Journal article

Linking nitrogen sources utilised by seagrass in a temperate marine embayment to patterns of seagrass change during drought

AJ Hirst, AR Longmore, D Ball, PLM Cook, GP Jenkins



Reductions in the extent of seagrass Zostera nigricaulis coverage in Port Phillip Bay (PPB), Australia, between 2000 and 2011 coincided with a prolonged period of drought (1997 to 2009) characterized by decreases in freshwater and nutrient inputs. This led us to hypothesize that patterns of seagrass expansion and decline in PPB may be linked to nutrient availability. Seagrasses in PPB can make use of a range of different nitrogen (N) sources depending on their relative availability. Accordingly, there is a need to identify the origin of the N utilised by seagrasses in order to understand how changes in the availability of nutrients from various sources may influence seagrass growth. This stu..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Dave Hatton, Peter Young, Guy Werner and Camille White for their assistance in the field and laboratory. Peter Young produced the GIS maps and Victor Evrard undertook the stable isotope analysis. This research was supported by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as part of the Marine Research Studies component of the 'Seagrass and Reefs Program for Port Phillip Bay'.