Iron additions reduce sulfide intrusion and reverse seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) decline in carbonate sediments

Núria Marbà*, Maria Ll Calleja, Carlos M. Duarte, Elvira Álvarez, Elena Díaz-Almela, Marianne Holmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


We conducted a 2-year in situ experiment to test the capacity of iron additions to reverse the decline experienced by a Posidonia oceanica meadow colonizing carbonate, iron poor sediment. Iron additions improved the sediment conditions that support seagrass growth by decreasing the sediment sulfide concentration and sulfate reduction rates, and decreased sulfide intrusion into the plants. Iron additions for 2 years did not significantly change survivorship of shoots present at the onset of the experiment, but significantly increased shoot recruitment and survivorship of shoots recruited during the experiment. After 2 years, iron additions reversed seagrass decline and yielded positive growth rates of shoots relative to control populations where seagrass continued to decline. This research demonstrates that seagrass decline in carbonate sediments may be reversed by targeting critical processes such are sediment sulfide pools and seagrass nutritional status, controlling the functioning of the ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-756
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbonate
  • Clonal growth
  • Decline
  • Demography
  • Iron additions
  • Posidonia oceanica
  • Sediment
  • Sulfur

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry


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