Skip to main content
Log in

Seagrass cover and associated macrobenthic marine invertebrates in Southern Philippines

  • Published:
Aquatic Ecology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

In Southern Philippines where coastal research is scarce and hindered by safety and security concerns, the present study on seagrass assessment and its associated macroinvertebrates is imperative for resource conservation and management. The study was conducted in 19 seagrass sites across 18 coastal municipalities spanning the seagrass beds in the Southern Philippines. The results identified eight seagrasses with Thalassia hemprichii, Enhalus acoroides, and Cymodocea rotundata as the most frequent species. Seagrass cover ranged from 26.50 (fair) to 91.30% (very good conditions), highest in Sitangkai and lowest in Tubig Indangan, Simunul. In six sites, the seagrass was below good quality (fair). Forty-eight (48) macroinvertebrate species, represented by five phyla, were recorded in the seagrass sites. The highest total number of species is the Mollusks (26). The sea urchin Diadema setosum was the species with the highest density (0.1327 ind/m2), while the prevalence of commercial-important species was observed, like conch shells (Canarium, Strombus, Lambis). Thirteen sites are recorded with high macroinvertebrate diversity values (> 2). Tubig Indangan, Simunul had the highest dominance value, which is attributed to the high density of Trepneustes gratilla. The loss of seagrass habitat would equate to great economic losses through the risk of their different ecological and economic functions. This study provides novel baseline information about the status of the tropical seagrasses in Southern Philipines and the region of Mindanao, as well as the invertebrate communities they host, which is essential to establishing adequate management practices.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

All data supporting the findings of this study are supplied in the manuscript. However, the raw data are only made available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

References

  • Abu Hena MK, Misri K, Sidik BJ, Hishamuddin O, Hidir H (2001) Photosynthesis of seagrass Cymodocea serrulata (Magnoliophyta/Potamogetonales/Cymodoceaceae) in field and laboratory. Indian J Mar Sci 30:253–256

    Google Scholar 

  • Alejandro MB (2019) Re-establishing the sea cucumber resources in the Philippines: the Masinloc experience. Fish People 17(2):35–41

    Google Scholar 

  • Ame EC, Ayson JP (2009) Preliminary assessment of the seagrass resources in the Northern Philippines. Kuroshio Sci 3–1:55–61

    Google Scholar 

  • Amran MA (2010) Estimation of seagrass coverage by depth invariant indices on quickbird imagery. Biotropia 17(1):42–50

    Google Scholar 

  • Arriesgado DM, Kurokochi H, Nakajima Y, Matsuki Y, Uy WH, Fortes MD, Lian C (2015) Genetic diversity and structure of the tropical seagrass Cymodocea serrulata spanning its central diversity hotspot and range edge. Aquat Ecol 49(3):357–372. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-015-9529-0

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Arriesgado DM, Kurokochi H, Arriesgado EM, Roa EC, Gonzales RC, Perpetua AD, Bucay DM, Iwakiri A, Lian C (2023) Genetic diversity and structure of dominant seagrass species in the southern philippines for conservation and adaptive management. Philipp J Sci 152(1):277–289

    Google Scholar 

  • Arupin AH, Hajan UU, Tikmasan JA, Amlani MQ, Maribao IP, Tahiluddin AB (2023) Acceptability of minimally processed Sea Urchin (Tripneustes gratilla) Roes. Agric Rep 2(2):17–24

    Google Scholar 

  • Boström C, Bonsdorff E, Kangas P, Norkko A (2002) Long-term changes of a Brackish-water Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.). community indicate effects of coastal eutrophication. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 55:795–804

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brazas FP Jr, Lagat RD (2022) Diversity, distribution, and habitat association of seagrass in Calatagan, Batangas, Philippines. J Ecosyst Sci Eco-Gov 4:23–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Capin NC, Pototan BL, Delima AGD, Novero AU (2021) Distribution and Abundance of Seagrasses in the Southwest Coast of Davao Oriental Philippines. Philipp J Sci 150(S1):383–394

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cardoso P, Pardal M, Lillebø A, Ferreira S, Raffaelli D, Marques J (2004) Dynamic changes in seagrass assemblages under eutrophication and implications for recovery. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 302:233–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costanza R, d’Arge R, de Groot R et al (1997) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253–260. https://doi.org/10.1038/387253a0

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dalby O, Pucino N, Tan YM, Jackson EL, Macreadie PI, Coleman RA, Young MA, Ierodiaconou D, Sherman CD (2023) Identifying spatio-temporal trends in seagrass meadows to inform future restoration. Restor Ecol 31(3):e13787

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • de Los Santos CB, Krause-Jensen D, Alcoverro T, Marbà N, Duarte CM, Van Katwijk MM, Pérez M, Romero J, Sánchez-Lizaso JL, Roca G, Jankowska E (2019) Recent trend reversal for declining European seagrass meadows. Nat Commun 10(1):3356

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dewsbury BM, Bhat M, Fourqurean JW (2016) A review of seagrass economic valuations: gaps and progress in valuation approaches. Elsevier Ecosyst Serv 18:68–77

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duarte CM (2002) The future of seagrass meadows. Environ Conserv 29:192–206

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eklöf JS, de la Torre Castro M, Adelsköld L, Jiddawi NS, Kautsky N (2005) Differences in macrofaunal and seagrass assemblages in seagrass beds with and without seaweed farms. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 63(3):385–396

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eklöf JS, De la Torre-Castro M, Gullström M, Uku J, Muthiga N, Lyimo T, Bandeira SO (2008) Sea urchin overgrazing of seagrasses: a review of current knowledge on causes, consequences, and management. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 79(4):569–580

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eklöf JS, Fröcklin S, Lindvall A, Stadlinger N, Kimathi A, Uku JN, McClanahan TR (2009) How effective are MPAs? Predation control and ‘spill-in effects’ in seagrass–coral reef lagoons under contrasting fishery management. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 384:83–96

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • English S, Wilkinson C, Baker V (1997) Survey manual for tropical marine science: Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, 309

  • Fitzpatrick J, Kirkman H (1995) Effects of prolonged shading stress on growth and survival of seagrass Posidonia australis in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Marine Ecol Progr Ser Oldendorf 127:279–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fortes MD (2013a) A review: biodiversity, distribution and conservation of Philippine seagrasses. Philippine J Sci 142:95–111

    Google Scholar 

  • Fortes MD (2013b) The state of seagrass ecosystems and resources in the Philippines. Transaction of the National Academy of Science and Technology, USA, pp 57–89

    Google Scholar 

  • Fortes MD, Santos KF (2004) Seagrass ecosystem of the Philippines: status, problems and management directions. In turbulent Seas: the status of Philippine marine fisheries, 93

  • Fortes MD, Ooi JLS, Tan YM, Prathep A, Bujang JS, Yaakub SM (2018) Seagrass in Southeast Asia: a review of status and knowledge gaps, and a road map for conservation. Botanica Marina 61(3):269–288

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fourqurean J, Duarte C, Kennedy H et al (2012) Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock. Nature Geosci 5:505–509. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1477

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Furkon NN, Ambo-Rappe R, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Unsworth RK (2020) Social-ecological drivers and dynamics of seagrass gleaning fisheries. Ambio 49:1271–1281

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Holmer M (2019) Productivity and biogeochemical cycling in seagrass ecosystems. Chapter 13. In Coastal wetlands (pp 443–477). Elsevier

  • Honda K, Nakamura Y, Nakaoka M, Uy WH, Fortes MD (2013) Habitat use by fishes in coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove habitats in the Philippines. PLoS ONE 8(8):e65735

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Horinouchi M (2007) Distribution patterns of benthic juvenile gobies in and around seagrass habitats: effectiveness of seagrass shelter against predators. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 72:657–664

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hovel KA, Fonseca MS, Myer DL, Kenworthy WJ, Whitfield PE (2002) Effects of seagrass landscape structure, structural complexity and hydrodynamic regime on macrofaunal densities in North Carolina seagrass beds. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 243:11–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hu W, Zhang D, Chen B, Liu X, Ye X, Jiang Q, Chen S (2021) Mapping the seagrass conservation and restoration priorities: Coupling habitat suitability and anthropogenic pressures. Ecol Indic 129:107960

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hughes AR, Williams SL, Duarte CM, Heck KL Jr, Waycott M (2009) Associations of concern: declining seagrasses and threatened dependent species. Front Ecol Environ 7(5):242–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Japitana M, Bermoy M (2015) Mapping of shallow water seagrasses in the coast of Surigao Del Sur, Philippines using remote sensing techniques. In: Proceedings of the 36th asian conference on remote sensing. Citeseer (p 50).

  • Leopardas V, Uy W, Nakaoka M (2014) Benthic macrofaunal assemblages in multispecific seagrass meadows of the southern Philippines: variation among vegetation dominated by different seagrass species. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 457:71–80

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Libres MC (2015) Species diversity of macro-benthic invertebrates in mangrove and seagrass ecosystems of Eastern Bohol, Philippines. Asia Pac J Multidiscip Res 3(5):128–134

    Google Scholar 

  • Macreadie PI, Baird ME, Trevathan-Tackett SM, Larkum AWD, Ralph PJ (2014) Quantifying and modelling the carbon sequestration capacity of seagrass meadows–a critical assessment. Mar Pollut Bull 83(2):430–439

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Magurran AE (2004) Measuring biological diversity. Blackwell Science Ltd., Malden, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Mahilac HMO, Tandingan JP, Torres AG, Amparado RJR, Roa-Quiaoit HA (2023) Macroinvertebrate assessment in seagrass ecosystem in Sinacaban Municipality, Misamis Occidental Philippines. Biodivers J Biol Divers. https://doi.org/10.13057/biodiv/d241040

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mascarinas HJ, Otadoy J (2022) Seagrass diversity and distribution in Maribojoc Bay, Bohol, Philippines. Am J Environ Clim 1(1):12–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mazarrasa I, Samper-Villarreal J, Serrano O, Lavery PS, Lovelock CE, Marbà N, Duarte CM, Cortés J (2018) Habitat characteristics provide insights of carbon storage in seagrass meadows. Mar Pollut Bull 134:106–117

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • McHenry J, Rassweiler A, Lester SE (2023) Seagrass ecosystem services show complex spatial patterns and associations. Ecosyst Serv 63:101543

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McKenzie LJ (2007) Seagrass-Watch: Guidelines for Philippine Participants. Proceedings of a training-workshop, Bolinao Marine Laboratory, University of the Philippines, 9th–10th April 2007 (DPI&F, Cairns). 36

  • Muallil RN, Tambihasan AM, Enojario MJ, Ong YN, Nañola CL Jr (2020) Inventory of commercially important coral reef fishes in Tawi-Tawi Islands, Southern Philippines: the heart of the coral triangle. Fish Res 230:105640

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nordlund LM, Koch EW, Barbier EB, Creed JC (2017) Correction: seagrass ecosystem services and their variability across genera and geographical regions. PLoS ONE 12(1):e0169942. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169942

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Ooi JLS, Kendrick GA, Van Niel KP, Affendi YA (2011) Knowledge gaps in tropical Southeast Asian seagrass systems. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 92(1):118–131

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Orbita ML, Gumban NB (2013) Investigation of the community structure of seagrasses in the coastal areas of Iligan City, Mindanao Philippines. Adv Agric Bot 5(3):140–151

    Google Scholar 

  • Orth RJ, Carruthers TJB, Dennison WC, Duarte CM, Fourqurean JW, Heck KL, Hughes AR Jr, Kendrick GA, Kenworthy WJ, Olyarnik S, Short FT, Waycott M, Williams SL (2006) A Global crisis for seagrass ecosystems. Bioscience 56:987–996

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Padilla J (2008) Analysis of coastal and marine resources: a contribution to the Philippines country environmental analysis

  • Pakoa K, Friedman K, Moore B, Tardy E, Bertram I (2014) Assessing tropical marine invertebrates: a manual for Pacific Island resource managers. Noumea, NC: Secretariat of the Pacific Community

  • Pangestuti R, Arifin Z (2018) Medicinal and health benefit effects of functional sea cucumbers. J Tradit Complement Med 8(3):341–351

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Parker RH (1963) Zoogeography and ecology of some macro invertebrates, particularly mollusks, in the Gulf of California and the continental slope off Mexico. Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening (Copenhagen). Videnskabelige Meddelelser 126:1–178

    Google Scholar 

  • Paz-Alberto AM, Pakaigue-Hechanova M, Sigua GC (2015) Assessing diversity and phytoremediation potential of seagrass in tropical region. Int J Plant Anim Environ Sci 5(4):25–35

    Google Scholar 

  • Peterson BJ, Rose CD, Rutten LM, Fourqurean JW (2002) Disturbance and recovery following catastrophic grazing: studies of a successional chronosequence in a seagrass bed. Oikos 97:361–370

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Purcell SW, Conand C, Uthicke S, Byrne M (2016) Ecological roles of exploited sea cucumbers. Oceanography and marine biology. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 375–394

    Google Scholar 

  • Quiros TAL, Beck MW, Araw A, Croll DA, Tershy B (2018) Small-scale seagrass fisheries can reduce social vulnerability: a comparative case study. Ocean Coast Manag 157:56–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ralph P, Durako M, Enriquez S, Collier C, Doblin M (2007) Impact of light limitation on seagrasses. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 350:176–219

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reusch TBH, Williams SL (1999) Macrophyte canopy structure and the success of an invasive marine bivalve. Oikos 84:398–416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reyes DA, Mendoza DM, Briñas KBB, Aquino MGB, Tamayo MG, Reyes AT (2023) Assessment of seagrass beds and associated macrobenthic fauna in the intertidal areas of Dasol, Pangasinan, Philippines. Aquac, Aquar, Conserv Legis 16(5):2454–2466

    Google Scholar 

  • Ricart AM, York PH, Rasheed MA, Pérez M, Romero J, Bryant CV, Macreadie PI (2015) Variability of sedimentary organic carbon in patchy seagrass landscapes. Mar Pollut Bull 100(1):476–482

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Short F, Carruthers T, Dennison W, Waycott M (2007) Global seagrass distribution and diversity: a bioregional model. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 350:3–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Short FT, Coles RG, Short CA (2015) SeagrassNet Manual for Scientific Monitoring of Seagrass Habitat, Worldwide. University of New Hampshire Publication, p 73

    Google Scholar 

  • Sudo K, Quiros TAL, Prathep A, Luong CV, Lin HJ, Bujang JS, Ooi JLS, Fortes MD, Zakaria MH, Yaakub SM, Tan YM (2021) Distribution, temporal change, and conservation status of tropical seagrass beds in Southeast Asia: 2000–2020. Front Mar Sci 8:637722

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tabugo SRM, Pattuinan JO, Sespene NJJ, Jamasali AJ (2013) Some economically important bivalves and gastropods found in the Island of Hadji Panglima Tahil, in the province of Sulu, Philippines. Int Res J Biol Sci 2(7):30–36

    Google Scholar 

  • Tanaka Y, Go GA, Watanabe A, Miyajima T, Nakaoka M, Uy WH, Nadaoka K, Watanabe S, Fortes MD (2014) 17-year change in species composition of mixed seagrass beds around Santiago Island, Bolinao, the northwestern Philippines. Mar Pollut Bull 88(1–2):81–85

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Torres-Pulliza D, Wilson JR, Darmawan A, Campbell SJ, Andréfouët S (2013) Ecoregional scale seagrass mapping: a tool to support resilient MPA network design in the coral triangle. Ocean Coast Manag 80:55–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tuya F, Haroun R, Espino F (2014) Economic assessment of ecosystem services: monetary value of seagrass meadows for coastal fisheries. Ocean Coast Manag 96:181–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Unsworth RK, Cullen LC (2010) Recognising the necessity for Indo-Pacific seagrass conservation. Conserv Lett 3(2):63–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Unsworth RK, McKenzie LJ, Collier CJ, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Duarte CM, Eklöf JS, Jarvis JC, Jones BL, Nordlund LM (2019) Global challenges for seagrass conservation. Ambio 48:801–815

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Unsworth RK, Cullen-Unsworth LC, Jones BL, Lilley RJ (2022) The planetary role of seagrass conservation. Science 377(6606):609–613

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Van Tran H, Carve M, Dong DT, Dinh KV, Nguyen Khac B (2022) Marine protected areas ineffectively protect seagrass and coral reef fish communities in the Phu Quoc and An Thoi archipelago Vietnam. Aquat Conserv: Marine Freshw Ecosyst 32(9):1471–1489

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vermaat JE, Agawin NS, Duarte CM, Fortes MD, Marba N, Uri JS (1995) Meadow maintenance, growth and productivity of a mixed Philippine seagrass bed. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 124:215–225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vonk JA, Christianen MJA, Stapel J (2008) Redefing the trophic importance of seagrass for fauna in tropical Indo-Pacific meadows. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 79:653–660

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Walag AMP, Layaog AG, Garcia GU (2018) Survey of echinoderms in the intertidal zone of Goso-on and Vinapor, Carmen, Agusan del Norte Philippines. Environ Exp Biol 16(1):31–38

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wright AC, Fan Y, Baker GL (2018) Nutritional value and food safety of bivalve molluscan shellfish. J Shellfish Res 37(4):695–708

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wulandari DA, Warsito MF (2022) Nutritional value and health benefit of Sea Urchin. Omni-Akuatika 18(S1):101–111

    Google Scholar 

  • Zalsos JD, Arriesgado DM, Arriesgado EM, Acuña RE (2021) Assessment and valuation of commercially important bivalves and gastropods within the seagrass beds of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental and Rizal, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. J Environ Aquat Resour 6:16–34

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This project was made possible through a grant from DARE TO Grant-in Aid of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) K to 12 Transition Program. The team members hugely appreciate the MSU-GenSan, MSU-Tawi Tawi, and University of Tokyo for their collaborative efforts on the implementation of this project; the Local Government Units and local enumerators for their logistics support; Peoples Organization and fisherfolk of all target areas around Southern Philippines for their active participation and field support; and MSU- Naawan for the admin and laboratory support.

Funding

This project was funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under the DARE TO Grant-in Aid of K to 12 Transition Program.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

The Conceptualization, methodology, supervision, visualization, writing- original draft, formal analysis, data Curation were performed by DMA. EMA also involved in the conceptualization, methodology, writing- original draft, review, editing and formal analysis. MBS and DMB also performed in the visualization, writing, review and editing. The supervision and project administration were performed by ECR. ADP also involved in the methodology and conceptualization. The validation and visualization were participated by Ruby Castrence Gonzales. REA, RCE, LLR, and BBDJ performed in the identification of samples, acquisition of data, methodology and data curation. The preparation of entry protocol, gathering of data, community interviews for data collection were done by MPBRNM and JVM.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dan Arriesgado.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

This study was funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) under the DARE TO Grant-in Aid of K to 12 Transition Program. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest, including any financial, personal, or other relationships with other people or organizations including the funding donor within three years of beginning the submitted work that could inappropriately influence or be perceived to influence the work and its outcome. The authors also confirmed that this work is original and has not been published, nor it is currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

The biological samples such as seagrasses and microbenthic invertebrates were recorded in situ and are exempt from this requirement.

Additional information

Handling Editor: Télesphore Sime-Ngando.

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Arriesgado, D., Arriesgado, E., Roa, E. et al. Seagrass cover and associated macrobenthic marine invertebrates in Southern Philippines. Aquat Ecol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-024-10095-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10452-024-10095-5

Keywords

Navigation