Alternate Title

Biomass and Productivity of Thalassia testudinum in Estuaries of the Florida Panhandle

Document Type



Thalassia testudinum often dominates seagrass meadows of the Florida panhandle but few measurements of productivity, biomass, density, turnover or leaf area index in this region have been made. We targeted 5 estuaries located at similar latitudes, 30⁰ ± 0.3⁰N: Big Lagoon, Santa Rosa Sound, St. Andrew Bay, St. Joseph Bay, and St. George Sound. This study was one component of a collaborative partnership of state and local researchers examining factors preventing recovery in panhandle estuarine areas that had historically contained seagrass in the 1940s and 1950s. Measurements were made twice in 2016, once in June and then again in summer or fall, except in Santa Rosa Sound where measurements were made 3 times. In the estuaries sampled for the second time in July or August, aboveground productivity was greater than in June. St. Joseph Bay had the highest aboveground productivity (4.3 g/m2/d) and 1—sided leaf area index (4.2) while St. George Sound had the lowest values (0.41 g/m2/d and 1.0). Principal component analysis suggested that St. Andrew Bay, Big Lagoon and Santa Rosa Sound were the most similar, with higher values for shoot densities and leaf turnover and lower salinities and watershed:water ratios. St. Joseph Bay had high aboveground productivity and salinity, and low turbidity. St. George Sound had low aboveground productivity, high total suspended solids and the highest watershed:water ratio. These baseline productivity estimates will be useful to assess the success of restoration efforts targeting seagrasses in the Florida panhandle and evaluate impacts of climate change on seagrasses.

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Yarbro et al. Supp Fig S1 with legend.pdf (303 kB)
Supplemental Figure S1

Yarbro et al Supp Fig S2 with legend.pdf (137 kB)
Supplemental Figure S2

Yarbro et al Supp Fig S3 with legend.pdf (310 kB)
Supplemental Figure S3

Supplemental Table S1 for Yarbro et al.pdf (69 kB)
Supplemental Table S1