We explain a new method of quantifying seagrass cover and describing seagrass species composition during fisheries-independent monitoring. This new method is similar to a point-intercept method developed to estimate arboreal crown cover, but it uses an aquascope designed for shallow water. The method does not require a diver. Seagrass cover (cover ratio) distinguished different percentage cover categories in 0.25-m² seagrass plots. Estimates of species composition determined by using the new method were most similar to those obtained by using estimates of aboveground biomass. Within each 141-m² area sampled with a 21.3-m fish seine, we accurately estimated seagrass cover ratio and species composition with six observations that typically required less than 6 total minutes. Within such areas, 42 trials were conducted to evaluate the precision with which different observers estimated seagrass cover ratio and species composition. In 98% of the trials, observers attained statistically similar estimates of cover ratio, and in 100% of the trials in areas with multiple seagrass species, observers attained statistically similar estimates of species composition. We conclude that the new method provided efficient and reasonably accurate means to quantify seagrass cover and species composition.
Estuaries & Coasts is the journal of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Begun in 1977 as Chesapeake Science, the journal has gradually expanded its scope and circulation. Today, the journal publishes manuscripts covering aspects of research on physical, chemical, geological or biological systems, as well as management of those systems, at the interface between the land and the sea. The interface is broadly defined to include areas within estuaries, lagoons, wetlands, tidal rivers, watersheds that include estuaries, and near-shore coastal waters. The journal publishes original research findings, reviews, techniques, and comments.
The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.