Evidence of direct particle trapping by a tropical seagrass meadow

Nona S.R. Agawin*, Carlos M. Duarte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


The capacity of seagrass canopies to directly retain sestonic particles was tested by quantifying the rate at which suspended fluorescent tracer particles were retained within a tropical Philippine seagrass meadow and by examining whether the test particles lost from the water column were later bound to seagrass leaves or inside epibionts. The particle loss rates in the presence of seagrass canopies were up to 4 times higher than those in unvegetated and plankton controls. The seagrass canopies trapped particles with a maximum rate of 0.73 (± 0.24) h-1. As much as 5% of the particles trapped by the seagrass leaves were physically adhered to the leaf surfaces following rinsing. Particles were also observed to be ingested by protozoa (ciliates and amoeba-like organisms), residing on the surface of the leaves, and may be the dominant particle trapping mechanism by seagrass leaves. These processes should provide an efficient mechanism for the transfer of planktonic production to the benthos, adding to the high organic carbon input maintained by the high production of the seagrass themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1205-1209
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the European Commission project PREDICT (IC18-CT98-0292). N. S. R. Agawin was supported by a fellowship from the Agencia Española de Cooperación Inter-nacional. We thank J. Belandres, J. Rengel, and J. Terrados for assistance in the field, and S. Agustí for providing the algal cultures.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • General Environmental Science


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