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The Estuarine EcosystemEcology, Threats and Management$
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Donald S. McLusky and Michael Elliott

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525080

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525080.001.0001

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Primary producers: plant production and its availability

Primary producers: plant production and its availability

(p.34) Chapter 3 Primary producers: plant production and its availability
The Estuarine Ecosystem

Donald S. McLusky

Michael Elliott

Oxford University Press

Within the estuarine ecosystem there may be several sources of plant production, including salt marsh plants, eel grass, or sea weeds. Growing directly on the surface of the mudflats may be filamentous algae or the single-celled microphytobenthos. Within the water body are found floating members of the phytoplankton. This chapter examines both the primary production of the salt marshes and algae (benthic or planktonic), and the limitations placed upon this productivity by nutrient availability. In addition, it examines the fate of the plant material as it is fragmented and decomposed, and thereby becomes more available to consumer animals as detritus, which is all types of biogenic material in various stages of microbial decomposition.

Keywords:   salt marsh plants, eel grass, algae, microphytobenthos, detritus, mangroves, phytoplankton, plant production

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