“Seagrass areas, commonly known as seagrass beds or meadows, are distributed along the coast in shallow water where sunlight penetration is adequate to facilitate photosynthesis. Delcan
(1994b), reported seagrass beds along the west coast at Shermans, Six Men’s Bay, Speightstown and Brighton; along the southwest coast at Bridgetown, Hastings, Rockley, Worthing, St.Lawrence, Dover, Maxwell, Welches, Oistins, Enterprise and Atlantic Shores of Barbados; and along the east coast at Bath and Conset Bay.
“There is evidence that the quality of the local coastal marine water is deteriorating due to increased sedimentation, eutrophication and sewage pathogens, localised increases in
temperature, decreases in salinity, and perhaps increases in toxins (Delcan, 1994a). There is also evidence to suggest that grazing by fish and sea urchins is an important mechanism for recycling nutrients within the beds. Heavy fishing pressure that results in the removal of these animals can therefore also negatively affect the vibrancy seagrass beds. Physical damage in coupled with poor water quality will negatively impact on the vibrancy of seagrass beds. It is therefore probable that the local seagrasses are being impacted negatively by many coastal activities and land based sources of pollution and urgent attention must be given to ways of minimizing these impacts”
Caribbean-Wide, Long-Term Study of Seagrass Beds Reveals Local Variations, Shifts in Community Structure and Occasional Collapse
Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek et al., 2014 PLOS ONE 9(5): e98377 Abstract
The CARICOMP monitoring network gathered standardized data from 52 seagrass sampling stations at 22 sites (mostly Thalassia testudinum-dominated beds in reef systems) across the Wider Caribbean twice a year over the period 1993 to 2007 (and in some cases up to 2012). Wide variations in community total biomass (285 to >2000 g dry m−2) and annual foliar productivity of the dominant seagrass T. testudinum (<200 and >2000 g dry m−2) were found among sites. Solar-cycle related intra-annual variations in T. testudinum leaf productivity were detected at latitudes > 16°N. Hurricanes had little to no long-term effects on these well-developed seagrass communities, except for 1 station, where the vegetation was lost by burial below ∼1 m sand. At two sites (5 stations), the seagrass beds collapsed due to excessive grazing by turtles or sea-urchins (the latter in combination with human impact and storms). The low-cost methods of this regional-scale monitoring program were sufficient to detect long-term shifts in the communities, and fifteen (43%) out of 35 long-term monitoring stations (at 17 sites) showed trends in seagrass communities consistent with expected changes under environmental deterioration.
Leaf epifauna of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum
J. B. Lewis & C. E. Hollingworth. 1982 Marine Biology volume 71, pages 41–49
Variation in ecological parameters of Thalassia testudinum across the CARICOMP network
K Koltes et al., 1997. Proceedings of the International Coral Reef Symposium Volume 8 Pages 663-668
Effects of shoot age on leaf growth in the seagrass Thalassia testudinum in Barbados
LA Vermeer & Wayne Hunte 2008. Aquatic Biology 2(2):153-160
“Migration” of blowouts in seagrass beds at Barbados and Carriacou, West Indies, and its ecological and geological implications
DG Patriquin, 1975 Aquatic Botany Volume 1, Pages 163-189. View PDF Abstract:
“Blowouts are grass-free depressions within seagrass beds at Barbados and Carriacou and reported in the literature to be common elsewhere in the Caribbean region. They are typically crescent-shaped in plan view with the convex side seaward, and are characteristic of elevated seagrass beds in regions of moderate to strong wave action. The seaward edge is steep and exposes rhizomes of Thalassia while the leeward edge slopes gently upward onto the seagrass plateau and is usually colonized by Syringodium. The general morphology of the blowouts, the zonation of organisms across them, and the existence at some blowouts of a lag deposit of cobble-sized material at the scarp base continuous with a rubble layer below the seagrass carpet suggested the blowouts “migrate” seaward. Measurements of erosion at the scarp and of advance of Syringodium onto the blowout floor over a period of one year confirmed this. It is estimated that in the region of blowouts any one point will be recurrently eroded and restabilized at intervals of the order of 5–15 years. Such processes limit successional development of the seagrass beds, disrupt sedimentary structures, and may result in deposits much coarser than those characteristic of the sandy seagrass carpet.”