Seagrass habitats of Bocas del Toro province: a balance between river, mangrove and coral influences
This poster summarizes the key features of the seagrass communites in the Bocas del Toro archipelago, Panama. Seagrass meadows within this region are strongly influenced by their proximity to coral reefs, mangrove forests and coastal rivers. Reef, mangrove and river inputs influence sediment type and water clarity, two very important factors affecting the occurrence and abundance of seagrass meadows. Large volumes of silica sand are deposited by the large rivers, high organic matter comes from the mangrove forests as well as associated wetlands and eroding coral produces coarse carbonate sediment. An important modifier of these habitats and determinant of the type of seagrass that will survive is the amount of protection from water motion. The resulting seagrass communities within the Bocas del Toro archipelago can be divided into the following five categories, each linked to a dominant influence: wetland, river, mangrove, coral and ocean swell.