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Herbivory in a Subtropical Seagrass Ecosystem: Separating the Functional Role of Different Grazers

Tue, 05 February 2019

BY: Ebrahim et al

Seagrass meadows provide many important ecosystem services, but they are threatened by human activities and are in decline globally. In particular, eutrophication arising from human activities promotes algal growth, which negatively affects seagrass. Herbivores consume algae and can, therefore, reduce eutrophication effects, but they may also consume seagrass.

Little is known, however, about grazer−epiphyte−seagrass interactions in subtropical seagrass in the Indo-Pacific.

This paper is based on a 5 wk exclusion experiment to quantify the influence of different grazers in seagrass (dominated by Zostera muelleri) in Moreton Bay, eastern Australia. It focuses specifically on the role of different organisms, ranging from the largest (turtles and dugongs), to the microscopic (amphipods).

 

The results show that herbivory does indeed affect seagrass−epiphyte dynamics in this region and that different grazers can exert different effects in seagrass ecosystems. read more

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