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Publication Type J
Authors Wilson, SS; Dunton, K
Author Full Name Wilson, Sara S.; Dunton, Kenneth H.
Title Hypersalinity During Regional Drought Drives Mass Mortality of the Seagrass Syringodium filiforme in a Subtropical Lagoon
Source ESTUARIES AND COASTS
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords Seagrass; Syringodium; Hypersalinity; Laguna Madre; Monitoring
Keywords Plus LAGUNA-MADRE; THALASSIA-TESTUDINUM; FLORIDA BAY; DIE-OFF; HALODULE-WRIGHTII; TROPICAL SEAGRASS; SALINITY; GROWTH; LIGHT; SULFIDE
Abstract Seagrasses are sensitive to local environmental conditions such as salinity, the underwater light environment, and nutrient availability. To characterize seagrass coverage and condition, as well as to relate changes in community structure to local environmental and hydrologic conditions, we monitored seagrass communities in the Upper Laguna Madre (ULM), Texas annually from 2011 to 2015. In 2011 and 2012, the lagoon was dominated primarily by Halodule wrightii, with mixed meadows of H. wrightii and Syringodium filiforme located in the northwest of our study area. By 2013, the expansive S. filiforme meadows had disappeared and the species was restricted to the northernmost reaches of the lagoon. The S. filiforme mortality occurred following an extended period of extremely high salinity (salinities 50-70) during a regional drought. Continuous measurements of underwater photosynthetically active radiation and stable carbon isotopic signatures of seagrass blade tissues did not suggest light limitation, and H. wrightii N/P molar ratios near 30:1 were not indicative of nutrient limitation. Based on the absence of strong evidence for light or nutrient limitation, along with the known tolerance of H. wrightii for higher salinities, we conclude that hypersalinity driven by regional drought was likely the major driver behind the observed S. filiforme mortality. With a substantial portion of the global seagrass distribution threatened by drought in the next 50 years, the increased frequency of hypersaline conditions is likely to exacerbate stress in seagrass systems already vulnerable to the effects of rising water temperatures, eutrophication, and sea level rise.
Author Address [Wilson, Sara S.; Dunton, Kenneth H.] Univ Texas Marine Sci Inst, 750 Channel View Dr, Port Aransas, TX 78373 USA; [Wilson, Sara S.] Florida Int Univ, Inst Water & Environm, Marine Educ & Res Ctr, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199 USA
Reprint Address Wilson, SS (reprint author), Univ Texas Marine Sci Inst, 750 Channel View Dr, Port Aransas, TX 78373 USA.; Wilson, SS (reprint author), Florida Int Univ, Inst Water & Environm, Marine Educ & Res Ctr, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199 USA.
E-mail Address sawilson@fiu.edu
Funding Agency and Grant Number Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program [1201, 1336]; National Park Service [P11AT51021]
Funding Text Funding for ULM seagrass monitoring was provided by the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (#1201 and 1336), and monitoring within PINS was funded by the National Park Service (#P11AT51021). This is contribution #68 of the Marine Education and Research Center in the Institute for Water and Environment at Florida International University.
Cited Reference Count 70
Publisher SPRINGER
Publisher City NEW YORK
Publisher Address 233 SPRING ST, NEW YORK, NY 10013 USA
ISSN 1559-2723
29-Character Source Abbreviation ESTUAR COAST
ISO Source Abbreviation Estuaries Coasts
Publication Date MAY
Year Published 2018
Volume 41
Issue 3
Beginning Page 855
Ending Page 865
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.1007/s12237-017-0319-x
Page Count 11
Web of Science Category Environmental Sciences; Marine & Freshwater Biology
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Marine & Freshwater Biology
Document Delivery Number GB1YN
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000428847700017
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