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The vertical growth of seagrasses in response to burial by migration of bedforms is combined with dating techniques to provide precise and rapid estimates of the migration speed of subaqueous dunes over seagrass patches. Two methods to estimate the time interval between the passage of successive dunes and the motion of single dunes through seagrass patches are described. The second method is more precise. The application of these methods to vegetated (Cymodocea nodosa) subaqueous dunes in the Alfacs Bay (NW Mediterranean) showed that the dunes traveled at an average speed of $13.0 \pm 0.6 m yr^-1$ and demonstrated that the methods can resolve migration speeds from 0.15 to $980 m yr^-1$ with this particular seagrass species. In areas vegetated with different seagrass species, bedform migration can be estimated over different time scales. The strong coupling between seagrass and sediment dynamics resembles the coupling of vegetation and land dunes.
Limnology and Oceanography