Factors affecting the community composition of epibenthic and infaunal invertebrates of newly planted seagrass beds

1999 1998 Mar 26
Henderson C
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Epibenthic and infaunal organisms represent an important link between macrofauna and the seagrass beds they utilize. For this reason, benthic organisms should be considered when a comparison is made of the structural and functional equivalency of planted beds and natural seagrass beds. Three Halodule wrightii beds were planted during May 1994 in western Galveston Bay, Texas. The experimental design allowed for evaluation of water depth, planting density, and distance to edge on benthic community composition. Bare sand adjacent to the planted sites and a natural seagrass bed 15 km southwest of the planted sites were used for comparison. Monthly cores 10 cm diameter by 5 cm deep were taken for 16 months after beds were planted. Excluding decapods, invertebrates were identified to species when possible. Although species richness and abundance within the planted seagrass beds increased relative to adjacent sands, epibenthic and infaunal communities did not closely emulate those of the naturally occurring seagrass bed. Preliminary data indicate planting density had a positive effect on faunal densities, while water depth and distance to edge had no effect. Planted seagrass beds often take 2-3 years to reach shoot and root densities comparable to those of naturally occurring beds. Benthic communities in planted beds probably take at least as long to reach structural equivalence with those in natural seagrasses

abundance, ASW,USA,Texas,Galveston Bay, Community composition, cores, Decapod, Design, Evaluation, Galveston Bay, Halodule wrightii, macrofauna, O 1070 Ecology/Community Studies, Q1 01483 Species interactions: general, Q5 01521 Mechanical and natural changes, sea grass, Seagrasses, Texas, USA, water, water depth, zoobenthos