Alternate Title

Growth and Reproduction of Ruppia maritima in the Northern Gulf of Mexico


Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is an important component of many marine ecosystems, but SAV populations have been declining worldwide in recent years. These declines demonstrate the importance of understanding the basic population dynamics (e.g., patterns of growth, reproduction, and recruitment) of SAV species. In this study, I present baseline data on population dynamics for Ruppia maritima in the northern Gulf of Mexico. I documented patterns of growth and biomass allocation, allocation to reproduction, and seed density in the sediment at two depths within four sites near Mobile Bay. There was significant heterogeneity in patterns of biomass allocation, reproductive output, and the potential for recruitment across sites. The effects of depth on the biomass and reproductive variables varied according to site. Strong correlation between seed production and seeds present in the sediment suggests that populations may be relatively closed, which would have implications for management.