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Striking spatial patterns in stable isotope ratios (isoscapes) and elemental ratios (stoichioscapes) of seagrass leaves and the water column nutrients indicate general Plimitation of both water column and benthic primary productivity on the Bermuda Platform, and they highlight the role of the Bermuda Islands as a source of N and P. We found consistent differences among the four seagrass species (Syringodium filiforme, Thalassia testudinum, Halodule sp. and Halophila decipiens) in the N, P, delta C-13 and delta N-15 of leaf tissues. The delta N-15 of seagrass leaves was especially variable, with values from 10.1 to 8.8 parts per thousand. greatly expanding the reported range of values for all seagrass species globally. Spatial patterns from both the water column and the seagrass leaves indicated that P availability was higher near shore, and delta N-15 values suggest this was likely a result of human waste disposal. Spatially contiguous areas of extremely depleted seagrass N-15 suggest unique N sources and cycling compared to other seagrass-dominated environments. Seagrass N: P values were not as far from the stoichiometric balance between N and P availability as in the water column, and there were no strong relationships between the water column N: P and the seagrass N: P. Such isoscapes and stoichioscapes provide valuable ecogeochemical tools to infer ecosystem processes as well as provide information that can inform food web and animal movement studies.
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Fourqurean, J. W., Manuel, S. A., Coates, K. A., Kenworthy, W. J., and Boyer, J. N.: Water quality, isoscapes and stoichioscapes of seagrasses indicate general P limitation and unique N cycling in shallow water benthos of Bermuda, Biogeosciences, 12, 6235-6249, doi:10.5194/bg-12-6235-2015, 2015.
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