Effects of bottom-up and top-down controls and climate change on estuarine macrophyte communities and the ecosystem services they provide

Sophia E. Fox, Ylva S. Olsen, and Amanda C. Spivak

Full Citation: Sophia E. Fox, Ylva S. Olsen, and Amanda C. Spivak. 2010. Effects of bottom-up and top-down controls and climate change on estuarine macrophyte communities and the ecosystem services they provide, p. 129-145. In P.F. Kemp [ed.], Eco-DAS VIII Symposium Proceedings. ASLO. [doi:10.4319/ecodas.2010.978-0-9845591-1-4.129]

ABSTRACT: Macrophytes provide important estuarine benthic habitats and support a significant portion of estuarine productivity. The composition and characteristics of these benthic communities are regulated bottom-up by resource availability and from the top-down by herbivory and predation. Human activities in coastal zones have dramatically altered the relative strengths of these controls by delivering nutrients to coastal waters and overexploiting fishery resources. Here, we review bottom-up and top-down controls and how these may interact to structure estuarine macrophyte communities and the ecosystem services they provide. We further discuss the impacts of climate change on macrophyte communities and highlight the interactions that are likely to occur with our current knowledge of bottom-up and top-down forcings. Future research on the interactive effects of bottom-up and top-down controls and climate change on estuarine ecosystem properties (e.g., diversity, community structure, biogeochemistry, etc.) and the services they provide (e.g., food production, nutrient filtration, etc.) will supply important information for the preservation and management of these critical coastal habitats.