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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 144:303-307 (1996)  -  doi:10.3354/meps144303

Wax and wane of eelgrass Zostera marina and water column silicon levels

Herman PMJ, Hemminga MA, Nienhuis PH, Verschuure JM, Wessel EGJ

Long-term observations in an enclosed estuarine branch in The Netherlands showed a remarkably strong correlation between water column levels of dissolved silicon (DSi) and standing stock of eelgrass Zostera marina. Si levels in the leaves of Z. marina varied between 0.02 and 0.66% of tissue dry weight; they were lower in the declining population than in other populations in neighbouring areas. We hypothesize that decreased concentrations of DSi, which may coincide with eutrophication of coastal waters, may be a factor in the worldwide decline of estuarine eelgrass populations whose significance has so far been ignored.

Seagrass · Eutrophication · Silicate · Coastal · Estuaries · Nutrients

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