Seagrass Landscape Diversity in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida: The Importance of Geographic Scale and Pattern
This paper demonstrates the importance of geographic scale and pattern (landscape) in seagrass habitat diversity, Examples from the Indian River Lagoon are used. Pattern, the description of the physical arrangement of species, is not described at all by simple species lists. A given suite of seagrass species can be arranged in quite different patterns of plants, patches, and meadows, producing a variety of habitat diversities. Seagrass habitat diversity also varies with scale. The seven species of seagrass in the lagoon do not, of course, occur in every region, segment, meadow, patch, or sample. Meaningful questions about seagrass habitat diversity can be asked at scales ranging from <1˙m2 to 109˙m2. Goals for seagrass habitat diversity should include pattern and scale—species should be widely distributed and occur in a patchwork at various scales. Management recommendations include: (1) establishing goals for diversity, including aspects of landscape and scale, (2) setting water quality targets to protect the most sensitive species, (3) giving a high priority to protecting Thalassia testudinum, (4) maintaining populations of the small Halophila species, and (5) determining the variation in function with species and location. Only by maintaining seagrass habitat diversity will high animal diversity be maintained.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1995-07-01
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