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Leaf growth of the seagrass Syringodium filiforme (Kütz., 1860) was determined using a new technique based on the growth of emergent leaves (EL method) and compared to the more labor intensive repeated measurements (RM) and demographic allometric age reconstruction techniques
(DA). All three techniques were used to compare leaf growth dynamics of plants with different morphologies at two sites, a shallow water (0.5 m) banktop and an adjacent deeper water (1.5 m) environment in outer Florida Bay, Florida. Leaf formation rates (Leaf Plastochrone Interval or PI) determined
using the EL and RM methods were nearly identical, with means of 20 and 21 d leaf–1 at both sites, significantly faster than the 30 d leaf–1 calculated using the DA method. The EL method produced the highest estimate of leaf growth, 1.8 and 1.9 cm d–1
at the 0.5 m and 1.5 m sites, respectively, followed by the RM method (1.3 and 1.3 cm d–1) and the DA method (1.0 and 1.1 cm d–1). None of the methods detected differences in leaf PI, leaf growth or leaf fragmentation rates between sites. However, leaves at
the 1.5 m site typically retained intact leaf tips longer than those at the 0.5 m site, and total leaf lifespan was longer at the 1.5 m site. Based on these results and the amount of field and laboratory work required by each of the methods, the new EL method is the preferred technique for
monitoring leaf growth in S. filiforme.
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.