Changes in community structure and biomass of seagrass communities along gradients of siltation in SE Asia

J. Terrados*, Carlos Duarte, M. D. Fortes, J. Borum, N. S.R. Agawin, S. Bach, U. Thampanya, L. Kamp-Nielsen, W. J. Kenworthy, O. Geertz-Hansen, J. Vermaat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations

Abstract

The patterns of change in species richness and biomass of Southeast Asian seagrass communities along siltation gradients were compared at different sites in The Philippines and Thailand. Seagrass species richness and community leaf biomass declined sharply when the silt and clay content of the sediment exceeded 15%. Syringodium isoetifolium and Cymodocea rorundata were present only in multispecific meadows, while Enhalus acoroides was the only species remaining in heavily silted sediments. The following ranking of species sensitivity to siltation is proposed (from the least to most sensitive): S. isoetifolium→C. rotundata→Thalassia hemprichii→Gymodocea serrulata→Halodule uninervis→Halophila ovalis→Enhalus acoroides. Positive correlations were found between species richness and both community leaf biomass and the leaf biomass of individual seagrass species. The increase in community biomass with increasing species richness was associated with a more even distribution of the leaf biomass among seagrass species. The relationships between percent silt and clay in the sediment and seagrass community leaf biomass and species richness provide useful dose-response relationships which can be used to set allowable or threshold siltation loads in SE Asian coastal waters, and indicate that species loss from seagrass meadows is an early warning of detrimental siltation loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-768
Number of pages12
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

Keywords

  • Community biomass
  • SE Asia
  • Seagrasses
  • Siltation
  • Species richness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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