ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to investigate temporal changes in mangrove root fouling species settled on artificial substrates in the mangrove zone of the Port Royal lagoons and to determine the effect of stress as part of a larger project to determine appropriate indicators of eutrophication in mangrove lagoons. Five Perspex? panels were suspended in the prop root zone at five contrasting stations within the Port Royal mangroves and the fouling organisms were monitored fortnightly using underwater digital photography. Nine taxonomic categories of epibionts were recorded of which the most prevalent group was the ascidians. Barnacles and hydroids were initially found to have established on the artificial substrates at all stations but were quickly replaced by ascidians and bryozoans at most. Species composition was similar between all stations by the end of the study, however, the dominant taxa were different. Sheltered lagoons like Fort Rocky lagoon (north and south) had a clear dominance of non-shelled species (ascidians and polychaetes) by the end of the study, while molluscs- bivalves and barnacles dominated Hurricane Refuge lagoon. This station, deemed to be experiencing greatest stress due to exposure to the eutrophic Kingston Harbour, also had the greatest proportion of shelled taxa represented in the epibiont biomass at the end of the study. Differences in biomass and species composition of root fouling species can therefore be used to indicate water quality in the mangrove lagoons.
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