Importance of genetic diversity in eelgrass Zostera marina for its resilience to global warming.

Ehlers, Anneli, Worm, Boris and Reusch, Thorsten B.H. (2008) Importance of genetic diversity in eelgrass Zostera marina for its resilience to global warming. Open Access Marine Ecology Progress Series, 355 . pp. 1-7. DOI 10.3354/meps07369.

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Effects of global warming on marine ecosystems are far less understood than they are in terrestrial environments. Macrophyte-based coastal ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to global warming, because they often lack species redundancy. We tested whether summer heat waves have negative effects on an ecologically important ecosystem engineer, the eelgrass Zostera marina L., and whether high genotypic diversity may provide resilience in the face of climatic extremes. In a mesocosm experiment, we manipulated genotypic diversity of eelgrass patches fully crossed with water temperature (control vs. temperature stress) over 5 mo. We found a strong negative effect of warming and a positive effect of genotypic diversity on shoot densities of eelgrass. These results suggest that eelgrass meadows and associated ecosystem services will be negatively affected by predicted increases in summer temperature extremes. Genotypic diversity may provide critical response diversity for maintaining seagrass ecosystem functioning, and for adaptation to environmental change.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Climate change · Ocean warming · Coastal ecosystem; Genotypic diversity; Intraspecific variation; Resilience; Zostera marina
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps07369
ISSN: 0171-8630
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2009 18:51
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 21:52

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