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Tape grass life history metrics associated with environmental variables in a controlled estuary
Bortone, S.A.; Trupin, R.K. (2000). Tape grass life history metrics associated with environmental variables in a controlled estuary, in: Bortone, S.A. (Ed.) Seagrasses: monitoring, ecology, physiology, and management. pp. 65-79
In: Bortone, S.A. (Ed.) (2000). Seagrasses: monitoring, ecology, physiology, and management. CRC Marine Science Series, 16. CRC Press: Boca Raton. ISBN 0-8493-2045-3. 318 pp., more
In: Kennish, M.J.; Lutz, P.L. (Ed.) CRC Marine Science Series., more

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Botany [8755]

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bortone, S.A.
  • Trupin, R.K.

Abstract
    Twenty samples of tape grass were removed from four locations along a salinity gradient in the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County, Florida each month in 1998. Examination of the environmental, independent variables indicates a strong seasonal cycle for temperature and a trend toward increasing chlorophyll levels during the year. Dependent response variables recorded for tape grass also indicated a seasonal pattem that mimicked the temperature cycle. There was a time lag in maximal life history attributes. Number of shoots per sample, number of blades per sample, and number of blades per shoot had highest values during the warmer months, i.e., May-August. Blade length, blade width, and biomass were higher during the later part of the summer and early fall. Reproductive attributes of the plants, i.e., number of male and female flowers, were highest during the fall. The salinity gradient that was part of the study design was weak and accounted for only a small part of the variation observed between locations along the river. Typically, the end of the year parameter levels were higher than the beginning of the parameter levels for all response variables among plants. It is suspected that this is due to the inordinately heavy rains during early 1998 that led to lower salinities at alllocations. These normally freshwater plants were apparently less stressed because of the lower salinity conditions in the estuary .This situation may have provided a "boost" to their growth that helped expand the extent, size, and fitness of tape grass within the estuarine system. A paradox was revealed in that higher plant growth parameters were recorded among plants from the higher salinity portions of the river. During 1998, salinities were low at the most seaward location, but water clarity was greater, thus providing conditions that may have facilitated growth of this normally freshwater plant in an estuarine ecosystem.

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