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Sheath length as a monitoring tool for calculating leaf growth in eelgrass (Zostera marina L.)
Gaeckle, J.L.; Short, F.T.; Ibarra-Obando, S.E.; Meling-López, A.E. (2006). Sheath length as a monitoring tool for calculating leaf growth in eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). Aquat. Bot. 84(3): 226-232. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2005.10.006
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biological production; Growth; Length; Monitoring; Sea grass; Zostera (Zostera) marina Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; ANW, USA, New Hampshire [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Gaeckle, J.L.
  • Short, F.T.
  • Ibarra-Obando, S.E.
  • Meling-López, A.E.

Abstract
    Recent advances have improved ease and accuracy in seagrass growth measurements. Despite these improvements, seagrass leaf growth can be difficult to measure effectively; current methods are destructive to the plants and require at least two site visits per growth period. We used the “previous growth” of Ibarra-Obando and Boudouresque [Ibarra-Obando, S.E., Boudouresque, C.F., 1994. An improvement of the Zieman leaf marking technique for Zostera marina growth and production assessment. Aquat. Bot. 47, 293–302.] to develop a relationship between sheath length and leaf growth in eelgrass, Zostera marina L., and we demonstrated that a simple, non-destructive method allows reliable calculation of eelgrass leaf growth (mg shoot−1 day−1) based on sheath length. We measured eelgrass sheath length and leaf growth for 18 months, from November 1999 to April 2001, at a site in Portsmouth Harbor on the border of New Hampshire and Maine, USA. Regression analyses showed a high coefficient of determination between sheath length and leaf growth, demonstrating that sheath length reliably reflected eelgrass leaf growth. We also showed that four seasonal measurements were sufficient to establish a significant relationship between sheath length and leaf growth. After a regression of sheath length and leaf growth has been established for a site, eelgrass sheath length can be measured in situ to accurately calculate leaf growth, eliminating both the need for destructive growth measurements and the need to mark and relocate plants.

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