Presentation Abstract

Seagrasses provide important ecosystem services, and are sensitive to a wide range of environmental stressors, making them effective indicators of habitat condition. In Washington State, eelgrass (Zostera marina) is one of 25 Vital Signs for the health of Puget Sound. Management targets associated with this Vital Sign are defined on a soundwide scale. However, greater Puget Sound is a geomorphologically diverse system with complex circulation patterns and environmental gradients in tidal range, salinity, water clarity, and temperature. Given the variability in seagrass habitat, it is likely that depending on the location, different environmental drivers control the distribution of eelgrass and other seagrasses in greater Puget Sound. Here, we explore how environmental conditions influence characteristics of seagrass beds, based on results from a long-term seagrass monitoring project (2000-present) by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. We relate regional patterns in seagrass species, abundance, and depth distribution to habitat characteristics and environmental covariates, such as site morphology, attenuation coefficient in the water column, exposure, and tidal range. Based on these spatial patterns we identify locations where native seagrasses are vulnerable, which can inform policy makers of targeted management strategies on smaller spatial scales throughout greater Puget Sound.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-border Connections: Status and Trends

Keywords

Eelgrass, Puget Sound

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-498

Start Date

5-4-2018 10:45 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 11:00 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

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

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and 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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Apr 5th, 10:45 AM Apr 5th, 11:00 AM

Regional patterns in seagrass distribution, and their implications for management in greater Puget Sound

Seagrasses provide important ecosystem services, and are sensitive to a wide range of environmental stressors, making them effective indicators of habitat condition. In Washington State, eelgrass (Zostera marina) is one of 25 Vital Signs for the health of Puget Sound. Management targets associated with this Vital Sign are defined on a soundwide scale. However, greater Puget Sound is a geomorphologically diverse system with complex circulation patterns and environmental gradients in tidal range, salinity, water clarity, and temperature. Given the variability in seagrass habitat, it is likely that depending on the location, different environmental drivers control the distribution of eelgrass and other seagrasses in greater Puget Sound. Here, we explore how environmental conditions influence characteristics of seagrass beds, based on results from a long-term seagrass monitoring project (2000-present) by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. We relate regional patterns in seagrass species, abundance, and depth distribution to habitat characteristics and environmental covariates, such as site morphology, attenuation coefficient in the water column, exposure, and tidal range. Based on these spatial patterns we identify locations where native seagrasses are vulnerable, which can inform policy makers of targeted management strategies on smaller spatial scales throughout greater Puget Sound.