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Title: Widespread seagrass die-off has no legacy effect on basal resource use of seagrass food webs in Florida Bay, USA

Macrophyte foundation species provide both habitat structure and primary production, and loss of these habitats can alter species interactions and lead to changes in energy flow in food webs. Extensive seagrass meadows in Florida Bay have recently experienced a widespread loss of seagrass habitat due to a Thalassia testudinum mass mortality event in 2015 associated with prolonged hypersalinity and bottom-water anoxia. Using stable isotope analysis paired with Bayesian mixing models, we investigated the basal resource use of seven species of seagrass-associated consumers across Florida Bay in areas affected by the 2015 seagrass die-off. Three years after the die-off, basal resource use did not differ for species collected inside and outside the die-off affected areas. Instead, consumers showed seasonal patterns in basal resource use with seagrass the most important in the wet season (58%), while epiphytes were the most important in the dry season (44%). Additionally, intraspecific spatial variability in resource use was lower in the wet season compared to the dry season. We were unable to detect a legacy effect of a major disturbance on the basal resource use of the most common seagrass-associated consumers in Florida Bay.

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Award ID(s):
2025954 1832229
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ICES Journal of Marine Science
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1831-1842
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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