Effect of spatio-temporal shifts in salinity combined with other environmental variables on the ecological processes provided by Zostera noltei meadows


The present study aims to assess the plastic response of Zostera noltei meadows traits under spatio-temporal shifts in salinity combined with sediment environmental variables (temperature; pH; loss-on-ignition (LOI); carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools (top 5 cm)). Z. noltei biomass, C and N pools, leaf photosynthetic performance and esterified fatty acid (FA) profile were assessed within a temperate coastal lagoon during winter and late spring, along sites spatially distributed. None of the surveyed traits for Z. noltei displayed a clear spatial trend. Z. noltei proved to be euryhaline, whose biology was only slightly affected within this salinity range, in each season (14-39 in winter; 33-41 in late spring). Seasonal differences in salinity and environmental parameters explain the differences recorded in Z. noltei traits (aboveground biomass, N and C pools; photosynthetic performance). Spatio-temporal salinity shifts did not significantly affect the pool of FA present in Z. noltei. Overall, within the salinity range surveyed, the ecological processes studied and regulating Z. noltei meadows do not appear to be at risk. This work reinforces the plasticity of Z. noltei to salinity shifts within the studied range, with this finding being particularly relevant in the context of extreme weather events (e.g., winter freshwater floods, summer droughts).




Science & Technology - Other Topics


Sousa, AI; Calado, R; Cleary, DFR; Nunes, C; Coimbra, MA; Serodio, J; Lillebo, AI

nossos autores


Thanks are due, for the financial support to CESAM (UID/AMB/50017/2013), to FCT/MEC through national funds, and the co-funding by the FEDER, within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement and Compete 2020. This work was also supported by European Funds through COMPETE and by National Funds through FCT within projects UID/CTM/50011/2013, POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007679 (CICECO), and UID/QUI/00062/2013 (QOPNA). The European Commission, under the 7th Framework Programme, also supported this study through the collaborative research project LAGOONS (contract no. 283157). The project LTER-RAVE (LTER/BIABEC/0063/2009), co-funded by MCTES (PIDDAC); and the Post-Doc grants SFRH/BPD/79537/2011, SFRH/ BPD/107823/2015 (A. I. Sousa) and SFRH/BPD/100627/2014 (C. Nunes), both supported by FCT, are also acknowledged. This work was also supported by the Integrated Programme of SR& TD "Smart Valorization of Endogenous Marine Biological Resources Under a Changing Climate" (reference Centro-01-0145FEDER-000018), co-funded by Centro 2020 program, Portugal 2020, European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund. We thank Ana Rita Polonia for her help in field and laboratorial work, and Aldiro Pereira and Rui Marques for their help in field work.

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