Caribbean-wide, long-term study of seagrass beds reveals local variations, shifts in community structure and occasional collapse

van Tussenbroek, Brigitta I., Cortes, Jorge, Collin, Rachel, Fonseca, Ana C., Gayle, Peter M. H., Guzman, Hector M., Jacome, Gabriel E., Juman, Rahanna, Koltes, Karen H., Oxenford, Hazel A., Rodriguez-Ramire, Alberto, Samper-Villarreal, Jimena, Smith, Struan R., Tschirky, John J. and Weil, Ernesto (2014) Caribbean-wide, long-term study of seagrass beds reveals local variations, shifts in community structure and occasional collapse. PLoS ONE, 9 3: 1-13. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090600


Author van Tussenbroek, Brigitta I.
Cortes, Jorge
Collin, Rachel
Fonseca, Ana C.
Gayle, Peter M. H.
Guzman, Hector M.
Jacome, Gabriel E.
Juman, Rahanna
Koltes, Karen H.
Oxenford, Hazel A.
Rodriguez-Ramire, Alberto
Samper-Villarreal, Jimena
Smith, Struan R.
Tschirky, John J.
Weil, Ernesto
Title Caribbean-wide, long-term study of seagrass beds reveals local variations, shifts in community structure and occasional collapse
Journal name PLoS ONE   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-03-03
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0090600
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 3
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Place of publication San Francisco, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The CARICOMP monitoring network gathered standardized data from 52 seagrass sampling stations at 22 sites (mostly Thalassia testudinum-dominated beds in reef systems) across the Wider Caribbean twice a year over the period 1993 to 2007 (and in some cases up to 2012). Wide variations in community total biomass (285 to >2000 g dry m−2) and annual foliar productivity of the dominant seagrass T. testudinum (<200 and >2000 g dry m−2) were found among sites. Solar-cycle related intra-annual variations in T. testudinum leaf productivity were detected at latitudes > 16°N. Hurricanes had little to no long-term effects on these well-developed seagrass communities, except for 1 station, where the vegetation was lost by burial below ~1 m sand. At two sites (5 stations), the seagrass beds collapsed due to excessive grazing by turtles or sea-urchins (the latter in combination with human impact and storms). The low-cost methods of this regional-scale monitoring program were sufficient to detect long-term shifts in the communities, and fifteen (43%) out of 35 long-term monitoring stations (at 17 sites) showed trends in seagrass communities consistent with expected changes under environmental deterioration.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ
Additional Notes Article number e98377.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
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