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Mooring Impacts on Zostera marina Meadows and Associated Epifauna in Nantucket Harbor, Massachusetts, USA

Author: Andrew Wright McCandless
Publisher: [Portland, Or.] : Portland State University, 2018
Dissertation: M.S. Portland State University 2018.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : State or province government publication : eBook   Computer File : English
Summary:
Seagrass ecosystems are some of the most productive in the world and provide a variety of ecosystem services but are facing global decline chiefly due to anthropogenic disturbance. Mechanical disturbances to seagrass meadows from anchoring, propeller scars, and mooring scars result in losses or damage to both shoots and the underlying rhizome. I conducted a literature synthesis on the extent of, recovery from, and  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Government publication, State or province government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Andrew Wright McCandless
OCLC Number: 1084977769
Description: 1 online resource (x, 114 pages) : illustrations (some color)
Responsibility: by Andrew Wright McCandless.

Abstract:

Seagrass ecosystems are some of the most productive in the world and provide a variety of ecosystem services but are facing global decline chiefly due to anthropogenic disturbance. Mechanical disturbances to seagrass meadows from anchoring, propeller scars, and mooring scars result in losses or damage to both shoots and the underlying rhizome. I conducted a literature synthesis on the extent of, recovery from, and ecological impacts of these mechanical disturbances to seagrass meadows. The literature suggests that anchoring damage tends to be worst in deeper water where larger vessels anchor and can cause large (>100m²) loss per anchoring and recovery may take decades to over a century. Propeller damage is of largest concern in shallow (>2m) areas experiencing heavy boat traffic because propeller damage can only occur where the propeller can come close to the seagrass. Mooring damage is highly variable depending on the type of mooring used (<10m² to >1000m² scoured per mooring). Seagrass patches experiencing these mechanical disturbances have, in some studies, been found to have lower seagrass percent cover and shoot density than reference areas. This indicates scars can have "halos" of impacted seagrass meadow. Some seagrass systems cannot recover within a century (e.g. Posidonia oceanica meadows at the extent of their depth tolerance) while others recover annually from some disturbances (e.g., anchor scars <1m²). Systems face altered species composition when scars are preferentially recolonized by certain species and patterns of recovery are affected by altered biogeochemical conditions following disturbances. Additionally, mooring, anchoring, and propeller scarring frequently alter meadow density, cover, patch size, patch shape, patch isolation, edge area, and ratios of edge to interior meadow leading to changes in faunal community structure. Correlations between these disturbances and faunal abundances, densities, and richness in seagrass ecosystems are complex, vary temporally (sometimes on the scale of days), and may result in species showing positive, negative, or no responses to a wide range of disturbance regimes.

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