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Comparison of the influence of patch-scale and meadow-scale characteristics on flow within seagrass meadows: a flume study

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Achmad Aditya
  • Tjeerd Bouma
  • Andrew Folkard
  • Marieke van Katwijk
  • David Callaghan
  • Hans de Iongh
  • Peter Herman
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>3/12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Marine Ecology Progress Series
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)49-59
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Hydrodynamic processes are an important agent of stress and facilitation in seagrass meadows, but little is known about the effects of the common phenomenon of heterogeneity of seagrass meadows on their interactions with hydrodynamic processes. To address this gap in knowledge, 4 heterogeneous configurations of Posidionia oceanica mimics were analyzed in a laboratory flume. The 4 configurations were created by placing 4 boards of mimics, i.e. 2 with high shoot density (~1100 shoots m−2) and 2 with low shoot density (~400 m−2), in different patterns (checkerboard, parallel, dense-sparse, and sparse-dense). Our results show that volumetric flow rate through each canopy, which is an indicator of the rate of supply of resources transported by the flow, tended to be greater in the low-density patches, regardless of the configuration. We also
found that the Reynolds stress component τRe was positive in the lower-density patches (indicating that horizontal momentum was being transferred into the patch) and negative in the high-density patches (indicating that horizontal momentum was being transferred upwards out of the patch). Our results suggest that in resource-limited environments, hydrodynamic processes favor the growth of lower-density patches in heterogeneous seagrass meadows, thereby causing meadows to become more homogeneous over time.