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Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows

Richard Unsworth Orcid Logo, Michael A Rasheed, Kathryn M Chartrand, Anthony J Roelofs

PLoS ONE, Volume: 7, Issue: 3, Start page: e34133

Swansea University Author: Richard Unsworth Orcid Logo

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Abstract

There is strong evidence of a global long-term decline in seagrass meadows that is widely attributed to anthropogenic activity. Yet in many regions, attributing these changes to actual activities is difficult, as there exists limited understanding of the natural processes that can influence these va...

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Published in: PLoS ONE
ISSN: 1932-6203
Published: 2012
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa10926
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spelling 2011-10-01T00:00:00.0000000 v2 10926 2012-06-01 Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows b0f33acd13a3ab541cf2aaea27f4fc2f 0000-0003-0036-9724 Richard Unsworth Richard Unsworth true false 2012-06-01 SBI There is strong evidence of a global long-term decline in seagrass meadows that is widely attributed to anthropogenic activity. Yet in many regions, attributing these changes to actual activities is difficult, as there exists limited understanding of the natural processes that can influence these valuable ecosystem service providers. Being able to separate natural from anthropogenic causes of seagrass change is important for developing strategies that effectively mitigate and manage anthropogenic impacts on seagrass, and promote coastal ecosystems resilient to future environmental change. The present study investigated the influence of environmental and climate related factors on seagrass biomass in a large ≈250 ha meadow in tropical north east Australia. Annual monitoring of the intertidal Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle seagrass meadow over eleven years revealed a declining trend in above-ground biomass (54% significant overall reduction from 2000 to 2010). Partial Least Squares Regression found this reduction to be significantly and negatively correlated with tidal exposure, and significantly and negatively correlated with the amount of solar radiation. This study documents how natural long-term tidal variability can influence long-term seagrass dynamics. Exposure to desiccation, high UV, and daytime temperature regimes are discussed as the likely mechanisms for the action of these factors in causing this decline. The results emphasise the importance of understanding and assessing natural environmentally-driven change when interpreting the results of seagrass monitoring programs. Journal Article PLoS ONE 7 3 e34133 1932-6203 31 12 2012 2012-12-31 10.1371/journal.pone.0034133 COLLEGE NANME Biosciences COLLEGE CODE SBI Swansea University 2011-10-01T00:00:00.0000000 2012-06-01T09:04:42.5599821 College of Science Biosciences Richard Unsworth 0000-0003-0036-9724 1 Michael A Rasheed 2 Kathryn M Chartrand 3 Anthony J Roelofs 4
title Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
spellingShingle Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
Richard Unsworth
title_short Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
title_full Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
title_fullStr Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
title_full_unstemmed Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
title_sort Solar Radiation and Tidal Exposure as Environmental Drivers of Enhalus acoroides Dominated Seagrass Meadows
author_id_str_mv b0f33acd13a3ab541cf2aaea27f4fc2f
author_id_fullname_str_mv b0f33acd13a3ab541cf2aaea27f4fc2f_***_Richard Unsworth
author Richard Unsworth
author2 Richard Unsworth
Michael A Rasheed
Kathryn M Chartrand
Anthony J Roelofs
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doi_str_mv 10.1371/journal.pone.0034133
college_str College of Science
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description There is strong evidence of a global long-term decline in seagrass meadows that is widely attributed to anthropogenic activity. Yet in many regions, attributing these changes to actual activities is difficult, as there exists limited understanding of the natural processes that can influence these valuable ecosystem service providers. Being able to separate natural from anthropogenic causes of seagrass change is important for developing strategies that effectively mitigate and manage anthropogenic impacts on seagrass, and promote coastal ecosystems resilient to future environmental change. The present study investigated the influence of environmental and climate related factors on seagrass biomass in a large ≈250 ha meadow in tropical north east Australia. Annual monitoring of the intertidal Enhalus acoroides (L.f.) Royle seagrass meadow over eleven years revealed a declining trend in above-ground biomass (54% significant overall reduction from 2000 to 2010). Partial Least Squares Regression found this reduction to be significantly and negatively correlated with tidal exposure, and significantly and negatively correlated with the amount of solar radiation. This study documents how natural long-term tidal variability can influence long-term seagrass dynamics. Exposure to desiccation, high UV, and daytime temperature regimes are discussed as the likely mechanisms for the action of these factors in causing this decline. The results emphasise the importance of understanding and assessing natural environmentally-driven change when interpreting the results of seagrass monitoring programs.
published_date 2012-12-31T03:20:31Z
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