Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Jamie M.P. Vaudrey, Richard W. Osman

Field of Study



Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


The seagrass Zostera marina (eelgrass) is typically found in shallow protected areas of portions of eastern Long Island Sound (LIS). Although the species and its associated ecosystem have been well studied in many places, work in LIS has been limited. A field study was conducted to assess the fouling communities associated with eelgrass beds around Pine Island, in eastern LIS. Samples were collected from four sites between July and October, 2011. A total of 15 species of fouling organisms were found on eelgrass leaves throughout the study period. Recruitment patterns varied spatially and temporally. Differences in the composition of fouling invertebrates were rarely observed between inner and outer leaves of eelgrass shoots. In general, the abundances of invertebrates increased along the length of leaves, but not significantly. Rafting leaves had slightly higher abundances of fouling species than intact leaves and more species recruited on PVC panels than on eelgrass leaves. While eelgrass leaves are seasonally present in LIS, they are an important substrate for a variety of fouling species. Rafting leaves encrusted with fouling organisms may also be an important dispersal mechanism for these species.

Major Advisor

Robert Whitlatch