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The loss of seagrasses in cockburn sound western australia 1. the time course and magnitude of seagrass decline in relation to industrial development


, : The loss of seagrasses in cockburn sound western australia 1. the time course and magnitude of seagrass decline in relation to industrial development. Aquatic Botany 20(3-4): 229-244

The areas of seagrass meadows in Cockburn Sound, a marine embayment in Western Australia, were estimated from historical aerial photographs supplemented by ground surveys, studies on meadows in adjoining areas and coring for rhizome remains. Ten species of seagrasses [Posidonia sinuosa, P. australis, P. coriacea, P. angustifolia, Syringodium isoetifolium, Amphibolis antarctica, A. griffithii, Halophila ovalis, H. decipiens, Heterozostera tasmanica] with different habitat tolerances are recorded for the area, with P. sinuosa Cambridge et Kuo forming the most extensive meadows. From 1954-1978, the meadow area was reduced from some 4200 to 900 ha. Based on measurements of aboveground productivity at several sites, this represents a reduction of leaf detritus production from 23,000 to 4000 t (dry wt) yr-1. The major loss of seagrass occurred during a period of industrial development on the shore, and during the discharge of effluents rich in plant nutrients.

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