HA3 Effects of Multiple Stressors on Marine Resources
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() Multiple Stressors and Effects on Mangrove and Seagrass Communities.

Milbrandt, E1, Bortone, S2, Greenawalt, J3, 1 Marine Laboratory, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Sanibel, FL, USA2 Marine Laboratory, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Sanibel, FL, USA3 Marine Laboratory, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Sanibel, FL, USA

ABSTRACT- Mangroves and adjacent seagrass communities provide critical foraging and refuge for juvenile fish and crabs in subtropical estuarine ecosystems. However, coastal development and population growth threatens the valued, shared resources of these important communities primarily through environmental stressors such as eutrophication and associated hypoxic conditions in many estuaries. Eutrophication has been linked to an increase in the amount of impervious surface in the watershed, to inadequate waste water treatment, to agricultural practices and to urbanization. Seagrass meadows are impacted primarily by light attenuation caused by increased nutrients and associated algae blooms and by changes in water clarity due to increases in tannic compounds dissolved in runoff water. We are investigating the response by seagrass communities and the associated microbial to determine the effects of eutrophication on meadow characteristics and sediment condition. The greatest impact to mangrove communities is not water quality, but water level. Development and heightened concerns of stormwater flooding have significantly modified the path and quantity of tidal flushing and sheet flow to fringing mangroves. Mangrove leaf litter production, tree height, and microbial diversity were investigated in an impounded mangrove lagoon to determine the effects of exaggerated water levels on mangrove systems. These two case studies from Southwest Florida estuaries will be used to draw conclusions about the effects of multiple stressors on mangrove and seagrass systems.

Key words: Seagrass, Mangrove, Eutrophication, Microbial Diversity

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