Main content area

Anthropogenic eutrophication affects the body size of Cymodocea nodosa in the North Aegean Sea: A long-term, scale-based approach

Papathanasiou, Vasileios, Orfanidis, Sotiris
Marine pollution bulletin 2018 v.134 pp. 38-48
Cymodocea nodosa, body size, chlorophyll, decision making, dredging, eutrophication, leaf area index, leaves, meadows, monitoring, nitrate nitrogen, nitrite nitrogen, seagrasses, total suspended solids, water pollution, water quality, watersheds, Aegean Sea
The variation of eleven Cymodocea nodosa metrics was studied along two anthropogenic gradients in the North Aegean Sea, in two separate periods (July 2004 and July 2013). The aim was to specify existing monitoring programs on different kind of human-induced or natural stress for a better decision-making support. Key water variables (N-NO2, N-NO3, N-NH4, P-PO4, Chl-a, attenuation coefficient-K, and suspended solids) along with the stress index MALUSI were also estimated in each sampling effort. All metrics (except one) showed significant differences (p<0.05) and highest variation at the meadows scale in both sampling periods. The body size, e.g., CymoSkew, total and maximum leaf length, and leaf area (cm2/shoot), rather than the abundance, e.g., shoot density (shoots/m2), leaf area index (m2/m2), metrics were related to anthropogenic eutrophication variables represented by N-NH4, N-NO3, N/P and MALUSI. The temporal analysis was restricted to two (2) meadows and water variables that were common between the two periods. PERMANOVA and PCA of common meadows and metrics within nine years showed significant but not consistent differences. While the most impacted studied site of Viamyl remained unchanged, a significant improvement of water quality was observed in the second most impacted meadow of Nea Karvali, which however was reduced to half of its previous area. On the one hand that was the result of combined management practices in nearby aquacultures and lower industrial activities due to the economic crisis. On the contrary, dredging and excess siltation from changes in land catchments and construction of permanent structures may decrease seagrass abundance.