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Effects of the Loess Coating on Seed Germination and Seedling Growths of the Eelgrass, Zostera marina
Jung-Im Park and Kun-Seop Lee*
Department of Biology, Pusan National University, Pusan, 609-735, Korea
Seagrass bed is an important component in coastal and estuarine ecosystems, providing food and habitats to a wide variety of marine organisms. Recently, seagrass coverage has declined significantly due to anthropogenic impacts such as cultural eutrophication and reclamation, and thus efforts are under way to prevent further losses and restore disturbed seagrass habitats worldwide. Seagrass transplantation techniques for habitat restoration include vegetative and seed-based methods. Seagrass seeds can be collected easily, and sowing seeds is an economically effective method for large-scale restoration. However, large numbers of seed can be lost by seed predation and physical disturbance in the planting areas. In the present study, Zostera marina seeds were coated with loess to reduce seed loss by predation and sweeping away by the water currents, and germination rates of coated seeds and seedling growth were examined to assess the feasibility of the seed-coating method for large-scale restoration. Germination rate of the coated seeds with loess was significantly higher than that of the uncoated seeds. Additionally, seedling growths were not significantly different between the coated and the uncoated seeds. These results suggest that coating of eelgrass seeds with loess enhances success of seed germination with no harmful effects on seedling growth. Therefore, the seed coating method using loess may be an effective and applicable seedbased transplanting technique for large-scale restoration.
seed-coating, eelgrass, restoration, loess, transplanting method, Zostera marina