Spatial distribution and biomass of aquatic rooted macrophytes and their relevance in the metabolism of a Mediterranean coastal lagoon


  • Biel Obrador Departament d’Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • Joan Lluís Pretus Departament d’Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • Margarita Menéndez Departament d’Ecologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona



coastal lagoons, macrophytes, Ruppia cirrhosa, Western Mediterranean


This work aims to characterise the current autotrophic compartment of the Albufera des Grau coastal lagoon (Menorca, Balearic Islands) and to assess the relationship between the submerged macrophytes and the limnological parameters of the lagoon. During the study period the submerged vegetation was dominated by the macrophyte Ruppia cirrhosa, which formed dense extensive meadows covering 79% of the surface. Another macrophyte species, Potamogeton pectinatus, was also observed but only forming small stands near the rushing streams. Macroalgae were only occasionally observed. Macrophyte biomass showed a clear seasonal trend, with maximum values in July. The biomass of R. cirrhosa achieved 1760 g DW m-2, the highest biomass ever reported for this species in the literature. The seasonal production-decomposition cycle of the macrophyte meadows appears to drive the nutrient dynamics and carbon fluxes in the lagoon. Despite the significant biomass accumulation and the absence of a washout of nutrients and organic matter to the sea, the lagoon did not experience a dystrophic collapse. These results indicate that internal metabolism is more important than exchange processes in the lagoon.


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How to Cite

Obrador B, Pretus JL, Menéndez M. Spatial distribution and biomass of aquatic rooted macrophytes and their relevance in the metabolism of a Mediterranean coastal lagoon. scimar [Internet]. 2007Mar.30 [cited 2022Sep.27];71(1):57-64. Available from: