Population specific salinity tolerance in eelgrass (Zostera marina)

Tiina Elina Salo, Morten Foldager Pedersen, Christoffer Boström

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Salinity is one of the main factors impacting distribution of marine plants and sub-optimal salinities may result in increased resource use and decreased production.We studied the performance and salinity tolerance of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) originating from two regions with different ambient salinities: a low saline (salinity 6) and a high saline (salinity 20) population. Plants fromboth populationswere exposed to a series of fixed salinities (2, 4, 6, 9, 12.5, 15, 20 and 25) for 5 weeks. Both plant origin and salinity affected plant performance significantly. Plant production decreasedwith decreasing salinity in both populations,while mortality increased in lowsalinity only in plants originating from the high saline population. The better performance of the low saline population in the lowest salinities indicates a horizontal shift in salinity tolerance among populationswith different origin and that
the lowsaline population is better adapted to hyposaline conditions. Despite the long-term adaptation of the low saline population to stable, low salinity, these plants were still able to function normally in high salinities, indicating remarkable plasticity. The results further suggest that altered salinity can severely impact seagrass productivity but responses might vary significantly depending on plant origin. Such variability in stress tolerance indicates that some populations have better chances to survive in and adapt to future changes in environment
TidsskriftJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Sider (fra-til)425-429
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - 7 okt. 2014


  • Baltic Sea
  • Hypo-salinity
  • Osmolyte
  • Plasticity
  • Seagrass
  • Stress

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