Spatial change in eelgrass meadows, Zostera marina L., was assessed between 1978 and 1987 and between 1987 and 1995 at Izembek Lagoon, Alaska. Change in total extent was evaluated through a map to map comparison of data interpreted from a 1978 Landsat multi-spectral scanner image and 1987 black and white aerial photographs. A ground survey in 1995 was used to assess spatial change from 1987. Eelgrass beds were the predominant vegetation type in the lagoon, comprising 44-47% (15000-16000 ha) of the total area in 1978 and 1987. Izembek Lagoon contains the largest bed of seagrass along the Pacific Coast of North America and largest known single stand of eelgrass in the world. There was a high degree of overlap in the spatial distribution of eelgrass among years of change detection. The overall net change was a 6% gain between, 1978 and 1987 and a <1% gain between 1987 and 1995. The lack of significant change in eelgrass cover suggests that eelgrass meadows in Izembek Lagoon have been stable during the 17-year period of our study.
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Distribution and stability of eelgrass beds at Izembek Lagoon, Alaska