Epiphyte communities on Thalassia testudinum from Grand Cayman, British West Indies; their composition, structure, and contribution to lagoonal sediments

Author
Corlett, Hilary
Jones, Brian
Faculty Advisor
Date
2007
Keywords
seagrass , epiphytes , Thalassia , Thalassia testudinum , lagoon sedimentation , Grand Cayman
Abstract (summary)
Thalassia testudinum, the most common seagrass found in lagoons around Grand Cayman, influences sedimentation by baffling currents, binding sediment on the seafloor, and providing substrates for a diverse epiphytic biota. About 85% of the epiphytic biota is formed of at least 3 species of coralline algae, 72 species of foraminifera, and 61 species of diatoms. The rest of the biota is formed of sponges, gastropods, ostracods, coccoliths, dinoflagellates, brown algae, and worms. The epiphytes are organized in three communities that are part of an organized tripartite community succession. The basal diatom community is overlain by the coralline algae community, which is then overlain by a community composed of a variety of taxa. The coralline algae community, which is the most extensive, typically covers ∼ 75% of the leaf's surface. Potentially, the skeletons of these epiphytes can make a significant contribution to the fine-grained sediment budget of these lagoons. Surprisingly, only a few of the epiphytes were found in the lagoonal sediment. It appears, therefore, that the epiphytes are lost through skeletal dissolution or transported out of the lagoon following storms. Irrespective of the cause, the epiphytes do not form a significant part of the lagoon sediment in Grand Cayman.
Publication Information
Corlett, Hilary, and Brian Jones. "Epiphyte communities on Thalassia testudinum from Grand Cayman, British West Indies: Their composition, structure, and contribution to lagoonal sediments." Sedimentary Geology 194, no. 3-4 (2007): 245-262.
Notes
Item Type
Article
Language
English
Rights
All Rights Reserved