Germination and seed bank analysis of Zostera marina

Elma, Eylem (2011) Germination and seed bank analysis of Zostera marina (Bachelor thesis), Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel, Germany, 39 pp

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In the last decades the loss of the only true marine flowering plants- the seagrasses have dramatically increased worldwide. Important ecosystem functions like stabilizing seabeds, providing food and habitat for marine organisms and carbon sequestration make seagrasses a foundation species in the littoral zone. The loss of seagrasses has lead to strong scientific interest and efforts to restore seagrass meadows increase.
For successful restoration projects, large numbers of propagules from donor beds are needed. Even though the sexual reproduction of the most common seagrass
in the temperate zone, Zostera marina, is well investigated, it is not really clear which factors lead to the low seed germination rates (between 1-20%) that can
be observed in the field and in laboratory, although seed production is high.
In this study I have investigated the seed germination rate of Z. marina from five Baltic sites in a mesocosm-facility to investigate seed germination in Baltic eelgrass meadows. For comparison, seeds commonly found in distribution in the Mediterranean were also analysed. Additionally, I have also analysed the seed banks of two intertidal and one subtidal sites in the German Wadden Sea, to assess the number of seeds available in the seed bank before germinating in spring. In concordance with other studies, we found low seed germination rates (5.7 %). Moreover, germination rates of Z. marina seeds from different sites differed significantly. This indicates habitat differences in germination ecology that can either be genetic or phenotypic. Seed germination significantly (from 0.9 to 2.4 seedlings/ day) increased after water temperatures dropped and ambient instead of artificial seawater was used. This means that a careful analysis of the impact of water temperature and composition is needed to disentangle the impact of these factors. The seed bank analysis of Z. marina populations in the Northern Wadden Sea show that next
to low germination rates, a strong seed loss during winter hampers sexual reproduction.

Document Type: Thesis (Bachelor thesis)
Thesis Advisors: Sommer, Ulrich, Reusch, Thorsten B.H. and Bockelmann, Anna-Christina
Additional Information: Print-Exemplar in Bibliothek vorhanden
Keywords: Food Webs; Zostera marina; seagrass
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2011 09:15
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2013 10:05

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