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Journal Article

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

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56658

Ehlers,  Anneli
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons56884

Reusch,  Thorsten B. H.
Department Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Limnology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Ehlers, A., Worm, B., & Reusch, T. B. H. (2008). Importance of genetic diversity in eelgrass Zostera marina for its resilience to global warming. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 355, 1-7. doi:10.3354/meps07369.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-D6DF-B
Abstract
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.