, Volume 808, Issue 1, pp 175–200 | Cite as

Submerged benthic macrophytes in Mediterranean lagoons: distribution patterns in relation to water chemistry and depth

  • Ines Le FurEmail author
  • Rutger De Wit
  • Martin Plus
  • Jocelyne Oheix
  • Monique Simier
  • Vincent Ouisse
Primary Research Paper


A large spectrum of coastal lagoon types with a wide range of environmental conditions is observed along the French Mediterranean coast. These comprise wide trophic and salinity gradients, ranging from oligotrophic to hypertrophic status, and from nearly freshwater to slightly above marine Mediterranean Sea water salinities, respectively. The statistical analysis of a long-term dataset, including water column variables and observations of macrophyte genera, showed that salinity, depth, and then trophic status, were important factors explaining the distribution of benthic macrophytes for the soft-bottom sediments in the 34 studied French Mediterranean lagoons. Based on this, we assumed that the vegetation succession along the eutrophication gradient was different according to the lagoon salinity ranges. Euhaline and polyhaline lagoons follow the well-known Schramm schematic model, where aquatic angiosperm such as seagrasses dominate under oligotrophic conditions, and opportunistic macroalgae and phytoplankton dominate under eutrophic and hypertrophic conditions. In oligohaline and mesohaline lagoons, the succession is probably an intermediate scheme between the successions observed in small temperate lakes and in marine coastal ecosystems due to the presence of both brackish and freshwater species. We thus propose a conceptual scheme for the oligohaline and mesohaline lagoons.


French coastal lagoons Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) Eutrophication Salinity Depth Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) 



This study was supported by a Ph.D. Grant for Ines Le Fur, financed by Ifremer and the French Water Agency (Agence de l’Eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse). The authors thank the staff of the Ifremer laboratory in Languedoc-Roussillon and PACA, the Tour du Valat institute, lagoons managers of the GIPREB and of the Réserve Nationale de Camargue and all surveyors involved in the collection of the data on which this article is based.

Supplementary material

10750_2017_3421_MOESM1_ESM.docx (36 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ifremer, UMR MARBEC (IRD, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS)Sète CedexFrance
  2. 2.Ifremer, Laboratoire Environnement Ressources Languedoc Roussillon (LER LR)Sète CedexFrance
  3. 3.CNRS, UMR MARBEC (IRD, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS), Université de MontpellierMontpellier Cedex 5France
  4. 4.IRD, UMR MARBEC, (IRD, Ifremer, Université de Montpellier, CNRS)SèteFrance
  5. 5.Ifremer, Laboratoire d’écologie pélagique (DYNECO-PELAGOS)PlouzanéFrance

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