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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Measurements of seagrass ecosystem metabolism using the eddy correlation technique show high variability related to processes that act on multiple timescales. Photo: Andrew Hume.

Rheuban JE, Berg P, McGlathery KJ


Multiple timescale processes drive ecosystem metabolism in eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows


The flux of oxygen between seagrass meadows and the overlying water column is a measure of metabolic status, and is a commonly used proxy for carbon cycling. Eddy correlation measurements show the dynamic nature of oxygen fluxes on hourly to seasonal time scales, driven by variation in currents, light, time of day, and seagrass shoot density. A hysteresis effect in oxygen flux throughout the day is described in seagrass meadows. Daily and seasonal gross primary production and respiration were highly variable, but were always tightly coupled. This variation must be incorporated into accurate estimates of trophic status and is important in determining the capacity of seagrass meadows to sequester “blue carbon.”


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