The response of mixed Southeast Asian seagrass beds to siltation was analyzed based on field data, a transplantation experiment and experimental manipulation of light availability in seagrass populations along a silt gradient at Cape Bolinao, The Philippines. Seagrass species diversity, shoot density and depth penetration declined with increasing amounts of suspended material and increasing water column light attenuation along the silt gradient. The seagrass species could be ranked according to decreasing tolerance to siltation as: Enhalus acoroides > Cymodocea serrulata > Halodule uninervis > Thalassia hemprichii > Halophila ovalis > Cymodocea rotundata > Syringodium isoetifolium. A gradual decline in shoot density and depth penetration of the different species along the silt gradient suggested that changes in the vertical light attenuation coefficient in the water column, primarily caused by differences in suspended inorganic solids, was the most important factor affecting seagrass performance. However, inconsistency among the species in response to increasing water depth, artificial shading and transplantation indicated that other factors, such as siltation-derived changes in sediment conditions, contribute to the sequential loss of seagrass species along the silt gradient.
- Artificial shading
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science