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Open Access An overview of Cuban seagrasses

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Here, we present an overview of the current knowledge of Cuban seagrasses, including distribution, status, threats, and efforts for their conservation. It has been estimated that seagrasses cover about 50% of the Cuban shelf, with six species reported and Thalassia testudinum K. D. Koenig being the most dominant. Seagrasses have been studied primarily in three areas in Cuba (northwest, north-central, and southwest). Thalassia testudinum and other seagrasses exhibit spatial and temporal variations in abundance, and updating of their status and distribution is needed. The main threat to Cuban seagrass ecosystems is low seawater transparency due to causes such as eutrophication and erosion. High salinities limit their distribution in the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago, partly the result of freshwater dams and roads. Seagrass meadows play important ecological roles and provide many ecosystem services in Cuba, with efforts underway to preserve this ecosystem. Research and management projects are directed toward integrated coastal zone management, including a ban on trawl fisheries and the extension of marine protected areas to contain more seagrass meadows. In addition to updating species distributions, it is urgent that managers and researchers in Cuba examine the resilience of this ecosystem in the face of climate change.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de La Habana, Calle 16 No. 114, Miramar, Playa, Havana, 11300, Cuba;, Email: [email protected] 2: Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de La Habana, Calle 16 No. 114, Miramar, Playa, Havana, 11300, Cuba

Publication date: April 1, 2018

This article was made available online on December 19, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "An overview of Cuban seagrasses".

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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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