MEPS 361:83-91 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07479

Changes in growth, internode distance and nutrient concentrations of the seagrass Halophila ovalis with exposure to sediment sulphide

K. L. Kilminster1,* D. I. Walker1, P. A. Thompson2, J. A. Raven3

1School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Hwy., Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
2CSIRO Marine Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
3Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee at SCRI, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK

ABSTRACT: Sulphide concentrations in estuarine sediments are likely to increase with increased organic matter fluxes (eutrophication) and increased temperatures (global warming). The short-term effects of sulphide on the growth, nutrition and morphology of the seagrass Halophila ovalis (R.Br.) Hook. f. were investigated in situ. Sediments within a H. ovalis meadow were enriched with Na2S equivalent to 0, 1.1 and 4.2 g m–2. Sulphide diffusion tubes were estimated to increase sulphide concentrations by 1 to 4 mmol l–1, concentrations typical of elevated sulphide measured in natural systems. Biomass, internode distance and growth rate (mg apex–1 day–1) were determined, and plant material was analysed for soluble carbohydrate, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Sulphide exposure caused significant reduction in growth (63%), average leaf weight (30%) and internode distance (15%). Above-ground tissue phosphorus concentration and internode distance were significant predictors of growth (R2 = 0.63, p < 0.01). These results demonstrate the plasticity of H. ovalis in response to a short-term sulphide pulse, and may have implications for recovery from transient sulphide stress.


KEY WORDS: Sulphide · Sediments · Seagrass · Nutrients · Morphometrics · Growth constraint


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Cite this article as: Kilminster KL, Walker DI, Thompson PA, Raven JA (2008) Changes in growth, internode distance and nutrient concentrations of the seagrass Halophila ovalis with exposure to sediment sulphide. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 361:83-91. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07479

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