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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 516:49-59 (2014)  -  DOI:

Comparison of the influence of patch-scale and meadow-scale characteristics on flow within seagrass meadows: a flume study

A. Adhitya1,5,*, T. J. Bouma1, A. M. Folkard2, M. M. van Katwijk3, D. Callaghan4, H. H. de Iongh5, P. M. J. Herman

1Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, the Netherlands
2Lancaster Environment Centre, University of Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
3Department of Environmental Science, Institute for Wetland and Water Research, Faculty of Science, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
4School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
5Institute of Environmental Sciences, CML/Conservation Biology, Van Steenis gebouw, Einsteinweg 2, PO Box 22333 CC Leiden, The Netherlands
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Hydrodynamic processes are an important agent of stress and facilitation in seagrass meadows, but little is known about the effects of the common phenomenon of heterogeneity of seagrass meadows on their interactions with hydrodynamic processes. To address this gap in knowledge, 4 heterogeneous configurations of Posidionia oceanica mimics were analyzed in a laboratory flume. The 4 configurations were created by placing 4 boards of mimics, i.e. 2 with high shoot density (~1100 shoots m-2) and 2 with low shoot density (~400 m-2), in different patterns (checkerboard, parallel, dense-sparse, and sparse-dense). Our results show that volumetric flow rate through each canopy, which is an indicator of the rate of supply of resources transported by the flow, tended to be greater in the low-density patches, regardless of the configuration. We also found that the Reynolds stress component τRe was positive in the lower-density patches (indicating that horizontal momentum was being transferred into the patch) and negative in the high-density patches (indicating that horizontal momentum was being transferred upwards out of the patch). Our results suggest that in resource-limited environments, hydrodynamic processes favor the growth of lower-density patches in heterogeneous seagrass meadows, thereby causing meadows to become more homogeneous over time.

KEY WORDS: Seagrass · Posidionia oceanica · Hydrodynamics · Heterogeneity · Patches · Shoot density

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Cite this article as: Adhitya A, Bouma TJ, Folkard AM, van Katwijk MM, Callaghan D, de Iongh HH, Herman PMJ (2014) Comparison of the influence of patch-scale and meadow-scale characteristics on flow within seagrass meadows: a flume study. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 516:49-59.

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