Enhalus acoroides

Enhalus acoroides

Enhalus acoroides

Enhalus acoroides5

Enhalus acoroides is a widespread and common seagrass species throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Its distribution range includes Kenya, Malay Archipelago, Philippines, Ryukyu Islands, Marianas, Bismarck Archipelago, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Queensland, Australia. While Enhalus acoroides occurs in Ceylon, India, Madagascar and the Seychelles, it is considered rare and uncommon.1,2,3 Enhalus acoroides typically grows along sheltered coasts in shallow water down to 4 meters in depth. Its preferred substrate is sandy or muddy bottoms in small depressions or tidal flats.1 However, throughout its distribution range, this seagrass has been observed in a wide range of substrates from silt to coarse coral rubble.3 Enhalus acoroides can form dense monspecific meadows, however, it has been observed growing among other seagrass species.

Enhalus acoroides has a relatively thick, creeping rhizome which is wrapped in dense, fibrous strands of decaying leaves. Along the rhizome are numerous, cord-like roots approximately 10-20cm in length and 3-5mm wide. The roots have wide air channels, interrupted every 3-4mm by septa.1 The leaf blades are very long, measuring 30-150cm in length and 1.25 -1.75 wide.1,4 Plants found in areas with poor water clarity grow longer leaves to maintain optimal light requirements.3 The blade tip is rounded and often has a lopsided apex which, in immature leaves, can be slightly serrualte.1,4 Enhalus acoroides reproduces through the release of pollen to the surface of the water and is the only species of seagrass known to reproduce this way.3

Enhalus acoroides is subject to a variety of anthropogenic and natural disturbances, with its overall population status declining.2,3 Anthropogenic threats include coastal development, eutrophication, oil pollution and mechanical damage from boats, trawling nets, fish pens and aquaculture, mining and dredging. Natural threats to this seagrass include cyclones, high wave energy, grazing, fungi and epitphyte infestation, and disease.2,3 Appropriate management is necessary to maintain Enhalus acoroides populations, especially for those endangered species, such as sea turtles and dugongs, which rely on this seagrass for food.

Enhalus acoroides Facts

  • Enhalus acoroides is a widespread and common seagrass species throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Enhalus acoroides typically grows along sheltered coasts, in shallow water down to 4 meters in depth.
  • Its preferred substrate is sandy or muddy bottoms, but has been observed in a wide range of substrates from silt to coarse coral rubble.
  • Enhalus acoroides reproduces through the release of pollen to the surface of the water and is the only species of seagrass known to reproduce this way.
  • Enhalus acoroides is subject to a variety of anthropogenic and natural disturbances, with its overall population status declining.
  • This seagrass is an important food source for sea turtles and dugongs.
  • Leaf Morphology
    • 30-150cm in length and 1.25 -1.75 wide.
    • Blade tip is rounded and often has a lopsided apex which, in immature leaves, can be slightly serrualte.
  • Rhizome and Stem
    • Thick, creeping rhizome which is wrapped in dense, fibrous strands of decaying leaves.
    • Numerous, cord-like roots 10-20cm in length and 3-5mm wide with wide air channels.

References

1den Hartog, C. (1970) The sea-grasses of the world. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, afd, Natuurkunde, Tweede Reeks 59: 1-275.

2Green E.P and Short F.T. (2003) World Atlas of Seagrasses. Prepared by the UIMEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, University of California Press, Berkeley, USA.

3Short, F.T. & Waycott, M. (2010) Enhalus acoroides. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Downloaded November 2012

4Vichkovitten, T. (1998) Biomass, Growth and Productivity of Seagrass; Enhalus acoroides (Linn. f) in Khung Kraben Bay, Chanthaburi, ThailandKasetsart J. (Nat. Sci) 32 : 109 – 115

5Photo credit: Wild Singapore Available from http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsingapore/421825506/in/set-72157600000714159/

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