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Estimates of submerged aquatic vegetative (SAV) along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) generally focus on seagrasses. In 2000, we attempted a synoptic survey of SAV in the mesohaline (5-20 ppt) zone of estuarine and nearshore areas of the northeastern Gulf. Areas with SAV were identified from existing aerial 1992 photography, and a literature review was used to select those areas that were likely to experience mesohaline conditions during the growing season. In 2000, a drought year, we visited 217 randomly selected SAV beds and collected data on species composition and environmental conditions. In general, sites were either clearly polyhaline (2: 20 ppt) or oligohaline (S 5 ppt), with only five sites measuring between 5 and 20 ppt. Ruppia maritima L. (13-35 ppt, n = 28) was the only species that occurred in mesohaline salinities. Halodule wrightii Asch. occurred in 73% of the beds. The nonindigenous Myriophyllum spicatum L. was present in four locations with salinities below 3 ppt. No nonindigenous macroalgae were identified, and no nonindigenous angiosperms occurred in salinities above 3 ppt. Selecting sample locations based on historical salinity data was not a successful strategy for surveying SAV in mesohaline systems, particularly during a drought year. Our ability to locate SAV beds within 50 m of their aerially located position 8 yr later demonstrates some SAV stability in the highly variable conditions of the study area. ?? 2009 by the Marine Environmental Silences Consortium of Alabama.
Additional Publication Details
Mesohaline submerged aquatic vegetation survey along the U.S. gulf of Mexico coast, 2000: A stratified random approach