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Importance of Bottom Dwellers

VCR scientists discovered that bottom-dwelling plants and microbes control nutrient cycling in shallow coastal bays, contrary to expectations. This discovery is helping scientists better predict how land-use change and eutrophication will impact these vulnerable ecosystems and the important fisheries and marine biodiversity they support.

McGlathery, K. J., K. Sundback, and I. C. Anderson. 2007. Eutrophication patterns in shallow coastal bays and lagoons: The role of plants in the coastal filter. Marine Ecology Progress Series 348: 1-18.
Anderson, I. C., K. J. McGlathery, and A. C. Tyler. 2003. Microbial processing of "reactive nitrogen" in a temperate coastal lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series 246: 73-84.
Tyler, A. C., K. J. McGlathery, and I. C. Anderson. 2003. Benthic algae control sediment-water column fluxes of organic and inorganic nitrogen compounds in a temperate lagoon. Limnology and Oceanography 48: 2125-2137.
Dr. Karen J. McGlathery
Eutrophication of shallow coastal bays typically causes a shift in dominance from seagrass and perennial macroalgae to ephemeral, bloom-forming algae.
P. B. Christensen.
In shallow coastal systems where light reaches the seafloor, benthic plants and bacteria mediate nutrient cycling and play a key role in removing or transforming nutrient inputs from watersheds before they reach the coastal ocean.
A. Hardison, 2009.

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