Seasonal dynamics were studied by monthly monitoring of biological and environmental variables in permanent quadrats in two contrasting intertidal seagrass beds in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, from February 1991 to January 1992. Datasets were analysed with canonical correlation analysis for correlations between environmental and biological variables. Considerable variation in biomass, production and plant tissue nutrient contents in a monospecific seagrass bed of Enhalus acoroides , growing on a coastal terrigenous mudbank (Gusung Tallang), was assumed to be related to riverine influences of the nearby Tallo River. The variation in seagrass variables at this site could, however, not be significantly correlated to seasonal patterns in rainfall, salinity, tides, nutrient availability, water motion or turbidity. A seasonal cycle in biomass, production and nutrient contents in a mixed seagrass bed of Thalassia hemprichii and E. acoroides , growing on carbonate sand on the reef flat of an offshore coral island (Barang Lompo), was found to be largely determined by tidal exposure and water motion. Exposure of the intertidal seagrass bed during hours of low water during spring tides showed a gradual shift from exposure during the night (January-June) to exposure during daylight (July-December). Daylight exposure resulted in a significant loss of above-ground plant biomass through desiccation and ‘burning’ of leaves. The observed seasonal dynamics of the seagrass bed on reef sediment contrast with reports from the Caribbean, where the effect of tidal exposure on comparable shallow-water seagrass communities is relatively insignificant due to a small tidal amplitude.
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