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The impact of long-term megaherbivore overgrazing on carbon dynamic in seagrass ecosystems in Derawan Islands, Indonesia

  • 12 February, 2024
  • Wageningen University, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
  • prof.dr. A.A. Koelmans
  • dr. M.J.A. Christianen

Seagrass ecosystems offer significant ecological benefits by serving as habitats and sources of nourishment for marine megaherbivores, including dugongs and sea turtles. However, the grazing activity of megaherbivores on seagrass meadows can have a detrimental impact when the population size is significant. The act of intense grazing has the potential to induce significant changes in the structure of seagrass communities, resulting in a reduction in the functionality of seagrass and the associated ecosystem services such as degradation of sediment stabilization and seagrass capacity as carbon sink and sequestration ecosystems. A limited number of investigations have explored the consequences of such disturbances on sediment, including organic carbon sediment. Prior studies have predominantly focused on examining the effects of disturbance on the aboveground components or shoots of seagrass in temperate or subtropical regions. There is a need for further research to enhance the understanding of the effects of overgrazing megaherbivores on seagrass ecosystems, particularly in tropical regions like Indonesia. The present study aims to evaluate the impact of sea turtle overgrazing activities on the sediment organic carbon dynamics in the vicinity of Derawan Islands, Indonesia.

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Susi Rahmawati

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