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Estimates of Heterozostera tasmanica, Zostera muelleri and Ruppia megacarpa distribution and biomass in the Hopkins Estuary, western Victoria, by GIS

journal contribution
posted on 2002-01-01, 00:00 authored by Daniel IerodiaconouDaniel Ierodiaconou, Laurie Laurenson
Knowledge of the spatial arrangement of the seagrass distribution and biomass within the Hopkins Estuary is an essential step towards gaining an understanding of the functioning of the estuarine ecosystem. This study marks the first attempt to map seagrass distribution and model seagrass biomass and epiphyte biomass along depth gradients by the use of global positioning system (GPS) and geographical information system (GIS) technologies in the estuary. For mapping seagrass in small estuaries, ground-surveying the entire system is feasible. Three species of seagrasses, Heterozostera tasmanica (Martens ex Aschers), Zostera muelleri (Irmisch ex Aschers) and Ruppia megacarpa (Mason), were identified in the Hopkins Estuary. All beds investigated contained a mixed species relationship. Three harvest techniques were trialed in a pilot study, with the 25 × 25-cm quadrat statistically most appropriate. Biomass of seagrasses and epiphytes was found to vary significantly with depth, but not between sites. The average estimate of biomass for total seagrasses and their epiphytes in the estuary in January 2000 was 222.7 g m–2 (dry weight). Of the total biomass, 50.6% or 112.7 g m–2 (dry weight) was contributed by seagrasses and 49.4% of the biomass (110.0 g m–2) were epiphytes. Of the 50.6% of the total biomass represented by seagrasses, 39.3% (87.5 g m–2) were leaves and 11.3% (25.2 g m–2) were rhizomes. The total area of seagrasses present in the Hopkins Estuary was estimated to be 0.4 ± 0.005 km2, with the total area of the estuary estimated to be 1.6 ± 0.02 km2 (25% cover). The total standing crop of seagrasses and epiphytes in the Hopkins Estuary in January 2000 was estimated to be 102.3 ± 57 t in dry weight, 56% (56.9 ± 17 t, dry weight) seagrasses and 44% (45.4 ± 19 t, dry weight) epiphytes. Of the seagrass biomass, 39% (39.7 ± 13 t, dry weight) was contributed by leaves and 17% (17.3 ± 7 t, dry weight) by rhizomes.



Australian journal of botany






215 - 228


CSIRO Publishing


Collingwood, Vic.







Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2002, CSIRO