Xu, Shaochun et al., Diversity, distribution and conservation of seagrass in coastal waters of the Liaodong Peninsula, North Yellow Sea, northern China: Implications for seagrass conservation

Xu, Shaochun, Yongliang Qiao, Shuai Xu, Shidong Yue, Yu Zhang, Mingjie Liu, Xiaomei Zhang, and Yi Zhou. “Diversity, Distribution and Conservation of Seagrass in Coastal Waters of the Liaodong Peninsula, North Yellow Sea, Northern China: Implications for Seagrass Conservation.” Marine Pollution Bulletin 167 (June 1, 2021): 112261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112261.

Seagrass beds are highly productive coastal ecosystems that are widely distributed along temperate and tropical coastlines globally. Although seagrass distribution and diversity have been widely reported on a global scale, there have been few reports on seagrass distribution and diversity in northern China, especially for coastal waters of the Liaodong Peninsula in the North Yellow Sea. In the present study, we investigated the distribution and diversity of seagrass in coastal waters of the Liaodong Peninsula in the North Yellow Sea, northern China. Field surveys of seagrass wrack were conducted along shorelines, to identify whether seagrass beds occurred in nearby waters, and sonar methods were then used to collect data relating to seagrass bed extent. Also, we analyzed the major threats facing seagrass beds. The results of the study revealed that four species (Zostera marina L., Z. japonica Aschers. & Graebn., Z. caespitosa M., and Phyllospadix iwatensis M.) were found in study area, covering a total area of 1253.47 ha. Seagrass bed area significantly decreased with increasing water depth, and most seagrass was recorded at depths of 2–5 m. Due to the steep slope of the seabed, seagrass beds exhibited a zonal distribution in most of the study areas. In addition, the amount of seagrass wrack along shorelines could be used to infer the size and distance of seagrass beds. Human activities, such as clam harvesting, land reclamation, coastal aquaculture pose a threat to the seagrass beds. This study provides new information to fill knowledge gaps regarding seagrass distribution in northern China and it provides a baseline for further monitoring of these seagrass beds.