Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 410493
Title Positive feedbacks in seagrass ecosystems - evidence from large-scale empirical data
Author(s) Heide, Tj. van; Nes, E.H. van; Katwijk, M.M. van; Olff, H.; Smolders, A.J.P.
Source PLoS One 6 (2011)1. - ISSN 1932-6203 - 7 p.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016504
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Resource Ecology
PE&RC
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) eelgrass zostera-marina - posidonia-oceanica - toxicity - nitrogen - meadow - shifts - water - beds - flow
Abstract Positive feedbacks cause a nonlinear response of ecosystems to environmental change and may even cause bistability. Even though the importance of feedback mechanisms has been demonstrated for many types of ecosystems, their identification and quantification is still difficult. Here, we investigated whether positive feedbacks between seagrasses and light conditions are likely in seagrass ecosystems dominated by the temperate seagrass Zostera marina. We applied a combination of multiple linear regression and structural equation modeling (SEM) on a dataset containing 83 sites scattered across Western Europe. Results confirmed that a positive feedback between sediment conditions, light conditions and seagrass density is likely to exist in seagrass ecosystems. This feedback indicated that seagrasses are able to trap and stabilize suspended sediments, which in turn improves water clarity and seagrass growth conditions. Furthermore, our analyses demonstrated that effects of eutrophication on light conditions, as indicated by surface water total nitrogen, were on average at least as important as sediment conditions. This suggests that in general, eutrophication might be the most important factor controlling seagrasses in sheltered estuaries, while the seagrass-sediment-light feedback is a dominant mechanism in more exposed areas. Our study demonstrates the potentials of SEM to identify and quantify positive feedbacks mechanisms for ecosystems and other complex systems
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