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Seagrass Ecology Estuarine seagrass ecosystems in North Carolina and Florida Seagrasses Angiosperms (flowering plants) that live life entirely underwater Primary productivity is among the highest measured (500 - 4000 g C/m 2 /year)

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seagrass ecology

Seagrass Ecology

Estuarine seagrass ecosystems in North Carolina and Florida

seagrasses
Seagrasses
  • Angiosperms (flowering plants) that live life entirely underwater
  • Primary productivity is among the highest measured (500 - 4000 g C/m2/year)
  • Important feeding and refuge habitat for fishery species (shrimp, scallops, fishes)
  • Seagrasses act as sediment stablizers help to filter water
habitat complexity
Habitat Complexity
  • Habitat complexity is high in seagrass/SAV
  • Predators are inhibited by complexity because the prey have many places to hide
  • Densities of many invertebrates (infaunal and epifaunal) and small fishes are greater in SAV than in nearby unvegetated areas
  • Seagrass provides a refuge from predation
types of animals in seagrass
Types of animals in seagrass
  • Infauna: bury in sediment.
    • Polychaete worms, amphipods, clams, benefit from root and rhizome mat which protects from predators
    • deeper-living animals survive better than shallow-living (Mercenaria > Chione)
  • Epifauna: Live on surface of blades and sediment
    • Meiofauna (harpacticoid copepods), macrofauna (amphipods. isopods), tube-dwelling sessile polychaetes, gastropods, decapods
    • Shoot and leaf complexity provides refuge
  • Mobile fauna: Live in water over canopy
    • fishes swim above canopy, dive into it when predator