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Research puts a light on the future of seagrass

Thursday, 29 June 2017

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Simone Strydom, Kathryn McMahon and Paul Lavery recently published a paper in Marine Ecology Progress Series (MEPS) on how different colours of light impact seagrass. This work formed part of Simone’s PhD thesis and is unique in that it measured seagrass (Halophila ovalis) responses to light across several plant scales (physiology, productivity, morphology and biomass) as well as across life-history stages (seeds, seedlings, adults and flowering). This study demonstrated that blue light decreased biomass in adults and that red light enhanced seedling survival. The findings indicate that both natural and human-induced changes in light quality, such as dredging and algae blooms, could significantly affect seagrass growth and reproduction. As a range of anthropogenic activities are currently contributing to the global losses of seagrasses, this research provides timely information on how light quality influences different seagrass life history stages.

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