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Clonal architecture in an intertidal bed of the dwarf eelgrass Zostera noltii in the Northern Wadden Sea: persistence through extreme physical perturbation and the importance of a seed bank
Zipperle, A.M.; Coyer, J.A.; Reise, K.; Gitz, E.; Stam, W.T.; Olsen, J.L. (2009). Clonal architecture in an intertidal bed of the dwarf eelgrass Zostera noltii in the Northern Wadden Sea: persistence through extreme physical perturbation and the importance of a seed bank. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 156(10): 2139-2148. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-009-1244-8
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Zipperle, A.M.
  • Coyer, J.A.
  • Reise, K., more
  • Gitz, E.
  • Stam, W.T., more
  • Olsen, J.L., more

Abstract
    Genotypic structure and temporal dynamics of the dwarf seagrass, Zostera noltii, were studied in an intertidal meadow that has persisted since prior to 1936 near the Wadden Sea island of Sylt. Samples were collected from two 10 × 10 m plots separated by 250 m from May 2002 to June 2005 and from four 1 × 1 m plots from June 2003 to September 2004. All the samples were genotyped with nine microsatellite loci. No genotypes were shared between the plots separated by 250 m. Genetic diversity was higher in the Wadden Sea than in the other regions of its geographic range. The average clone size (genets) (SD) in the two plots was 1.38 (0.26) and 1.46 (0.4) m², respectively, with a range up to 9 m² and <20% persisted for >4 years. A high genetic and genotypic diversity was maintained by annual recruitment of seedlings despite a dramatic decrease in ramet density that coincided with the severe heat stress event of 2003. Fine-scale (1 m²) analysis suggested that extensive loss of seagrass cover precluded space competition among the genets, while a persistent seed bank prevented local extinction. Long-term persistence of Z. noltii meadows in the intertidal Wadden Sea was achieved by high genet turnover and frequent seedling recruitment from a seed bank, in contrast to the low diversity observed in large and long-living clones of Z. noltii and other seagrasses in subtidal habitats.

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