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The Decline Of Seagrass Habitats Essay

1884 words - 8 pages

These two studies investigated the role of coastal habitats and ecosystems in relation to their productivity at the primary and secondary levels, as well as how these ecosystems are capable of shaping the dynamics of neighboring systems. The study conducted by Heck focused exclusively on seagrass ecosystems and their interconnectedness with nearby and distant habitats. The researchers investigated biomass exchanges that occur through both passive and active means. Consumers accomplish active transport as they directly transport biomass into and out of seagrass meadows. Passive transport of seagrass biomass is associated with roots, rhizomes and seagrass detritus that’s is carried out of the system by currents and waves. Therefore, the review conducted by Heck primarily focused on the role of primary production within seagrass ecosystesms. The decline of seagrass habitats is predicted to not only have effects upon the organisms that directly dwell in and feed off of them, but will also have far reaching effects on adjacent and distant habitats that they contribute to in the form of energy and biomass transfers. In contrast, the study conducted by Wong and her team, looked at a number of different types of estuarine coastal habitats and evaluated them based on their secondary production, in relation to their ability to contribute and sustain ecosystems. Ultimately, the researchers determined the values of these habitats based on their secondary production, and hope that their findings will help to direct restoration efforts in the future to protect those habitats with higher value based on ecological metrics.
According to the research presented by Heck, seagrass ecosystems are complex habitats that consist of both marine and terrestrial elements that are made even more complex due to the exchanges of energy and materials that occur at high rates between neighboring and distant ecosystems. Most of the data on this topic has been collected from Caribbean coral reefs and Australian beaches, with most being related to transport involving coastal waterfowl. Many studies have also focused on organisms with complex life cycles, such as those that involve larval transport from offshore spawning sites to estuaries, and then in turn back off shore. Estuaries have long been noted as important nursery sites, along with marshes and seagrass meadows. Along with providing this important service, seagrass ecosystems are also associated with high levels of primary productivity, high turnover rates of seagrass leaves and epiphytes, as well as serve as important habitats to many invertebrates and fish species. These multiple services, provide many possibilities for linkages to form between these ecosystems and others that are situated adjacently or even at great distances. Uneaten seagrass can be passively transported by currents that can transport detritus long distances, which then in turn can provide habitats and subsidy to other systems that are lacking in...

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