Eelgrass recovery in the coastal bays of the Virginia Coast Reserve, USA INTRODUCTION

RJ Orth, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
KJ McGlathery

Abstract

Coastal bay systems are prominent features of coastlines on nearly all continents and are vulnerable to long-term environmental changes related to climate and nutrient over-enrichment. Eelgrass Zostera marina disappeared in the 1930s from the coastal bays of the Virginia Coast Reserve, USA, primarily due to a wasting disease and the effects of a hurricane. It has been re-established recently as a result of a large-scale seeding and restoration effort. The contributions to this Theme Section provide the most comprehensive account available of large-scale recovery of an eelgrass ecosystem, the consequences of the state change from a bare-sediment system to eelgrass dominance, and projections of meadow resilience to future climate change scenarios.