Variation in δ13C values for the seagrass Thalassia testudinum and its relations to mangrove carbon

Guanghui Lin, Tim Banks, Leonel da Silveria Lobo O.Reilly Sternberg

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51 Scopus citations


Carbon isotope ratios (13C/12C) were measured for the leaves of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König and carbonates of shells collected at the seagrass beds from seven sites along the coast of southern Florida, U.S.A. The δ13C values of seagrass leaves ranged from -7.3 to -16.3‰ among different study sites, with a significantly lower mean value for seagrass leaves from those sites near mangrove forests (-12.8 ± 1.1‰) than those far from mangrove forests (-8.3 ± 0.9‰; P < 0.05). Furthermore, seagrass leaves from a shallow water area had significantly lower δ13C values than those found in a deep water area (P < 0.01). There was no significant variation in δ13C values between young and mature leaves (P = 0.59) or between the tip and base of a leaf blade (P = 0.46). Carbonates of shells also showed a significantly lower mean δ13C value in the mangrove areas (-2.3 ± 0.6‰) than in the non-mangrove areas (0.6 ± 0.3‰; P <0.025). In addition, the δ13C values of seagrass leaves were significantly correlated with those of shell carbonates (δ13C seagrass leaf = -9.1 + 1.3δ13C shell carbonate (R2 = 0.83, P < 0.01)). These results indicated that the input of carbon dioxide from the mineralization of mangrove detritus caused the variation in carbon isotope ratios of seagrass leaves among different sites in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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