Special Issue "Effects of Human Disturbances and Climate Forcing on Marine Vegetation"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Dorte Krause-Jensen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Aarhus Universitet, Department of Biosciences, Aarhus, Denmark
Interests: ecology; functional roles and ecosystem services provided by marine vegetated ecosystems; responses of marine vegetation to global and local pressures; carbon and nutrient cycling in the coastal zone; marine vegetation indicators of ecosystem status and change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Marine vegetated ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows, saltmarshes, macroalgae communities, and mangrove forests are hot spots of coastal productivity and biodiversity and play important functional roles in the coastal ocean. While these ecosystems only cover a narrow belt around the global coastline, their role in the ocean carbon budget is disproportionately large, as they, like terrestrial forests, contribute markedly to carbon sequestration. In addition to this role in climate change mitigation, they also contribute to climate change adaption by, e.g., constituting natural coastal protection units attenuating wave energy and raising the sea floor. However, these marine forests are experiencing global declines due to the high level of human pressure on the coastlines and, to some extent, interacting effects of climate forcing. For example, excessive warming can lead to mortality of seagrass meadows and kelp forests thereby potentially enhancing the negative effects of coastal eutrophication and overfishing on these ecosystems. However, large gaps remain in our understanding of the interacting effects of different forcing factors on marine vegetated ecosystems, the extent to which vegetated ecosystems can buffer such forcing, and how such interactions may vary across the geographical distribution ranges of these key ecosystems. With this Special Issue, we provide a platform to advance the understanding of the combined effect of human disturbances and climate forcing on marine vegetated ecosystems and possible managerial strategies to maintain healthy marine vegetated ecosystems in a changing climate.

Dr. Dorte Krause-Jensen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Seagrass meadows
  • Salt marsh
  • Mangrove
  • Macroalgae
  • Kelp forests
  • Climate change
  • Eutrophication
  • Overfishing
  • Interacting pressures
  • Buffer mechanisms, resilience

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Adaptations by Zostera marina Dominated Seagrass Meadows in Response to Water Quality and Climate Forcing
Diversity 2018, 10(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10040125 - 27 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Global assessments of seagrass declines have documented accelerating rates of loss due to anthropogenic sediment and nutrient loadings, resulting in poor water quality. More recently, global temperature increases have emerged as additional major stressors. Seagrass changes in the Chesapeake Bay, USA provide important [...] Read more.
Global assessments of seagrass declines have documented accelerating rates of loss due to anthropogenic sediment and nutrient loadings, resulting in poor water quality. More recently, global temperature increases have emerged as additional major stressors. Seagrass changes in the Chesapeake Bay, USA provide important examples of not only the effects of human disturbance and climate forcing on seagrass loss, but also meadow recovery and resiliency. In the York River sub-tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, the meadows have been monitored intensively using annual aerial imagery, monthly transect surveys, and continuous water quality measurements. Here, Zostera marina has been demonstrating a shift in its historical growth patterns, with its biomass peaking earlier in the growing season and summer declines beginning earlier. We found an increasing trend in the length of the most stressful high temperature summer period, increasing by 22 days since 1950. Over the past 20 years, Z. marina’s abundance has exhibited periods of decline followed by recovery, with recovery years associated with greater spring water clarity and less time spent at water temperatures > 28 °C. Although human disturbance and climatic factors have been altering these seagrass meadows, resilience has been evident by an increase in reproductive output and regrowth from Z. marina seedlings following declines, as well as expansions of Ruppia maritima into areas previously dominated by Z. marina. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biodiversity of Kelp Forests and Coralline Algae Habitats in Southwestern Greenland
Diversity 2018, 10(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10040117 - 25 Oct 2018
Abstract
All marine communities in Greenland are experiencing rapid environmental change, and to understand the effects on those structured by seaweeds, baseline records are vital. The kelp and coralline algae habitats along Greenland’s coastlines are rarely studied, and we fill this knowledge gap for [...] Read more.
All marine communities in Greenland are experiencing rapid environmental change, and to understand the effects on those structured by seaweeds, baseline records are vital. The kelp and coralline algae habitats along Greenland’s coastlines are rarely studied, and we fill this knowledge gap for the area around Nuuk, west Greenland. Using subtidal swath surveys, photo-quadrats, and grab samples, we characterised the diversity of floral and faunal assemblages in kelp forests and coralline algae beds. The most abundant herbivore assemblages and the most diverse communities occur in the interstitial habitats of rhodolith beds. In kelp forests, species diversity is higher in epi-benthic (photo-quadrat) and mid-water (swath) surveys. These habitats are not mutually exclusive; Agarum clathratum is prominent in coralline algal habitats, while crustose coralline algae cover the bedrock under kelp holdfasts. Overall, the suite of surveys used capture the diverse communities within kelp forests and coralline algae in Greenland and their differing role in the life history of the inhabitants. Furthermore, coralline algae beds are an important carbonate store, with CaCO3 concentrations ranging from 28.06 to 103.73 g·m−3. Our research sets the baseline for continued investigations and monitoring of these important habitats and their supported fisheries. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Response of Seagrass ‘Blue Carbon’ Stocks to Increased Water Temperatures
Diversity 2018, 10(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10040115 - 22 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Seagrass meadows are globally important sinks of ‘Blue Carbon’, but warming water temperatures due to climate change may undermine their capacity to sequester and retain organic carbon (Corg). We tested the effects of warming on seagrass Corg stocks in situ by transplanting seagrass [...] Read more.
Seagrass meadows are globally important sinks of ‘Blue Carbon’, but warming water temperatures due to climate change may undermine their capacity to sequester and retain organic carbon (Corg). We tested the effects of warming on seagrass Corg stocks in situ by transplanting seagrass soil cores along a thermal plume generated by a coal-fired power plant in a seagrass-dominated estuary (Lake Macquarie, Australia). Transplanted cores were subjected to temperatures 2 and 4 °C above ambient temperatures and Corg content was measured after 7, 30, 90 and 180 days. We were unable to detect any significant effect of warming on Corg concentration, stocks, chemical composition (as measured by labile, recalcitrant, refractory ratios), or microbial abundance at any time point. In fact, Corg levels were temporally variable. These findings contrast those of previous studies (mostly laboratory-based) that have reported increases in microbial remineralisation (breakdown) of Corg in response to warming. To explain the lack of any detectable warming effect, we suggest that higher temperatures, longer durations of warming exposure, or additional stressors (e.g., oxygen exposure) may be needed to overcome microbial activation barriers and stimulate Corg remineralisation. Full article
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