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Free Content Distribution, Abundance and Productivity of Seagrasses and Macroalgae in Florida Bay

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The distribution, abundance, and productivity of submerged macrophytes were measured in Florida Bay to determine the total productivity and seagrass habitat distribution throughout the region. Thalassia testudinum was widely distributed and was the dominant macrophyte species in the 1,660 km2 of seagrass beds contained in the bay. Halodule wrightii was also common, but had standing crop significantly less than Thalassia at all sample locations. Syringodium filiforme grew mainly in areas with strong oceanic influence, especially along the south and west margins of the bay. Macroalgae were a small percentage of the total macrophyte biomass. Gradients in environmental and biological variables extended from southwest to northeast Florida Bay. Water clarity, water exchange, and sediment depth were all greatest in the south and west portion of the bay and decreased towards the northeast comer of the bay. The seagrass standing crop varied from between 60 and 125 g dw⋅m–2 in the southwest to between 0 and 30 g dw⋅m–2 in the northeast. Total seagrass leaf standing crop was 8⋅1010 g dw in Florida Bay, 90% of which was Thalassia leaf material. Thalassia mean leaf productivity was 0.97 g dw⋅m–2⋅d–l, with higher values in the southwest and lower values in the northeast portions of the bay. Approximately 1.7⋅109 g dw⋅d–1 of Thalassia leaf tissue was produced in Florida Bay during the summer. Thalassia had about the same leaf productivity on a per gram leaf dry weight basis throughout the different environments of Florida Bay, therefore variations in areal leaf productivity were caused by variations in leaf standing crop and not by variations in leaf specific productivity. Distribution, abundance, and productivity data were used to divide the bay into six community types.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1989-01-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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