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Photosynthetic responses of seven tropical seagrasses to elevated seawater temperature

Campbell, S.J. and McKenzie, L.J. and Kerville, S.P. (2006) Photosynthetic responses of seven tropical seagrasses to elevated seawater temperature. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 330 (2). pp. 455-468.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2005.09.017

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com

Abstract

This study uses chlorophyll a fluorescence to examine the effect of environmentally relevant (1-4 h) exposures of thermal stress (35-45 [deg]C) on seagrass photosynthetic yield in seven tropical species of seagrasses. Acute response of each tropical seagrass species to thermal stress was characterised, and the capacity of each species to tolerate and recover from thermal stress was assessed. Two fundamental characteristics of heat stress were observed. The first effect was a decrease in photosynthetic yield (Fv / Fm) characterised by reductions in F and Fm'. The dramatic decline in Fv / Fm ratio, due to chronic inhibition of photosynthesis, indicates an intolerance of Halophila ovalis, Zostera capricorni and Syringodium isoetifolium to ecologically relevant exposures of thermal stress and structural alterations to the PhotoSystem II (PSII) reaction centres. The decline in Fm' represents heat-induced photoinhibition related to closure of PSII reaction centres and chloroplast dysfunction. The key finding was that Cymodocea rotundata, Cymodocea serrulata, Halodule uninervis and Thalassia hemprichii were more tolerant to thermal stress than H. ovalis, Z. capricorni and S. isoetifolium. After 3 days of 4 h temperature treatments ranging from 25 to 40 [deg]C, C. rotundata, C. serrulata and H. uninervis demonstrated a wide tolerance to temperature with no detrimental effect on Fv / Fm' qN or qP responses. These three species are restricted to subtropical and tropical waters and their tolerance to seawater temperatures up to 40 [deg]C is likely to be an adaptive response to high temperatures commonly occurring at low tides and peak solar irradiance. The results of temperature experiments suggest that the photosynthetic condition of all seagrass species tested are likely to suffer irreparable effects from short-term or episodic changes in seawater temperatures as high as 40-45 [deg]C. Acute stress responses of seagrasses to elevated seawater temperatures are consistent with observed reductions in above-ground biomass during a recent El Nino event.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords:Seagrass; Elevated temperature; Global warming; El Niño; Tropical; Australia.
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Aquaculture
Aquaculture and Fisheries
Deposited On:29 Jan 2009 00:20
Last Modified:03 Sep 2010 05:38

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