MEPS - Vol. 471 - Feature article

Fundulus heteroclitus were fed Zosteramarina seeds in a squid gelatin matrix. Image: Scott Marion

Sumoski SE, Orth RJ


Biotic dispersal in eelgrass Zostera marina


Beds of seagrass Zostera spp. serve as habitat for many vertebrates, yet research on seed dispersal in seagrass has focused on abiotic mechanisms, e.g. currents; biotic dispersal has been largely ignored. Sumoski & Orth investigated dispersal of Z. marina seeds by fish, turtle, and waterfowl species. They found that seeds survived gut passage — and subsequently germinated — in the case of all species used in their experiments. They estimate that dispersal distances are similar to those in abiotically dispersed seeds, and can be significantly greater in the case of dispersal by waterfowl.


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