The seagrass and associated macroalgal vegetation of Gazi Bay (Kenya)

Abstract

The seagrass and macroalgal vegetation of Gazi Bay (at approximately 50 km south of Mombasa) have been studied by means of 88 relevés along 7 transects. Correlation between the distribution of the seagrasses and some abiotic factors (particle size fractions, chemical composition of the substrate) is not well marked. Nevertheless a general zonation and succession of seagrasses could be established: 1. A transition zone between the mangal and the seagrass beds is covered byBoodleopsis pusilla; 2. the pioneer associationHalophila ovalis +Halodule wrightii forms low sandy bumps at the upper limit of the seagrass beds, but also occurs in the whole midlittoral where sandlayers have recently been accumulated (e.g. on coral platforms); 3. the climax vegetation of the intertidal zone seems to beThalassia hemprichii which sometimes is associated withCymodocea rotundata andC. serrulata, certainly in deeper pools and close to low water mark;Halimeda opuntia,Gracilaria salicornia andG. corticata are also frequent in this vegetation type; 4. from low water at neap tide downwards patches of monospecificEnhalus acoroides vegetation can also occur; 5. from mean low water down to approximately −1 m mixed meadows ofThalassia, C. serrulata, C rotundata andHalodule uninervis are well developed; the seaweedsHalimeda macrooloba andAvrainvillea obscura are also typical for this zone; locally patches ofSyringodium isoetifolium grow on small bumps andHalophila stipulacea grows as a pioneer on bare sand; 6. from −1 m downwards the whole lagoon is covered by homogeneous, monospecificThalassodendron ciliatum meadows, locally replaced byE. acoroides. A transition zone between the mangal and the seagrass beds is covered byBoodleopsis pusilla; the pioneer associationHalophila ovalis +Halodule wrightii forms low sandy bumps at the upper limit of the seagrass beds, but also occurs in the whole midlittoral where sandlayers have recently been accumulated (e.g. on coral platforms); the climax vegetation of the intertidal zone seems to beThalassia hemprichii which sometimes is associated withCymodocea rotundata andC. serrulata, certainly in deeper pools and close to low water mark;Halimeda opuntia,Gracilaria salicornia andG. corticata are also frequent in this vegetation type; from low water at neap tide downwards patches of monospecificEnhalus acoroides vegetation can also occur; from mean low water down to approximately −1 m mixed meadows ofThalassia, C. serrulata, C rotundata andHalodule uninervis are well developed; the seaweedsHalimeda macrooloba andAvrainvillea obscura are also typical for this zone; locally patches ofSyringodium isoetifolium grow on small bumps andHalophila stipulacea grows as a pioneer on bare sand; from −1 m downwards the whole lagoon is covered by homogeneous, monospecificThalassodendron ciliatum meadows, locally replaced byE. acoroides.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00008205

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Cite this paper

@article{Coppejans2004TheSA, title={The seagrass and associated macroalgal vegetation of Gazi Bay (Kenya)}, author={Eric G G Coppejans and Hans Beeckman and Mie De Wit}, journal={Hydrobiologia}, year={2004}, volume={247}, pages={59-75} }