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Using Acoustics to Determine Eelgrass Bed Distribution and to Assess the Seasonal Variation of Ecosystem Service.

By Shiori Sonoki, Huamei Shao, Yuka Morita, Kenji Minami, Jun Shoji, Masakazu Hori and Kazushi Miyashita


Eelgrass beds are an important source of primary production in coastal ecosystems. Understanding seasonal variation in the abundance and distribution of eelgrass is important for conservation, and the objectives of this study were to 1) monitor seasonal variation in eelgrass beds using an acoustic monitoring method (Quantitative echo sounder) and 2) broadly quantify the carbon circulation function. We obtained acoustic data of eelgrass beds in coastal areas north and east of Ikunojima Island. Surveys were conducted nine times over the 3-year period from 2011 to 2013 in order to monitor seasonal variation. Acoustic data were obtained and used to estimate the spatial distribution of eelgrass by geostatistical methods. To determine supporting services, we determined carbon sink and carbon fixation by eelgrass beds using data from the National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea (2011). The height and distribution of eelgrass beds were at a maximum in May and at a minimum in November of each year. Distribution trends were different between the north and east areas. Supporting services showed the same patterns throughout the year. The area of distribution was considered to be coincident with the life history of eelgrass. Distribution differed by area and changed yearly due to the effects of bottom characteristics and wind direction. Quantifying the supporting services of eelgrass beds was shown to be useful for managing the conservation of coastal ecosystems

Topics: Medicine, R, Science, Q
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
DOI identifier: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150890
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