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Variations in Posidonia oceanica meadow structure along the coast of the Dugi Otok Island (eastern Adriatic Sea)

  • Petar Kru΂ić (a1)
Abstract

Although the anthropogenic impact on Posidonia oceanica meadows in the Mediterranean Sea has been studied over the last few decades, the data about the status of this endemic magnoliophyte are scarcer from the Adriatic Sea. Samples of P. oceanica meadows were collected in June and July 2004 using SCUBA diving at 8 sites in the area of the Dugi Otok Island, all at depths of 10 m. The meadow's shoot density was measured, and shoots were collected to be examined and compared through number of leaves per shoot, leaf surface per shoot, leaf area index, number and biomass of taxa of epiphytic flora. Significant differences in P. oceanica meadow structure were found among investigated sites, especially between sites in the vicinity of the fish farm and the other sites. Meadow density decreased at sites in the Dugi Otok channel and the main impact factors seem to be the input of organic matter, originating from the fish cages and sewage input. These human activities are a source of nutrient pollution and stimulate blooms of phytoplankton and higher algae. The sea grass meadow vitality seems to be more negatively affected in the channel. The highest values of shoot density were recorded at investigated sites VR and ME at the outer part of the Dugi Otok Island. The shoot density was very low at site FU, situated in the channel. Biomass of the epiphytic algae exhibited the highest values at the site FU, while at the other investigated sites the values were significantly lower. Concerning the epiphytic macroflora, a total of 55 taxa of epiphytic macroalgae were identified and the class Rhodophyta dominated in all samples. The present study shows the high differences in morphological and structural characteristics of Posidonia oceanica meadows among various sites with and without anthropogenic influence.

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Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Petar Kru΂ić Department of Biology Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb Rooseveltov trg 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia email: pkruzic@zg.biol.pmf.hr
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
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