Growth dynamics of the seagrass Halophila nipponica, recently discovered in temperate coastal waters of the Korean peninsula.

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From: Marine Biology(Vol. 159, Issue 2)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,647 words
Lexile Measure: 1420L

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Abstract :

Seagrass species in the genus Halophila are usually distributed in tropical or subtropical areas, but a Halophila species identified as H. nipponica was first observed in temperate coastal regions of Korea in 2007. Since this species mainly occurs in warm temperate regions influenced by warm currents, we hypothesized that H. nipponica may exhibit different growth patterns from those of other temperate seagrass species in Korea, instead showing similar growth dynamics to tropical/subtropical species. The growth and morphology of H. nipponica in relation to coincident measurements of environmental factors were investigated from July 2008 to September 2009 to examine the growth dynamics of this species. Water temperature at the study site ranged from 9.7°C in January to 25.1°C in August. Shoot density, biomass, and productivity exhibited significant seasonal variation, increasing during summer and decreasing during winter. Productivity was severely restricted to nearly ceasing at water temperatures less than 15°C, and winter minimum growth lasted until May. The optimal temperature for H. nipponica growth was approximately 25°C, which was the maximum water temperature at the study site, and no growth reduction in high summer water temperature was observed. Thus, H. nipponica on the temperate coast of Korea exhibited a distinctly different growth pattern from those of temperate seagrass species in Korea, which have shown great reductions in growth at water temperatures higher than 20°C. Higher below- to above-ground ratio and leaf burial into sediments with shorter leaf petioles during winter might be overwintering strategies in this species. The growth patterns of H. nipponica at the study site imply that this species still possess the tropical characteristics of the genus Halophila.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A706276438