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Circular pools in the seagrass beds of the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, and their possible origin
Van der Laan, B.B.P.A.; Wolff, W.J. (2006). Circular pools in the seagrass beds of the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, and their possible origin. Aquat. Bot. 84(2): 93-100
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Sea grass; Tidal pools; Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson, 1870 [WoRMS]; Zostera (Zosterella) noltei Hornemann [WoRMS]; ASE, Mauritania, Arguin Bay [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Van der Laan, B.B.P.A.
  • Wolff, W.J., more

Abstract
    The tidal flats of the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania, are covered by vast beds of Zostera noltii. At low tide these seagrass beds appear to be interspersed with partly vegetated, circular pools of 5–25 m diameter. Between February and May 2001 we described these pools and studied their possible origin. Several hypotheses regarding the origin have been developed. The first group of hypotheses assumes that the pools result from erosion activity. Since human disturbance of seagrass beds at the Banc d’Arguin is virtually non-existent, causes should be found in natural bed disturbances and/or tide or wave action. Therefore, small gaps, simulating holes dug by the crab Callinectes marginatus, were made to see if they would further erode by tidal currents or waves. The experiments showed no erosion. Neither we found support for other hypotheses assuming erosion to be the cause of circular pools. The alternative group of hypotheses stated that sedimentation on the flats would be responsible. We conclude that accretion of creek remnants is the most likely process behind the development of the pools; this conclusion is based on both mapping of the pattern of pools, the sediment profile in and around the pools and the distribution of seagrass biomass. Also the disturbance experiments showed bed accretion rather than bed erosion and support this hypothesis.

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