Seagrass biomass and production: A reassessment

Carlos M. Duarte*, Carina L. Chiscano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

610 Scopus citations


The biomass and production of seagrass populations were reassessed based on the compilation of a large data set comprising estimates for 30 species, derived from the literature. The mean (±SE) above- and below-ground biomass in the data set were very similar, 223.9 ± 17.5 and 237.4 ± 28 g DW m-2, respectively, indicating a general tendency for a balanced distribution of biomass between leaves and rhizomes + roots (mean ratio (± SE) = 1.11 ± 0.08). The biomass development and the ratio of above- to below-ground biomass varied significantly with latitude and was species-specific, with a significant tendency for large-sized seagrass species to develop high below- ground biomass. Maximum daily seagrass production differed significantly among species, but averaged 3.84 ± 0.34 and 1.21 ± 0.27 g DW m-2 per day for above- and below-ground organs respectively, with an average ratio of above- to below-ground production of 16.4 ± 8.5. The biomass turnover rates averaged 2.6 ± 0.3 and 0.77 ± 0.12% per day for the above- and below-ground material respectively, and tended to be faster for temperate species. The average annual seagrass production found here, 1012 gDW m-2 per year, exceeds previous estimates by 25%, because the average excedent carbon produced by seagrasses must be revised upwards to represent 15% of the total surplus carbon fixed in the global ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-174
Number of pages16
JournalAquatic Botany
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Above- and below-ground biomass
  • Above- and below-ground production
  • Comparative analysis
  • Seagrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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