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Spatial and temporal variation in eelgrass (Zostera marina) landscapes: influence of physical setting
Frederiksen, M.; Krause-Jensen, D.; Holmer, M.; Laursen, J.S. (2004). Spatial and temporal variation in eelgrass (Zostera marina) landscapes: influence of physical setting. Aquat. Bot. 78(2): 147-165. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2003.10.003
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Aerial photographs; Environmental effects; Exposed habitats; Geographical distribution; Sea grass; Sediment transport; Sheltered habitats; Spatial variations; Temporal variations; Zostera marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; ANE, Denmark [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Frederiksen, M.
  • Krause-Jensen, D.
  • Holmer, M.
  • Laursen, J.S.

Abstract
    The distribution of eelgrass (Zostera marina)was mapped from aerial photographs at three Danish sites with different levels of physical exposure by digital image analysis at 1m × 1m resolution. A set of indices from landscape ecology were used to quantify various components of the eelgrass landscapes such as patch shapes and landscape aggregation in photographs from 1995. Furthermore, the long-term fluctuations in the spatial distribution of eelgrass were investigated during the period 1954-1995/1999. Eelgrass landscapes exposed to wave dynamics were less aggregated with more elongated patch shapes than the sheltered eelgrass areas. The outline of the larger patches also tended to be more complex at exposed sites. Patch size distribution at all sites was highly skewed with 75-95% of the patches being <10m². Although the majority of the patches were small, they only constituted a small proportion of the total eelgrass area because most of the eelgrass-covered area was contained in a few, large patches. Large fluctuations in the spatial distribution of eelgrass occurred at both exposed and protected sites in the course of the investigation period. In the relatively short intervals of ~7 years between two consecutive photographs, on average 39-62% of the total eelgrass area covered in the photographs had changed (i.e., disappeared or recolonized) and the largest changes occurred at exposed sites. Overall, this study showed that shallow eelgrass populations form characteristic landscapes with a configuration that is highly related to the level of physical exposure and that the size and position of eelgrass beds changes substantially among years.

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