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Leaf elongation rates of the seagrass Syringodium filiforme (Kütz., 1860) were assessed at two sites in a subtropical lagoon of Texas on eleven occasions from January 1996 to April 1997 using two methods, clipping and leaf piercing (marking) to estimate leaf growth. Pierced shoots grew at a significantly faster rate than clipped shoots irrespective of site. Clipping underestimated leaf elongation by 30%–38%, although differences at individual sites were as high as 69%–72%. Underestimation of leaf growth rate derived by clipping could be corrected using a site-specific linear regression relationship between leaf growth rates determined by clipping and piercing methods. The percent difference in overall leaf growth rate during the 14-mo study was 55% (4.47 mm d–1 pierced vs 2.44 mm d–1 clipped leaves). Fastest growth occurred during summer with rates of pierced leaves ranging from 8 to 11 mm d–1, which was generally two to three times that of clipped leaves. Highest leaf growth rates for clipped leaves never exceeded 4 mm d–1, regardless of site. We suggest that use of the leaf-clipping method in S. filiforme is appropriate when leaf growth rates are to be compared among sites or treatments and when true growth rate values are not critical.


© 2009 Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami

Publication Title

Bulletin of Marine Science

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Biology Commons



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