Synchronous flowering of estuarine seagrass meadows

Graeme J. Inglis*, Marcus P. Lincoln Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


A hierarchical sampling scheme was used to describe variation in the timing and intensity of flowering of multiple meadows of two species of seagrasses: Posidonia australis and Zostera capricorni. Sampling was stratified across a range of spatial scales: among sites and depths (P. australis only) within individual meadows, among meadows within the same estuary and among estuaries separated by tens of kilometres on the coastline of Central New South Wales, Australia. Four surveys of P. australis were undertaken between 1992 and 1994. Surveys of Z. capricorni were done over a single reproductive season; between September 1992 and March 1993. Rowers of P. australis were found only in August 1993, when they were present in all nine of the meadows examined. Densities of flowering shoots varied significantly among estuaries and at smaller spatial scales within individual meadows. The timing of this unusual flowering event coincided with unseasonably cool autumnal water temperatures. Reproductive shoots of Z capricorni were also recorded in each of the nine meadows surveyed, but the timing and magnitude of peak abundance varied widely among estuaries and exhibited considerable patchiness within individual meadows. The results suggest that the timing and intensity of flowering of Z capricorni and P. australis are affected by processes that operate over at least three spatial scales. Initiation of flower production appears to be triggered by regional (tens to hundreds of kilometres) changes in environmental conditions, such as water temperature or photoperiod, whereas the abundance of flowers varied significantly among estuaries and may be influenced more by both meso-scale (kilometres) processes within estuaries and by local conditions within each meadow (metres to tens of metres).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalAquatic Botany
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Posidonia australis
  • Reproduction
  • Spatial scale
  • Zostera capricorni


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