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Biomass and primary production of a 8-11 m depth meadow versus <3 m depth meadows of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson
Terrados, J.; Grau-Castella, M.; Piñol-Santiñà, D.; Riera-Fernández, P. (2006). Biomass and primary production of a 8-11 m depth meadow versus <3 m depth meadows of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson. Aquat. Bot. 84(4): 324-332. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquabot.2005.12.004
In: Aquatic Botany. Elsevier Science: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; London; Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-3770, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biomass; Density gradients; Depth; Primary production; Sea grass; Shoots; Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson, 1870 [WoRMS]; MED, Mediterranean [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Terrados, J.
  • Grau-Castella, M.
  • Piñol-Santiñà, D.
  • Riera-Fernández, P.

Abstract
    Current knowledge about the abundance, growth, and primary production of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson is biased towards shallow (depth <3 m) meadows although this species also forms extensive meadows at larger depths along the coastlines. The biomass and primary production of a C. nodosa meadow located at a depth of 8–11 m was estimated at the time of maximum annual vegetative development (summer) using reconstruction techniques, and compared with those available from shallow meadows of this species. A depth-referenced data base of values at the time of maximum annual development was compiled to that end. The vegetative development of C. nodosa at 8–11 m depth was not different from that achieved by shallow (depth <3 m) meadows of this species. Only shoot density, which decreased from 1637 to 605 shoots m−2, and the annual rate of elongation of the horizontal rhizome, which increased from 23 to 71 cm apex−1 year−1, were different as depth increased from <3 to 8–11 m. Depth was a poor predictor of the vegetative development and primary production of C. nodosa. The biomass of rhizomes and roots decreased with depth (g DW m−2 = 480 (±53, S.E.) − 32 (±15, S.E.) depth (in m); R2 = 0.12, F = 4.65, d.f. = 35, P = 0.0381) which made total biomass of the meadow to show a trend of decrease with depth but the variance of biomass data explained by depth was low. The annual rate of elongation of the horizontal rhizome showed a significant positive relationship with depth (cm apex−1 year−1 = 18 (±5.1, S.E.) + 5.0 (±1.33, S.E.) depth (in m); R2 = 0.50, F = 14.07, d.f. = 14, P = 0.0021). As shoot size and growth did not change significantly with depth, the reduction of shoot density should drive any changes of biomass and productivity of C. nodosa as depth increases. The processes by which this reduction of C. nodosa abundance with depth occur remain to be elucidated.

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