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Title: The negative effects of short-term extreme thermal events on the seagrass Posidonia oceanica are exacerbated by ammonium additions
Author: Ontoria Gómez, Yaiza
Cuesta-Gracia, Ainhoa
Ruiz Fernandez, Juan Manuel
Romero, Javier (Romero Martinengo)
Pérez, Marta
Keywords: Algues marines
Canvi climàtic
Marine algae
Climatic change
Issue Date: 19-Sep-2019
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Global warming is increasingly affecting our biosphere. However, in addition to global warming, a panoply of local stressors caused by human activities is having a profound impact on our environment. The risk that these local stressors could modify the response of organisms to global warming has attracted interest and fostered research on their combined effect, especially with a view to identifying potential synergies. In coastal areas, where human activities are heavily concentrated, this scenario is particularly worrying, especially for foundation species such as seagrasses. In this study we explore these potential interactions in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica. This species is endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. It is well known that the Mediterranean is already experiencing the effects of global warming, especially in the form of heat waves, whose frequency and intensity are expected to increase in the coming decades. Moreover, this species is especially sensitive to stress and plays a key role as a foundation species. The aim of this work is thus to evaluate plant responses (in terms of photosynthetic efficiency and growth) to the combined effects of short-term temperature increases and ammonium additions.To achieve this, we conducted a mesocosm experiment in which plants were exposed to three thermal treatments (20°C, 30°C and 35°C) and three ammonium concentrations (ambient, 30 μM and 120 μM) in a full factorial experiment. We assessed plant performance by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence variables (maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm), effective quantum yield of photosystem II (ΔF/Fm'), maximum electron transport rate (ETRmax) and non-photochemical quenching (NPQ)), shoot growth rate and leaf necrosis incidence. At ambient ammonium concentrations, P. oceanica tolerates short-term temperature increases up to 30°C. However, at 35°C, the plant loses functionality as indicated by a decrease in photosynthetic performance, an inhibition of plant growth and an increase of the necrosis incidence in leaves. On the other hand, ammonium additions at control temperatures showed only a minor effect on seagrass performance. However, the combined effects of warming and ammonium were much worse than those of each stressor in isolation, given that photosynthetic parameters and, above all, leaf growth were affected. This serves as a warning that the impact of global warming could be even worse than expected (based on temperature-only approaches) in environments that are already subject to eutrophication, especially in persistent seagrass species living in oligotrophic environments.
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It is part of: PLoS One, 2019, vol. 14, num. 9, p. e0222798
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ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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