Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Loss of Dugong Grass [Halophila Ovalis (R. Brown)] Population Structure Due to Habitat Disturbance in an Island Ecosystem

Version 1 : Received: 16 September 2020 / Approved: 18 September 2020 / Online: 18 September 2020 (04:03:57 CEST)

How to cite: Mishra, A.K.; Narayana, S.; Apte, D. Loss of Dugong Grass [Halophila Ovalis (R. Brown)] Population Structure Due to Habitat Disturbance in an Island Ecosystem. Preprints 2020, 2020090415 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0415.v1). Mishra, A.K.; Narayana, S.; Apte, D. Loss of Dugong Grass [Halophila Ovalis (R. Brown)] Population Structure Due to Habitat Disturbance in an Island Ecosystem. Preprints 2020, 2020090415 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202009.0415.v1).

Abstract

Seagrass ecosystems are lost due to habitat disturbance, coastal development and human pressure. We assessed the impact of boat anchors from traditional fishing and recreational activities on the seagrass Halophila ovalis from the Andaman and Nicobar Isalnds of India. The plant density, biomass, morphometrics, canopy height and percentage cover were estimated from two sites of Govind Nagar beach of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The shoot density of H. ovalis was reduced by physical damage caused by boat anchors. The morphometrics of H. ovalis, such as number of leaves per ramet, leaf length, width and horizontal rhizome length were significantly reduced when impacted by boat anchors. Seagrass canopy height and percentage cover were reduced by 41% and 47% respectively. Though the impact of boat anchors reported here is on small-scale, it may impact feeding grounds of locally endangered dugongs. Therefore, proper management and preventive measures should be implemented to prevent the loss of dugong grass habitats from tourism, recreational and fishing activities.

Subject Areas

seagrass; anthropogenic disturbance; boat anchoring; meadow traits; habitat loss; island ecosystem

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