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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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CO2 enrichment during a warm summer increases eelgrass
density and shoot size (left) compared to ambient CO2
conditions (right) in experimental aquaria. Photos: Billur Celebi

Zimmerman RC, Hill VJ, Jinuntuya M, Celebi B, Ruble D, Smith M, Cedeno T, Swingle WM


Experimental impacts of climate warming and ocean carbonation on eelgrass Zostera marina

Zimmermann et al. show that long-term exposure to elevated CO2 concentrations can counter the negative impact of warm temperatures on eelgrass. In their experiments, plants from the Chesapeake Bay region that are regularly impacted by summer heat stress experienced enhanced survival, growth and proliferation under elevated CO2 conditions. Observed results were consistent with model predictions based on metabolic carbon balance of seagrass species from tropical and temperate environments. Consequently ocean carbonation may facilitate the persistence of eelgrass despite a warming climate.


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