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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 372 - Feature article
Increased sediment sulfides due to Caulerpa invasions decreases meristematic activity of the seagrass Posidonia oceanica. Photo: M. Holmer

Garcias-Bonet N, Marbà N, Holmer M, Duarte CM


Effects of sediment sulfides on seagrass Posidonia oceanica meristematic activity


Seagrass meadows are declining worldwide, often attributed to increased sediment sulfides derived from excess inputs of organic matter and the spread of Caulerpa species. Because meadow recovery may take several decades to centuries, depending on plant species, efforts to assess seagrass health are increasing. Garcias-Bonet and collaborators use flow cytometer techniques and cell cycle analysis to quantify the activity of Posidonia oceanica rhizome meristems growing across a natural gradient of sediment sulfide concentrations and sulfate reduction rates. The results provide evidence that P. oceanica meristematic activity rapidly declines with increasing sediment sulfides, reflecting the high sensibility of this species to sediment deterioration and suggesting that the meristematic activity can be used as an early warning indicator of seagrass health.


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