Seagrass Meadows in Chwaka Bay:Socio-ecological and Management Aspects
2012 (English)In: People, Nature and Research in Chwaka Bay / [ed] de la Torre-Castro M. and Lyimo T.J. (eds.), Zanzibar Town: WIOMSA , 2012Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Zanzibar Town: WIOMSA , 2012.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86755ISBN: 978-9987-9559-1-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-86755DiVA: diva2:589283
The shallow-water seascape of Chwaka Bay consists of diverse habitats including coral reefs, sand/mud flats, algal belts and mangrove forests, but the embayment is primarily characterized by its widespread and highly productive seagrass beds. The Bay is a unique seagrass diversity “hotspot”, with eleven species observed, from small, fast-growing and thin-leaved “pioneer” species like Halophila ovalis and H. stipulacea to large, slower-growing “climax species” with thick and long leaves like Thalassodendron ciliatum and Enhalus acoroides. Consequently, it is not surprising that the small-scale subsistence fishery of Chwaka Bay can be seen as a seagrass fishery, with catches consisting primarily of species intimately associated with the seagrass meadows (de la Torre-Castro and Rönnbäck 2004; de la Torre-Castro 2006).Seagrasses are a polyphyletic group of marine vascular, rhizomal plants (den Hartog 1970, 12-13), which form stands of varying sizes usually called “beds” or “meadows” in intertidal and subtidal coastal waters across the globe. Seagrass meadows typically occur on nearshore soft bottoms (although some species are found on rocky bottoms) in single- or mixed-species assemblages, with the typical wide range from tropical to boreal margins of coastal waters (Green and Short 2003, 21-22). They form one of the most productive aquatic ecosystems on Earth (Duarte and Chiscano 1999) and in most areas occur intermixed with other large primary producers like macroalgae. Seagrass ecosystems support multiple ecological functions, including nursery grounds, food and refuge for many benthic,2013-01-172013-01-172013-01-17Bibliographically approved