Mechanisms for copepod resting egg accumulation in seagrass sediments

Scheef, Lindsay P., and Nancy H. Marcus

Limnol. Oceanogr., 56(1), 2011, 363-370 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2011.56.1.0363

ABSTRACT: We identify several mechanisms by which seagrass presence can enhance the retention and benthic abundance of copepod eggs on a shallow reef in Florida: (1) benthic macrofauna are more abundant in seagrass patches than in bare sediment and bioturbation by these animals may contribute to egg retention through burial; (2) the physical presence of the seagrass canopy inhibits the resuspension of fine particles and thereby promotes egg accumulation; (3) the persistent low oxygen conditions at the sediment surface sustained in seagrass patches during warm summer months promote egg retention by inhibiting the hatch of newly settled eggs. Understanding how these factors contribute to copepod egg accumulation in the seagrass beds of other areas could give valuable insights into how seagrass presence may influence local copepod populations.

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