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Light-dependence of the metabolic balance of a highly productive Philippine seagrass community

AuthorsGacia, Esperança ; Kennedy, Hilary; Duarte, Carlos M. ; Terrados, Jorge ; Marbà, Núria ; Papadimitriou, S.; Fortes, Miguel D.
Issue Date2005
CitationJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 316(1): 55-67 (2005)
AbstractSeagrass meadows are important primary producers in SE-Asia coastal areas that are increasingly threatened by human activities resulting in a deterioration of the underwater light environment. The resilience of seagrass meadows to decreasing light availability should be approached in an integrative manner, because they shelter complex communities of primary and secondary producers. The aim of this study was to measure the in situ metabolism of a seagrass community under different levels of light availability following changes in the water column dissolved oxygen (DO) and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), the sediment redox potential and seagrass production. Net community production (NCP) and respiration were measured along two diel cycles to produce a balance of NCP under different light treatments. On a daily basis, at full irradiance, the community metabolism presented a net production which was close to zero, with values of -7.75 to 16.6 mmol O2 m-2 day -1 for DO, and -56.8 to 22.7 mmol C m-2 day-1 for DIC in the first and second incubation runs, respectively. Compensation irradiance for the NCP was thus found to be close to 80% of the present light availability. Shading resulted in a general decrease in the sediment redox potential, while the initial redox potential had not recovered 6 days after exposure to full sunlight. This community appears to be in a fragile equilibrium with the environment, and any minor decrease in the water transparency would lead to a shift from an autotrophic to a heterotrophic system. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2004.10.008
issn: 0022-0981
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