Pavone, Carla B.
Flores, Augusto A. V.
Total Authors: 3
 Univ Estadual Campinas, Inst Biol, Campinas, SP - Brazil
 Univ Sao Paulo, Ctr Marine Biol, Sao Sebastiao, SP - Brazil
 CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere, Indian Ocean Marine Res Ctr, Crawley, WA - Australia
Total Affiliations: 3
MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH;
Web of Science Citations:
Seagrasses may enhance the abundance and diversity of benthic invertebrates through trophic facilitation. We investigated this potential ecological function for two seagrasses in SE Brazil: Halodule emarginata, a native species, and Halophila decipiens, a tropical seagrass recently established in the region. At Halophila sites, the organic matter (or carbon) in sediments decreased steadily from seagrass patches to isolated bare grounds, indicating surplus primary production. This was not observed at Halodule sites. At one of the two Halophila sites, localized trophic enrichment was also consistently linked to increased invertebrate abundance within patches, chiefly through increased carrying capacity of small mesoherbivores. Rather than spillover, edge effects were observed at bordering bare habitats, where polychaete predators were abundant. The transition from seagrass edges to isolated bare habitats was marked by an increase of the density of sipunculid worms. The current spread of Halophila may thus change the spatial distribution of benthic ecological functions. (AU)