The influence of seagrass beds on carbonate sediments in the Bahamas

John W. Morse, James J. Zullig, Richard L. Iverson, Gregory R. Choppin, Alfonso Mucci, Frank J. Millero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Chemical variables were measured in calcium-carbonate-rich sediments inhabited by the dominant tropical seagrass, Thalassia testudinum, and in adjacent seagrass-free sediments at several locations in the Bahamas Islands. Pore-water alkalinity and pCO2 were consistently greater, while pH was consistently lower in sediment-pore waters within seagrass beds. The ammonium and molybdate-reactive phosphate concentrations in sediment-pore water were variable for vegetated, compared with unvegetated, sample locations. Thalassia testudinum can generate very large amounts of organic matter within calcium-carbonate-rich sediments. However, little of the organic matter is retained in the sediment and the effect of that organic matter on pore water chemical factors appears to be surprisingly small. These observations are markedly different from those for seagrass beds in high latitude clastic sediments and in Syringodium filiforme seagrass beds near San Salvador Island, where major influences of the seagrass beds on sediment chemistry have been observed. The generally coarser grain size of the carbonate sediments may be a primary factor contributing to these differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-83
Number of pages13
JournalMarine Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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