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Seasonal variation in short-term survival of Zostera noltii transplants in a declining meadow in Portugal
Martins, I.; Neto, J.M.; Fontes, M.G.; Marques, J.C.; Pardal, M.A. (2005). Seasonal variation in short-term survival of Zostera noltii transplants in a declining meadow in Portugal. Aquat. Bot. 82(2): 132-142
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Coasts; Eutrophication; Management; Seasonality; Transplants; Zostera (Zosterella) noltei Hornemann [WoRMS]; ANE, Portugal, Mondego Estuary [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Martins, I.
  • Neto, J.M.
  • Fontes, M.G.
  • Marques, J.C.
  • Pardal, M.A.

Abstract
    In one decade (from 1986 to 1997), the area occupied by Zostera noltii in the Mondego estuary (western coast of Portugal) decreased from 150,000 to 200 m2. Our purpose was to identify the most suitable season for transplantation of Z. noltii, as one of the methodologies included in a broader restoration plan of the local Z. noltii meadows. Each month a short-term transplantation experiment (20 days) was undertaken, where the net growth rate of transplants, the number of lost shoots and the number of surviving shoots was estimated. Transplant loss variation was markedly seasonal (ANOVA, F1,12 = 13.11, p < 0.01). From spring to middle autumn (April–October), the amount of lost shoots was significantly higher (average = 63%) than during late autumn and winter (average = 26%). Multiple regression results suggest that the number of surviving shoots was negatively related with insolation and NH4-N concentration. Additionally, the net growth rate of the transplants was negatively related with salinity. In conclusion, we recommend that at southern European latitudes, Z. noltii transplantation be undertaken during late autumn and winter. The success of transplantation at this time of the year seems to be related with the prevailing external conditions, namely, low temperatures and low photon flux densities. Furthermore, we hypothesise that the proportion of aboveground to belowground biomass in Z. noltii may also influence transplant survival. Transplantation success was higher whenever belowground biomass was higher than aboveground biomass. In the Mondego estuary, in autumn and winter, the belowground biomass of Z. noltii represents about 51% of the total plant biomass, while in spring and summer, this value decreases to 31% of the total biomass.

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