Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 1 (2015)

Trends of the seagrass Cymodocea nodosa (Magnoliophyta) in the Canary Islands: population changes in the last two decades

Federico Fabbri
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Fernando Espino
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Rogelio Herrera
Viceconsejería de Medio Ambiente, Gobierno de Canarias, Spain

Leopoldo Moro
Viceconsejería de Medio Ambiente, Gobierno de Canarias, Spain

Ricardo Haroun
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Rodrigo Riera
Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales del Atlántico, Spain

Nieves González-Henriquez
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Oscar Bergasa
Elittoral, Parque Científico Tecnológico de Tafira, Spain

Oscar Monterroso
Centro de Investigaciones Medioambientales del Atlántico, Spain

Manuel Ruiz de la Rosa
ECOS, Spain

Fernando Tuya
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain


Seagrass meadows perform essential ecosystem functions and services. Though the meadows are globally deteriorating, numerous regressions remain unreported as a result of data fragmentation. Cymodocea nodosa is the most important seagrass in shallow coastal waters of the Canary Islands. No study has so far investigated temporal population trends at the entire archipelago scale. Using data collected in the past 23 years by local companies, public authorities and research groups, the population trends of Cymodocea nodosa were analysed over the past two decades at the scales of islands, island sectors and meadows. During this period, a prevalence of negative trends was revealed for three seagrass demographic descriptors (seagrass shoot density, coverage and leaf length) at the three scales, evidencing an overall deterioration in seagrass meadow integrity. These results suggest the need to develop correct management strategies to guarantee the conservation of this seagrass and the meadows it creates.


seagrass; population trend; temporal patterns; change rates; Canary Islands; Atlantic Ocean

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