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Estimation of a whole plant Q10 to assess seagrass productivity during temperature shifts

Journal article
Authors Lina M. Rasmusson
Martin Gullström
Pontus C.B. Gunnarsson
Rushingisha George
Mats Björk
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 9
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Biological Sciences


© 2019, The Author(s). Through respiration and photosynthesis, seagrass meadows contribute greatly to carbon and oxygen fluxes in shallow coastal waters. There is increasing concern about how shallow-water primary producers will react to a near-future climate scenario with increased temperature variation. When modelling primary productivity under high temperature variability, Q10 values are commonly used to predict rate changes depending on biophysical factors. Q10 values are often assumed to be constant and around 2.0 (i.e. a doubling of the rate with a temperature increase of 10 °C). We aimed to establish how the gas exchange of seagrass (Zostera marina) tissues at various maturity stages would respond over a broad range of temperatures. Seagrass shoot maturity stage clearly affected respiration and apparent photosynthesis, and the Q10 results indicated a skewed balance between the two processes, with a higher photosynthetic Q10 during periods of elevated temperatures. When estimating whole-plant Q10 in a realistic maximal temperature range, we found that the overall response of a seagrass plant’s net O2 exchange balance can be as much as three to four times higher than under ambient temperatures. Our findings indicate that plant tissue age and temperature should be considered when assessing and modelling carbon and oxygen fluctuations in vegetated coastal areas.

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