Seagrass beds of the Philippines


Author(s): Hilconida P. Calumpong1 and Ernani G. MeƱez2

Abstract

Seagrass beds are widespread in Philippine nearshore areas. They are productive, hence, much fishing and gleaning occur. For Enaalus acoroides, growth was reported to reach 2 cm d’i and primary production to 0.92 g C m-2 d1 t. A total of 13 species was recorded. Thalassia hemprichii is the most widely distributed and Halophila beccarii is endangered. The Philippine seagrass flora is closely related to the Indo-West Pacific. They form either monospecific stands or meadows of two major associations: Syringodium-Cymodocea-Halodule in sandy substrates, Enhalus-Thalassia in muddy substrates. Majority of the Philippine species flower during the warm months. The major contribution of seagrasses is organic matter in the form of leaf litter (average of 0.5 gdwm-2 tidal cycle-1). As in other ecosystems, seagrass beds suffer from natural and human-induced stresses. Seagrass transplantation was explored as a possible mitigating intervention. Research is still lacking in terms of management strategies and the biology of certain species, including a study of obligate inhabitants of seagrass beds.

Keywords : Seagrass, Philippines, ecology, biology, management

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