ABS72210

Experimental and biochemical assessment of the impacts of global change on Irish seagrass (Zostera marina) populations


  • Poster Presentation
  • Poster 27 (Flash Talk: 11 Jun 2018 17:16)
  • Foyer, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Pedro Beca-Carretero
Botany and Plant Science, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland

Freddy Guihéneuf
Botany and Plant Science, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland

Marc Julia-Miralles
Departamento de Física, Instituto de Oceanografía y Cambio Global, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

Dagmar Stengel*
Botany and Plant Science, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland

*Presenting Author


Zostera marina is a dominant, subtidal meadow-forming seagrass in temperate regions in the northern hemisphere, including Irish coasts. Despite ranking amongst the most valuable ecosystems worldwide, the status of seagrass conservation in Ireland is currently not clear. For the first time this investigation assessed (i) structural and biochemical responses to temporal variation in temperature at individual and population level of different unpolluted and pristine Z. marina meadows in western Ireland, and (ii) experimentally examined growth and biochemical responses to temperature. Shoots were incubated at 5 different temperatures (7, 12, 25, 20 and 24 °C) (160 μmol m−2 s−1). Most parameters revealed a marked temporal pattern, displaying bell-shaped unimodal responses, highlighting optimal growth and performance at the warmest temperature. Biomass and shoot density increased more than 30-50 % from January to July, with intermediate values in April and November. Moreover, incubated Irish populations exhibited optimum temperatures of 16 to 20 °C for growth, while a significant decrease was observed at warmest conditions. These results suggest that an increase of 2 °C as projected for the end of this century (IPCC, 2014) may positively stimulate growth rates and performance of Irish Z. marina populations, while a decrease in PUFA/SFA may negatively affect the nutritional value of seagrass with implications for higher trophic levels. This study is particularly relevant due to i) the current scarcity of information available on seagrass ecology in Ireland, ii) the non-disturbed status of the eelgrass meadows described, and iii) the potential to assess effects of future climate change in these indicator systems.