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Cover versus recovery: Contrasting responses of two indicators in seagrass beds
Soissons, L.M.; Han, Q.; Li, B.; van Katwijk, M.M.; Ysebaert, T.; Herman, P.M.J.; Bouma, T.J. (2014). Cover versus recovery: Contrasting responses of two indicators in seagrass beds. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 87(1-2): 211–219. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.07.057
In: Marine Pollution Bulletin. Macmillan: London. ISSN 0025-326X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Zostera (Zostera) marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Indicators for ecosystem health; Leaf area index; Recovery; Critical slowing down; Zostera marina; Nutrient enrichment

Authors  Top 
  • Soissons, L.M., more
  • Han, Q.
  • Li, B.
  • van Katwijk, M.M., more

Abstract
    Despite being a highly valuable key-stone ecosystem, seagrass meadows are threatened and declining worldwide, creating urgent need for indicators of their health status. We compared two indicators for seagrass health: standing leaf area index versus relative recovery from local disturbance. Disturbance was created by removing aboveground biomass and recording the rate of regrowth for Zostera marina meadows exposed to contrasting wave regimes and nutrient stress levels.Within the experimental period, relative regrowth in gaps was around 50% in most plots, except for the ambient nutrient treatment at the sheltered site, where it exceeded 100%. The two indicators showed an opposite response to disturbance: the higher the standing leaf area index, the lower the relative recovery from disturbance. This conflicting response raises the question on the proper interpretation of such indicators to estimate seagrass health and resilience, and how to ideally monitor seagrass ecosystems in order to predict collapse.

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