Science Serving Maryland's Coasts
Evamaria Koch, Ph.D.
Horn Point Laboratory
Impact of Breakwater Induced Sediment Deposition on Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
The influence of sediment deposition on a meadow (Vallisneria americana) and a canopy (Myriophyllum spicatum) forming species of submerged aquatic vegetation was investigated at Blossom Point, MD. Two depths (5 and 15 cm) of sediment were deposited among these plants. After 7 days, productivity was determined by measuring photosynthesis vs. irradiance curves and biomass change over time. V. americana showed an increase in the rate of O2 production (alpha) with increasing sediment levels however the maximum O2 production (Pmax) decreased at the high treatment. M. spicatum's rate of production of O2 (alpha) followed the light history pattern at the specific sites. The maximum amount of O2 produced (Pmax) decreased with an increase in sediment deposition possibly because of the increase in phytotoxins at the base of the plant. Biomass data provided no conclusive data possibly due to the short time period of this experiment. In summary, sediment deposition affected the meadow and canopy species through different processes.
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