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MarineGEO Seagrass Habitat Monitoring Protocol

online resource
posted on 2022-08-05, 20:19 authored by Jonathan LefcheckJonathan Lefcheck, Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network, MarineGEO

In this document, we provide MarineGEO’s standard survey design for sampling seagrass habitats, including key measurements of the plants, associated fauna, and other properties of the ecosystem.  Additionally, we provide define best practices for site selection, layout, and workflow.

The overall design and replication adheres as closely as possible to other seagrass monitoring programs, such as SeagrassNET and Seagrass Watch. Our goal is to provide a standardized sampling design and measurements of the key aspects of seagrass habitats that can be compared globally. We thank Fred Short and Bob Orth for thoughtful feedback on the initial draft of these protocols and Valerie Paul and Rachel Collin for leading major revisions.

This protocol provides data on above- and belowground seagrass biomass, composition, and shoot density from a standard core. Additional copies of this protocol, field datasheets, and data entry templates can be found at

Required protocols for MarineGEO partners: 

  • Sampling Event & Environmental Monitoring (temperature, salinity, turbidity) -
  • Seagrass density (cover, composition, shoot density)
  • Seagrass shoots (leaf length, width, epiphytes)
  • Predation (bait loss; ‘Squidpops’) -

Recommended protocols: 

  • Beach seines (, Trawl, or Visual Diver Survey (https://doi. org/10.25573/serc.14717796) - fish and mobile invertebrate abundance, length, composition
  • Sediment organic matter (bulk density, organic carbon) -
  • Seagrass biomass (biomass, shoot density)
  • Seagrass epifauna (composition, biomass)
  • Seagrass macroalgae (biomass)


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