Publication details.


Author(s):Gema Hernán, Laura Ramajo, Lorena Basso, Antonio Delgado, Jorge Terrados, Carlos M. Duarte, Fiona Tomas
Title:Seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) seedlings in a high-CO2 world: from physiology to herbivory
Journal:Scientific Reports
JCR Impact Factor:4.259
Issue No.:38017
Abstract:Under future increased CO2 concentrations, seagrasses are predicted to perform better as a result
of increased photosynthesis, but the effects in carbon balance and growth are unclear and remain
unexplored for early life stages such as seedlings, which allow plant dispersal and provide the
potential for adaptation under changing environmental conditions. Furthermore, the outcome of
the concomitant biochemical changes in plant-herbivore interactions has been poorly studied, yet
may have important implications in plant communities. In this study we determined the effects of
experimental exposure to current and future predicted CO2 concentrations on the physiology, size
and defense strategies against herbivory in the earliest life stage of the Mediterranean seagrass
Posidonia oceanica. The photosynthetic performance of seedlings, assessed by fluorescence, improved
under increased pCO2 conditions after 60 days, although these differences disappeared after 90 days.
Furthermore, these plants exhibited bigger seeds and higher carbon storage in belowground tissues,
having thus more resources to tolerate and recover from stressors. Of the several herbivory resistance
traits measured, plants under high pCO2 conditions had a lower leaf N content but higher sucrose. These
seedlings were preferred by herbivorous sea urchins in feeding trials, which could potentially counteract
some of the positive effects observed.

Related staff

  • Gema Hernan Martinez
  • Fiona Tomas Nash
  • Jorge Terrados Muñoz
  • Related projects

  • MEDSEA CTA 071
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research