Presentation Title

Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) decline at Dumas Bay, WA (USA): patterns and possible causes

Session Title

The Role of Eelgrass Ecosystems in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

Habitat

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Long-term monitoring at Dumas Bay (located in Federal Way, Washington) has shown a significant decrease in eelgrass area and distribution. Since sampling began in 2000, as part of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Submerged Vegetation Monitoring Program, eelgrass area has decreased from approximately 2.3 ha to 0.3 ha in 2014 and is now only found in the western-most portion of the bay. This study explores possible factors that have contributed to this decline, such as increased environmental stressors or interspecific competition. Using 15 years of video imagery, we compare changes in presence/absence and percent cover of nuisance algae (Ulva spp.) and eelgrass. Timeline data for several parameters, which influence water clarity and quality (i.e. streamflow, precipitation, light and temperature), were compiled to analyze the relationship between eelgrass extent and nearshore environmental drivers. Eelgrass provides a wide range of ecological services and is an indicator of habitat condition. Given the importance of eelgrass to the Puget Sound ecosystem, it is critical to identify and understand factors that cause eelgrass decline and whether changing environmental conditions have impacted the abundance and distribution of eelgrass at Dumas Bay.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) decline at Dumas Bay, WA (USA): patterns and possible causes

2016SSEC

Long-term monitoring at Dumas Bay (located in Federal Way, Washington) has shown a significant decrease in eelgrass area and distribution. Since sampling began in 2000, as part of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Submerged Vegetation Monitoring Program, eelgrass area has decreased from approximately 2.3 ha to 0.3 ha in 2014 and is now only found in the western-most portion of the bay. This study explores possible factors that have contributed to this decline, such as increased environmental stressors or interspecific competition. Using 15 years of video imagery, we compare changes in presence/absence and percent cover of nuisance algae (Ulva spp.) and eelgrass. Timeline data for several parameters, which influence water clarity and quality (i.e. streamflow, precipitation, light and temperature), were compiled to analyze the relationship between eelgrass extent and nearshore environmental drivers. Eelgrass provides a wide range of ecological services and is an indicator of habitat condition. Given the importance of eelgrass to the Puget Sound ecosystem, it is critical to identify and understand factors that cause eelgrass decline and whether changing environmental conditions have impacted the abundance and distribution of eelgrass at Dumas Bay.