Genotype-specific responses to light stress in eelgrass Zostera marina, a marine foundation plant

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Tiina Salo, Thorsten B.H. Reusch, Christoffer Boström
Publisher: Inter-Research
Publication year: 2015
Journal: Marine Ecology Progress Series
Journal acronym: Mar Ecol Prog Ser
Volume number: 519
Start page: 129
End page: 140
eISSN: 1616-1599


Abstract

Within mono-specific meadows of clonal plants, genotypic diversity may functionally
replace species diversity. Little is known about the variability in performance and plasticity of different
genotypes towards anthropogenically induced stressors. In this field experiment we compared
light-limitation stress responses and recovery of different eelgrass Zostera marina genotypes
to assess the variability in phenotypic plasticity and gene expression between different
genotypes. Replicated monoculture plots of 4 genotypes were subjected to a simulated turbidity
period of 4 wk using shading screens, and their performance during light limitation and 4 wk of
recovery was compared to non-shaded controls. In addition to growth and biomass, we investigated
storage carbohydrates and quantified the expression of genes involved in carbohydrate
metabolism, photosynthesis and control of oxidative stress. Plants showed remarkable plasticity in
their stress responses and all phenotypic variables recovered to the control level within 4 wk.
Depletion and subsequent restoration of sucrose levels differed among genotypes. In terms of
gene expression, no consistent patterns were observed. Our study confirms that stress responses
and recovery processes can vary substantially between genotypes and the results emphasize the
importance of preserving regional genotypic diversity for immediate positive diversity effects and
for adaptive evolution in response to global change.
Within mono-specific meadows of clonal plants, genotypic diversity may functionally
replace species diversity. Little is known about the variability in performance and plasticity of different genotypes towards anthropogenically induced stressors. In this field experiment we compared light-limitation stress responses and recovery of different eelgrass Zostera marina genotypes to assess the variability in phenotypic plasticity and gene expression between different genotypes. Replicated monoculture plots of 4 genotypes were subjected to a simulated turbidity period of 4 wk using shading screens, and their performance during light limitation and 4 wk of recovery was compared to non-shaded controls. In addition to growth and biomass, we investigated storage carbohydrates and quantified the expression of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, photosynthesis and control of oxidative stress. Plants showed remarkable plasticity in their stress responses and all phenotypic variables recovered to the control level within 4 wk. Depletion and subsequent restoration of sucrose levels differed among genotypes. In terms of gene expression, no consistent patterns were observed. Our study confirms that stress responses and recovery processes can vary substantially between genotypes and the results emphasize the importance of preserving regional genotypic diversity for immediate positive diversity effects and for adaptive evolution in response to global change.


Keywords

Gene expression, Plasticity, Seagrass, sucrose

Last updated on 2019-12-12 at 04:04