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Understanding Seagrass Effects on Biodiversity Levels

Understanding Seagrass Effects on Biodiversity Levels

Objective

Seagrasses are well known ecosystem engineers in that they can strongly affect the hydrodynamic environment within a meadow. Benthos diversity within a seagrass meadow will predominantly consist of filter feeders and deposit feeders. For their food supply, filter feeders will benefit from strong hydrodynamics that cause a high refreshment rate of the water column, whereas deposit feeders will benefit from attenuated hydrodynamic energy that enhances seston deposition at the sediment surface. The extend to which hydrodynamic energy within a meadow will be modified (and thus the different forms of food are supplied) is largely determined by shoot characteristics such as shoot density, shoot stiffness, shoot length, etc. in combination with the patchiness of the meadow and in combination with external forcing (velocity range and presence or absence of waves). However, literature offers contradictory results when biodiversity of filter feeder organisms within seagrasses beds is analyzed. While several works showed that filter feeders growth in seagrass beds are lower than in unvegetated areas, others concluded that these organisms obtain benefits living inside meadows. We hypothesized that such discrepancies may be related to the interplay between flow characteristics and seagrass canopy properties which will enhance or decrease the food supply to animals and in a later stage influence the biodiversity of filter-feeder and deposit organisms.
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Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE CADIZ

Address

Calle Ancha 16
11001 Cadiz

Spain

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 45 000

Administrative Contact

Javier Izquierdo Antón (Mr.)

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 205675

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    27 February 2008

  • End date

    26 February 2011

Funded under:

FP7-PEOPLE

  • Overall budget:

    € 45 000

  • EU contribution

    € 45 000

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSIDAD DE CADIZ

Spain