Production Assessment of Eelgrass, Zostera marina Using the Plastochrone Method Compared with the Conventional Leaf Marking Technique

  • Published : 2004.09.01


Since seagrasses are highly productive and provide a source of organic carbon for a wide variety of marine organisms in coastal and estuarine ecosystem, accurate assessment of seagrass production is critical to understand the functions and values of seagrasses in these ecosystems. Zieman's leaf marking technique has been mostly used to estimate seagrass leaf production rates. However, inherent problems on the traditional leaf marking technique have been discussed by the several researchers, and these problems can cause underestimation of seagrass production. To develop an accurate and reliable assessing method for seagrass production, production rates of eelgrass, Zostera marina in three bay systems on the south coast of the Korean peninsula were estimated using the conventional leaf marking technique and the plastochrone method. The plastochrone method has been recently suggested as an effective method for reliable assessments of seagrass production. In the present study, leaf production rates estimated by the plastochrone method were significantly higher than the rates derived from the traditional leaf marking technique. Annual eelgrass leaf production assessed using the leaf marking technique was about 65 to 89% of the estimated production using the plastochrone method. The differences in annual productions between assessment techniques imply that the conventional leaf marking technique significantly underestimated eelgrass leaf production. Total eelgrass productions estimated using the plastochrone method in the present study sites were about 600 to 806 g DW $m^{-2} y^{-l}$, and below-ground production accounted for about 20 to 23% of the total production. The plastochrone method was suggested to be an effective and accurate assessing method for eelgrass production.



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