Event Title

Ecosystem implications of Zostera marina loss and Zostera japonica recolonization in the Port Madison Reservation, central Puget Sound

Presentation Abstract

Eelgrass plays an important role in coastal ecosystems by providing substrate, shelter, and nurseries for a diverse ecological community; attenuating flow; stabilizing sediments; and sequestering carbon. Eelgrass also serves as an indicator of environmental change because plants need certain water and substrate characteristics to survive. Between 2009 and 2012, a 2 to 3 hectare eelgrass bed on the west shore of Point Bolin (Port Madison Reservation, Kitsap County) transitioned from one dominated by Zostera marina to one dominated by Z. japonica. The potential loss of ecosystem services provided by this Z. marina bed is of concern because members of the Suquamish Tribe depend on salmon and shellfish that use Z. marina. Furthermore, if the loss of this Z. marina bed was related to declining environmental quality, other eelgrass beds in the Port Madison Reservation and in the region could be at risk. We explore potential causes of the Z. marina disappearance at this site and implications of the altered ecological functions associated with Z. japonica colonization. Dwarf eelgrass, Z. japonica, is smaller than Z. marina and grows higher on the beach. Understanding these causes and effects can help guide nearshore management decisions that affect critical eelgrass habitat and its ecological community.

Session Title

The Role of Eelgrass Ecosystems in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

Habitat

Conference Name

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

Document Type

Event

Start Date

2016 12:00 AM

End Date

2016 12:00 AM

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Genre/Form

conference proceedings; presentations (communicative events)

Contributing Repository

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

Subjects – Topical (LCSH)

Eelgrass--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Puget Sound; Zostera marina--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Puget Sound; Dwarf eelgrass--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Puget Sound; Estuarine ecology--Washington (State)--Puget Sound

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.); Puget Sound (Wash.)

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.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Ecosystem implications of Zostera marina loss and Zostera japonica recolonization in the Port Madison Reservation, central Puget Sound

2016SSEC

Eelgrass plays an important role in coastal ecosystems by providing substrate, shelter, and nurseries for a diverse ecological community; attenuating flow; stabilizing sediments; and sequestering carbon. Eelgrass also serves as an indicator of environmental change because plants need certain water and substrate characteristics to survive. Between 2009 and 2012, a 2 to 3 hectare eelgrass bed on the west shore of Point Bolin (Port Madison Reservation, Kitsap County) transitioned from one dominated by Zostera marina to one dominated by Z. japonica. The potential loss of ecosystem services provided by this Z. marina bed is of concern because members of the Suquamish Tribe depend on salmon and shellfish that use Z. marina. Furthermore, if the loss of this Z. marina bed was related to declining environmental quality, other eelgrass beds in the Port Madison Reservation and in the region could be at risk. We explore potential causes of the Z. marina disappearance at this site and implications of the altered ecological functions associated with Z. japonica colonization. Dwarf eelgrass, Z. japonica, is smaller than Z. marina and grows higher on the beach. Understanding these causes and effects can help guide nearshore management decisions that affect critical eelgrass habitat and its ecological community.