Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Second Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Jennifer S. Rehage

Second Advisor

Craig A. Layman

Third Advisor

Sam J. Purkis

Abstract

We examined effects of the macroalgae Laurencia and Palisada spp. on epifauna within seagrass beds of Thalassia testudinum. First we conducted a field survey of Thalassia testudinum beds with varying densities of Laurencia and Palisada spp. Second, we conducted a field experiment, manipulating natural and simulated Laurencia and Palisada spp. In the field survey, we found that total faunal biomass (g m-2) increased significantly with Laurencia and Palisada spp. cover. In the experiment, natural Laurencia and Palisada spp. supported an increased density (No. m-2) of fauna, however, faunal values were highest in the simulated algae treatment. This suggests that the mechanism of increased density/biomass due to Laurencia and Palisada spp. is structural complexity. Since habitat quality in Thalassia testudinum beds may be mediated by associated macroalgae, these small-scale habitat factors need to be incorporated in habitat and ecosystem conservation plans.

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