Restoration Ecology of Potamogeton perfoliatus in mesohaline Chesapeake Bay: The nursery bed effect
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Restoring once prominent species of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) back into Chesapeake Bay is crucial for overall restoration success. A resurgence of SAV has occurred since their dramatic declines in the 1960-70s and Ruppia maritima now dominates most of the shallows of the mesohaline regions of the Bay, with little re-growth of the once equally prominent Potamogeton perfoliatus. P. perfoliatus was transplanted into R. maritima beds of varying densities to test the "nursery" bed concept. GIS analysis of R. maritima density exerted the greatest influence on P. perfoliatus transplant success. In year two of the study, ~ 70% of the transplants had survived, with many P. perfoliatus satellite colonies forming within 400m of the original transplant sites. Experiments with plant segments show that fragmentation is the likely method of P. perfoliatus spread. These results indicate that restoration using nursery grounds is an effective method for re-establishment of this SAV species.