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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 543730, 8 pages
Research Article

An Evaluation of Leaf Biomass : Length Ratio as a Tool for Nondestructive Assessment in Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.)

1Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada, Km 107 Carretera Tijuana, 22860 Ensenada, BCS, Mexico
2Department of Biology, Pusan National University, Pusan, Republic of Korea
3Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Research Group, Port and Airport Research Institute, Nagase, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
4Department of Science and Environmental Policy, California State University Monterey Bay, 100 Campus Center, Seaside, CA 93955, USA

Received 27 October 2011; Accepted 17 December 2011

Academic Editors: M. T. Leppanen and H. Lokstein

Copyright © 2012 Hector Echavarria-Heras et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The characterization of biomass and its dynamics provides valuable information for the assessment of natural and transplanted eelgrass populations. The need for simple, nondestructive assessments has led to the use of the leaf biomass-to-length ratio for converting leaf-length measurements, which can be easily obtained, to leaf growth rates through the plastochrone method. Using data on leaf biomass and length collected in three natural eelgrass populations and a mesocosm, we evaluated the suitability of a leaf weight-to-length ratio for nondestructive assessments. For the data sets considered, the isometric scaling that sustains the weight-to-length proxy always produced inconsistent fittings, and for leaf-lengths greater than a threshold value, the conversion of leaf length to biomass generated biased estimations. In contrast, an allometric scaling of leaf biomass and length was highly consistent in all the cases considered. And these nondestructive assessments generated reliable levels of reproducibility in leaf biomass for all the ranges of variability in leaf lengths. We argue that the use of allometric scaling for the representation of leaf biomass in terms of length provides a more reliable approach for estimating eelgrass biomass.