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Free Content Comparison of leaf-clipping and leaf-piercing techniques as applied to the seagrass Syringodium filiforme

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Leaf elongation rates of the seagrass Syringodium filiforme (Kütz., 1860) were assessed at two sites in a subtropical lagoon of Texas on eleven occasions from January 1996 to April 1997 using two methods, clipping and leaf piercing (marking) to estimate leaf growth. Pierced shoots grew at a significantly faster rate than clipped shoots irrespective of site. Clipping underestimated leaf elongation by 30%–38%, although differences at individual sites were as high as 69%–72%. Underestimation of leaf growth rate derived by clipping could be corrected using a site-specific linear regression relationship between leaf growth rates determined by clipping and piercing methods. The percent difference in overall leaf growth rate during the 14-mo study was 55% (4.47 mm d−1 pierced vs 2.44 mm d−1 clipped leaves). Fastest growth occurred during summer with rates of pierced leaves ranging from 8 to 11 mm d−1, which was generally two to three times that of clipped leaves. Highest leaf growth rates for clipped leaves never exceeded 4 mm d−1, regardless of site. We suggest that use of the leaf-clipping method in S. filiforme is appropriate when leaf growth rates are to be compared among sites or treatments and when true growth rate values are not critical.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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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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