Understanding ecosystem pressures, condition and marine macroinvertebrate ecosystem services in seagrasses and mangroves in a digital age: Case of Inhambane Bay, Mozambique

Published: 19 December 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/gwhrg7tcfp.1
Frederick Asante,


Marine macroinvertebrates (MMI) sustain high biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and multiple ecosystem services (ES), but they can be impacted by the pressures exerted on ecosystems and their condition. We assessed ecosystem pressures (habitat conversion, overexploitation and climate change) and condition (environmental quality and ecosystem attributes), and MMI ES (provisioning, regulation and maintenance, and cultural) in seagrasses and mangroves of the Inhambane bay (INB), Mozambique, using digital data from satellite, biodiversity platforms, natural history collections databases, scientific literature and fisheries national reports. The study revealed that both, seagrass and mangrove extents of the INB have increased significantly since 2016. The surface partial pressure CO2 and sea surface height above sea level (i.e., sea level anomalies), and surface pH have significantly increased and decreased respectively. While sea surface temperature showed no significant annual variation, there was an increasing trend. Out of the seven environmental quality variables which showed a decline in concentrations (except PO4 increasing), only silicate, PO4 and phytoplankton concentrations in the bay showed significant annual varying trends. The biological condition of the bay shows that seagrasses present higher species richness and occurrences than mangroves. The MMI ES included the temporal assessment of food (provisioning); water quality regulation, hydrological flux, climate regulation, MMI as decomposition precursors, and habitat modification (regulation and maintenance); and recreation, stewardship and sense of belonging, scientific and traditional knowledge, and formal and informal education and training (cultural). MMI production has increased significantly, which parallels rising fishing efforts and indicates overexploitation that needs urgent attention. MMI regulation and maintenance, and cultural ES did not show significant trends overtime and they were probably underestimated due to data gaps. Notwithstanding, the study provided relevant data that can support future regulation and maintenance as well as cultural ES assessments and suggests a relation to the establishment of marine protected areas and MMI biodiversity. Conserving MMI and enhancing their ‘traditional’ use is key to their sustainable use. The results of this study contribute to the baseline information of the pressures and changes in condition of the INB which are potentially threatening to the MMI ES. It also revealed unexplored services of MMI in the INB, hence this study can be used to address issues on the unexplored MMI ES which can promote local economy.


Steps to reproduce

Fisheries production activity datasets were collected from the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters, and Fisheries (Statistical Bulletin, www.mozpescas.gov.mz), and literature. The datasets are delivered in the form of technical reports detailing various fisheries activities at the local and national levels. Physicochemical variables were organised from the Copernicus Marine Service website into NetCDF format. The datasets comprised different environmental parameters, which were extracted using Panopoly and R programming software. Landcover classification datasets and remote sensing images were downloaded from the USGS and the Copernicus SCI Hub of the European Space Agency. The downloads were made possible with the Quantum GIS (QGIS) Semi-Automatic Classification Plugin (SCP), and classification was done using Random Forest in R. The LMMAs dataset represents the area covered by protected areas in the Inhambane Bay of Mozambique. It was extracted from the research article by Chitará-Nhandimo et al. (2022).


Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Universite Libre Bruxelles Faculte des Sciences, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Universidade de Lisboa Faculdade de Ciencias


Natural Sciences, Science, Aquatic Ecosystem, Coastal Ecosystem, Aquatic Ecology