Scientia Marina, Vol 82, No 1 (2018)

Characterization of a resilient seagrass meadow during a decline period


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.04616.18A

Bárbara Ondiviela
Environmental Hydraulics Institute “IH Cantabria”, Universidad de Cantabria - Asociación Científica de Estudio Marinos (ACEM), Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6902-1166

Lina Fernández
Asociación Científica de Estudio Marinos (ACEM) - Consejería de Ganadería, Pesca y Desarrollo Rural, Gobierno de Cantabria, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9621-3152

Araceli Puente
Environmental Hydraulics Institute “IH Cantabria”, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7627-4743

Gerardo García-Castrillo
Asociación Científica de Estudio Marinos (ACEM) - Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico, Gobierno de Cantabria, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6795-1212

José A. Juanes
Environmental Hydraulics Institute “IH Cantabria”, Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
orcid http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1825-2858

Abstract


Seagrasses are globally threatened ecosystems with essential ecological roles. An important limitation in seagrass conservation efforts is the poor understanding of resilient meadows. The present work studies a meadow, which maintained a large population of Zostera marina and Zostera noltei, during the decline of seagrasses in the Bay of Santander (from 1984 to 2000). The work examines resilience parameters related to the biological traits (biomass, density, length and width of the leaves) and to the associated benthic assemblages. The maturity of the meadow and the changing environmental conditions induced by the torrential regime of the Miera River, have likely improved the resistance to the periods of stress. The adaptation to these fluctuating conditions is reflected in a high seasonal and spatial variability in the biomass, density, morphological traits and benthic assemblages. These variations are related to the summer peaks in the PAR, the sea surface temperature and the freshwater influence along the discharge of the Miera River. This work provides the first seagrass data in Cantabria. The data are dated in the early 2000s and constitute a baseline study for the Bay of Biscay.

Keywords


Zostera marina; Zostera noltei; benthic fauna; Bay of Santander; plant traits variability

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