Macroalgae in Tropical Marine Coastal Systems

  • Astrid Y. Mejia
  • Gregory N. Puncher
  • Aschwin H. Engelen
Chapter
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 219)

Abstract

Tropical coastal marine systems inhabited by macroalgae can typically be categorized as coral reefs, seagrass meadows, or mangrove forests. The role of macroalgae in these systems is fundamentally different from temperate systems, as other primary producers generally act as the dominant habitat providers. However, macroalgae do provide essential ecosystem services such as the reduction of nutrients, provision of food, and spatial refuge for predator and prey alike. In seagrass beds, they can be highly productive and may help to stabilize pH levels. Their role within mangrove systems is highly variable across regions and their contribution to trophic food webs and nutrient cycling is likely significant. Through competition and grazing, the biomass of macroalgae is reduced in most healthy tropical ecosystems. Macroalgae are a critical component of healthy tropical marine habitats; however, their unchecked growth can lead to complete regime shifts, thereby threatening the stability and welfare of the entire coastal system.

Keywords

Coral Reef Photosynthetically Active Radiation Dissolve Inorganic Nitrogen Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Seagrass Meadow 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Y. Mejia
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gregory N. Puncher
    • 3
  • Aschwin H. Engelen
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental Ecology and AquacultureUniversity of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly
  2. 2.Bay Islands Conservation Association (BICA-Roatan)Bay IslandsHonduras
  3. 3.Molecular Genetics for Environmental and Fishery Resources Laboratory (GenMAP)Interdepartment Center for Research in Environmental SciencesRavennaItaly
  4. 4.Centre for Marine Sciences (CCMAR)University of the AlgarveFaroPortugal

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