Species composition, abundance and distribution of seagrasses along the coast of Tacloban, Philippines


by: Dioli Ann Payo, Eulito Casas Jr. , Kimberly Badocdoc, Joyce Flores, Jackie Juntila


The seagrass ecosystems along the intertidal areas of Tacloban City, Philippines were rapidly assessed in October 7-29, 2017. This was specifically aimed to map the areas covered by seagrass beds, determine species composition, distribution, and abundance, and identify potential threats to these ecosystems. Seagrass beds observed in Cancabato Bay, Anibong Bay, Brgys. Tigbao-Diit, Brgy. Bagacay, Brgy, Cabalawan, Brgy. Suhi (San Isidro), Brgys. Sto. Niño-Kawayan and Tagpuro cover an area of at least 54,503 m2 or 54.2 ha. Only 4 seagrass species were identified from all the sites, namely: Enhalus acoroides (Linnaeus f.) Royle, Thalassia hemprichii (Ehrenberg) Ascherson, Cymodocea serrulata (R. Brown) Ascherson & Magnus, and Halodule uninervis (Forsskål) Ascherson. E. acoroides was the most widely distributed of all the species. The average seagrass cover and biomass were 42.0 ± 9.5 %/m2 and 53.8 ± 6.6 g dry weight/m2, respectively. Some potential threats to adjacent seagrass beds such as, direct discharge of untreated wastewater, presence of fish pens, plastic pollution, human dwellings, docking areas for pumpboats, recreational areas, man-made intertidal structures, sedimentation, oil pollution and destructive shellfish gleaning were observed and subsequently, geotagged.

Keywords: seagrass species composition, distribution, abundance, Tacloban