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Eelgrass (Zostera marina) and seaweed assessment Alaska Peninsula-Becharof National Wildlife Refuges, 2010

September 23, 2022

We conducted the first assessment of eelgrass and seaweed distribution and abundance along the coast of the Alaska Peninsula-Becharof National Wildlife Refuges in Chignik Lagoon and Mud Bay. Areal extent of eelgrass, as determined from remote-sensing techniques, was estimated to be 2,414 hectares in Chignik Lagoon and 188 hectares in Mud Bay, and eelgrass was the dominant marine macrophyte in each of the embayments. During an embayment-wide point survey of Chignik Lagoon, eelgrass and seaweeds were observed on 76 and 62 percent of survey points, respectively. Average percent cover was greater for eelgrass (82 percent) than for seaweeds (37 percent) when each was present at a survey point. In contrast, eelgrass and seaweeds were distributed nearly equally in Mud Bay, occurring on 64 and 70 percent of the points, respectively, and when present, cover of eelgrass and seaweeds were 70 and 60 percent, respectively. Brown and red seaweeds, such as Polysiphonia pacifica, Saccharina latissima, Neorhodomela oregona, and Eudesme borealis, were the most common seaweeds in Chignik Lagoon, while green seaweeds, particularly Kornmannia leptoderma and Cladophora sericea, were dominant in Mud Bay. Standing crop of eelgrass was 44 percent greater in Chignik Lagoon (98.0±6.4 grams dry weight per square meter) than in Mud Bay (68.3±6.7 grams dry weight per square meter) in 2010. Five types of macro-invertebrates were assessed during the point survey. At least one of these macro-invertebrates was observed on 45 percent of points in Chignik Lagoon and 64 percent of points in Mud Bay. Gastropods were the most common of the macro-invertebrates, occurring on 40–57 percent of points in each of the embayments. This assessment of eelgrass and seaweeds can serve as a baseline for determining future changes in the distribution and abundance of these marine macrophytes in Chignik Lagoon and Mud Bay.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Eelgrass (Zostera marina) and seaweed assessment Alaska Peninsula-Becharof National Wildlife Refuges, 2010
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201144
Authors David H. Ward, Kyle R. Hogrefe, Tyronne F. Donnelly, Lucretia L. Fairchild, Ron Britton
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2020-1144
Index ID ofr20201144
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB

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