Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 525
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Abrams, Jesse F. Hohn, Sönke Rixen, Tim Baum, Antje and Merico, Agostino 2016. The impact of Indonesian peatland degradation on downstream marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Global Change Biology, Vol. 22, Issue. 1, p. 325.


    Bulmer, RH Kelly, S and Jeffs, AG 2016. Light requirements of the seagrass,Zostera muelleri, determined by observations at the maximum depth limit in a temperate estuary, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, Vol. 50, Issue. 2, p. 183.


    Butler, Jack Stanley, Jenni A. and Butler, Mark J. 2016. Underwater soundscapes in near-shore tropical habitats and the effects of environmental degradation and habitat restoration. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 479, p. 89.


    Demers, Marie-Claire A. Knott, Nathan A. and Davis, Andrew R. 2016. Under the radar: Sessile epifaunal invertebrates in the seagrass Posidonia australis. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Vol. 96, Issue. 02, p. 363.


    Eriander, Louise Infantes, Eduardo Olofsson, Malin Olsen, Jeanine L. and Moksnes, Per-Olav 2016. Assessing methods for restoration of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in a cold temperate region. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 479, p. 76.


    González-Ortiz, Vanessa Egea, Luis Gonzalo Jiménez-Ramos, Rocio Moreno-Marín, Francisco Pérez-Lloréns, José Lucas Bouma, Tjeerd and Brun, Fernando 2016. Submerged vegetation complexity modifies benthic infauna communities: the hidden role of the belowground system. Marine Ecology, Vol. 37, Issue. 3, p. 543.


    Groner, ML Burge, CA Kim, CJS Rees, E Van Alstyne, KL Yang, S Wyllie-Echeverria, S and Harvell, CD 2016. Plant characteristics associated with widespread variation in eelgrass wasting disease. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, Vol. 118, Issue. 2, p. 159.


    Groner, Maya L. Maynard, Jeffrey Breyta, Rachel Carnegie, Ryan B. Dobson, Andy Friedman, Carolyn S. Froelich, Brett Garren, Melissa Gulland, Frances M. D. Heron, Scott F. Noble, Rachel T. Revie, Crawford W. Shields, Jeffrey D. Vanderstichel, Raphaël Weil, Ernesto Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy and Harvell, C. Drew 2016. Managing marine disease emergencies in an era of rapid change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 371, Issue. 1689, p. 20150364.


    Grudzinski, Bartosz P. Daniels, Melinda D. Anibas, Kyle and Spencer, David 2016. Bison and cattle grazing management, bare ground coverage, and links to suspended sediment concentrations in grassland streams. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, Vol. 52, Issue. 1, p. 16.


    HIRAOKA, Kiyonori OMICHI, Yuhei NAKAHARA, Shinya KAWAMOTO, Yasunori TERAWAKI, Toshinobu and OKADA, Mitsumasa 2016. Recovery of Natural <i><b>Zostera</b></i> Bed after Typhoon Attacks and Autonomous Restoration of <i><b>Zostera</b></i> Bed by Backfilling Old Navigation Channel at the Mouth of Imazu River in Hiroshima Bay. Journal of Japan Society on Water Environment, Vol. 39, Issue. 4, p. 97.


    Jones, Benjamin L. and Unsworth, Richard K. F. 2016. The perilous state of seagrass in the British Isles. Royal Society Open Science, Vol. 3, Issue. 1, p. 150596.


    Kurokochi, Hiroyuki Matsuki, Yu Nakajima, Yuichi Fortes, Miguel D. Uy, Wilfredo H. Campos, Wilfredo L. Nadaoka, Kazuo and Lian, Chunlan 2016. A baseline for the genetic conservation of tropical seagrasses in the western North Pacific under the influence of the Kuroshio Current: the case of Syringodium isoetifolium. Conservation Genetics, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 103.


    Mach, Megan E. Levings, Colin D. and Chan, Kai M. A. 2016. Nonnative Species in British Columbia Eelgrass Beds Spread via Shellfish Aquaculture and Stay for the Mild Climate. Estuaries and Coasts,


    Martin, Daniel L. Chiari, Ylenia Boone, Emily Sherman, Timothy D. Ross, Cliff Wyllie-Echeverria, Sandy Gaydos, Joseph K. and Boettcher, Anne A. 2016. Functional, Phylogenetic and Host-Geographic Signatures of Labyrinthula spp. Provide for Putative Species Delimitation and a Global-Scale View of Seagrass Wasting Disease. Estuaries and Coasts, Vol. 39, Issue. 5, p. 1403.


    McDonald, Ashley M. Prado, Patricia Heck, Kenneth L. Fourqurean, James W. Frankovich, Thomas A. Dunton, Kenneth H. and Cebrian, Just 2016. Seagrass growth, reproductive, and morphological plasticity across environmental gradients over a large spatial scale. Aquatic Botany, Vol. 134, p. 87.


    McDonald, Rachel B. Moody, Ryan M. Heck, Ken L. and Cebrian, Just 2016. Fish, Macroinvertebrate and Epifaunal Communities in Shallow Coastal Lagoons with Varying Seagrass Cover of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts, Vol. 39, Issue. 3, p. 718.


    McSkimming, Chloe Connell, Sean D. Russell, Bayden D. and Tanner, Jason E. 2016. Habitat restoration: Early signs and extent of faunal recovery relative to seagrass recovery. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 171, p. 51.


    Misbari, Syarifuddin and Hashim, Mazlan 2016. Change Detection of Submerged Seagrass Biomass in Shallow Coastal Water. Remote Sensing, Vol. 8, Issue. 3, p. 200.


    Misbari, Syarifuddin and Hashim, Mazlan 2016. Computational Science and Its Applications -- ICCSA 2016.


    Novak, Alyssa and Short, Frederick T. 2016. Encyclopedia of Natural Resources: Water.


    ×

Natural and human-induced disturbance of seagrasses

  • Frederick T. Short (a1) and Sandy Wyllie-Echeverria (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0376892900038212
  • Published online: 15 October 2009
Abstract
Summary

Many natural and human-induced events create disturbances in seagrasses throughout the world, but quantifying losses of habitat is only beginning. Over the last decade, 90000 ha of seagrass loss have been documented although the actual area lost is certainly greater. Seagrasses, an assemblage of marine flowering plant species, are valuable structural and functional components of coastal ecosystems and are currently experiencing worldwide decline. This group of plants is known to support a complex trophic food web and a detritus-based food chain, as well as to provide sediment and nutrient filtration, sediment stabilization, and breeding and nursery areas for finfish and shellfish.

We define disturbance, natural or human-induced, as any event that measurably alters resources available to seagrasses so that a plant response is induced that results in degradation or loss. Applying this definition, we find a common thread in many seemingly unrelated seagrass investigations. We review reports of seagrass loss from both published and ‘grey’ literature and evaluate the types of disturbances that have caused seagrass decline and disappearance. Almost certainly more seagrass has been lost globally than has been documented or even observed, but the lack of comprehensive monitoring and seagrass. mapping makes an assessment of true loss of this resource impossible to determine.

Natural disturbances that are most commonly responsible for seagrass loss include hurricanes, earthquakes, disease, and grazing by herbivores. Human activities most affecting seagrasses are those which alter water quality or clarity: nutrient and sediment loading from runoff and sewage disposal, dredging and filling, pollution, upland development, and certain fishing practices. Seagrasses depend on an adequate degree of water clarity to sustain productivity in their submerged environment. Although natural events have been responsible for both large-scale and local losses of seagrass habitat, our evaluation suggests that human population expansion is now the most serious cause of seagrass habitat loss, and specifically that increasing anthropogenic inputs to the coastal oceans are primarily responsible for the world-wide decline in seagrasses.

Copyright
Corresponding author
* Dr Frederick T. Short Tel: +1 603 862 2175 Fax: +1 603 862 1101 e-mail: fts@christa.unh.edu
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J.D. Ackerman (1986) Mechanistic implications for pollination in the marine angiosperm Zostera marina. Aquatic Botany 24: 343–53.

R.S. Alberte , G.S. Suba , G. Procaccini , R.C. Zimmerman & S.R. Fain (1994) Assessment of genetic diversity of seagrass populations using DNA fingerprinting: implications for population stability and management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 91: 1049–53.

T.W.H. Backman (1990) Genotypic and phenotypic variability of Zostera marina on the west coast of North America. Canadian Journal of Botany 69: 1361–71.

J.R. Baldwin & J.R. Lovvorn (1994) Expansion of seagrass habitat by the exotic Zostera japonica and its use by dabbling ducks and brant in Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 103: 119–27.

F.A. Bazzaz (1983) Characteristics of populations in relation to disturbance in natural and man-modified ecosystems. In: Disturbance and Ecosystems, ed. H.A. Mooney & M. Gordon , pp. 259–75. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

H. Brix , J.E. Lyngby & H.H. Schierup (1983) Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) as an indicator organism of trace metals in the Limfjord, Denmark. Marine Environmental Research 8: 165–81.

D.A. Bulthuis (1983) Effects of in-situ light reduction on density and growth of the seagrass Heterozostera tasmanica in Western Port, Victoria, Australia. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 67: 91103.

D.M. Burdick , F.T. Short & J. Wolf (1993) An index to assess and monitor the progression of wasting disease in eelgrass Zostera marina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 94: 8390.

M.L. Cambridge , A.W. Chifiings , C. Brittan , L. Moore & A.J. McComb (1986) The loss of seagrass in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. II. Causes of seagrass decline. Aquatic Botany 24: 269–85.

M.L. Cambridge & A.J. McComb (1984) The loss of seagrass from Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. I. The time course and magnitude of seagrass decline in relation to industrial development. Aquatic Botany 20: 229–43.

A.C. Churchill , G. Nieves & A.H. Brenowitz (1985) Flotation and dispersal of eelgrass seeds by gas bubbles. Estuaries 8: 352–4.

C. den Hartog (1994) Suffocation of a littoral Zostera bed by Enteromorpha radiata. Aquatic Botany 47: 21–8.

C. den Hartog & P.J.G. Polderman (1975) Changes in the seagrass populations of the Dutch Wadden Zee. Aquatic Botany 1: 141–7.

W.C. Dennison , R.J. Orth , K.A. Moore , J.C. Stevenson , V. Carter , S. Kollar , P.W. Bergstrom & R.A. Batiuk (1993) Assessing water quality with submersed aquatic vegetation. Bioscience 43: 8694.

J.M. Dirnberger & C.L. Kitting (1988) Browsing injuries to blades of Halophila decipiens within a deep seagrass meadow. Aquatic Botany 29: 373–9.

K.H. Dunton (1990) Production ecology of Ruppia maritima L. and Halodule wrightii Aschers, in two subtropical estuaries. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 143: 147–64.

M.S. Fonseca & J.S. Fisher (1986) A comparison of canopy friction and sediment movement between four species of seagrass with reference to their ecology and restoration. Marine Ecology Progress Series 29: 1522.

J.W. Fourqurean & J.C. Zieman (1991) Photosynthesis, respiration and whole plant carbon budget of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum. Marine Ecology Progress Series 69: 161–70.

M.E. Gallegos , N. Marba , M. Merino & C.M. Duarte (1992) Flowering of Thalassia testudinum in the Mexican Caribbean: age-dependence and interannual variability. Aquatic Botany 43: 249–55.

G.S. Giese (1988) Cyclical behavior of the tidal inlet at Nauset Beach, Chatham, Massachusetts. In: Hydrodynamics and Sediment Dynamics of Tidal Inlets, ed. D.G. Aubrey & L. Weishar , pp. 269–83. New York: Springer-Verlag.

W.B.J.T. Giesen , M.M. van Katwijk & C. den Hartog (1990) Temperature, salinity, insolation and wasting disease of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Dutch Wadden Sea in the 1930’s. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 25: 395404.

K.C. Güven , N. Saygi & B. Oztürk (1993) Survey of metal contents of Bosphorus algae, Zostera marina and sediments. Botanica Marina 36: 175–8.

N. Hanekom & D. Baird (1988) Distribution and variations in seasonal biomass of eelgrass Zostera capensis in the Kromme Estuary, St Francis Bay, South Africa. South African Journal of Marine Science 7: 51–9.

H.W. Harris , G.J. Fabris , P.J. Statham & F. Tawfik (1979) Biogeochemistry of selected heavy metals in Western Port, Victoria, and use of invertebrates as indicators with emphasis on Mytilus edulis planulatus. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 30: 159–78.

M.A. Hemminga & J. Nieuwenhuize (1990) Seagrass wrack-induced dune formation on a tropical coast (Banc d'Arquin, Mauritania). Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science 31: 499502.

R.K. Howard & F.T. Short (1986) Seagrass growth and survivorship under the influence of epiphyte grazers. Aquatic Botany 24: 287302.

H. Kirkman (1978) Decline of seagrass in northern areas of Moreton Bay, Queensland. Aquatic Botany 5: 6376.

A.W.D. Larkum & R.J. West (1990) Long-term changes of seagrass meadows in Botany Bay, Australia. Aquatic Botany 37: 5570.

C. McMillan (1988) The seed reserve of Habphila decipiens Ostenfeld (Hydrocharitaceae) in Panama. Aquatic Botany 31: 177–82.

L.K. Muehlstein (1989) Perspectives on the wasting disease of eelgrass Zostera marina. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 7: 211–21.

L.K. Muehlstein , D. Porter & F.T. Short (1988) Labyrinthula sp., a marine slime mold producing the symptoms of wasting disease in eelgrass, Zostera marina. Marine Biology 99: 465–72.

L.K. Muehlstein , D. Porter & F.T. Short (1991) Labyrinthula zosterae sp. nov., the causal agent of the wasting disease of eelgrass, Zostera marina. Mycologia 83: 180–91.

P.H. Nicnhuis (1986) Background levels of heavy metals in nine tropical seagrass species in Indonesia. Marine Pollution Bulletin 17: 508–11.

P.H. Nienhuis & E.T. van Ierland (1978) Consumption of eelgrass, Zostera marina, by birds and invertebrates during the growing season in Lake Grevelingen (SW Netherlands). Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 12: 180–94.

R.J. Orth , K.L. Heck Jr & J. van Montfrans (1984) Faunal communities in seagrass beds: a review of the influence of plant structure and prey characteristics on predatory-prey relationships. Estuaries 7: 339–50.

C.J.M. Philippart & K.S. Dijkema (1995) Wax and wane of Zostera noltii Hornem, in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Aquatic Botany 49: 255–68.

H. Pirc , M.C. Buia & L. Mazzella (1986) Germination and seedling development of Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Ascherson under laboratory conditions and ‘in situ.’ Aquatic Botany 26: 181–8.

M.L. Quammen & W.A. Onuf (1993) Laguna Madre: seagrass changes contínue decades after salinity reduction. Estuaries 16: 302–9.

C.E. Renn (1934) Wasting disease of Zostera in American waters. Nature 134: 416.

M.B. Robblee , T.R. Barber , P.R. Carlson , M.J. Durako , J.W. Fourqurean , L.K. Muehlstein , D. Porter & L.A. Yarbro (1991) Mass mortality of the tropical seagrass Thalassia testudinum in Florida Bay (USA). Marine Ecology Progress Series 71: 291–9.

A.I. Robertson & K.H. Mann (1984) Disturbance by ice and life history adaptations of the seagrass Zostera marina. Marine Biology 80: 131–42.

F.I. Schneider & K.H. Mann (1991) Rapid recovery of fauna following simulated ice rafting in a Nova Scotian seagrass bed. Marine Ecology Progress Series 78: 5770.

F.T. Short (1983) The response of interstitial ammonium in eelgrass ( Zostera marina L.) beds to environmental perturbations. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 68: 195208.

F.T. Short , A.C. Mathieson & J.J. Nelson (1986) Recurrence of the eelgrass wasting disease at the border of New Hampshire and Maine, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 29: 8992.

F.T. Short , L.K. Muehlstein & D. Porter (1987) Eelgrass wasting disease: cause and recurrence of a marine epidemic. Biological Bulletin 173: 557–62.

F.T. Short , D. Porter , H. Iizumi & K. Aioi (1993 b) Occurrence of the eelgrass pathogen, Labyrinthula zosterae, in Japan. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 16: 73–7.

K. Silberstein , A.W. Chiffings & A.J. McComb (1986) The loss of seagrass in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. III. The effect of epiphytes on productivity of Posidonia australis. Aquatic Botany 24: 355–72.

R.D. Smith , W.C. Dennison & R.S. Alberte (1984) Role of seagrass photosynthesis in root aerobic processes. Plant Physiology 74: 1055–8.

R.D. Stenner & G. Nickless (1975) Heavy metals in organisms of the Atlantic coast of S.W. Spain and Portugal. Marine Pollution Bulletin 6: 8992.

D.A. Tomasko & B.E. Lapointe (1991) Productivity and biomass of Thalassia testudinum as related to water column nutrient availability and epiphyte levels: field observations and experimental studies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 75: 917.

C.R. Tubbs & J.M. Tubbs (1983) The distribution of Zostera and its exploitation by wildfowl in the Solent, Southern England. Aquatic Botany 15: 223–9.

J.F. Valentine & K.L. Heck (1991) The role of sea urchin grazing in regulating subtropical seagrass meadows: evidence from field manipulations in the northern Gulf of'Mexico. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 154: 6374.

I. Valiela & J. Costa (1988) Eutrophication of Buttermilk Bay, a Cape Cod coastal embayment: concentrations of nutrients and watershed nutrient budgets. Environmental Management 12: 539–51.

B.I. van Tussenbroek (1994) The impact of Hurricane Gilbert on the vegetative development of Thalassia testudinum in Puerto Morelos coral reef lagoon, Mexico: a retrospective study. Botanica Marina 37: 421–8.

L.H.T. Vergeer & C. den Hartog (1991) Occurrence of wasting disease in Zostera noltii. Aquatic Botany 40: 155–63.

L.H.T. Vergeer & C. den Hartog (1994) Omnipresence of Labyrinthulaceae in seagrass. Aquatic Botany 48: 120.

D.I. Walker , R.J. Lukatelich , G. Bastyan & A.J. McComb (1989) Effect of boat moorings on seagrass beds near Perth, Western Australia. Aquatic Botany 36: 6977.

D.I. Walker & A.J. McComb (1992) Seagrass degradation in Australian coastal waters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 25: 191–5.

C. Wigand & A.C. Churchill (1988) Laboratory studies on eelgrass seed and seedling predation. Estuaries 11: 180–3.

S.L. Williams (1990) Experimental studies of Caribbean seagrass bed development. Ecological Monographs 60: 449–69.

U.W. Wilson & J.B. Atkinson (1995) Black brant winter and spring-stages use at two Washington coastal areas in relation to eelgrass abundance. The Condor 97: 91–8.

S. Wium-Andersen & J. Borum (1984) Biomass variation and autotrophic production of an epiphyte-macrophyte community in a coastal Danish area: I. Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) biomass and net production. Ophelia 23: 3346.

R.C. Zimmerman , J.L. Reguzzoni , S. Wyllie-Echeverria , M. Josselyn & R.S. Alberte (1991) Assessment of environmental suitability for growth of Zostera marina L. eelgrass in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Aquatic Botany 39: 353–66.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords: