagrass community attributes (e.g. above-ground biomass) were significantly affected by precipitation, atmospheric visibility, and salinity, while leaf width was significantly negatively correlated with temperature, atmospheric visibility and salinity. Temperature was a major factor influencing the seagrass community (both macroalgae and seagrass), with temperature data showing an inverse relationship between seagrass and macroalgae. The above-ground: below-ground biomass ratio and leaf width of H. ovalis were the most sensitive plant parameters monitored when assessing environmental interactions. Human physical disturbances did not have a significant effect on seagrass dynamics in the study area. We concluded that long-term monitoring (like SeagrassNet) is valuable in understanding the relationship between environmental variables and seagrasses.

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Ocean Science Journal



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