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Seed bank, biomass, and productivity of Halophila decipiens, a deep water seagrass on the west Florida continental shelf
Hammerstrom, K.K.; Kenworthy, W.J.; Fonseca, M.S.; Whitfield, P.E. (2006). Seed bank, biomass, and productivity of Halophila decipiens, a deep water seagrass on the west Florida continental shelf. Aquat. Bot. 84(2): 110-120
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biomass; Productivity; Productivity; Productivity; Seedlings; Halophila decipiens Ostenfeld, 1902 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Hammerstrom, K.K.
  • Kenworthy, W.J., correspondent
  • Fonseca, M.S.
  • Whitfield, P.E.

Abstract
    One of the largest contiguous seagrass ecosystems in the world is located on the shallow continental shelf adjacent to the west coast of Florida, USA and is comprised of seasonally ephemeral Halophila decipiens meadows. Little is known about the demography of the west Florida shelf H. decipiens, which may produce 4.56 × 108 g C day−1 or more during the peak growing season. We documented seagrass distribution, biomass, and productivity, and density of sediment seed reserves, seedlings, flowers and fruits on the southeastern portion of the west Florida shelf by sampling along a transect at three stations in 10, 15, and 20 m water depth. Biomass, flower, fruit, seedling, and seed bank densities tended to be highest at stations in 10–15 m water depth and lowest at 20 m. Flowers and fruit were most prevalent during summer cruises (June and August 1999, July 2000). Seedling germination occurred during summer, fall (October 1999), and winter (January 2000) sampling events, with the highest seedling densities present during the winter. Seed bank density remained consistent through time. A Category I hurricane with sustained winds of 120 km h−1 passed over the stations, but only limited impact on H. decipiens biomass was observed. The presence of a persistent seed bank provides for recovery after storm disturbance, annual reestablishment of populations, and continual maintenance of the 20,000 km2 of deep water seagrass habitat present on the west Florida shelf.

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