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Seagrass epiphytes

Borowitzka, M.A.ORCID: 0000-0001-6504-4563 and Lethbridge, R.C. (1989) Seagrass epiphytes. In: Larkum, A.W.D., McComb, A.J. and Shephard, S.A., (eds.) Biology of seagrasses : a treatise on the biology of seagrasses with special reference to the Australian region. Elsevier Science Pub., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 458-499.


Epiphytes are those organisms which grow upon plants. In aquatic environments macrophytes are usually rapidly colonized by microorganisms such as bacteria and micro-algae, and later by larger algae and invertebrates unless the macrophytes have chemical or physical mechanisms for excluding these organisms.

Much of the literature on seagrass epiphytes is concerned with taxonomy (e.g. Humm, 1964; Marsh, 1973; May et al., 1978; Harlin, 1980; Pansini and Pronzato, 1985), and shows that seagrasses are colonized by a diverse range of algae and sessile invertebrates such as hydroids, bryozoans and sponges. In this paper we shall not provide further lists of epiphytic organisms, but rather will consider the distribution of the epiphytic organisms on individual seagrasses, between different seagrass species, and at different localities. We shall also discuss the mechanisms of colonization and recruitment, and the role of these epiphytic organisms in the ecology of seagrass communities.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier Science Pub.
Copyright: © Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1989
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